Part II of "Grace of the Flood."
This film (Hi-8 color video, 20 min.) explores the knowledge and use of mushrooms by Tzeltal and Tzotzil Mayan Indians of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Filmed in 1992, the video includes a special participation by renowned California mycologist David Arora, author of the popular mushroom guides "Mushrooms Demystified" and "All that the Rain Promises and More."
This is worth taking the time to watch.
Filmed and edited by G. H. Shepard
Our homegrown French breakfast radishes!
It includes good, sound healthy eating advice -- eat more produce, avoid antibiotics in your meat and dairy, etc. I was happy to see suggestions related to packaging -- use reusable bags, skip bottled water, buy foods with minimal packaging. I am all for reducing our seeming insatiable need to buy things in plastic! And these suggestions on being environmentally friendly reconfirm many of the lessons we learned from the Garbage Experiment.
I also liked #31 Eat your leftovers. It never occured to me not to. But unless you are raising your own bacon, the leftovers belong to you!
And, check out #32 Double your recipes. Cook smart and use less energy. Having things reaady to use in your freezer is pretty cool.
Lately, we have been seeing how many meals you can get out of a roasted chicken. You can eat for a week. Roasted chicken dinner, chicken soup, chicken sandwiches, and a pan of enchiladas. Pretty good eating.
Thanks to Heather for the link!
The Garbage Experiment has left me pretty vigilant about unnecessary packaging and unwilling to buy all those aseptic boxes of stock. We all have to do what works for us. For me, I will make stock but I do not feel the need to grow/can/preserve/bake/make all my own food. Nor will you find me grinding my own flour or wearing sunbonnets.
I was thinking about the things that I have started making or would be easy to make and I found a ton of lists telling me what I should start doing myself and NEVER buy again. ("11 Real Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making from Scratch", "5 Packaged Foods You Never Need to Buy Again", "15 Foods You Should Never Buy Again".
I am stubborn and resent being told what to do. Here is what I am willing to do in spite it being told to do it.
Salad dressing: A traditional vinaigrette is really reidiculously simple. And, reading the ingredients list and looking on line will give you the basic info you need to recreate your favorite Annie's or Paul Newman's or whatever.
Broth/Stock --also worth doing. All those years working in restaurants and hotels, taught me a few things about controlling food costs. You just save all the bits! Keep all your parmesan rinds, carrot tops, mushroom stems, celery leaves and vegetable parings in a bag in the freezer for vegetable stock. Bonus, tastes fresher and lower in sodium!
Tomato sauce tastes good when you make it how you want it. You can make it for pizza (more oregano) or spicy or with a lot of basil! Making one big batch will cover you for a few meals. And, you can make a quick sauce that does not have to simmer all day. Really, it will still taste good.
Soup. Grandmom D. said, "Honey, anyone can make soup." That is the simple truth. You can use a recipe if you like, if it makes you feel more confident. But, you can get a good soup using what you have on hand or what you need to eat up before it goes the way of compost. Having a pot of soup around is awesome. For me, it means lunch is already made!
Hummus. Hummus is one of the things that should be vegan. So, why, oh why, would some brands have dairy in them? That is some good easy, healthy snacking.
Canned beans. I have a slow cooker. Maybe I should have a pressure cooker. In any case, there is no reason not to cook up a batch of beans. And they freeze just fine. No reason at all.
Bread crumbs. Was not on the list and is the easiest thing to do. If you buy good bread, your bread crumbs are gonna by great. Again, keep them in the freezer and make them as you need them. Wicked simple to do.
Spice mixes. I will not lie. I do have some of these in my pantry. But, I have started buying bulk spices. And, don't be surprised if spices mixes are in your Christmas stocking.
I start to balk at being told to make all my own condiments. Could I? Is it a good idea? Sure. Will I do it? No.
I am going to say that I do enjoy the convenience of coconut milk. I have done it. It would have made a great video what with all the chasing a coconut around the kitchen with a hammer and screw driver.
So, I am willing to make some stuff from scratch and not buy it anymore. But, I am not dropping out and eating only what I can raise myself or anything extreme. In fact, I am still mad about being told what to do. Until I see these list writers in my kitchen making my annual supply of homemade catsup for me, they need to shut up with all the nevers and shoulds.
Remember what they say. Moderation in all things, including cooking from scratch.
I told you of my realization I could make dressing rather than buy it, thus re-using all those dressing bottles I had acquired. What I did not explain was that I had a mild addiction to Annie's Papaya Poppyseed Dressing. It is really good.
Since I had committed to making dressing, I decided to scour the web for similiar dressings. Funny, it was not among the vast repertoire of knock off recipes. And I kept finding recipes using papaya seeds which was not at all what I wanted. The papayas in the stores here are the saddest of tropical fruits. But wait! Why couldn't I substitute mango for the papaya?
It is not too hard to find sweet dressing recipes or poppyseed recipes. From the wide range of recipes, here is what I cobbled together. And, I think it is really tasty and it does satisfy my craving for the old Annie's!
Tangy Mango Salad Dressing
1/3 cup vinegar (use the one you like best. I uses red wine once, reaspberry once.)
2/3 cup oil (I use less and add some water)
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs dijon mustard
Put in blender and blend. Add poppyseeds last, if you like.
Makes a little more than one salad dressing bottle full.
I was thinking about all the re-use and repurposing we are doing with the Garbage Experiment. And, how thinking about these things results in real changes in your household consumption. I believed that I had gotten pretty good at buying for reduced packaging when I ran into something. I ran out of salad dressing and wrote it on the shopping list because that is what I have always done and it is convenient. Really? What will I do with the bottle? And, in fact, I had 4 clean bottles awaiting some sort of repurposing. Oops.
It is not hard and does not take long to make your own dressing. Why had I not already figured that out? I made two bottles of dressing and took one, with a salad, over to dinner at a friend's house. Now, I am on the hunt for stellar recipes. Sorry, Annie and Paul!
If you want to recycle more, or use less plastic, or live more sustainably, it is about making conscious decisions and small changes over time. It is a learning curve. To learn what we really need. To appreciate the value of something. To question the notion that everything is disposable. So, I am learning as I go and making my own dang dressing!
Salsa is next!