Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's cold outside, and I am so baking these effing cookies.

So lately I've been stalking the Post Punk Kitchen message boards - meh, it was inevitable I suppose. That doesn't have much to do with anything, except that we've started talking about VeganMoFo which will begin in just two weeks! Hooray. Anyway, I bumped over to the PPK blog to see if there was a post about it yet, and there wasn't. But there was THIS:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

For the topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cookies:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (or more vanilla extract if you have no chocolate)
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the topping ingredients together on a flat plate. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix in extracts.

Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you’ve got a pliable dough.

Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2 inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread). This should be easy as the the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, they should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

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Now, since we've been getting this fall-like weather, I've had the urge to crank up the new oven. Well, I do believe I've found my target... Personally, I feel it needs more cinnamon, possibly just a dash of nutmeg and clove... I'll let ya know how it goes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

FDA: a new dawn regarding food labeling

It seems that someone over at the FDA has noticed that consumers might not realize what packages do and do not tell them about processed foods. The agency may have even caught onto the fact that some consumers are being mislead by health claims on packages of foodstuffs that are really better left on the shelf. While all packages are required to have the nutritional data chart somewhere on them, most consumers are much more likely to read the prominently placed, boldly colored logos on the fronts of packages rather than the boring chart in a tiny font on the side, back, or bottom with all of its numbers and percentages - aren't they?

Well, the gov'ment wants to find out. Badly enough that they're conducting an internet study of approximately 43,000 people, in fact! As per the FDA's statement, the goals of the study are as follows:

(1) identify attitudes and beliefs among consumers toward health, diet and label usage; (2) determine relationships between those attitudesand beliefs, as well as demographics, with food label use and non-use; and (3) evaluate the relative importance of these attitudes between consumers of various age groups to determine whether barriers to label use differ between younger consumers and older consumers. The information collected from the study is necessary to inform the agency's efforts to improve consumer understanding and use of the food label.

This sounds like a worthwhile venture to me, and I truly, truly hope that it leads to some kind of real change in what kinds of health claims food companies are allowed to make on their packages. If you care about these things, head on over to the internet listing for the study and leave a comment showing your support!

(For you more conventional types, you can also send snail mail to Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Just don't forget to include the docket number: FDA-2009-N-0345. Happy writing!)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Oh, the idiocy.

Man, it's amazing that anybody is allowed to just say any old thing on the internet. Regarding a recent post on Marion Nestle's blog Food Politics, a guy named "Albert" pulled out this gem:
Food Politics? You should call this blog Food Fascists. You people are really, really scary. You make Fruit Loops a political issue? I suppose you’re very happy about Californian farmers having their water supply cut off. Right? I mean you want to control every morsel of food that we eat. I think the American people are waking up to you radical fascists trying to gain control of every facet of our lives. It was close, but hopefully you and your kind have been exposed enough to be stopped. I know its a cliche, but if you believe that the government mandates what we can and cannot eat, you really should go live in some communist country. We are not going to let you destroy America.
Destroy America, huh? Like by say, destroying its natural resources by using them improperly? Oh, wait, no that's not us, the people who dedicate such time and energy to creating change in the food industry. Hmm, maybe by tainting all of the lakes, rivers, streams, and underground water supplies? Oh, no, that wasn't us either. Maybe it was by uprooting the foundations of every small town so that they are all skeletons now, with maybe a functioning Wal*Mart - unless of course it pulled out after putting all the small stores out of business. Perhaps it was by luring in immigrants with seemingly open arms, for them only to discover that "free housing" meant fifteen to a trailer floor and "living wage" meant less than the country's minimum, until you're injured in unsafe work conditions, in which case you're SOL. Huh, no, NONE of that was us. That was ALL the enormous mulitnational corporations that have taken over our food supply and so much else about this country, and in fact so much else in our globalized world.

Here was my response.
Oh dearest Albert. Actually, all we want is to take *away* the complete and utter control that giant corporations currently hold over our entire food supply and give it back to individuals. If new laws can help that happen, so be it. Sometimes we need the government to step up to entities that have gained too much power and say "Hey, you guys can't do this." Like when they break up monopolies. And if the current state of food corporations doesn't represent monopolies, I don't know what to call it.

We want the food companies to do wild, crazy things like a) be honest about the nutritional quality of their food, b) produce food that's safe to eat, and c) do so in a way that doesn't unnecessarily harm people, animals, or the environment. You're right - we're a bunch of wackos!

You think you're fighting for freedom of choice, when actually you're fighting so that you can continue to do exactly what the corporations want you to - make them lots and lots of money.
Will people ever realize that loving your country does not mean following its leaders blindly, or supporting its companies till the death? That dissent is utterly American? A girl can dream.