Find a march near you!
A lot has happened since my last post: I submitted my thesis and we had our conference (http://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/food-security-forum/oxford-global-food-security-conference-2013), both long-awaited events.
Exciting stuff. But truthfully, what’s got me wanting to share today is nothing quite so impressive. I’d like to talk about liver.
A lot of people think that liver must be dangerous or unclean. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that’s not the case. Instead, liver is a powerhouse of nutrition. Take a page out of Chris Kresser’s book:
“While it’s true that fresh fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and minerals, their micronutrient content pales in comparison to what is found in meats and organ meats – especially liver.”
For example, it’s packed with vitamin B12, vitamin B6, biotin, folic acid, vitamin A. But these are just a few.
Of course, despite this powerful slew of nutrients, liver can be hard to eat. It smells funny; it tastes funny. Personally, I can’t take beef liver, but chicken’s liver I can work with. For a while I’ve been making liver meatballs by mixing ground meat with liver and other spices and herbs. For some reason I figured this was the most un-livery taste I’d be able to manage.
However, this is not the case. This weekend I tried my hand at some absolutely delicious chicken liver paté, based loosely on the recipe from this book. (Spoiler alert: I add bacon.)
Here’s my recipe:
2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp each fresh marjoram, thyme, and sage, chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
sea salt to taste if needed (I didn’t add any — the bacon was salty enough)
8 oz chicken livers, cleaned and de-veined
(1) Cook the bacon til browned, on medium heat.
(2) Add 1 tbsp of the oil, the onion, herbs, and black pepper. Cook until onion is translucent on medium heat. Remove mixture from heat to food processor.
(3) Add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil to pan on medium heat. When hot, lay chicken livers down. Cook each side a few minutes til browned on the bottom and pink on the inside.
(4) Add livers to the food processor. Blend away.
That’s about it. I’d recommend eating the stuff with carrots, but you could really slather it on whatever you wanted.
Hope you give this a try — especially anybody who is skeptical about liver! If you don’t eat pork, you could easily leave out the bacon (you would probably want to add some extra coconut oil at the end to help the consistency).
I’m not really grossed out by a lot of food things, but the chemicalization of many modern foods is one of them.
Today I have a headache for no apparent reason, so I tried to think: what have I done different recently? I couldn’t really think of anything. (If you don’t count ‘being mildly stressed about my thesis’ which is a very possible cause but also not particularly new.)
The only thing was that I ate a small piece of haddock that came with some other fish that I bought (budget tip: a fishmonger will probably sell you extra bits of filets for really cheap!), which is often dyed yellow to get that “smoked” look. (Thanks, google.)
Here’s some fun facts on the yellow dye most commonly used in food products:
Oh, look! It’s petroleum-based.
So maybe I am being a hypochondriac, or maybe this GAPs thing has made me more sensitive (which is actually a good thing because it means my body is healing), but I have to wonder if I’m sensitive to this food dye.
Does anybody have any experience with this kind of thing? Am I crazy? Maybe there is no link between my headache and this dye, but I certainly don’t plan on eating any petroleum with my next meal, thank you very much.
I said I’d be back with more cooking experiments, but I’m back with homemade cooking experiment… singular. Let’s just say that I was too lazy to dehydrate my homemade sunflower seed butter (I was so excited for this peanut butter alternative!) and it didn’t really turn out. Yeah. I admit defeat on that one… Sometimes shortcuts aren’t always the best idea, I guess.
However, I made homemade sauerkraut last week and it turned out GREAT! This is a big part of the GAPS diet — tons of homemade ferments for the probiotics. I had been drinking my kombucha daily (so good with grated ginger and lime juice) but was putting off actually fermenting my own vegetables. We are indoctrinated these days to fear bacteria, I think, and despite my weird ways, the idea of letting cabbage — just plain cabbage! — sit on the countertop for a week gave me the heebie-jeebies.
However, I’ve gotten over my skepticism. And thank goodness. This stuff is delicious!
All I did was take a head of cabbage and chop it up, and put it in a big plastic container (I would ideally have used glass but didn’t have one) in saltwater. I used about 2 tablespoons of salt. After a few days, there were bubbles on top, the water had gotten opaque, and the cabbage tasted tangy.
I’m so excited to try new varieties! Salty, crunchy, tangy… I love it. I’m obsessed with pickles, so maybe that will be next on my list… Plus, a kick of probiotics is an added bonus. Probiotics are an integral part of most traditional cuisines and very, very lacking these days (store bought yogurt, I’m looking at you).
Speaking of veg, check out my farmer’s market haul: all of this for under 10 pounds (about 15 dollars). That would be 2 bunches of fresh herbs, 4 sweet potatoes, 7 limes, 5 lemons, 1 butternut squash, 3 avocados, 6 onions, 1 cabbage, and 3 zucchini. Yup.
It just occurred to me — I totally put a bunch of carrots in my basket, too! I wonder where those got to?! oh well… guess I’ll have to find something else to ferment this week…
I just discovered this website: http://independentsciencenews.org/
and I can’t get over how well-written and researched it is, so I thought I’d share.
Here’s a couple of articles I’m impressed with:
http://independentsciencenews.org/environment/america-becoming-a-land-without-farmers/ (check out the comments on this one! a good point was made on whether the issue is farm size or family/corporate farming)
Grateful for this kind of in-depth reporting.
Recently, my life has mostly involved this kind of a thing…
But I found myself home alone the other day and the only solace I could think of for a house of housemates was Argo, and some GAPS-friendly shepherd’s pie. Did I mention I’ve been trying to follow the GAPS diet recently? Loosely though. I’ve been trying to drink lots, and lots, and lots of broth. I think it is helping with my digestion, but maybe it’s too soon to tell, and I haven’t been following it very perfectly.
To make this, I boiled up some cauliflower and pureed it to sub for potatoes (non-GAPS friendly). To make the bottom part, I cooked onions and carrots with salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary, and added ground meat. Usually, I try to add liver whenever I make anything with ground meat… but I wasn’t feelin’ it that day.
I should have made a lot more of the cauliflower stuff. I was skeptical, but was delicious.
Other highlights to my boring and library-centric life involve getting to play squash, and discovering an amazing bubble tea place (and of course having some wonderful company along with that boba… this girl is inspirational!).
No, tapioca pearls and almond milk are not really GAPS-safe, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
Squash is safe though!
That’s all for now… But I’ve got some interesting food experiments up my sleeves, so stay tuned!
Woah, it’s been too long since I last posted. Where did March go?!? Let’s blame travel and thesis woes. Not that I’m trying to make excuses or anything…
To get things started again, I’ll start simple and share a couple interesting articles I’ve enjoyed recently:
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2013/03/201331313434142322.html (further evidence against soy monocultures)
http://fitandfeminist.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/of-thigh-gaps-calories-and-ignorance-about-how-bodies-actually-work/ (let’s keep talking about bodies and feminism!)
http://www.foodpolitics.com/2013/03/daily-news-op-ed-bloombergs-soda-ban-should-be-only-the-beginning/ (a take on the Bloomberg soda ban)
and, some recipes that look good…
(I’m obsessed with gelatin these days…)
(…and bone marrow)
Ok. That’s all for now. Be back soon!
Monday, we had the weekly seminar series I organized at my department. This week’s presentation was so fascinating I wanted to write a blog post about it.
The presenter was Mike Gooding, head of FAI farms, a business that has doing pioneering work around sustainable food systems and animal welfare, all based in evidence-based research. Mike’s point was basically this: rather than thinking about tradeoffs, and choices between the environment OR the economy OR ethics, the best answer is actually the one that balances ALL of these three components.
He explained a couple key examples of this. For instance, chickens find it very stressful to be out in the open. They are a lot happier — and healthier — and cheaper to feed — when they can live in the shade of trees. Another example is that, while cattle are very resource-intensive when they graze on land that could be used for grain production, they are actually very resource-conserving when they are pastured on the bits of grass that aren’t suited for anything else. Here’s another: creating rows of fruit trees, where chickens range, alternating with strips of pasture for sheep.
This is certainly better than CAFO chicken raising, but apparently these chickens would be a lot happier in trees…
(Image source: http://www.thedailygreen.com)
Interestingly enough, what Mike was basically suggesting is a model of agriculture that — while rare here in the UK or in the US — is the kind of agriculture being advocated by many social movements in the Global South. These movements, such as the international peasants’ movement La Vía Campesina and the Brazilian Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sim Terra (MST) have recognized the importance of seeing agriculture as part of a natural ecosystem, not as a purely economic input/output calculation.
Agroecology is not a new thing. Check out the IAASTD, a document written by hundreds of scientists who supported smallholder, agroecological production as a means of feeding the world, reducing poverty, and slowing climate change. But it’s certainly new to hear similar ideas coming from somebody farming in this part of the world.
Ok, I was hoping to be back with a lengthy post… but unfortunately I am swamped and this (on point) link will have to suffice for now. Some of these “myths” are pretty rejected nowadays (e.g. that eggs are bad for us) but others will still have most people gawping (e.g. saturated fats are good for us).
I don’t buy the whole carbs-are-inherently-bad thing, or even that grains-are-inherently-bad. However, I have to heartily agree that the general diet dogma that supports the arguments against low carb diets is, as this article points out, off the mark. Personally, I think (a la Melissa McEwen) that it’s a traditional, unrefined diet that is best. This article doesn’t quite come out and say that, but what it’s really doing is attacking a lot of modern, processed foods and defending a lot of traditional foods.
Check it out for yourself!