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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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September 2008

September 25, 2008

Double Nipple Ripple? PETA's Modest Proposal.

Let's get something straight: PETA and its members don't really want you to eat ice cream made with human breast milk. You've probably heard about the organization's recent letter to Ben & Jerry's, suggesting that the company replace milk from tortured, factory-farmed cows with human milk (in case you haven't, it's reprinted below). But the gross-out reaction it's getting from most media people is kind of missing the point.

PETA members don't see a nursing mother and think: "Ditch that baby and make me some Chunky Monkey." What the animal-rights group does want is for companies and consumers to think a bit harder about where the animal products they consume come from. And although their tactics are often pretty wild, I agree with them in principle, and strive to avoid purchases that support factory farming.

That said, they've provided us with an excellent opportunity for some linguistic fun. Yesterday, on my weekly spot on the Charlie & Ernie Show (620 AM WVMT, Wednesday mornings from 9:10 to 9:30), Charlie told me that their listeners had been calling in with suggestions for naming human-milk ice cream. Here are a few (If you're not amused by vulgarity, please skip down to the letter):

  • PETA Butter Crunch (vanilla and peanut butter ice cream with crushed animal crackers)
  • Double Nipple Ripple
  • Tutti Fruiti Booby
  • Choco Knockers
  • Chocolate Nips
  • Double D Crunch

My contributions:

  • Straw-bra-berry
  • Mammary Munch
  • T&A (Mammary Munch swirled with Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Buns -- a real flavor)
  • Nipple Chip (if you put this atop a banana, it's a Nipple Chip Tit Split)
  • Peanut Butter B-Cup
  • La Leche League Dulce de Leche

The Letter:

September 23, 2008

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.

Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.

Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.

Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.

Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.

And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.

The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

The B&J Response:

"We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child."

So do the folks from PETA, I'm guessing. Even when the mother in question is a cow.

September 22, 2008

Eatin' Down Under: Episode 1

No, I'm not in Australia noshing on Vegemite sandwiches; but my mother, Mary Elizabeth, is. Mom went to the land of the kangaroo late last month to catch the premier performance of her opera, Kiravanu. It's an environmentally focused childrens' opera co-created with composer James Humberstone: He wrote the music, she wrote the words.

I asked her to prepare some guest blogs about Aussie food. Here's one of 'em...

The Proper Way to Eat Vegemite

P1000624 Some would argue that Vegemite should never be eaten under any circumstances.
[ed. note: Suzanne is one of them, blech]

For those less adamant, here is some instruction from the Year Six girls and the co-Director of my opera, Kiravanu:

1) Make toast, and ensure that it is piping hot.
2) Spread it with butter, making sure that the butter melts fully.

At this point, the conventional wisdom divides. Some hold that one should spread the hot, buttered toast thinly with Vegemite and cut it into soldiers (thin strips), while others keep their toast in one piece and dot it with small dabs of Vegemite.

I took the second route, as you can see by the accompanying photo. It was certainly edible, if not something that will awaken me with cravings . . .

- Mary Elizabeth

September 15, 2008

Delicious Exercise: "Le Tour de Farms"

What could be better than eating a whole bunch of delicious local food and working off all of the calories with a scenic bike ride? Sounds like my idea of a good day. If it sounds like yours, too, you may want to attend the first annual Addison County "Tour de Farms" this Sunday. Here are the details, courtesy of Jonathan Corcoran, one of the localvore organizers:

Le Tour de Farms
: September 21, Shoreham Village green, 10:30 AM

Join us in Shoreham on Sunday, September 21 for the first running of "Le
Tour de Farms" in Addison County! Choose between a 10, 25 and 30-mile route.
Then sample fresh apples, roasted vegetables, lamb meatloaf, quiche, cheese,
wine, cider and milk, and bread and cookies at local farms along the way and
at the local inn. Take your time and enjoy the beautiful fall landscapes of
Shoreham by the lake while exercising in the fresh air.

Meet us at the Shoreham Village green -- rain or shine -- and check-in at 10:30
AM with your bike, helmet, and water (you can refill at any of the stops)
and wear comfortable clothes. Bring a raincoat in the event of wind or rain.
And bring a bag if you'd like to buy anything along the way from one of the
farms (or you can arrange with the farm to pick it up after the ride).

Please go to https://www.vtbikeped.org to view the routes and to pre-register
in advance. You'll also save $5 off the day-of price.

NOTE: ALL three routes will travel on rural dirt roads (Route 1: 50%, Route
2: 50% and Route 3: 30%) of varying roughness so a cross-bike or a mountain
bike (especially for Route 2) is recommended.

This is a brief description of the routes:

Route 1: A 10-mile loop over rolling hills and flat sections.
Route 2: A 25-mile ride on a mix of paved and scenic Class 4 back-roads for
the more adventurous rider. Cross-bike or mountain bike highly recommended.
Route 3: A 30-mile ride down to Orwell featuring more paved roads (70%)

Le Tour de Farms is presented by the Addison County Localvores (ACoRN), the
Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and Rural Vermont. Any proceeds
will benefit the ongoing work of all three organizations.

September 05, 2008

It's a Chocolate Circus!

"Nutty" Steph Rieke, Vermont's granola maven, asked me to pass on some info to you...

On Tuesday, September 9 from 3 to 6 p.m., Steph will celebrate the opening of her new chocolate factory in Middlesex with a "Chocolate Circus." You can the digs at Camp Meade, right off of I-89 (take exit 9).

The FREE event includes horse-drawn carriage rides, tarot readings, music, a bonfire, and hot dogs (made with meat from grass-fed animals) in Red Hen Bakery's sourdough buns topped with local sauerkraut. Mmm.

And, of course, there will be chocolate galore. Steph has been whipping up confections in 99 different flavors, including rum-cappuccino white chocolate and tortilla-cayenne-mango dark chocolate. Like your chocolate fruity? Steph's sensual specialties include "Pina Colada," "Jungle Fever," and my personal fave, "Tropical Intercourse."

In addition to the chocolate, visitors can buy fruits and nuts, and of course, granola.

Sounds like fun!

September 01, 2008

Guilty Pleasures from Childhood

Misshannigan_2 Thanks to wonders of the Internet, I learned last week that August 25 marked the 50 year anniversary of  the sale of instant ramen noodles, which were invented by late noodle genius Momofuku Ando.

Reading about the creation of this inexpensive convenience food had a Proustian effect on me. I ate ramen regularly as a child, and it even played a role in my imaginative play. My 8-year-younger sister and I would pretend that our mother was Miss Hannigan from Annie, and that we poor starving orphans were forced to subsist solely on gruel (Cream of Wheat) and a thin, brothy soup (Ramen). But what our evil keeper didn't realize is that we LOVED the soup, so we had to maintain poker faces as we ate it so that she would never find out and forbid it to us. Weird, I know.

I also had a very specific methodology for preparing my ramen, which included adding the seasoning packet prior to adding the noodles, in violation of the package directions. Why? Because that way, the starch soaked up more of the MSG-enhanced flavor. When I added frozen veggies, which was often, I dumped them in the pot after the seasoning packet, but before the noodles. And, I shunned frozen carrots and green beans in favor of a blend of peas and corn. When I was feeling daring, I'd mix flavor packets, too. Oriental beef flavor? Hells ya.

Besides ramen, there were only a few processed foods in our household when I was growing up, but there are still a few that provide me with fond remembrances. Here's a list of my favorite, highly processed guilty pleasures.

~ Ramen noodles
~ Onion dip made with Lipton's onion soup mix and sour cream
~ Royal instant pistachio pudding (I detest packaged gelatin, however)
~ Cheetos
~ Bush's baked beans adorned with cut-up Hebrew National hot dogs and cheddar cheese
~ Beef and barley soup, minestrone, and macaroni and bean from Progresso; and Campbell's bean & bacon soup
~ Mrs T's peirogi
~ Canned peaches
~ Cracker Jack
~ Spaghetti-Os with meatballs
~ Kraft macaroni and cheese

Some of these I still eat on rare occasions (Mrs T's, Bush's + hot dogs), and yesterday, for the first time in a decade or so, I was moved to make Lipton's onion dip. I blame my little trip down taste-memory lane (and the resulting belly ache) on ramen-inspired nostalgia.

To satisfy most of these cravings, though, I indulge in healthier facsimiles. Annie's products have replaced the Spaghetti-Os and the Kraft mac, I much prefer fresh peaches to canned, and I make my own delightful popcorn toppings instead of buying boxed 'corn.  There's even an all-natural cheese puff that I enjoy, and organic soups from Muir Glen in flavors similar to the Progresso products of my youth.

Since it's been so long since I had the originals, I usually don't even know what I'm missing.

Feed me now!

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