By LYNNE IRONS
Life cannot be much better than a snowy Sunday, the last day before school starts again and the holidays finally end. My granddaughter and I went sledding and made several loaves of bread. I have made my own brad for 30-plus years. I’m not trying to give myself a self-righteous pat on the back but to encourage you to give it a try. I make five or six loaves at a time and freeze several for summer use. It’s too hot and I am way too busy then. I love that I rotate the bread into the freezer as I am taking out the peas, zucchini and eggplant. For your information, your freezer is much more efficient if it is always full. I put jugs of water into it if it is showing signs of emptying. Don’t forget to leave a bit of headspace in the jug to accommodate swelling.
I use the same recipe for bread. I think it was originally the White Bread Plus found in Joy of Cooking. I totally change it around at will. I use leftover cooked oatmeal, sesame seeds, flax seed meal, amaranth flour, sunflower seeds, whole wheat, and white flours in any combination. Of late I am using olive oil, which gives an interesting flavor. I have been teaching my granddaughter the love of kneading. It is a relaxing task.
As promised, I hauled the tree outside the day after Christmas and scattered seed catalogs around counters and tables. I made a couple of preliminary orders. I wanted onions, leeks and some perennial herbs to get a jump on spring. Since the light has changed ever so slightly I cannot help myself. Snow and cold do not bother me. Good thing! I’ve repeated Will Rogers’ famous quote about the weather many times: Everybody’s talking about it, but nobody’s doing anything about it!
Steve Sonnet passed me a copy of Food, Inc. in the Scottish Bakehouse parking lot. I highly recommend it. I didn’t learn anything new but it put it all together. You will never walk down the supermarket aisles the same way again. Talk about a case for eating local as best you can. I want to pass along the 10 things you can do to change our food system:
1. Action: Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
Fact: If you can replace one 20 oz. soda a day with water you could lose 25 pounds in a year.
2. Action: Eat at home instead of eating out.
Fact: Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food made outside the home.
3. Action: Support the passage of state and local laws to require chain restaurants to post caloric information on menus and menu boards.
Fact: Half of the large chain restaurant do not provide any nutrition information to their customers.
4. Action: Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk foods and sports drinks.
Fact: Over the past two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.
5. Action: Meatless Mondays — go without meat one day a week.
Fact: An estimated 70 per cent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.
6. Action: Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticide use.
Fact: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over one billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States.
7. Action: Protect family farms, visit your local farmers’ market.
Fact: Farmers’ markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.
8. Action: Make a point to know where your food comes from — read labels.
Fact: The average meal travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.
9. Action: Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Fact: Each year contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the Unites States.
10. Action: Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.
Fact: Poverty among farm workers is more than double that of all wages of salaried employees.
That’s right! Our food and gardening is political!