Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My friend the inventor

My friend Mel, helpful and organized person that she is, loves to organize people's houses, including garages.  She had a problem in garages, despairing of trying to organize tools inexpensively, and in a manner that would accommodate different types and sizes of tools.  Straightening and organizing for people when you know the tools won't go back where they came from for long seemed fruitless.

Mel is a manufacturing Black Belt, trained at Honeywell, where we both worked at one time.  She is good.  When she is visiting me, she is constantly looking at ways to improve my work flow.  It is just her nature.  And it being her nature to solve problems, she came up with an invention and (after waiting on the patent) is finally is able to launch her product, just in time for the holidays.  Seems like a great gift for people who have a lot of tools.  I'm thinking of buying a couple to put in kitchen drawers for my kitchen tools that frequently go missing! 

This is such an ingenious idea!  I wish her much success.   Go here to see how ToolLodge works.

I hope many of you decide to try one out.  What a unique gift, for yourself or for that person with disorganized tool drawers. Happy shopping.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pain? What pain?

I take a reading daily to see whether or not I am in ketosis (have been 99% of the time for the last four years as of January), and this morning I wasn't surprised to see a reading of 40.  I rarely attain that.  One little cheat, and I'm at 15, sometimes 5, and occasionally I drop out altogether.  What is interesting is that I slept well last night, had absolutely NO pain, shoulder was quiet, bursitis in hip was a non-issue.  My mind has been clear and focused all day.

I wonder how much "illness" could be cured by eating a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates.  If it is true that insulin resistance is the precursor of nearly all of our Western physical ills, then we need to quit pushing that latest food plate (replaced the ridiculous pyramid) that is so heavy on grains.  I know more people who can't tolerate gluten.  Where is gluten?  In grain!  Why do we need it?  I don't think we do.

On top of that, there now is a growing body of evidence that a low carbohydrate diet can affect mood.  How much better to eat a steak topped with blue cheese, maybe a lettuce salad heavy on the dressing and a mess of greens cooked in bacon grease.  Then top it off with a shot of whiskey (no beer or wine, please, they are full of carbohydrates).  All of those things we were told not to eat - and they have moved to the top of the list of GOOD foods.  Well, maybe not the whiskey, but I did include that so that you could see that giving up beer and wine isn't all bad.  ;-)

Follow this link if you want to read more, lest you think I am speaking off the cuff.  The use of ketogenic diets for better health

Nix the potatoes, rice, pasta and fruit, bring on the butter, the meat and the greens.  Try it.  You might like it. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

My sourdough died!

I noticed that my sourdough wasn't bubbling as much as usual when I went to make my sourdough rye for Purple Porch last week.  I went ahead with the process and ended up with five pounds of soggy wet rye flour that wasn't going anywhere!

I spread it out on a jelly roll pan and baked it for the chickens and dogs, then started the long task of making more.  I finely ground more organic rye berries and mixed a cup of the flour with a cup of water.  (If you are going to try this, don't use city water, as it has some stuff in it that will prevent the sourdough from forming.)

I beat it for a minute or two, then threw in six big, fat organic grapes, unwashed.  I wanted that bloom on the skin of the grape - that's yeast!  I covered the bowl with cheesecloth so that any yeast floating around in the kitchen would make it into the dough, but the bugs wouldn't.

Last time I made sourdough, which was three or four years ago, it failed on the first try, then took nearly a week to get going.  This was bubbling within three days.  I fished out the grapes and then added a couple of tablespoons of rye flour each day for three days, beating it well after each addition.

This morning, I used all but enough for another starter to make rye bread.  It looks beautiful!!  I wonder if the old sourdough was wearing out and I just didn't realize it.  I won't know until the bread is baked tomorrow if it is as good as the old batch was.  Sure hope so!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Food and health

I've been thinking about food and health.  We all have our opinions - low carb, low fat, grass fed meat, raw milk, no dairy, vegetarian, vegan - the list goes on and on.  And everyone can find plenty of "data" to back up their opinions.  Dr. Weston A. Price (my food guru) studied long lived peoples all over the world, and something that stood out was that healthy indigenous peoples ate copious amounts of fat (no polyunsaturated fat), raw milk and fermented food /soaked grains.  And when these healthy people were introduced to our Western diet, full of sugar and processed foods, they became ill.  So it sounds like a pretty resounding endorsement for upping our fat intake and cutting out sugar, both of which I have done.

However (and isn't there always a "however"?), even though this old body just can't tolerate sugar and carbohydrates in general, I know people who can, who remain slim in spite of indulging in potatoes and apples, who don't suffer from depression after eating a couple of cookies, who don't have to use lettuce in place of bread when making a sandwich, and who don't make their pizza dough out of shredded cheese and eggs.  (Yup, I do that, and it is REALLY good.)

I know one woman who couldn't wait to get out of her household as a teenager so she wouldn't be forced to eat meat anymore; can't stand it, hasn't eaten a bite of it since leaving for college.  She is slim, energetic and healthy.  So there you have it.  No single magic bullet so far as food and health are concerned.

I'm thinking, "Perhaps it is something else altogether."  Are there other reasons, such as the Western lifestyle that goes with the Western diet?  I was in the bookstore perusing cookbooks.  And I was thinking of how many famous cooks live to a ripe old age.
  • James Beard - died at 82, and he ate plenty of bread!
  • Julia Child - died at 92, and ate plenty of butter
  • François Massialot - died at 77 in the 18th century, French chef and cookbook author 
  • Georges Auguste Escoffier - died at 88 in the 20th century
  •  Prosper Montagne - died at 83 in 1948, author of Larousse gastronomique
  • Jacques Pépin - 77 and still going strong
I'm having a hard time finding a truly fine chef who checked out early from poor health.

What do/did they have in common?  They ate well.  The ingredients were good, the methods of cooking were good, and the end result was a feast for the eyes and the nose as well as the taste buds.  And they were doing what they loved - including loving to eat.

The age-old question "Do you eat to live or live to eat?" seems to imply, at least to me, that perhaps some of us, such as I, are too focused on food, that the healthiest among us just eat when hungry, when it is time, and eat what is available in the fridge and cupboard.

I am rethinking that attitude of mine - perhaps it is the "live to eat" part that is the most important.  I love to cook.  I love to shop for food.  I am so delighted that I work at the Farmers Market in South Bend, and belong to Purple Porch, and live on a certified organic farm so that I can eat my own grass fed meat, drink raw milk, make my own cheese, eat eggs from free range chickens.   Food is a daily delight in my life.

Yup, I live to eat, and I think perhaps that is a good thing!  And I love what I do to earn my living - very much associated with food.  Now it is time to cook another great breakfast - bacon from Berkshire pigs raised right here on organic feed, eggs collected yesterday from my friends the hens, a cup of espresso, and some thick and luscious kefir made from raw milk from cows I am looking at.

Bon appetit.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rest in peace . . .

Clay usually makes sure that Susie is in the Moop at night, but he must have been in a hurry last night.  She hides underneath, and I often have to reach under for her or chase her out with the handle of the broom rake. 

This morning, there were a few remaining bits of her under the truck.

I am very sad.  She was a beautiful pullet, and my favorite of all the chicks born this year.