Monday, September 14, 2015

Eating Omily: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I love food! I have I said that lately? I also have a mega sweet tooth. You may have picked up on it. While Farmers' Market sweets are my favourite for obvious reasons, there's no way I'll ever give up chocolate, among other things...

But just because not every ingredient in every dessert I make can't be local doesn't mean I can't do the best I can! Enter, these delectable bites:
Chocolate peanut butter popcorn bars!! (Eeeeeee!!!) They're something like a cross between rice crispy treats, and no bake cookies, with popcorn standing in for the puffed rice/oats. And yes, they are every bit as mouth-watering as they sound: chewy, salty, sweet, and of course, chocolatey. #Winning.

So, what's not local? The peanut butter (although I could try purchasing peanuts at the Farmers' Market when they're around, roasting them, and grinding them into peanut butter at home...for our every day peanut butter needs, we wouldn't be able to make enough, but for that brief season, I'll bet it would taste amazing...). The marshmallows (although I'm wondering if I could buy enough maple marshmallows to make a small batch of these...). And the chocolate. But the popcorn and the butter ARE local! And I'm a huge fan of taking small steps in the right direction!

So how do you make them? Read on...

If you don't own an air popper, first of all, you should get one. It's a solid investment in munchy management. But if you can't do that immediately, and you need one of these in your belly as soon as possible, you can pop popcorn on the stove; it's just messier and more involved. If you're stove-popping, refer to this recipe, don't forget this edit, and don't sweeten or salt your popcorn, and do that step first. If you're air popping, you can start the step below first. You'll need to start with approximately a quarter cup plus one tablespoon of unpopped kernels to end up with the ten cups of popped popcorn you'll want for this batch.

Melt three tablespoons butter, half a cup of peanut butter, and 10 oz. of mini marshmallows over medium low heat, stirring constantly.

Put the popcorn in your air popper, and turn it on. It'll do the work for you while you melt and stir.

Pour the melted deliciousness over your big bowl of popped, unsalted, unsweetened popcorn. Toss to coat thoroughly. If you add the 1/2-2/3s cup chocolate chips, they'll melt, and it'll mingle together. If you want the chocolate chips to stay separate, wait a bit to add them, but if you want too long, your syrup will harden up too much, and you won't be able to mix them in. You can always save them to press into the top instead.

Press the whole shebang into a pan: 9x9, 9x13, 9" round...whatever you have will be fine. If it's not nonstick, coat it in butter first! Put it in the fridge for ten or twenty minutes to firm up, but don't store it there, or it will be too hard to cut into pieces and eat!

Nom nom nom...

I wanted to start with this cheery recipe I have to have a little rant. About this.
 Which might seem like an odd thing for me to rant about...isn't this what eating Omily is all about?? Well...yes. And no. I choose to focus on the positive, on taking small steps, on encouraging change without shame. That said, the situation is dire. My candy sweet encouraging approach might fail to convert people where a little shock value will, and we certainly need people tackling this problem from every conceivable angle, so the negativity isn't the issue. The conclusion is. And there's a good chance you can already guess what that is.
So lets talk about that first tip for eating in a more sustainable way: YES! 100%;  I can so get behind that!!!

Now lets look at the second one: What. The. Feck. I can't even. Would anyone like to attempt to explain what is wrong with this picture using nice language? Because I don't think I can. Ok, I'll try. ALL OF THAT PROCESSED SHIT THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE EATING TAKES UP WAAAAAAAAY MORE RESOURCES TO PRODUCE AND MARKET THAN EVEN THE WORST FACTORY FARMS!!!!!!

Ok, that wasn't so bad. I'm giving myself a pat on the back for my self restraint. Moving on.

Lets look at number three. If we can stand it: Ding ding ding! Is anyone surprised? This is where they were going all along. Suggestions one and two were just warm-ups to get you to the main point.

Ok, two things: first of all, if you conclude that going vegan is the right choice for you from a health, or ethical point of view, please don't eat any of that disgusting animal product replacement stuff. Eat all of the real food that does not come from animals. Get as much of it as you can locally. Please and thank you.

Second of all, the idea that going vegan is the way we're going to stop global warming and save the world is incredibly short-sighted, illogical, AND privileged. Do you have any idea how absurd it is to talk to anyone who doesn't live in a VERY developed nation about going vegan? Do you have any concept of how absurdly over-simplified the statement, "surprisingly, free-range animal products take up even more land and resources" is? First of all, NO, it's not surprising! Giving the animals SPACE to move does in fact take up more SPACE. HOWEVER. It does NOT mean greater habitat destruction when it's done right! Because when it's done right, we are using space that is not good for growing crops to grow animals on by letting them turn existing biomass (grass) into food that we can eat. It's actually an incredibly efficient system! Our grazers fit right into existing ecosystems, allowing all kinds of animals that would be KILLED and/or driven out of their homes by plowing up that land for planting to thrive right where they are! What a novel idea!

Now, to be fair, it is true that buying 'free range' labeled meat at your grocery store is doing far less good than you think that it is. The legal requirements to carry that label don't go nearly far enough. To get sustainable meat, you need to seek out farmers and ranchers using sustainable practices. Go to a farmers' market! Do it!!!

Do we get this? Does this all make sense? Any lingering doubts? Please let me know. I would love to clear them up. And I promise not to bite your head off. Good faith ignorance seeking knowledge is one thing...purposefully only telling a sliver of the story in order to advocate your absurd lifestyle on the other hand, is quite another.

But it's not all bad. There's one thing this brochure is good for. Here's a handy depiction of all the harm factory farming does. I KNOW that's not something you want to participate in. Get courageous. Get strong. Follow your heart. You can do it! And you do NOT have to go vegan!
Sorry it's sideways; I'm experiencing technical difficulties. You get the picture. A whole hell of a lot is going to be sideways if we don't stop turning a blind eye to how destructive our lifestyle is.

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