Thinkin’ ’bout cookin’ an’ eatin’ an’ stuff

It is once again bread day, so the sourdough is souring and doughing on its way to becoming tasty. Which is a very good thing, given that commercial bakeries are totally unconcerned about the fact that what they’re selling doesn’t qualify as bread and is usually poison. I’ve never even thought to use azodicarbonamide (“ADA”) or Fix-A-Flat in my bread. Or diacetyl, which goes by many names in much the same way criminals use aliases and is what gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor. All that I ever use in my everyday bread is flour, water, and salt. Oh, and usually olive oil brushed on for the final proof, but only because we’re high (in elevation) and dry (in atmospheric humidity) and without something to prevent dehydration of the final proof the dough will skin over and become what is technically known as yucky.

There are some microorganisms in there, too, but only those that came already on the grain from the field and without which it would be just wet flour and not bread. Probably some diesel exhaust and a few random radionuclides that fell from the sky, too, but it’s best not to think of such things. Just shut up and eat.

I’ve always been curious to know how factories can so consistently produce such pathetic corn tortillas so I conducted a little experiment recently. My goal was to determine how minimally I could change the recipe to create something with the commercial tortilla lack of yummy nixtamalized corn flavor. It was surprisingly easy and I nailed it on the first go: Add xanthan gum, which is used to make the commercial product stay soft and flexible after any decent tortilla would be stale and usable only for chilaquiles. The result was a tortilla warmer full of suck. I had to eat the mistakes — Amethyst refused to eat them. She got about halfway into one and then delivered it to the garbage pail where, truth be told, it rightfully belonged. So, friends and neighbors, now you know.

Amethyst and I are once again and hopefully permanently completely avoiding processed foods. The impetus this time around is the ADA (azodicarbonamide) debacle, coming right on the heels of our discovery that our local meat processor’s sausage is doused with MSG. Whether MSG is perfectly safe or deadly poison I don’t really even care. I don’t want to eat anything that contains an ingredient I wouldn’t put into it, and I don’t use monosodium glutamate, soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or anything I’m so ashamed of that I’d hide it behind the label “natural flavors”. In my kitchen, a natural flavor is what comes in the ingredient itself — you know, a chicken, or a bay leaf, or salt. Whatever. I’ve got so many herbs and spices that they occupy all of two shelves in my cupboard, and there are more in the pantry because I don’t have cupboard space enough. I got yer natural flavors right here! 😀

I foolishly got to thinking I’d save some money by buying canola oil instead of my usual corn oil… Gawdamity but that shit is nasty! I made some mayonnaise with it and we ended up throwing it away. I’ve been using it a little bit here and there, but only in very limited quantities in dishes that I expect to have enough flavor to swamp out the canola. But I can still taste it. Though I have no way and never will have a way of knowing, I figure the flavor is what I’d expect from performing cunnilingus on a dolphin.

If we were supposed to eat rapeseed they wouldn’t have named it after a violent fucking you didn’t want.

It’s now time for the third stage, so I’m going to go play with flour, water, salt, and tiny little life forms I’m going to burn to death later. Be well, friends and neighbors!


10 thoughts on “Thinkin’ ’bout cookin’ an’ eatin’ an’ stuff

  1. theinfiniterally

    Sourdough time! I just had a dream about big slices of sourdough with ham and homegrown tomato slices. So I’m right there with you.

    Yeah, you kinda have to wonder about the rapeseed.

    I think I poisoned my dog with xanthan gum once upon a time. I won’t use it in anything now.

    1. happierheathen Post author

      It’s in the oven now, just turned it down from 575 to 425. 🙂

      I use the xanthan gum in gluten-free bread, but we’ve no need of gluten-free bread any more so it will just take up space in the pantry until I get around to throwing it out. Or until someone I’m willing to indulge who’s gluten intolerant shows up for a visit. But it’ll probably end up in the landfill.

      1. theinfiniterally

        That’s why we bought ours, too. I’m too lazy for baking, though, or baking intimidates me, so I mostly used it for sauces and gravies. You are a gracious host to even consider such a thing.

  2. Roadkill Spatula

    I’ve read that canola is a reformed version of something poisonous. For a while it was the “healthiest” oil going.

    Can’t go wrong with olive oil, butter, or coconut oil. Humans have been using them for millennia.

    MSG comes from seaweed but I won’t voluntarily touch the stuff. I lived in a cooperative dorm in college. The kitchen staff used recipes from a horrible book called Food for 50. Nearly all the recipes called for MSG, and most of the guys would blindly put it in. I tossed the tin onto the highest shelf of the pantry because it would have violated my conscience to actually throw it away. No one ever got around to replacing it.

    1. happierheathen Post author

      Yeah: Canola, “Canadian Oil, Low Acid” that is, is rape seed oil. In its original form rape oil is poisonous, but some enterprising Canuckistanis bred the stuff to be lower in erucic acid and renamed it. But it’s not so low in erucic acid that it doesn’t still serve as a potent organic insecticide. I generally use olive oil for almost everything except high temperature frying and mayonnaise — I love olive oil, often use it like butter on toast, but I just can’t stomach mayo made with it. I’m not at all opposed to real butter, either, and have recently begun using coconut oil, too. I grabbed the rape oil just because it was cheap and one or two brain cells figured that it couldn’t be all that bad given how many people aren’t dead from it yet. I won’t be making that mistake again.

      I’ve seen Food For 50. I thought it was false advertising, as many of the recipes didn’t seem all that much like food to me. 😀

  3. whyzat

    Well, I’ve cerainly never.blown a dolphin, but I have used canola oil, and I didn’t notice any terrible flavor. Maybe what you had was rancid. I HAVE tasted rancid corn oil, and that is nasty. I don’t think that the word “natural” means much any more. People have become convinced that everything that’s natural is good, but if you think about it, lots of natural things are very bad…arsenic, anyone? It’s natural, you know. If you want to be picky, flour isn’t literally natural. And, if you want to be anal about it, the wheat we have today isn’t natural. So, as far as I’m concerned, natural is in the eye of the beholder.

    1. happierheathen Post author

      I don’t believe the oil is rancid, but I suppose it could be. It’s said that all soybean oil is rancid by the time you buy it, but it’s been deodorized so you won’t know it. Maybe the same is true of this evil shit?

      “Natural” has no legal definition so it can be applied to anything and everything, even genetically modified organisms. We live in a culture in which candy is marketed as a fat free food with no cholesterol, fergawdsake.

  4. LAMarcom

    “If we were supposed to eat rapeseed they wouldn’t have named it after a violent fucking you didn’t want.”

    Laughing my ass off at this post. All of it. I could throw in more quotes of yours, but folks can just read the original.

    I cook all the time. I do give some thought as to what goes into my cooking. I have eaten more MRE’s than I care to think about. But I do enjoy a good nekkid chicken cooked to perfection using some salt and a lime. Oh shit! I said ‘chicken?’
    Meant margarita.

    Write on Brother!

    1. happierheathen Post author

      I never did encounter an MRE, but I did my part to help Uncle Sugar deplete his inventory of Charlie Rats, which I suppose were officially known as MCI’s at the time. I’ve been carrying a P-38 in my wallet ever since, just in case I ever find myself with nothing else with which to field dress a possum should I ever become so hungry that eating a possum seems a reasonable thing to do. It ain’t happened yet, but then the longest I’ve ever gone without a meal was five days so I haven’t known real hunger.

      1. LAMarcom

        I went seven days once. After day three, I really didn’t give a shit about food anymore. Honestly.
        Thanks for the great reply. MRE’s ain’t too bad actually. Some of them anyhow.


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