Food Inc.

This post is for Fight Back Fridays :)

I had a chance this week to go see a screening of Food Inc!  I don’t often get out to such things, and I guess it was a banner week because I took Douglas to see UP the day before, in 3D.  (Also awesome, but that’s another post.)   It didn’t hurt that I ended up with a cheap standing-room-only seat at the very last minute ($10) and that it was at the Bell House in Brooklyn, a great old warehouse/bar/lounge space with an awesome backroom with a stage.  It worked beautifully for a screening and Q&A with the director Robert Kenner.  I nursed my draft cider, leaned against the back wall, and took it all in.

It’s a great overview of the current state of food in this country, showing where our food comes from and the inherent problems.  It heavily features two of my favorite people, Michael Pollan and Joel Salatin.  If you haven’t read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and care where your food comes from, it’s a must read!  It also features Eric Schlosser of Fast Food Nation, which I never read but have heard much about.

The beauty of the movie was that it gave an overview without hammering it home Michael-Moore style.  It was balanced, fair, to-the-point, and not overdone.  It leaves you caring, a bit scared, stomach-churned, and wanting change.  The visceral images of CAFO’s for cattle, pork, and chickens make it impossible to look at meat in the supermarket the same way again.  They don’t show much, but it’s enough. 

The statistics are scary.  One in three Americans born after 2000 will get early-onset diabetes.  If you’re a minority, that number jumps to 1 in 2.  The power of organizations like Monsanto and Tyson is told simply.  Worker exploitation, pressure to do things their way or not at all, diseased animals, raiding and prosecuing farmers who’ve had their crops contaminated with GMO seed from their neighbors, and even prosecuting someone who runs a seed-cleaning operation.  Seed-saving is illegal!  It’s mind boggling to me to be honest. 

The Q&A afterwards focused on how to take action, and while it was really preaching to the choir given the Brooklyn foodie audience, it was good to hear.  The director shared some great details about where the movie’s been screened, including for Tom Vilsack!  He commented that the room gets rather tense when you’re watching the movie with the Secretary of Agriculture and only then do you realize how many times you put down the USDA and FDA :).  Good stuff.

Go see it.  Drag a friend along.  It’ll make for great conversation, and can spark the simple change that you vote with your wallet three time a day when you choose what to eat.  It’s a movie for ALL, not just the Fight Back Friday kind of crowd.  The ones who are already aware.  It’s accessible, talkable, changeable.

I’ll leave you with their list of the top ten things you can do … there are lots more over here


1. Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.

You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water). 

2. Eat at home instead of eating out.

Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home. 

3. Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.

Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers. 

4. Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.

Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years. 

5. Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.

An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals. 

6. Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.

According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S. 

7. Protect family farms; visit your local farmer’s market.

Farmer’s markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer. 

8. Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.

The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate. 

9. Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.

Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S. 

10. Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.

Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.


French-Style Baked Beans

Fight Back Friday post

In  the quest to keep eating while not spending much money, we’ve resorted to a lot of beans and rice lately.  More rice than beans to be honest, as I seem to be the only one who loves baked and refried beans.  In my quest for variety, I dug into Nourishing Traditions again and did some wandering.  French-style baked beans, soaked and then baked in oil, sounded delightful.  Having no oven this week, yet again (that’s another story of measuring tapes and overly-complicated websites which will likely remain untold), I had to use the oven downstairs in the empty apartment below us.  Thank God for empty apartments :).

SO.  I started soaking.  Given the oil-cooking, these babies needed a double soaking, and in retrospect could probably have used a third, or a couple days of sprouting. I get ahead of myself.

4c small white beans to start.

pour boiling water over them, leave in a warm place for 12 hours. Drain and repeat.

In case you’re wondering? Don’t put your water on to boil in your only 2Q saucepan and go to bed.  It’s not a good idea.  Thankfully dear husband was up working and smelled something a bit funny.  By then it was too late to rescue the pan, bah humbug. 

Back to the recipe. Right.

Drain them again.

In a flameproof casserole, heat and mix:

  • the beans
  • 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sm can tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together (i subbed about 1/2 t. dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bake @ 300 for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally.  If you’re not running down the steps to another apartment to do the stirring, count your blessings :).  You can add olive oil if they seem dry.  They’re done when soft, but not mushy like beans cooked in liquid.

Remove thyme.  Then fold in:

  • 2 med red onions, diced small
  • juice of 2 lemons

mmmmmmmmmm.   delicious, and a bit deadly in typical bean-reaction department.  fynn got to use his favorite fart word frequently in the next 24 hours :)  despite his pose, they all  liked them pretty well actually!  the’ll be made again, hopefully not as the main dish, they’re better as a side I think.  Enjoy!

Beet Kvass

for FBFriday :)

Started another batch of Beet Kvass a couple weeks ago, and love the stuff.  I think I forgot to add the salt this time (oops) but had a better ratio of beets/water (ie following the recipe rather than just dumping!) and think it still needs a bit of time.  It’s chillin in the fridge.


I love the beety-flavor, and don’t find it deserves it’s “medicinal and not necessarly epicurian” rating from Nourshing Traditions, where I got the recipe.  It tastes great!  Anyone know how long it should take to be ‘ready’ once it’s had 2 days on the counter and been refrigerated?  I assume the fermentation is done by then, and just gets stronger with time. 

Off to drop some of at my homeopath’s, she’s recovering from a fever and asking for it :)


I’m back … with what I forgot to include in the first place!

The Recipe:

  • 3 medium beets, peeled and chopped (don’t grate, they’ll ferment too fast)
  • 1/4 c. whey (I get mine by straining organic yoghurt and using the liquid)
  • 1 T sea salt

Place all in a glass container and add filtered water to make 2 quarts.  Stir well and cover securely.

Keep at room temp for 2 days and then refrigerate.  You’ll see the bubbling fermentation start, and I stirred mine several times.

I also let mine sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks so it gets a stronger flavor.

When making a 2nd batch, you can reuse the same beets and a bit of the original batch as the inoculant, and skip the whey.  It won’t be as strong however.

Enjoy :)