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blackpointyboots's Profile

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Kroger's response to my letter re: plumping meat:

I would love to see someone do a study to determine how much excess sodium salt injected meats are adding to the diets of people who buy meat from stores where that is most of what they sell.

Apr 15, 2015
blackpointyboots in Chains
1

Kroger's response to my letter re: plumping meat:

Number of recipes I have used or run across that tell you to bring pork or chicken = 0

Apr 15, 2015
blackpointyboots in Chains
1

Why I love our Asian grocery stores

I was pointing out the crazy price differences between our grocery chain in town (Hyvee) and similar items found at the local Asian grocery stores. Rice stick noodles were $8 at Hyvee. $1.49 at any of the Asian stores in town for a bigger package.

I stopped in at one of the Asian groceries to grab a few things on the way home. I got a big bag of gorgeous baby bok choy for $1.69. Nice and green, small heads. I had to grab a few things at Hyvee since they are the only place in the city to get them. I noticed they wanted $4.99 for one head of bok choy about the size of a soda can. It was yellowed and starting to rot.

Baby corn is over $3.00 at Hyvee, $1.49 at any of the Asian stores in town.

Costco Food Finds - 2nd Quarter 2015

What part of the store were the coconut rolls located in?

Apr 11, 2015
blackpointyboots in Chains

Gendering of Food

Something From The Oven by Laura Shapiro touches on this subject a bit. There was a rather purposeful effort after WWII to push these stereotypes around food in media and marketing. Men grilled and eat meat and game. Men are chefs. Women cook and eat weird jello concoctions at bridge parties and the cottage cheese and salad thing. So there is a heavy marketing angle to much of this.

The hubby grew up with a heavy dose of this kind of propaganda. He is still trying to shake this notion that big portions are "manly" and real men only eat meat. He's also diabetic, at high risk for heart disease and struggling with weight issues. The world he grew up in put an abnormal amount of merit on these ideas of manly food as some sort of birthright.

If we go out to eat somewhere they will always bring me his diet coke.

Rudest grocery checker remark

The local whole-foods-esque organic grocery is always full of yoga bunnies and the like. They have a couple of items we can't get elsewhere. One of those being no sugar organic wheat puffs.

We stopped in and grabbed about four bags. The clerk asks what all the cereal is for. I tell her it is for my daughter's rats. The clerk and all the people in earshot stop..and look at me in horror.

The daughter has five pet rats. We feed them a mix of lab block (like kibble) a grain mix (pasta, wheat puffs etc) and some veggies etc from the kitchen. Finding cereal without sugar is difficult, finding it organic is also limited. Since rats are little tumor growing machines, feeding them as much as possible without things known to contribute to tumors in rats does seem to help with their health.

Why vanilla is so expensive in the USA

I would guess it is made with vanillian rather than vanilla bean. The best vanilla extract I have found is vanilla beans and good quality vodka. Easy enough to make.

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

Our grocery chain (and Target stores) both removed self checkout lanes within a few months of introducing them. I was sad to see them go. I can get in and out so much faster using those even if I have a large number of items. I would rather bag my own groceries. For some reason the grocery chain insisted on having someone "help" you bag groceries even if you used self checkout. Not offer, they come up and insist as if not doing so would get them in trouble.

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

Shoving me out of the way is likely to end up with me turning and looking that person in the eye (while they are already up in my face) and telling them very clearly they need to move back.

I hate the inefficiency of most check out lanes so I do everything I can to expedite the process. I know where in the process the stores we frequent let you swipe your card so I can get as much done while the clerk is doing their thing so I can get out of there asap. We load bags as they fill them etc. Even with that there will still be that person who can't wait two seconds for me to shove the receipt or my wallet into my bag and starts literally shoving me out of the way. It is really rude and might lead to that person finding themselves on their butt in a check out aisle :-)

The weird, annoying and outright rude behavior I have run into in grocery stores where I live has made me go more to buying things at Costco, Amazon and the local Asian store. It is far less stressful.

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

Welcome to my pet peeve :-)

The worse version is the woman I saw a few weeks ago. Had the mega shopping cart with the extra kid section on it so it takes up even more room so nobody can get past her. Has an entire cart full in the express lane plus two unruly kids. Then she wants to chat about the weather with the clerk.

I refuse to move if a store employee offers for me to move lines. Every time I do that someone cuts in front of me while I am in between lanes. Then if I turn around to go back to where I was, someone meantime has scooted into my slot and now I have no place in either line. So I flat out refuse to leave whatever line I am in. It seems to seriously confuse store employees.

I have been of the mind that grocery stores need to have lots of big signs with cartoon pictures telling people how to behave or interact in the store. Too many people make chaos for everyone else and seem to have no clue about not blocking aisles, letting kids run off unattended etc.

Rhubarb mead

Mead is pretty fool proof. The usual rule of thumb is 5 pounds of honey to 5 gallons of water. That makes a fairly intense mead. Get mead yeast if you can find it. A good wine yeast will usually work as a stand in if you can't find a mead specific yeast. Wine yeasts seem to give a lighter finished flavor.

I have never used any of these sanitizing products mentioned. Mead is much more stable than fruit wines or cider. Some of the sanitizing products contain sulfites that can cause problems for people with those kinds of allergies. Good cleaning practices are usually sufficient.

To add fruit to mead I boil the water and honey on a low boil, skimming the white foam off and keep this going until it stops making the foam on the surface. Then I pitch the clean chopped fruit into the pot. I leave that until it cools. Then strain the fruit bits out as you put the liquid into the carboy. Pitch the yeast into the liquid per the package instructions. The temperature of the liquid is the key part of when to pitch the yeast.

Leave it in a cool dark location, checking the air lock daily. When it stops bubbling I usually wait a few more days before bottling.

Apr 02, 2015
blackpointyboots in Wine

Have 4 bags of Red Mill dried Fava Beans and need some ideas

I have a recipe somewhere for a "Viking" version of favas. Cook fava beans. Brown bacon in a pan, add chopped onion and garlic and cook down. Then add the cooked fava beans (drained)and let it cook for a bit. I can't remember what book I originally got the recipe from.

Mar 30, 2015
blackpointyboots in Home Cooking

Selecting a good Taiwanese green tea

Does anyone have suggestions for good quality Taiwanese green tea brands (leaf or matcha)? I checked Amazon and there are so many I just couldn't sort it out with the information given. Also not being able to sample left little information to go on.

Are there brands that only source from a Taiwanese region or from a single grower? So as to avoid reimported teas from other countries.
Are there any good tea review websites that happen to feature specific Taiwanese brands?

Since most of the ones purported to be better teas with the impression they were harvested from a single area or farm are quite expensive I want to make sure that is actually what I am buying and that it might truly be a quality tea.

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

It is a dense pre-sliced sandwich bread. Have been buying it for years and the gigantic holes seem to be a new addition

Mar 25, 2015
blackpointyboots in Chains

Cuisinart Food Processor Buyer Beware

I received one of the Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus food processor over the holidays. Within the first month the plastic motor drive cover cracked, this seems to be a semi-common problem. I have spent the last month emailing back and forth with Cuisinart/Conair trying to just determine what the deal is with it being under warranty (or how to repair it) or not. After a month of them sending replies asking me for just one more bit of information rather than asking me what they needed all up front they finally tell me what the deal is. I have to pack up the entire unit (including the parts) and ship to them along with $10. Then they will tell me if it is under warranty or not. They gave no indication how things might happen from there including if they decide it is not under warranty.

I started Googling a bit after finally getting their actual reply and apparently the plastic shaft is easily replaceable and about $15-$20 off Amazon.

Cuisinart's customer service seems to be in the same circle of hell as Frigidaire.

Mar 25, 2015
blackpointyboots in Cookware

Boiling eggs

I use the steamer basket in our rice cooker.

Mar 25, 2015
blackpointyboots in Home Cooking

Why remodel a kitchen and put in an electric range?

Could it be the need for venting to use a gas stove? Many homes don't have the vent hood run to the outside. They either use a recirculating hood or one of those microwave over the stove things with the "vent" fan in it.

Mar 25, 2015
blackpointyboots in Cookware

Traveling with frozen foods to beach vacation

Block ice (not cubed) stays colder longer. With a good cooler we can keep things frozen for 2-3 days (outside in the summer) as long as the cooler is all frozen items, packed fairly tight and not opened frequently.

Pack the cooler in a part of your car where it will not heat up from the sun.

Milk in bags ... Are Canadians weird, or are Americans the weirdos?

Kwik-Trip has been selling bagged milk (and OJ) since at least 2003.

Kitchenaid Mixer Attachments: Are they good substitutes for real thing?

The meat grinder does pretty good. I have made large batches of burger with it and made about 20 pounds of brats with it for an event. It doesn't quite have the power of a dedicated heavy duty meat grinder but it does pretty good. An improvement over my hand crank meat grinder.

I use mine for all mixing tasks so I don't own a hand held mixer. I do have a Cuisinart food processor so I use that for slicing and shredding.

My make or break on attachments for my mixer is the cost of the attachment vs. the cost of the stand alone appliance. If the attachment is more than the stand alone I usually don't buy the attachment.

Mar 20, 2015
blackpointyboots in Cookware

Tilapia (farm raised)

There are a number of locations around the world where radiation contamination is a problem. Sellafield in the UK, La Hague in France. Parts of the arctic were nuclear waste dumping grounds for Russia decades ago. Fukushima is still an evolving issue. They find significant contamination in certain species off the east coast of Japan. It is usually dependent on species and location. Since the actual total of radioactive contamination leaking out of Fukushima is not fully known or understood there is some potential for fish contamination to increase over the next 10 years. FDA did some token testing last year (less than 10 total fish). The problem is being ignored and PR'd to death rather than actually being investigated. The US govt will pull anything over 1200 bq/kg off the market. IF they actually tested things and IF they happened to find a batch of fish that high. That is an intervention level, not a promise of it being safe to eat. Just like you shouldn't be eating fish with mercury, you shouldn't be eating fish with artificial radioactive substances in them.

There is also a failed nuclear test site off Alaska that causes some low levels of radiation to be found in certain sea food species.

Since this is subject matter I deal with on a daily basis, it certainly does make you think a bit about what you eat.

Snake oil . Or are supplements necessary in your diet ?

I have a vitamin D deficiency (tested by the doc). So I take a vit D supplement on a regular basis. I took magnesium supplements for a while after a doctor suggested it might help with muscle cramp problems I was having in my back. It did help a little. Have been taking St. Johns Wort more recently. It is supposed to act as a mild anti-depressant and also to lower pain levels likely by the same mechanism. It does help make focusing easier and my pain levels are down enough I was able to lower my pain meds.

I do think there is lots of selling people on supplements using fear or feel good marketing that doesn't always have a basis in anything. You probably don't actually need a supplement unless you are specifically deficient in something.

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

Our Costco (Sioux Falls, SD) finally got the good Kirkland Spanish olive oil back in. It had been gone for months.

Has anyone else bought Udi's bread at Costco recently and found it had huge air holes going through the loaf? I have now bought 3 that had such huge holes running through the loaf that over half of the bread was unusable for sandwiches.

Mar 17, 2015
blackpointyboots in Chains

Tilapia (farm raised)

If you can find somewhere in the US that sells it live (just caught) you could at least ask them what they use for food. tilapia is a popular aquaponics fish in the US for both hobbyists and commercial growers. There is an Asian grocery in Mpls./St. Paul that has a tilapia pond in the store. Most home aquaponics growers I have talked to use some form of organic fish food or duckweed to feed theirs.

The closest I think to tilapia is cod but cod has problems with being overfished. Cod can also show up with radiation (usually in low levels) if it is harvested somewhere with those types of problems. I have not looked to see how it is for mercury content.

$15 hr min. wage x zero hours =?

Um posting an article from HotAir isn't really giving you any credibility. So sick of the sky is falling BS because people are too stupid to realize they are being fed their ideas from the very people that are actively screwing them over.

Minimum wage has gone up many times. The business interests make this same claim every time throughout history and it never comes to fruition. It is an empty threat.

Oh and if a restaurant decides to ditch their wait staff or otherwise make things even more pathetic than they already are, I will take my money elsewhere. Even in a mid sized Midwest town we have PLENTY of local restaurants where workers are treated fairly (at least compared to the chains) and have decent customer service.

Cooking When You are Poor

I looked to more eastern ways of cooking. Meat is less prominent, many dishes use lots of vegetables, beans, lentils, rice. So I try to stock up on those things by buying them at Costco or finding the best deal on them where I live. The local Asian stores have saved my food budget. I was spending over $4 for a tiny bag of gluten free pasta at the regular grocery. $1.50 for a huge bag of rice noodles at the local Asian stores. Things like baby corn are $4 a can at the regular store. $1.79 at most of the Asian stores. So I can pull off more variety by getting things at other places.

We have been planting a veggie garden the past couple of years. Between that and getting some good deals on things at the farmers market we drastically lower our food budget over the summer. We are considering building a greenhouse this summer so we can stretch our growing season. There are some decent DIY how to's online.

I have also shifted much of our protein consumption to nuts, eggs, yogurt/cheeses and lesser types of meat. Chicken thighs are fairly cheap and work for more dishes than chicken breast does. I cut up cheap pork roasts for using in stir fry.

Also, look at the things you spend the most on and really like. Is there a way to make that item or buy it for less? I dislike generic ketchup or the regular corn syrup version of Heinz. The bottles of organic Heinz that have sugar taste good but are crazy expensive. Even buying the bulk pack from Amazon isn't exactly cheap. There is a Heinz knock off recipe somewhere on Chowhound that is pretty good and made out of cheap ingredients (tomato paste, vinegar etc). After trying that recipe and making some adjustments we found a home made version we like better than any of the store bought ketchup. So that cost is off my list. Gourmet salad greens were another budget buster that we really would miss if we quit eating them, plus they are something healthy. So we grow lettuce as much of the year as possible. I have also managed to re-grow lettuce from the stems of gourmet heads of lettuce. Green onions also re-grow easily. I can grow them indoors by a window except for Jan-Feb when it is too cold even inside (being by the window). I grow them outside in a pot in the spring-fall and have onions for months out of a batch from the store.

How to eat frugally?

Our Asian store has greens rather cheap. Things like bok choy, are fairly cheap. I think I paid $1.50 for a big bag of bok choy or pak choy. I can get a huge bag of bean sprouts for $2.

Would your apartment complex consider putting in handicap accessible garden plots? I bet you are not the only person with the same struggle where you live.

Best Substitutes for Canola and Vegetable Oil?

Peanut oil or olive oil. Peanut oil in things that need a neutral oil, also for stir fry. Olive oil for most other pan saute etc.

Costco Frozen Shrimp (Bagged) from Vietnam

There are lots of seafood problems. I won't eat anything from the Gulf due to what is being found and the lack of objective testing. I also limit what seafood from the Pacific I will eat (location if available, type of seafood etc). Farmed has its own problems as many have mentioned. There has been more of a push for accountability by these big western buyers like Costco to assure what they are buying is raised in a safe manner and isn't funding slave labor etc.

What is also a problem is that it is hard to find objective information. US seafood sales and especially domestic production (wild & farmed) is a huge industry that the US govt protects heavily. NOAA is part of the department of commerce. They are not an objective source of information on US seafood, part of their mandate is to promote seafood from US sources. FDA is a joke, I have been working on a project for the last 3 years trying to get them to release data on routine food testing. FDA's food testing is frequently skewed. IE: they released "post Fukushima" food testing data that tested food produced and shipped before the disaster in 2011 and used that data to declare all food imports were safe....

Some of these accountability and seafood watch programs can help at least give some transparency and idea where your seafood came from. They are not perfect either but it is something.

There has been some interest in the US to use shrimp as part of aquaponics operations. This is where they use fish ponds to circulate the water to hydroponic plant beds. I have seen domestic farmed shrimp set ups in Nebraska and Indiana but it appeared both only sold what they harvested locally.

I would take farmed with some oversight over wild caught from an area with a known pollution problem. It really is just way too complicated right now to buy seafood. There needs to be much better international oversight and regulation.

Mar 12, 2015
blackpointyboots in Chains

Coffee at work: When will we hit the tipping point?

One place of employment was so close to getting a commercial espresso machine installed. The person who pitched the idea suggested it would be cool to be able to serve it in client meetings.
Everywhere else I have ever worked had generic coffee service bilge or whatever the person buying supplies found cheap. So I never drank any of it on a regular basis.
Having your office at home means you can have whatever coffee you want, whatever machine etc. you want.