Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Mayonnaise Project

I have started an experiment. Remember in grade school when we used to leave a piece of bread out on the counter for several days to witness the growth of mold? Well, I've been doing something similar with my store-bought mayonnaise. I want to see how long it has to sit out on the counter before it goes bad. So far, we're 4 days and counting, and the stuff still looks exactly as it did when it came out of the refrigerator (and the due date was June 11, 2010).

Here are the ingredients in our Hellman's brand mayo: water (hmm, so the first ingredient is water? how watered down is this stuff?), canola oil, modified corn starch, liquid yolk, vinegar, sugar, salt, spices, xanthan gum, sorbic acid, phosphoric acid, colour, concentrated lemon juice, calcium disodium EDTA, citric acid and sulphites.

Phew! No wonder this stuff lasts for days on the counter. It's got enough preservatives in it to last for several years!

Since having a baby, I have become much more concerned with what's going into our food systems. I've always been an environmentalist, and have tried to buy organic and local when I can, but I still fall back onto grocery store staples when finances get tight. Lately though, even the economic crunch hasn't stopped me from feeling a sense of dismay as I read the ingredient lists on some of the foods I buy on a regular basis - granola bars, crackers, cereals, bread, mayo....even my hummus has added preservatives.

And so, I began to wonder - how hard is it to make all of these things that I rely on for healthy snacks? I started with homemade butter and yogurt, made from the raw milk we get from a local farm. Next I'll be trying cheese! Then I wondered how hard it is to make my own granola bars (it's a piece of cake), and began baking up enormous batches, along with muffins and irish soda bread.

Our freezer is bursting at the seams, but I'm feeling a much greater sense of satisfaction now that I know what's going into my food. There's still a long way to go from here, but I hope to spend more and more time making may own food. My next project is crackers - those crunchy little guys that lend a helping hand to cheese, almond butter, hummus and so much more. If anyone out there has a good and easy recipe, please send it along!

Here's Sarah Harmer's "I'm a Mountain"

Well now how did they get that lady on TV
Laughing so naturally
For a Wal-Mart ad
Is it not as bad as I thought?

There’s a woman sending poisonous mail
And they caught her now she’s sitting in jail
While the weather station forecasts hail
From the tropics

Oh I spent the day in a shopping mall
Through the biggest storm of the century
I’m a mountain
I’m a mountain like you said to be

The sports man and his double chin
Don’t listen to me in this state I’m in
Saying things about people that I don’t know

Well it’s just that way when you get hurt
And the things you need you’re made to work
You must decide if you will die or grow

Oh I spent the day in a shopping mall
Through the biggest storm of the century
I’m a mountain
I’m a mountain
Like you said to be

1 comment:

  1. Singing along! I hear you...I find grocery shopping increasingly difficult. Mayo is SO easy...I don't even drizzle the oil...just throw in the yolk, oil, some dijon voila! Also did my own Hollandaise, and wondered...why did I ever buy this in a powder?? SOOO easy. Bread ingredients sicken me. I'm busy trying to develop a reasonable weekly "rhthym" where I can fit bread-baking cupboards always seem bare these days because I hate to buy stuff made from ...crap! Read on the box of cereal: packaging contains BPA for added freshness...what?? Yuck.


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