Thursday, March 25, 2010

...and then my head exploded

It's no secret than I am a complete nut about food anymore.  I work full-time outside our home, I have two growing boys, one man-child, and a cat that all require constant tending.  Yet I insist on having a vegetable garden (zone 10 willing!) in as much as I can, what with all the experimenting and not knowing what I'm doing and all.  My adventures in from-scratch-cooking are sporadically documented right here.  I don't talk so much about what I eat here (you're welcome!) but I constantly strive to do as much close-to-source eating as I can; on any given day, I vary from nearly-perfect to here-let-me-just-get-these-wrappers-out-of-your-way.  It's life.  Well, it's my life, and I just do what I can.

It's hard for Tommy to make healthy food choices.  We've been working really hard on helping him understand that just because food tastes good, that doesn't actually mean it is good.  Oh, son, I feel can be so unfair!  He's doing well, and I have reason to believe that he may actually come out the other side of this a healthy, well-adjusted young man.   Wanting him to grow up healthy and happy was actually the original impetus that spurred me to learn how to make and preserve our own food.  Well, that and the fact that I like to pretend I'm living in the Little House on the Prairie.  That's probably totally normal and not even weird.

So when he comes to me and says he likes a healthy snack, such as air-popped popcorn or fruit or carrot sticks or string cheese or my homemade granola, I don't even have to think about.  I just do it.  Yesterday, when we dashed into the grocery store for a few mid-week replenishments of some of my go-to ingredients, he asked me about bagels.  I guess they've had them for snack at school, and he quite enjoys a blueberry bagel.

Oh, yes, son!  Right away son!  What a wholesome treat!  We found the bread aisle and grabbed a package of bagels...then I read the ingredients.  Not those.  Grabbed another bag.  Not those.  Grabbed a third bag (hippie brand!  gotta be it!) and, well, no.  There was no bagel to be had that didn't list "high fructose corn syrup" as one of the first handful of ingredients.

And then my head exploded.

We didn't buy any bagels.  You could legitimately argue that I'm taking it too far (I've seen the commercials, scolding me for being reactionary and uninformed ahem) and that it doesn't matter because it's in everything anyways and okay...maybe.  Maybe.  But did you see this article?  Short version:  they fed two groups of rats the same number of calories, but one group had access to calories from high fructose corn syrup and those rats?  Those rats were fatter and unhealthier.  On the same number of calories, the high fructose corn syrup rats were fatter.

Turns out?  Bagels are not hard to make.  Turns out?  It's not possible, in my home, for a bagel to make it through the 20-minute cool down period intact.  Six ingredients (one is water!), no chemicals, perfectly delicious.  


  1. I'm going to have to try making those..they look delish! I agree with you on the corn syrup - can't be good for you. I have been trying to clean up our homes eating habits as well. We have been trying to eat Paleo (if the caveman didn't have it, we don't need it - must come from a mother or soil). Even if we are only at 60% (or less) I feel like it is better than what we were at before.

    You are such a great Mom!

  2. Oh, the high fructose corn syrup-less search! I do that. (Well, I used to do that--now I am lucky enough to have Aunt Betty who does the shopping--thank you so much!)
    But, why, oh, why, do savory foods like crackers, bagels, breads, etc. need hfcs? Please don't sweeten my savory foods. I save my hfcs points for my occasional Pop Tarts and don't want to waste them on something that ISN'T EVEN SWEET! (I know, it started in order to get rid of corn surpluses. But, still!!!) ARRRGGGGHHHHH!! Mia, you definitely need a copy of Laurel's Kitchen. Preferably the old 70s version. Mine is one of my prized possessions.

  3. Mia, I raised my kids vegetarian and with as healthy a diet as possible. They still like lentil burgers! My copy of Laurel's Kitchen was my go to cookbook all those years. The upshot of what my relatives considered my "experiment" is that, while my kids are both meat eaters (and that's fine with me), they don't just mindlessly eat. They make informed choices about their diet and, being athletes, know exactly how to create a very healthy diet when they need to be in top shape. You're giving your kids an invaluable gift.

  4. Mia, I have made bagels (never knew you could until my friend gave me a recipe) once but they sure weren't as pretty as yours. They tasted wonderful though so who cares what they looked like:) I love to make bread and love to eat it hot out of the oven, YUM!!

  5. I can't wait to move back to the states and be your sous chef. I have so much to learn!

  6. Okay, Ladies, I used part of my Amazon gift certificate to purchase a copy of Laurel's Kitchen! (I even got a used copy of the 1978 version!) If Laurie and Kelly are both recommending, I won't even wonder if it's good! (ps Hearing your take on this, Laurie, reminded me of your lunches at school! With your placemat and your beautiful salads! You are so cute :)

    Maia, I totally thought of you when I made these! I'm going to make some when you guys come out. I'll probably be on my fourth or fifth batch by then, if this week was any indication. haha

    Betty, that's so funny, because the recipe warned that it takes some practice to get them to come out right, but honestly, I thought they were fine. I have low standards though (like you, I just need to them to hold together long enough to get to my mouth!) so maybe I'll never experience a "perfect looking" bagel. No worries, these tasted SO GOOD!

    and confidential to Tracy: Oh. My. God. I miss you so much!!!!!!!! And yes, I totally agree with you...any effort is better than if you just blindly ate "whatever". That's exactly why I don't even worry about getting it perfect.