Cead Mile Failte !

A 'hundred thousand welcomes' to friends of all things Irish, organic, and environmentally friendly. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes and little vignettes. I appreciate comments. If you like it, why not become a follower? Click on Archive and then scroll down to the very bottom for the beginning of our story. Or see: http://Ioncehadafarminireland.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not so Goodies in our Food

In Europe, scientists found out in the 70s that food additives, artificial colorings in particular, are detrimental to children's development. This plus other additional goodies that turn up in our food scared us: pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth promoters; and then there are the preservatives. It also made us think and come to the conclusion that we wanted to produce our own food  and not digest industrial foods anymore that can make you sick.

The soil was polluted, lakes and rivers were, air pollution grew and lead to the big phenomenon of "trees dying" due to acid rain. How could anything healthy grow out of this. Discovering that all these "goodies" were enhancing or rather compromising our food--our stomachs turned and made us think. We decided to grow our own and become self-sufficient. First in the constraints of our house in the the city; well, rather the house of my mother-in-law. After a while, however, she didn't like her shrubs to be replaced any more with strawberries and Brussels sprouts. She wanted her evergreen ground cover back. We had too find our own place; a cottage in the country. A few years later, even that wasn't far away enough to get away from pollution: Chernobyl happened. Taking all of this into account, we opted for a healthier life-style and chose to go to Ireland to make this dream come true.

Now, in Europe and Germany in particular with its stringent environmental laws, food additives have either been  banned or have to be declared on the individual product. "To regulate these additives, and inform consumers, each additive is assigned a unique number, termed as "E numbers", which is used in Europe for all approved additives. Within the EU E numbers are all prefixed by E ". See the full list of what is regulated as a food additive.

In the US, the FDA claims that food dyes are safe, but the experience of some parents and the results of some studies tell a different story. A 2006 study published in the Toxicological Sciences journal showed that exposure to certain dyes during the first few years of life could cause behavioral and developmental disorders in children.

Other countries have already banned or require warning labels for artificially dyed foods. For example, Kellogg’s cereal bars are made using Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 in the United States, but contain no artificial dyes in the UK. Instead, the same bars are produced there using beetroot, paprika and annatto extract to provide color.

"The problem was first identified in the 1970s. Europe controls and even bans them in foods. The FDA is finally getting around to wondering if they're might be a problem." ADHD comes to mind.

http://www.therealfoodchannel.com/page/20470.html  3min 35 if you want to take the time.
Thanks to Brasscheck that provides invaluable info on many topics.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Have my green cap on again.

Since I'm about to finish my book on my Irish adventure, I'm wearing my Ex Farmer'sWife's hat more often again as you may have notice. I need a cover artist and some rally cute drawing because the pictures I had in my coffee table version of my book"I once had farm in Ireland" don't translate well into a paperback.
It's been too long and this blog was on the back burner for some time while I've been busy promoting my novel Next time lucky. This will be remedied now and I will give an advance notice soon when it's coming out.
Also appreciate your recommendations on different publishers like Lightning Source of Iunivers. Anybody used them and has some experience to share? I will create  a FB page for the Ex Farmer's Wife.
In the meantime let me recommend my latest find, anew pp that makes life easier for every blogger and more interesting for your readers.It's called glossy, put together in minutes and here's my link to give you an idea how it looks:
http://www.glos.si/siggys-omnibus . I had set up something similar over the few months to give an overview of my various websites. Took e forever. Admittedly, it looks better in y views, but glossy is a quick news round up of all your social networking activities. You tell me. More soon
The Ex Farmer's wife

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tomato Ketchup:US and German home-made

What a Ketchup Bottle Tells Us About Life in the U.S.

I've been working on sharpening my observation skills. Today, I took notice of a bottle of ketchup on the table in a restaurant. I was at first attracted to the words, “Plant bottle, 30% made from plastics, 100% recyclable bottle. I had no idea that ketchup had gone green.

The next part that caught my attention was a small square of an abstract drawing. “Ketchup Lovers, Unite! Scan this code or text FRIEND to 5700.” Wow! Marketing is going in some very strange directions these days. Should I care how many people love ketchup? Why? And why would I want them to know that I love ketchup?” 

Which I don't, because the next thing I read were the ingredients. Although written in the same small letters as the other ingredients, my eyes picked out two -- High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup (why would ketchup need both, or either?), which my health guru, Dr. Andrew Weil, has been telling me for years NOT to eat for health's sake. I switched long ago to tomato paste when I want a ketchupy taste.

In smaller print at the bottom of the bottle were the words, “from Heinz Seeds.” I hadn't realized that there is such a thing as specific Heinz Seeds. That made me realize how little I know about seeds that our foods are grown from. Guess some company “owns” everything when you look into it.

Lastly, I looked at the bottle itself and realized it was upside down. The lid was on the bottom! No more hitting the bottom of a glass bottle and having it splash all over the plate. How long has ketchup been upside down? Why did it take the company so many years to “improve” how ketchup plopped on a plate?
Hmm!  Instead of a message in a bottle, I found messages on the bottle.

Suellen Zima, a contributor to www.writersgettogether.blogspot.com from the start. 

And now to our home-made version of tomato ketchup.
I made ketchup for a few years out of our own organically grown tomatoes. It does need  some kind of sugar if you want your hopeful off spring even to taste it, never mind like it. I made it without peeling the tomatoes first which resulted in strings of peels in the sauce and bottle. With a disgust in their little faces that I had never seen before they pushed it way. (Only surpassed by the occasional maggot/bug on organic cauliflower on their plates!)
We always had 36 tomatoes plants in our greenhouse which gives a mighty good crop. Normally I would freeze them for later use like many a vegetable. Especially useful for spaghetti sauces. When we emigrated to Ireland, however, we couldn't take the content of our freezers with us. What do you do with dozens of frozen bags of tomatoes? Instead of letting them spoil, I cooked ketchup and bottled it, careful to leave 1/2 inch of olive oil on top in order to preserve it properly. I had over 20 bottles. They made the big move safely--only to be snarled at by the kids.I loved it in spite of seeds and peels and all! Less sweet! Bon appetit!
Regarding the Heinz seeds that's news to me too. Unless you find organic seeds somewhere, Monsanto has a firm monopoly on seeds worldwide squeezing every other producer to the wall and going GM on it. GM is another topic. I wrote about it here and in Germnay/Europe. If you're interested go into archives here and search for GM.