cancer, chemicals, chocolates, containers: food news you can use

A client pointed me to this Nicholas Kristof op-ed in the NYT on new links between chemicals and cancer. This is the kind of news we all suspected, but here it is all double-blind tested and everything. It reminds me of three things:

  • Of course, the importance of knowing your farmers! Even in the beautiful Hudson Valley, I’m sorry to say that there are some farmers who liberally coat their veggies (particularly apples) with chemicals. (One of them has a beautiful farm that is 2 miles from my house, so this is an issue that I think about a lot.) Of course, I don’t buy from these farmers, but I worry that tourists will think that all picturesque farm stands sell 100% safe food. Be sure to always ask questions! Farmers who are concerned about the same issues you are will talk your ear off about why they are or are not certified organic (many of the farmers I get produce from are way, way beyond organic and aren’t certified because they don’t want to pay the USDA high fees or reward the USDA for their shoddy organic standards. Many of them are Certified Naturally Grown, which is a superior, in my mind anyway, system.), how they treat pests, etc etc. I love listening to farmers, my oh my. Right now I’m engaged in a long Facebook conversation with a farmer pal about why garlic has scapes and other alliums like onions and scallions do not. (Yep, I am a major produce dork!)
  • Second, I’ve been meaning to rant a little about why you’ll never see pretty colored chocolates sold by Lagusta’s Luscious. Do you know those gorgeous little bonbons that have adorable pink stripes or a plaid print, or even a tiny image of a Scotty dog or bow on them? Many, if not most, high-end chocolatiers make them. It’s really fun to color the ears of your chocolate Easter bunny a pretty pink, or to make a raspberry chocolate that’s colored with tinted red cocoa butter. I’ll never make these pretty chocolates, however, because all those colors are 100% chemicals. They are sold in sheets that you press onto chocolates, or in squeeze bottles or pots, and it’s just food dye. I can’t do it. If I’m out in the world, I might indulge in a vegan cupcake made with Earth Balance margarine, but I could never bring myself to cook with it, just like if I see a pretty vegan chocolate decorated with smart little stripes I might taste it, but I can’t bring those artificial colors into my kitchen. Now you know! My chocolates are and will remain brown, decorated only with organic rose petals, my beautiful homemade organic local beet cocoa powder (!), dehydrated and pulverized local organic apple powder, nuts, seeds, and so much more straight from the natural world.
  • And finally. For the meal delivery service I use a mix of BPA-free plastic containers and glass Pyrex containers. If you’re concerned about plastic, you can get your meals delivered in all glass containers. It makes the bag a bit heavier, so straphangers beware, and I have to charge a one-time refundable $25 containers charge because of how often the Pyrexes become chipped when they are stacked and returned. To reduce chips (which of course make the containers useless for anything but me storing beads and buttons in them at home, and I am running out of beads and buttons), kindly put the lid on all containers before putting them in the bag, or if they need to be stacked, put a paper towel between them. I can’t thank you enough for that—those containers are really pricey!

OK, off to grocery shop!

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