Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Found Balsamic

I know the rest of the world already knows what this stuff is . . . but I just found it. Always heard the name. My recent readings on food and health point to the benefits of whole foods, and cooking from scratch. One author of a cook book mentions balsamic vinegar on her short list of base ingredients to have around the kitchen, so I bought some. Now that I have a bottle of good stuff I recognize the taste from foods at our Italian fare restaurants. It seems related to other things I like: malt vinegar for fish (thanks, Great Britain), brewed soy sauce (Kikkimon), and burgandy wine served at room temperature. All these are old foods that pre-date our industrialized food industry, too, which is something author Micheal Pollan advocates. Hmm, maybe there's something to this whole food thing.

BUT, I'm not turning veggie. Although I won't become a vegatarian, I'm beginning to think that vegatarians have more things right than wrong in their beliefs. Looks like we kinda screwed ourselves up with this diet most of us have that they call the Western Diet. Pursuit of profits have created a food industry that has mislead the way we've learned to eat, but it's not hopeless. I've got more to learn. Still not sure who I can believe and who I shouldn't.

As for my journaling, I am now using one of those tall green journals seen in my last post . . . one of my babies. My Moleskine had a few pages left, but I just can't bring myself to sideline my new journal until the Moleskine is finished. Journaling in the book I just made is like eating the crackers I just made . . . they're whole . . . they're me . . . they're basic. It just seems like a good way to go.

Note: Using the doggie biscuit cutter to make the crackers was my idea (yes, I have a recipe book and cutters to make pet food). My daughter was not humored.

14 comments:

Barbara said...

Well I'm humored! I have that same set of cookie cutters and probably the same recipes to go with them but I haven't started baking for my 3 labs (yet). And yes, balsamic vinegar is the only way to go! Love your handmade books.... - Barbara

marancat said...

Great page! Yes, balsamic vinegar is wonderful - some of it is so good you can just drink it! had never thought of using it in my baking so thanks for the recipe.

nanke's stuff said...

Love the post, including your journal pages. The recipe looks good - I think I'll give it a try. I, too, have a doggie cookie cutter - I like that idea too. The shape is just right for dipping that cracker into something wonderful .... maybe with basalmic in it? nancy

Phyllis said...

Enjoyed your page thoroughly. Re Balsamic Vinegar - Tony wanted to bring some back to his son Mark, and looked in the Duty Free shop in Rome. Found a small bottle, and was stunned to find the price $60! (He learned the price was well worth the expenditure...that he used only a drop or two because it was very concentrated strong.) In WWII, Italians hid their balsamic along with their fine wines to protect from invading forces. Enjoy!

john.p said...

Wow, that's neat history! And compared to that $60 bottle, I bought cheap stuff.

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Oh yum, John, all the way around! The vinegar, your entry, your journal too!

And yep, I like the simple, basic stuff your grandmother would recognize and be able to pronounce, and we try to "shop the perimeter"--dairy, meat (including chicken and fish of course!), veggies and fruits, and avoid the packaged stuff and anything with HFCS...

Makes it a lot easier!

Claire M said...

Happy to find your journal page here with info about balsamic vinegar, crackers, and your new handmade journal. You get a lot in one page!! I too am a fan of balsamic vinegar - I love dipping interesting breads in it 'straight'. The typical way in restaurants is to have a small bowl/plate w/ olive oil and then pour some balsamic into it -- keeping them separated in the mixture. Looks interesting, but I'll take the balsamic straight! Enjoy your new handmade journal!

raena said...

Wonderful page, John! And I love the dog biscuit cutters! Did you serve your crackers at a dinner party? Oh, that would be funny!

I love to hear when people are finding out about this stuff. I currently have Michael's book, In Defense of Food, beside me. I changed my diet to the non-processed about eight years ago and I'm a different person today! I would never go back!

Scrappy Cat said...

Hey John - another great journal page. Which Michael Pollan book(s) have you read? My DH and DDIL have both read The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma.

john.p said...

My DDIL is the one to recommend his books (she's a veggie and I love her). My first one was "Omnivore's Dilemma", then "In Defense of Food". I caution myself on believing fad diets and shun conspiracy theories. I hope history will show Michael to be neither. I find him believable, interesting and persuasive, and he's not the only one out there with this message.
Raena-You have an eight year jump on me. I'm impressed you saw the writing on the wall that early.

vickylw (Vicky Williamson) said...

Count me among the highly amused at the "doggy" biscuits! I'd love to sample one.
Excellent journal entry and great idea re: food lifestyle.

Ramona Davidson said...

Good post, art, and info. Thanks. I just bout balsamic also to have a salad dressing minus all the sugar and chemicals. Keep sharing about healthy things you have found.

Gill M said...

Glad you are enjoying your new journal John and a great post to start it off.

I have a great recipe for you. Take a couple of skinless chicken breasts, put in an ovenproof dish, top with sliced red and green bell peppers and some onion. Top with 3 tbsp Balsamic and a little chicken stock. Bake at 190c for approx 30mins. Yum! It's not as vinegary as you would think...

Tyanne said...

great page. Balsamic vinegar is great over fresh asparagus. Mix a couple teaspoons of the vinegar with a tsp of dijon mustard.. Compliments it very nicely.