Cooking with vegetables

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Food News

on November 22, 2012

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I went to Safeway tonight and -on a whim- decided to bypass my usual route through the fresh vegetable and fruits side to the packaged goods side. I don’t normally do this but it was a special occasion: Hostess, the maker of ho ho’s, ding dongs, and zingers was going out of business. For a second I was panged with what this meant. The shutting down of Hostess is quite sad, if you think about it. Outwardly, there is something happy and innocent about the processed fat disguised as a baked good.These things never go bad so I picked up two boxes which I will probably never eat. Why did I buy them? The answer is really complicated. No one quite knows why the Hostess company declared bankruptcy. I think these are important questions to ponder. The clerk that helped me didn’t know why people were buying the products. All I heard was that it’s all because of a workers strike. But secretly, I think the real reason is because we (Americans) are winning the war on junk food. The free market is a beautiful thing and the demands it creates proves that people have power and a voice- where your hard-earned money is spent is extremely relevent. The choices reflect the greater scheme of things.

In this day and age, we have a lot of great alternatives to processed food. Nothing says I Love You like a home baked desert. Baking for others is also another nice way to show that you value and care about someone. I never had packaged food growing up, so I’m not sure if it will be difficult for people to cope without ho ho’s. I hope it’s not a difficult transition for those that liked this product. Luckily, we have a lot of great (and easy!) alternatives. First of all, fruit. Second, instant mix dessert. These are not half-bad. They’re great. Just use real butter and milk or soymilk and cage free eggs. A trick to making desert mix moist is to add a cup of vanilla pudding. I’ve also tried to add apple sauce instead of olive oil to save calories but I don’t recommend it. Olive oil is healthy and it gives the desert mix what it needs to be fluffy and fresh. I suspect it has something to with how the egg is mixed and dispersed in the product- I think the olive oil binds to it. Apple sauce is a weird alternative, it works but somehow it’s not the same. It makes the dessert gummy, not fluffy. Also, the best tip I ever learned was always always subtract 5 minutes from any boxed recipe, no matter what.

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