Thursday, May 30, 2013

THE INDUSTRY OF FEEDING PEOPLE



THE TEN COMPANIES THAT FEED US

 (GRAPH FROM ZAZENLIFE.COM)


You need to click on the above graph to see all the companies that link back to the ten big ones who feed us. One way or another. Snacks or frozen meals, from Restaurants to TV Dinners.  Milka. My favorite Austrian chocolate is owned by KRAFT. When did that happen? me being able to buy it evrywhere,not just in Austria, should have been a giveaway... They are everywhere in our food supply chain. 
Even I,  the natural born cynic, was surprised. Still not shocked, but yes, an eye opener for sure. 

I have been following the ever increasing debate about GMO seeds and the one company everyone loves to hate, Monsanto. 
Monsanto is the most visible of all companies who look at food and it's supply to the consumer as an industry, but they hardly are alone. They may be at the root of it all, the GMO seed business, but looking at all the other large conglomerates above, they certainly have some skeletons in their closet, don't you think? Apparently DuPont is just as bad, but so far escaped all that bad PR wrath facing Monsanto.

Nobody said it's  an easy game for consumers.  I for one firmly believe that this is the ultimate bottoms up issue, meaning unless consumer patterns change, the big ten for sure won't change. Why would they. We keep buying it all. It's convenient. Am I always paying attention? Nope. But we should.

Which brings me to  GF PATISSERIE.
I do remember a conversation very early in the game, pre Farmers' Market in 2008. Victoria told me that if she goes into gluten free baking, she'd make sure all her ingredients will derive from non GMO products. 
While back then I certainly waved it off as "who cares", I also do recall her phoning all those people she intended to buy from, if they could furnish her with certificates and guarantees to their wares. 
Stubborn she can be.....

Back in 2008 the debate about GMO did exist, but nowhere near with the intensity of today. So when I asked Victoria the other day if the GFP flour mix is still made of those non GMO products (after all, her business did grow since Bearspaw), she gave me one of those looks only a husband can get.....

So there, consumers of gluten free baked goods. GF PATISSERIE'S flour mix is certified to that extend. It may even say so on future packaging.  In the end it is up to us consumers who to patronize. How to eat and what to eat. Start a garden. Value your  food. Buy from vendors you like and trust. They deserve your $$. 


ALWAYS  NON GMO


BEAU MONDE'S NON GMO GLUTEN FREE BREAD


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

C'EST PAS LA TOUR DE FRANCE


Mais quand meme, ca roule. 
We had a small race here in town today, La Nocturne de Jarnac.  An evening race. First time for me to watch anything bicycle life. Though there were only 36 riders, I do understand the fascination with the big race, La Tour De France much better now. It is very much a spectator sport. And the French love it.

They blocked off the roads of Jarnac at 7pm and it all got under way an hour later. From Place du Chateau in a circle around town along the river back up to the Chateau for 90 minutes plus 5 extra rounds. Not sure how close you can get to the road during the Tour, but today I was so close to the racers, I felt the swoosh.
Sadly, my little point & click camera did not take any great shots, but you get the idea. SWOOSH.

Isabella came with me and enjoyed the whole action as well. What she really wanted to do though was take a ride on the lead quad for one round. Ehm, no go.



FIXING THE CLOCK

GETTING READY

36 RIDERS AND A PROGRAM

THE TEAM FROM PERIGEUX

AND FROM BORDEAUX

ISABELLA'S FAVORITE

PLACE DU CHATEAU


 FIRST ROUND

SWOOSH

THE MAIN FIELD

ALONG THE RIVER


STILL GOING FAST


  GETTING TOUGHER


 THE FIELD STARTED TO BRAKE UP HALF WAY THROUGH



Monday, May 27, 2013

THE VEGETABLE GARDENS OF JARNAC





More homes than not do have a vegetable garden here in Jarnac. When we walk to school I see them, when I go grocery shopping there are a few along the way. Vegetables, fruit trees, strawberry fields, raspberry bushes, some just potatos, the variety of gardens is impressive.

One of them, virtually across the street from Intermarche is my favorite. Martha Stewart would approve. The owner told me that he is retired and needs to keep busy, so he gardens. He tells me that at the beginning of the year he usually buys 20.00 Euros worth of seeds for his whole set up. The salad seeds he cultivated himself. Last year he harvested 400kg of potatos from his yard. Luckily he has an extended family he said, because the two of them can't eat that much.... maybe he can adopt me?

Think about it. Thirty bucks and a great hobby to boot. In one of the pictures I tried to show the upside down water bottles he uses for irrigating his tomatos. The rainwater off his roof is all the water he needs and an old above ground pool is now converted into a huge pile of compost. 

And if you live in an apartment without a garden? Well, either make friends with those people who do garden and I am certain they let you have some of their harvest in exchange for some weeding, or of course you can rent a plot from city hall. 
In 2011 the town of Jarnac set up an acreage behind Isabella's school, where you can rent a plot, garden hut and water storage container included.  In fact, it is quite common all over Europe that cities large and small provide land for gardening.
 If you ever took the train across Germany or Austria, you may have seen acreages along the tracks around the outskirts of cities with smaller garden plots.  What a concept.  eat your own grown food. 
CP Rail owns a few unused acres along their railway lines I think.  Now that's an idea worth pursuing. 






NOT MUCH GROWING YET IN THIS ONE

LOOKS LIKE ONIONS IN THE FRONT

THIS ONE IS ONLY HALF USED, IT SEEMS

LOOK AT THE SIZE

MY FAVORITE GARDEN

INEXPENSIVE IRRIGATION SYSTEM

RAIN WATER COLLECTION AND COMPOST

A PROUD GARDENER

JUST ADD SALT & PEPPER

LES JARDINS FAMILIAUX

RENT A PLOT OF 200M2 FOR 40.00/YEAR

Thursday, May 23, 2013

THE TEENAGER



Happy birthday Isabella. 13. Where has the time gone? From May 24th, 2000 in Las Vegas to May 24th 2013 in Jarnac. 
Not your average childhood to say the least, we are looking forward to make your teenage years as exciting.  
Now let's cut the cake!


TIME FLIES

11 YEARS LATER


SOMETIMES SERIOUS

SOMETIMES A BRILLIANT SENSE OF HAHA


SOMETIMES STUBBORN LIKE AN ANDERBERG

ALWAYS A DAREDEVIL

AND CURIOUS

A GREAT WORLD TRAVELLER



AND MOSTLY HAPPY

AND CRAFTY

LOVES HER CHOCOLATES


FRONT ROW, BLUE DRESS

SAME BLOOD LINES

AND WITH HER OTHER SISTER


 WITH HER FATHER

AND WITH HER MOTHER

I AM CANADIAN


Friday, May 17, 2013

LEFTOVERS




The last chicken I bought for the weekend was a bit heavy at 1.8kg. We never eat that much, the three of us. So half the carcass went into the fridge for future meals. What I did not see happen though when I planned lunch today, was that Victoria already made a couple of sandwich' with the white meat. Healthier she says. Good for her. I prefer the dark chunks of meat anyway. 

I bought some more Ile de Re Potatos (http://theceliachusband.blogspot.fr/2013/05/pomme-de-terre-primeur-de-ile-de-re.html) , roasted them up in plenty of butter and garlic, added all the leftover meats, some Cilantro, salt, pepper and that's it. 15 minutes from start to finish.  Le tasty lunch.
This may sound like a broken record, however I cannot say it often enough. Back in North America, we threw away too much food. Here, where you pay a pretty dollar for some choice meats, one learns quickly to pay more attention to waste.
Believe it or not, Victoria froze the Carcass (sans dark meat) and when she has three of them, she will make a huge pot of chicken stock. 
Besides not wasting money, it makes you feel good for valuing food more.





WHITE MEAT IS FOR GIRLIE MEN

PLENTY OF DARK MEAT FOR ME

EVERYTHING TASTES BETTER WITH BUTTER (AND GARLIC)

SOAKING UP THE BUTTER

ADD THE LEFTOVER MEAT

PLENTY FOR TWO PEOPLE