Thursday, November 8, 2007

Today’s Beef

Yesterday I wrote about issues concerning food banks and clients. Here’s another part of the reason that gets good food tossed.
We must eat meat. We hear it all the time. The beef industry lobbied hard a few years back because Canada’s Food Guide came out with an emphasis on beans and other sources of protein. It was intolerable.

Before this gets any further our beef industry is currently hurting and needs some good public relations. Acting like this, out of fear, hasn’t done it any good.
I like beef. We had tenderloin last night marinated in a honey-wheat beer with garlic, cumin, and hot pepper. But a few days earlier I made baked beans from scratch. The white beans, molasses and demerara sugar in it were from the food bank. It was lighter fare, but filling, and a good source of protein.

But the message in Cattle County is clear and that means there’s not a lot of info made available about beans despite the fact they’re grown in southern Alberta right along with the feedlots.

Many commenters yesterday suggested providing information at the food banks about how to prepare foods like beans, lentils, chickpeas and the like. It’s a great idea, but it’s just the start. I say teach it in school.
Not Home Ec.,but agricultural studies. Teach the kids where the food is from and how it’s grown and harvested. Then explain how it gets from the bag on the shelf to the plate.
It’s sad that scratch food prep has to be taught this way, but if no one knows it at home, how else can it be done? Cooking real food is getting to be a lost art.

Most of us know that beer comes from malt barley. But do we known that other varieties of barley are make into flour and that pot and pearl barley make a great side dish?
I made some the other night. The ratio is 2:1 liquid to barley. The pot barley was from the food bank, so was the quarter-cup apple cider vinegar I added in, as was the aforementioned demerera sugar I used to help kick up the crushed dried mint I’d used for flavoring. Cover with a lid and stick in the oven at 350 for an hour. I served it with roasted lamb coated with a mild curry paste courtesy the food bank.
I didn’t always know what to do with barley, beans, chickpeas, lentils and other dried foods. I had to ask. I looked up recipes on the Internet. I played around to see what worked.

We’re pressured into believed we must have meat. Many poor people, food bank clients or not, will buy hot dogs filled with sodium and chemicals and meat byproducts when they could get more for their money with peas, beans, lentils, barely, rice, and many other dried foods.

We need the information made available on foods and scratch food preparation before the knowledge dies out with the last great-grandmother.


the Bag Lady said...

dfLeah - great post! Perhaps we need to start a movement. Teaching kids basic stuff like this - what a concept! Almost like the old days when they learned something useful in school, unlike nowadays where they only learn how to push buttons on a calculator!!
They could call it something like "Basic Survival Skills - a Common Sense Approach to Life". Or "How to Survive Without a Drive-thru"

Leah J. Utas said...

I like your ideas, dfBag Lady. Although the notion of teaching something useful in school is a wee bit radical...
Can you imagine the outcry from fast-food places?

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Our bodies need much less protein than we've been led to believe. For most people, most of the time, dairy and plant-based sources are perfectly adequate.

I don't consider myself to have worked out hard enough to justify animal flesh as protein unless I've biked at least 4 hours or run at least 15 miles. And I'm strong and healthy! No mere couch-surfer NEEDS a double-patty burger for lunch and a slab of brisket for dinner. If they want it, that's their business, but it's more likely to harm than help their overall health.

Reb said...

One day while shopping, I had a woman ask me what kind of flour she should buy - she was making up a basket (Christmas Bureau, I think) for a needy family and was working from a list. This woman had to have been in her late 50's or early 60's! I was floored!

Virginia Lee said...

Miss Mama and I want very much to decrease the meat we use, but since I can no longer have soy and she has issues digesting beans more than once a week, we have few options. It's funny that you mentioned pearl barley in this post for I talked about cooking some just yesterday and Miss Mama about had a fit about how she hated barley and wouldn't even consider trying it. (I swan, this woman is getting me back for being a picky eater when I was a child.) I'm still searching for ways to decrease our meat consumption, but it's difficult considering our dietary needs. Ah well. Your post, as always, has many important and relevant points, Leah. Well typed!

Crabby McSlacker said...

Great post, and I totally agree!

Not that I don't enjoy meat, but it doesn't need to be a dietary mainstay.

And you're right, kids should be learning about this stuff in school--way more useful than trigonometry if you ask me!

Leah J. Utas said...

You're right, Bunnygirl. But we're a meat and potatoes society.

Well, Reb, at least she knew to ask.

It does make it tough, Virginia Lee, when the meat alternatives aren't tolerated by you. Can you handle lentils?

Thnaks for your support, Crabby.