Do our food choices matter?

Yes, they do. The food choices we make are very important, and in ways you may not have thought about.

The ways we choose to eat have big effects on our economy, the environment, our healthcare system and certainly on animals.

The effects that I’ve focused on the most are how my eating choices affect my own health.

I’ve told many friends over the years about how I went vegetarian for three years in the early ’90s. About how the health effects were startling. About how I lost 90 lbs. About how it made me more serene, more at peace.

Well, back in ’95, I went back to eating meat, junk food and lots and lots of pasta. Plenty of sugar, as well.

And, as you might imagine, the results were not good.

So the direct effects to our health and well-being are a big deal. I don’t want to make this post all about me, but let me just say that the issue of our food choices is very important for me again these days because back on Earth Day, I eliminated meat and sugar from my diet.

The results–just as back in 1992–have been startlingly good. For me, the strategy is just to go back to what worked. It worked very well for me a quarter-century ago, and it’s working again.

How our food choices effect all those other things I mentioned earlier in this post are extremely important, of course.

Here is a link to a brief and excellent article that covers ten of the most important reasons why eliminating meat from your diet would be a good way to go.

For quite a few years now, we have seen a huge change in attitudes about how our carnivorous ways affect farm animals. The animals we eat.

I’ve paid a lot of attention to this issue and for me, the ways in which our food choices affect those animals is also a very big deal. Here’s an article that focuses mostly on that aspect of this issue.

Whether you’re focused more on the direct effects on your own health, or those macro-issues that are playing out on a larger scale, it’s quite clear that the food choices we make matter! They matter a lot!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Of Bread and Bread Bags

Of Bread and Bread Bags

Yes, that’s the fascinating title for today’s post. I think I better explain…

The part about bread, specifically, is that last Saturday, I messed up–badly. And I’m posting today to own up to what I did…

You see, last Saturday, the 23rd, was National Banana Bread Day and I didn’t… no, I did NOT bake any banana bread!

Not a single loaf.

Had all the ingredients on hand. The bananas were at the peak of ripeness… meaning almost black.

But still, I didn’t so much as turn on the oven!

I’m a complete failure as a home baker! A fraud, a phony!

As midnight approached, I felt worse and worse about this unforgivable omission.

I had even made a point to grab the newest batch of bread bags which had arrived from Amazon three or four weeks ago. I had misplaced them after the delivery and made sure they were around for my next loaf of my favorite fruit-bread combo.

And then, while taking a momentary  break from my self-flagellation over my supposed failure, I realized that I was starting on my second batch of bags… And that the bags come in lots of 100…

And it hit me! I’ve baked a hundred loaves of bread over the last fourteen months!

Well, that was a pretty cool thought!

I let myself down from that cross and realized that, although I hadn’t come through on “thee day”, it’s nevertheless true that Ben Been a busy baker and that when you look at the overall picture, I do belong in that proud gaggle of  committed, for-real home bakers!

Tomorrow’s the day for the next two loaves of banana bread. I have a regular Wednesday buyer and I’m not going to disappoint him.

And then a loaf of the delightful, round loaf of crusty, rosemary-topped skillet bread I love so well.

I need to buy more zucchini at the grocery today for the next loaf of amazing Lemon-Zucchini bread I’m just wild about…

Yeah, Ben’s not in the Baker’s Hall of Fame. But he’s for real!

 

“Baker Ben” Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Make ’em, don’t bake ’em!

Make ’em, don’t bake ’em!

You may not have realized that today is a very special day, but it is!

It’s National Cookie Day! Yes, I do keep my eye on such things!

Yes, you’re very welcome!

I made cookies in honor of N.C.D., and they’re my total favorites. They’re a chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal cookie!

And it’s a no-bake recipe!

I know that some of you may not have realized that there are ways to make cookies–and very good ones, at that–without firing up the oven at all.

But there are ways! And I’m quite serious when I say that this is my fav cookie recipe, bar none!

I hope you’ve done something special for this celebration! You might be like me and enjoy home baking.

If that’s not the way to go today, why not stop by your favorite bakery and come back with a dozen delights of your choosing?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a celebration to get to! I just need to pour a glass of milk and I’ll be good to go!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

National Fried Chicken Day is…

National Fried Chicken Day is…

This auspicious day is the perfect occasion for me to reflect on the importance of regularly consuming vast quantities of… well, of fried chicken, of course!

One of life’s mysteries which I cannot explain is that I’ve loved fried chicken for as long as I can remember even though it was never served at home.

That is just a bit weird, isn’t it?

And even though I eat it frequently, I don’t make it at home, either.

I know my way around the kitchen and make all kinds of other stuff. But not this life-giving delicacy.

As great as it is, it’s certainly true that frying this fowl at home is no light undertaking.

You need a Dutch oven, or at least a skillet with some serious depth to it.

And getting a good result means giving up a very considerable quantity of high-quality cooking oil, and not one of the cheaper ones. Peanut oil or coconut oil are preferred.

And then you’re left with a vast quantity of used oil. Yes, it’s not too different from the situation we shade-tree mechanics face when we’re thinking of changing our car’s oil in the driveway. And what to do with it after… yeah, that can be an issue.

So maybe I’m not the only one; maybe lots of lovers of what just might be America’s favorite dish head to KFC or Popeye’s in huge numbers but eschew tossing chicken pieces n’ parts into their skillets at home!

This wonderful feeling of relief, of knowing I’m not so different from my chicken-lovin’ friends, will buoy my spirits 30 minutes from now when I’m standing in that long line of hungry guests at that KFC right around the corner from me!

I wonder if they know what day it is?

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Farmhouse Rules is my new fave…

Farmhouse Rules is my new fave…

Loving the little “discovery” I made today! I’ve been enjoying several of the cooking shows on Create TV for a while. So many good ones; one I enjoy quite a bit is America’s Test Kitchen. I love that the dishes featured on that show are the hearty “real food” offerings that light up my culinary universe.

Well, I just happened to stumble across Farmhouse Rules on the food network today. Very cool show! It just might be my new fave! I like it a lot.

The show features chef and life-long farmhouse girl, Nancy Fuller, and her 250 year old family farm. (By the way, farmhouse girl is a tag that comes from Nancy herself.)

I like that the show emphasizes good, home-style cooking, is set on a real farm and features a lot of her own brood. The 13 grand kids, especially.

One of the reasons that this one really appeals to me is that it beautifully ties together two things that have become really important to me in the last few years: authentic, made-from-scratch American cuisine and small farming, or permaculture.

If you’ve seen Farmhouse Rules, you don’t need any convincing from me about how good it is. If you haven’t seen it and think you’d like to check it out, here’s the link to the site where can get the low-down on this fine offering from the Food Network.

May you feast on fine, fresh victuals today. And may the television programming you “consume” leave you nourished and enriched!

 

 

Renewing my firm commitment to stay away from junk TV, I am,

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

I love cornbread too much!

I love cornbread too much!

Back in mid-January I posted about making scratch cornbread. It truly is something I enjoy. A lot.

Strange as it my seem, I think I enjoy the baking as much as the eating.

I did it again. And I’m posting about it again. And I’m not sorry!

I like the photo I took while I had this yummy stuff cooling on the kitchen table. It turned out very well. And it was just the thing to broaden my breakfast choices for this week!

I hope life is going well for you these days. Your kitchen life. Your life in general.

Just eat it up!

 

 

“Baker Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile