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Stopping to smell the roses, I guess. I get to ride through some lovely landscapes between work and home.

A coworker of mine has goats, and she very generously brought in some milk for me last week. It sure felt like very precious cargo as I carried it home- what a treat! I probably would have cast some sidelong glances at someone who was lovingly cradling a jar of milk on the bus like I was. I mean, yeah, I looked like a weirdo.

Anyway, I decided to make yogurt. The idea of making yogurt and cheese is very appealing to me, but the thought of going to the grocery store and buying a half-gallon of milk and then making yogurt out of that has always seemed not that exciting. I don’t know. I just couldn’t get into it. So this was my chance!


To make yogurt, you heat your milk up to 120 degrees, add a couple tablespoons of already-made yogurt, and then keep the mixture at about 115-120 degrees for six to twelve hours.

In order to maintain the temperature, I put the jar full of hot milk in an insulated cooler with two jars full of water as hot as the tap gets. I did a little research online before launching this experiment about ways to do this, and the jars-of-hot-water-in-a-cooler method seemed like the simplest. So that’s what I decided to do, and I filled up the jars and tucked in the milk for the night and went to bed dreaming of delicious, creamy, homemade yogurt.

The next morning I scampered to the cooler and, wiping some excited spittle from my chin, cracked it open. And what did I find? A jar full of lukewarm milk! It was absolutely not yogurt, nor did it have a single yogurt-like characteristic. So, I refilled the jars with hot water and let it sit for the day, thinkin a little more time would do the trick. I got home from work really late that night and went to bed again, having by that point completely forgotten about the yogurt. The next morning, a solid 36 hours after starting the experiment, I finally gave up and put the milk back in the fridge.

I really, really didn’t want to just throw the milk away. I mean, it came from someone I know. So I turned it into a quiche (which was extra-delicious, by the way) and now I’m just really hoping I don’t get food poisoning. How’s that for an illustrious ending to the story?

Check this out: 

 

Can you see it? Well, I’m no screenshot expert. It’s the nutrition information for the Baskin Robbins Heath Shake. Wait, here’s a close-up:

 

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Much better! So, I am totally baffled as to how a milkshake could possibly have 108 grams of fat, 64 grams of saturated fat, and 2310 calories. 1580 grams of sodium? I mean, what did they put in it? Milkshakes shouldn’t have 65% of your daily recommended amount of sodium. And even straight-up fat doesn’t have that much fat in it!

There’s a lot of talk about personal responsibility and freedom of choice when it comes to obesity and related health issues. Food companies and their cronies are fond of saying that they’re just providing options for people and that if people choose to consume unhealthy foods, it’s out of the producers’ hands. I think that’s true to a certain extent, but the existence of “foods” like this is just beyond the pale. Who would ever even think that a milkshake could contain 320% of the daily recommended amount of saturated fat? Why do food companies carry so little responsibility for the health of their customers that they can even get away with producing something like this? This milkshake (to use the term loosely) has 77 ingredients in it! That’s insane.

The trickery is that, while these huge food corporations talk about personal responsibility and freedom of choice out of one side of their mouths, the fact is that they rely completely upon the ignorance of their customers in order to sell their products. If they need people to not know what is really in their food, or what the ingredients or nutrition information mean, then the arguments about responsibility and choice are meaningless.

This just makes me never want to eat in a restaurant again. I mean, what the hell?

Like a lovely green tunnel. I love the bike trails in the spring!

This weekend was the annual tent sale at Webs. I think they have a very clever racket going on, which is that they offer huge discounts and have big events all the time, and every time I panic just a little that it’s my only chance to get yarn on the cheap, and I end up spending more money than I planned. Ok, it’s not exactly a “racket,” it’s more of a standard “sale,” but I blame them anyway.

The cool think about this particular tent sale is that local fiber farmers are invited in to set up booths and sell their products directly to customers. I talked to Diane Roeder of Sojourner Design in Northampton, who said that it’s always a good sale day and a good opportunity for her. Obviously it’s a good advertising move for Webs too, but if it’s good for the farmers that’s cool by me. So! Want to see what I got?

Here is some beautiful sock yarn from Diane’s sheep. She dyed it, too. I’ve never made socks, but I’m really excited about the thought, and I suspect that this yarn will offer inspiration as I struggle through the heel.

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More yarn after the jump…

There’s this idea floating around that the next president should turn the White House lawn into an edible garden. This is the sort of idea that, at first blush, seems a tiny bit ridiculous. Totally impossible, and also kind of pointless. But I read that, during World War Two, when victory gardens produced 40% of the food consumed in the United States, the Roosevelts had a victory garden too. During the first world war, President Wilson had sheep nibbling away at the White House lawns to free the groundskeepers up for the war effort and to conserve resources. Sure, these were symbolic gestures, but I agree that these types of statements actually mean something. It was definitely a statement when Reagan took the solar panels off the roof of the White House. Maybe it’s time for a positive symbolic gesture about food? There’s information about this at ondayone.org and kitchengardeners.org.

Peas!

So, the rows aren’t exactly straight, but look- peas! I planted sugar snap peas and shell peas, so I should have a nice variety in a few short weeks. I can’t wait for sugar snaps right off the plant, and last year the shell peas I’d frozen were a highlight of my winter. So, these little plants are super-exciting. Look at them go!

 

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