Murphy's Law abounds. Sigh. Yesterday i got to the Copper Q (recipes here) more than an hour before the cooking demo was due to start. I bought a gluten-free (made in store) granola bar and some hot tea. I brought knitting and staked out 3 chairs for myself and the two ladies coming to meet me. I've been told that there are often as many as 35 people there (with 12 places to sit) and folks come an hour in advance. I didn't want to stand this time and one of the ladies coming is elderly, she wouldn't want to stand, either.
We had a total of six of us. Yup, i arrived an hour early to stake out a chair no one wanted! It wasn't bad, and i got 7 rows done on the blanket (which is looking lovely and is so very soft!)
Carla, the person who does these demos, did Cream of Mushroom Soup. With a roux, which is made with flour (Roux happens to be my middle name). So, i was prepared not to be able to taste it. But she took some of the soup out before adding the roux, and made a small amount with cornstarch so i could try it. (She was curious, too, to know how it would taste compared to the one made with flour.) I "cheated" on being vegetarian/pescatarian because she made it with a "chicken base" - but after she went to the trouble to make this just for me, i didn't want to refuse it. It was simply wonderful. When i make it in the future, however, i'll make it with a vegetable broth/base. She said the flavor isn't much different with cornstarch over flour and the difference might be that she didn't add butter to what she made for me.
Anyway, i much appreciated the substitution and being able to taste the soup. I recommend making it yourself!
Which is another issue on which i've been thinking for a while.
I eat gluten free. There are a lot of GF sites and blogs nowdays. I appreciate them very much. But much is being done to try to "recreate" the current diet of most Americans (SAD = Standard American Diet, which frankly IS sad). There are lots of recipes which are for breads, pancakes, waffles, etc. The problem, as i see it, however, is that grains just aren't that healthy for us. I know the current (and many past) "food pyramids" have grains - pastas, breads, etc. - as the primary source of calories. Many folks seem to think that substituting "whole wheat" for a more processed flour makes things healthier.
But in all of my research, and it is extensive at this point, everything points toward eating grain but especially wheat products - even whole wheat - as a very poor choice for health.
Look at the history. Processed foods began to be introduced in the early 1900s. By 1950 there was much focus on "convenience foods" which made the life of the housewife easier. By the 70s these were pretty much staples in everyone's kitchens. In the 70s and 80s, however, much was said against cholesterol containing butter, whole milk, and other healthy fats. Grain products began to be pushed as a mainstay of our diets. (We were encouraged to stay out of the sun, too. The #1 health problem in the country now? Vitamin D deficiency.)
What has happened in the intervening 30+ years? Heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, and obesity are rampant and increasing in a manner that has many concerned. Many people are on daily medication for chronic health issues. As a nation, following these guidelines, we have become very unhealthy. Yet, little has been said about this. It seems to be part of our collective consciousness that soy = good (not true), grains = good, whole-fat milk, butter, etc = bad. I don't believe these lies and yet i still struggle with the idea that the Alfredo sauce we make with organic cheese, milk, and butter is "naughty."
So, i really struggle with making (or buying) GF cookies, pasta, bread, etc. because i have come to believe that grains should be a very small part of our diet. I don't deny them altogether, but i believe they should take the part of the "pyramid" currently assigned to fats.
I also believe the vegetable oils - long promoted as "healthy eating" - are NOT healthy. I believe that there is no room in our diets for soy, corn, canola, or the other oils that are promoted. If nothing else, these are highly processed not natural. They also come from products that are largely genetically modified. (According to Wikipedia, 93% of the soybeans in the US are GM, 86% of field corn, 93% of cotton, and 93% of canola.) This is a problem much larger than i can begin to touch here, but none of these products are safe.
Ok, enough of my rant. I just am struggling with the idea of not replacing the foods i used to eat with a GF product (except on occasion), but largely foregoing grains. If you want to know the sources for my coming to think this way, email me and i'll provide the info. Part of my problem, however, not being much of a cook and certainly not a creative one, and also being very much a product of our culture, i struggle with knowing WHAT to eat if i take out sandwiches, rolls/bread, and pasta. Also, frankly, my digestive system seems to work better with some grains. Veggies alone seem to cause issues.
I ran some errands in town after the cooking demo. Then i came home and rested. In the evening i watched TV and made more cards. Also envelopes to go with them (matching the paper i use on the card). The cards i bought (at 8 for $1) are very nice, but the envelopes that came with them are not so good. I had a mess in the living room as i brought down all the projects on which i'm working. I have: bibs for the coming babies, the blanket for my niece (Ellen's) child, Christmas crafts, and the cards. Also the sewing machine is set up on the table. And all my scissors, and office supplies, pens of all sorts, and other useful gadgets. A right mess.
I went to the Methodist church today. Enjoyed it. (It does feel weird to attend a church without Duane.)
After church i stopped by N's house. Her phone has been out of order. I ended up taking her son Kip to lunch with me. He is 12 and a really, really nice kid. Then i stopped by and traded kids and took her daughter Sierra home to do some projects with me. Sierra will be 9 this winter, but she is a tiny thing. We (she) painted 3 wooden stars and 3 wooden snowflakes and then used glitter glue to decorate them. Then she used some of the pens i had to draw while i hemmed something for Kip. I then took her home. She wasn't ready to go. I had maybe 10 seconds of whining, but i told her that i just get too tired to have her for very long. She'll have to come visit me for shorter visits. She took it well and didn't say any more. I think she had fun, and i did too, although i was very, very tired afterward. I also enjoyed my lunch with Kip very much. The only problem i can see in doing this is that N's youngest, Joshua, is 3. I just don't think i've got the energy to handle him much, but want to be fair with them. (He very much wanted to come visit with me, too.)
I enjoy N's family. Her kids are very nice. I'm thrilled that i can have children in my life (who want to be with me!) and with whom i can spend time. But i also struggle with the idea of not - oh, i don't know - doing something that will make me a "benefactor" and therefore "above" them somehow. I'm NOT "above" them. I was in very similar circumstances 10 years ago. I know i can't swoop in and "fix" everything. I need to be careful that i don't do something that removes the dignity from their lives and the choices they make. Does that make any sense at all?
Last week, quite by accident, i stumbled across the new blog of a former reader of mine. I know a lot of folks who show up as my followers don't actually come and read any more. But i do have a large enough list that when she took herself off, i didn't recognize who had left. And i kind of shrugged, thinking that i must not fit for someone. That happens.
But i was shocked to find at her new blog that she'd talked about not following me anymore. She essentially said my life is lame and all i did was complain about folks in my life and that my blog is filled with self-pity. I was really hurt by this (although, i felt even then it was an unfair assessment).
Time is kind, however. It doesn't hurt like that any more. To her credit, she didn't say those things at MY blog; she probably didn't think i'd find that post. On the other hand, i don't think she's a person who would be concerned if she knew i did read it. I know there are some folks who would easily shrug it off, but i'm not one of those, and it has taken some time to recover my balance. I have to accept that if i choose to allow my blog to be public, then things like this happen. Over all, compared to some of the things i know friends have experienced, i've been very fortunate. But i do have to wonder at the people who would choose to post such a thing. Doesn't fit? Fine, leave. But say unkind things about the folks who don't fit? Um, not cool.
I've found blogs that i follow for a while, and then, for whatever reason they don't "fit" me anymore. That is part of the reason i tend to be an anonymous follower, at least at first. I'm "public" on less than half the bogs i follow. If i feel i need to move on, my absence isn't much noted that way. But i have never - never will - post about the "sad (lame) life" of someone else and why i felt the need to leave.
God loves us all. And i need to love more thoroughly.