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Archive for June, 2013

I’m pretty upset by the defeat of proposition 37 in California, although given the legislative backlash I have been seeing, maybe proposition 37 had to be defeated in order to raise awareness and pave the way for successful legislation in other states.  I just hope that it comes back around to California, one of the biggest food producing states in the country, if not the biggest.  Where else would it be more important to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients?

Reading about how much money some giant corporations spent to keep people from knowing what kind of food goes into their food was the incentive I needed to finally kick some of my more tenacious junk food habits.  I have managed, at least in the short term, to give up two of my great loves: Coca-Cola and potato chips.

For the time being, the soda has been replaced by Poland Spring sparkling water with fruit essence.  It has zero calories and zero artificial sweetener.  I shudder a bit to think what has to be done to obtain “fruit essence,” and Poland Spring is owned by Nestle, which actually spent more money than Coca-Cola to defeat proposition 37, so this is not a long-term solution.

Which brings me to one of the more alarming part about large corporations spending piles of money to defeat legislation which would hold them more accountable to their customers: brands that you think are at least close to doing the right thing are owned by these conglomerates.  For example, Kashi, a popular earthy-crunchy brand, is owned by Kelloggs, which spent more than half a million dollars in the campaign against proposition 37.  The fallout was unpleasant to say the least.  I used to use Muir Glen organic tomatoes on the recommendation of a source I trusted.  Turns out that Muir Glen is owned by General Mills, another heavy hitter opposed to proposition 37.

I now read labels not only for ingredients but also for corporate relationships.

Returning to my original point which was supposed to be about finding replacements for junk foods, I recently came across a recipe for baked potato chips, so tonight I decided to use what I remembered from the blog post I read (note to self: go back and find the source to give credit where credit is due) to try my own variation.

I chopped up two cloves of garlic and two shallots and combined them in a bowl with some olive oil and salt.  If you like pepper, add fresh ground pepper.  I sliced up two russet potatoes as thinly and equally as I could (which turned out to be not very equal and sometimes not very thin but was probably excellent knife practice all the same), rinsed and dried them.  Then I tossed them in the olive oil mixture until well coated and spread them out on two baking sheets.

As I recall, the recipe I read suggested about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, and here is where I ran into problems.  Since it has been a day somewhat fraught with user error, I probably should have known better than to try a cooking experiment.  I was clever enough to put the thicker slices together on one pan and the thinner slices on another, but I was not clever enough to remember that I put the thick slices on the rack above the thin slices, so when I would peek in the oven to check on the baking progress, I was somewhat mystified that the potato slices did not seem to be crisping, so I cooked them quite a bit longer than expected.  Well, the thin slices were crisping up just fine … on the lower rack where I couldn’t see them.  Needless to say, I ended up with some burned chips, but even most of the thin slices were still edible, and the thick slices were cooked all the way through.

I recommend upping the oven temperature to 425 or even 450 and make sure to check *all* of the pans in the oven when you think the chips are getting close to done.

Drain briefly on paper towels, sprinkle with topping of choice — a bit more salt if needed, green herbs, or Parmesan cheese come to mind — and enjoy!  I don’t know how much healthier they are than their fried brethren, but at least this way you have more control over the ingredients.

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