Today, we’re halfway through our unprocessed challenge! I want to give a huge thanks to all the guest authors so far, and to the ones still to come. Please be sure to visit their blogs and websites and show your appreciation in the comments.
This seems like a good time to check in with everyone and see how it’s going. I’ll go first.
I’ll admit that I’ve caught myself on autopilot a couple of times. A few days ago I reached for the bottle of Sriracha hot sauce to spice up my lunch. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized I forgot to check the ingredients — and unfortunately discovered that they add preservatives. (I quickly checked the other bottles in my pantry: Chipotle Tabasco thankfully passes the Kitchen Test, but Tapatio? Not so much.)
I mentioned this to my boyfriend, and he recalled a conversation we had shortly after we first met. We were discussing his keeping mostly Kosher at home, and he told me that it helped change his relationship to food. Instead of reaching for something out of habit, he was forced to make specific, conscious choices. It’s all about eating deliberately, a process that takes a lot of effort even for the most diligent of us.
The other revelation I’ve had is that there is one ingredient that sneaks into a lot of foods from even the “healthiest” of companies: “Natural flavor.”
I’ll leave the flavoring details up to Erin in her
upcoming guest post, but for now I’ll just say how surprised I was to find “natural flavor” in many foods that would otherwise pass the kitchen test. Even the best, most dedicated of companies are sometimes guilty of this.
I’m also still trying to find the answers to a couple of questions about specific ingredients. Last weekend at the BlogHer Food conference, I grilled the Scharffen Berger reps about soy lecithin. Lecithin is used as an emulsifier in large-scale chocolate production. They told me that if you were making chocolate at home, you probably wouldn’t use it. Unfortunately, they did not know if lecithin itself could be made at home (in theory, at least). So the jury’s still out on that one. In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate with Almonds, Trader Joe’s 71% Fair Trade Chocolate, and Theo Chocolate’s 84% Dark — all are made without lecithin.
The other ingredient I’m trying to pin down is xanthan gum. I’ve learned that many people (especially those who are avoiding gluten) buy xanthan gum directly and use it at home. However, I have yet to surmise if xanthan gum could be made at home. Anyone have insight on that?
So, now it’s your turn. How is your unprocessed month going? Is it easier or harder than you expected? Have you had any particularly revelatory experiences? Have you been supported by friends and family, or have they made it more difficult for you? Do tell!