For many centuries, herbs and spices have been integral to the development not only of gastronomy, but human civilization as a whole. Some once held a value equal to (or even greater than) gold, and many have long been used not only in cooking, but as tonics, tinctures and teas for the curing of various illnesses. This week I’m looking into a fairly well-known herb that I have personally used in my own kitchen for a very long time; oregano.
I would certainly label myself a consumer of yogurt. I am not a person who can’t go a day without it; I reserve that high and holy place in my life for coffee. However, I do like having a moderately healthy snack alternative as I am working on making better eating a habit for myself. So I decided to check out some of the offerings of the yogurt market that were both familiar and foreign to me. I stuck with the same flavor (blueberry) on each just to keep it simple, and decided to keep to four brands to avoid any extensive “blending” or “confusion” of taste when sampling.
Pretty much every yogurt producer takes point of pride on the wholesomeness and simplicity of their ingredients, and these four were no exception. One of the primary attractions for health-conscious consumers is the addition of live active cultures in yogurt, which among other benefits aids in digestive health. Some of the more prominent ones include thermophilius, bifidus and acidophilius. While all of the products I sampled do contain these ingredients, they do each also have their downside.
One aspect of being a person who is passionate about food is the opportunity (whether you choose to take it or not) to produce what you eat. I have at several times in the past been able to manage a small-scale garden with moderate success. I enjoyed the time I spent maintaining it almost as a kind of therapy, and not only did I enjoy eating what I grew, but it also gave me a sense of accomplishment to literally reap the fruits of my labor. Before the advent of all those wacky inventions like the steam engine, electricity and Pinterest, we were an agrarian society; most everyone gardened or farmed and produced a sizable portion of what they ate. There is a comfort in knowing , particularly in this age of GMOs and mass-produced “faux” food, precisely where your food came from, what was added to it (if anything), and how many hands were involved in its growth. The increase in popularity of farmers’ markets and farm-to-table restaurants speaks to this notion that doesn’t seem to be waning in popularity.
Most folks have their favorite beverage. Whether it’s that cup of coffee you can’t start your day without or a refreshing cocktail to kick off the weekend, most of us know what we like and like what we know. But there is also the nostalgia factor to consider; many of us can be returned to our childhood with one sip of a product we grew up with. While there are many, I’m going to talk about two in particular that are major hits on the east coast: Cheerwine and Moxie colas.
Brace yourselves guys, we’re gonna go a few rounds with the good stuff: chocolate. While I by no means consider myself a chocoholic, I am always intrigued by the new range of flavor-enhanced chocolates being offered by both artisan companies and more well-known, mainstream producers. One major player in the commercial chocolate business is Lindt, a company best known for their variety of truffles. Developed by a father and son team in Zurich Switzerland in 1845, they apparently knew a good thing when they tasted it, because they’ve been rolling out all manner of chocolaty goodness ever since. Their latest release is the Hello My Name Is line, an exceptional selection of milk chocolate squares with various flavored fillings, available in bars and bags of individually wrapped pieces.