Friday 7 July 2023

everlasting paste

We prefer to be exclusive when it comes to food? We'd rather not share our salad greens with caterpillars and snails. And I don't mean accidentally chomping through a maggot when eating an apple; even the tooth-marks of invertebrate sharers brings up <huuack> a feeling of disgust in many consumers. That's what I take from the fact that all the leaves in those nitrogen-packed bags of mixed salad greens are intact and unblemished. An amazing feat of quality control mediated by optical recognition software and the sharp eyes of low-paid assembly line workers. As well as prime delicious looks, we'd also like to have some shelf-life to the product and that's largely due to the nitrogen [no oxygen aNNyway] pillowing up the salad leaf bags.

Dairy is another matter. Because of its packing, we're less worried about things we can see lapping up the cream; it's more abut the microbes - Listeria and Coliforms; Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., Brucella melitensis, and Mycobacterium bovis [that would be TB!]. In my dotage, I've started to add cream to the weekly shop: I add a gob of it to drinking chocolate made on hot water when I can't be arsed to make a pot of tea. There's almost always some in the fridge and I use it several days beyond the printed sell-by BB date. My sainted MiL learned to cook in tropical Africa and had to trust her nose and eyes and I am channelling her.

A good few weeks ago an honoured guest brought a shop-bought pie [a rare treat in our make it from scratch home]and a carton of Elmlea double cream.  I've clearly lived a very sheltered life because I'd never 'eard of it. The package looked just like reg'lar cream and Dau.II had to point out that it wasn't. One clue was that the sell-by was months out from the day of purchase.  The pot sat in the fridge for weeks until, at the end of May, Dau.II stopped piffing about, opened the lid whisked up the contents, made some meringues and a rhubarb fool and served it forth in our short drinking glasses. It was fine. But why would you bother to keep the dairy but get the fat from somewhere else?

It's just that, instead of one ingredient, there are ten (10) to construct an emulsion of water, fat, carbs, protein and ADEK vitamins: Elmlea Double: 

  • Buttermilk 69%, Vegetable Oils (Coconut, Rapeseed), Lactose, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, Sucrose Esters of Fatty Acids), Stabilizers (Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Carrageenan), Colour (Carotenes).

Hey look, there's our generic industrial paste ingredient carrageenan [prev]. And that's where all the oilseed rape Brassica napus napus goes! There's A Lot of bright yellow fields this spring growing these Brassica for crushable seed. It's Canola to y'all Nordamericanos.

But the market division at Elmlea realised that they were missing a trick by selling a product that was too close to, like actual, cream. There are loads of consumers who have gone all vegan on us and want nothing to do with exploited farm-stock. Marketing talked to the food engineering division et voilá! Elmlea 100% Plant Double Alternative To Cream. Which has upped the ToC to fourteen (14) ingredients and left not even the whiff of cow behind [poop joke - I'm still 11 at heart]:

  • Lentil Protein Preparation (Water, 1.1% Lentil Protein), 31% Vegetable Oils (Coconut, Rapeseed), Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Emulsifiers (Sunflower Lecithin, Sugar Esters of Fatty Acids, Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Stabilizers (Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum), Natural Flavours, Salt, Colourant (Beta-Carotene) 

The finance department were presumably delirah with this solution because Buttermilk <whoa pricey> has been replaced with 1% lentils in water <commendably cheap>.

And while we're on immortal food products, let's recall the gingerbread church which was made for Christmas last year. We're not generally super-quick to dismantle the paraphernalia of the holidays and that gingerbread chapel is still with us 5 months after it was constructed from food grade products. The coloured windows were made to measure by including crushed hard candy in the window-opening when the walls were baked. They looked really well but sugar is hygroscopic and a little widdle of coloured syrup started drooling down over the window-sill before the end of January.  A few weeks later the gloop was creeping across the snow and finally consensus was reached about a respectful end to the edifying edifice. It's rather too late for going up the chimney as winter fuuuuuel. On the 27th May it was put out "for the birds" but they were not interested. I suggested that the whole thing would be disappeared by "mammals" if left overnight on the coffee table outside in the yard. I was imagining this, The Beloved thought that and the gingerbread came inside again sharpish.

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