Things We Take for Granted
Text and photos by Chef Joey
Things we take for granted – sunrise and sunset, running water, gasoline stations just waiting for us to pull in … What we do not realize is there are simple foods out there that we take for granted.
Let’s take the potato: it can be mashed, baked, fried, stuffed, au gratin – even made into pancakes – and it costs basically nothing compared to other things. Carrots, onions all the basics are inexpensive and vital parts of any meal as the base ingredient.
The onion is one of the most cultivated foods out there in this crazy world – food origins trace back to 500 BC due to the ability to transport and store it. The Egyptians took them as a sign of eternal life, and when the first settlers came to what we now know as the United States, the “bulb onion” was one of the first crops planted by our pilgrim fathers.
Little did they know that there are red, yellow, brown and even sweet (Vidalia) onions out there from which we can make savory snacks and even sweets with this caramelized item. The onion is also one of the only veggies that can be eaten at any stage of its growing stage.
Carrots are also another crazy veggie that has a bunch of colors besides orange. There is yellow, purple, red, black and white out there. The tops can be eaten as well. This veggie can also be mashed or baked, shredded for salads, pureed on its own or made into soup – combined with ginger it is a tasty delight!
Earlier I wrote a CECELIA article about lentils. There are so many food items out there that we are passing by that can feed our entire family for pennies, and yet the world goes bonkers for “Vegan Hamburger.” I, as a devoted eater, think foods should be used for their flavor – not be manipulated to taste like chicken or beef etc. An onion soup or a caramelized onion quiche is delicious and costs less than $5 to prepare – and eight people can enjoy it and be full. That is the most important part.
With this new world of Google and other searches, you can never run out of new ideas for basic food recipes, changes of the old family traditions … We can step out of the box and embrace the fact that you do not have to spend $200 at the grocery store to feed your family. Trim it down and you will enjoy healthier choices, especially with the rising costs of everything. This is the one thing you can control, and making your own food makes you more in control of yourself – and your budget.
In addition to the nutrition items, quite often foods have recipes written on them, or suggested preparation techniques. Try them. That is exactly how new traditions get started, because you learned something!
🥕🥕Carrot and Ginger soup🥕🥕
Peel and chop:
1 pound carrots
2 cloves garlic
2 large onions
Additionally you will need:
a piece of fresh ginger (size of your thumb)
vegetable bouillon cubes (2)
Sauté the onions and garlic in butter or oil (about 3 tablespoons) until soft.
Add the carrots and 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Add fresh ginger – about 2 teaspoons to this mix – as it is boiling and bay leaf – add veggie bouillon to the soup. Two cubes is plenty. When the carrots are soft, mash them in the broth for a healthy hearty winter soup!
By Jennifer O’Connor
For football fans, the biggest day of the year is right around the corner. For pythons in Florida, their days are numbered.
In a grotesque twist on the Super Bowl, Florida wildlife officials and Gov. Ron DeSantis are promoting a spectacle called the Python Challenge™ Python Bowl, in which participants are encouraged to hunt and kill as many snakes as possible. Footballs made from the doomed snakes’ skin will be used during Super Bowl festivities.
When inexperienced and untrained individuals go traipsing through the woods and swamps on a mission to kill, it’s akin to sending a quarterback onto the field with no game plan. Neither one will end well.
The python “problem” in Florida is fueled by the exotic pet industry, which encourages a capricious public to buy these animals on a whim. “Must-have” novelty pets tend to be disposed of rather quickly (often abandoned outside to fend for themselves) when the excitement wears off.
Displaced pythons are here through no fault of their own and shouldn’t have to suffer for it. Their unique physiology puts them at risk of experiencing a prolonged, agonizing death at the hands of people unequipped to kill them humanely. The contest allows firearms, snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and noose poles to be used. Anyone in the state can decapitate a python with a machete at any time—even though pythons can live for up to an hour after getting their heads chopped off.
There’s also the impact on the Everglades to consider. The national park is a delicate ecosystem that provides myriad flora and fauna, including numerous rare and endangered species, with important habitat. Within the park, 47 plant species have been listed as threatened by the state of Florida and 113 as endangered. Yet Gov. DeSantis opened up more than 150 miles of secondary trails within Big Cypress National Park to Python Bowl contestants. Imagine the disruption to native wildlife and the potential for environmental destruction when teams of four-wheelers take over Big Cypress. Drones and dogs are also allowed in some areas.
Pythons are not only beautifully patterned reptiles but also fascinating animals. They’re excellent climbers and swimmers. To keep their eggs warm, mother pythons continually contract their muscles to raise their body temperature, and they rarely leave their eggs while incubating them. Pythons hunt using chemical receptors in their tongues and heat sensors along their jaws. Unless threatened, they are docile and shun contact with humans.
It is one thing to recognize an environmental crisis in the Everglades in which humans have released snakes into a habitat that’s perfect for them to breed in and then to kill them humanely in order to alleviate the problem. It is another thing entirely, however, to trivialize their deaths and turn their skin into footballs. Killing animals should never be portrayed as fun, and compassionate football fans should be able to enjoy the Super Bowl without having to support cruelty.