January 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
Here’s one for you: how is a DRY CLEAN ONLY tag like sugar? (This inspirational metaphor came to me after I discovered this morning I had shrunken my favorite winter hat in the wash after failing to read the tag.) Answer: precisely the moment you make the assumption it isn’t there, is when it will be. Call it Murphy’s Law of Hats and Sausages if you will.
You see, Friday night I had grand plans of trying out a new soup recipe, so I headed with the kids in tow to the store with a shopping list that read:
- 3 oz. Spinach
- 8 oz. Tortellini
- 1 lb. Sausages
I was feeling optimistic about cooking more meals from “scratch” and thereby avoiding the sugar issue altogether.
Silly me. Although the spinach and milk posed no problem, I was in for a surprise at the refrigerated pasta products section as package after package of tortellini revealed the presence of sugar thirteen or fourteen ingredients down. Strike one. Fortunately, I was delighted to find that the small bags of cheese tortellini by the dried pasta section would work.
Next, wandering by the seafood section the kids clamored for one of our favorite treats: smoked salmon. Because I’ve been feeling like the sugar drill sargent of late, any edible indulgence that doesn’t involve sugar is suddenly very, very attractive. Buuuuuuut- can you guess? Oh yes, our favorite brand of smoked salmon let us down in the sugar department. Luckily the brand next hook over would do.
On to the sausages. And you can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? You wouldn’t think it’d be hard, but try finding supermarket sausages without sugar, I dare you. By this time I was pulling my hair out in large fistfuls wondering if we’d be reduced to eating dirt sandwiches for the next twelve months. What have I gotten us into? I wondered. It was at this moment I found a package of sweet sausages which listed in the ingredients dried apples and fruit juice.
Now, making rules for our project thus far has involved splitting quite a few hairs and the fruit juice issue has been a big one. As Dr. Lustig points out in his lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth, fruit juice is sugar- and without the fiber of the originating fruit it is every bit as detrimental as the other forms of sugar we know and love. Our rule regarding fruit juice has therefore become this: no products containing fruit juice unless they contain actual fruit as well. Therefore we have been able to buy Polaner All-Fruit Jam with which to flavor our yogurt, as well as fruit sauces, fruit leather and fruit gummi-like snacks for the kids to take in their lunches. It felt like a bit of a stretch, but technically the sausages did have both fruit pieces and fruit juice- so the sausages went into my basket with a sigh of relief.
Phew! I was deeply grateful catastrophe would be averted for yet another night. That night as I prepared the soup I realized I will have to revamp my definition of “convenience foods” to include virtually anything that has a list of ingredients. Nonetheless, despite everything, we had done it. Tonight we would eat, a nice, interesting, and fairly homemade meal- with no sugar.
I went to pour in the six cups of organic chicken broth I have stored by the box in our pantry, when a terrible thought occurred to me. I stopped. No. Couldn’t be. But what if….? Cautiously, as if defusing an explosive, I turned the box over to check the ingredient list: Organic Chicken Broth… Organic Chicken Flavor… Natural Chicken Flavor… Organic Evaporated Cane Juice- DAMN!