I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Jammin it Up

Today was spent making jam for the holidays. How was your day today? Is there anything that you make for the holidays?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Think! A Positive Tirade on Food Safety

My days are spent doing inspections in food facilities. Most of the time the people who own them are good, honest, knowledgeable people. The ones today were especially up on the process they were performing. It absolutely made my day!

Then I got done and was confronted with another, tougher aspect of my job. Those that do not know and pretend that they do. "Those that do not know" are the biggest danger to the public. They have phrases like, "This is how people made this for centuries and no one died." and, " The health benefits of this far outweigh the risks." My answers, "Yes, people died. They just did not attribute it to the product you are making. Back then they also thought the night air carried vapors that caused the plague." "If there are considerable risks the benefits better be out of this world and immediately noticeable to make it worth my while. If not walk away."

"Those that do not know" TTDNK from here forward, are most likely, unpermitted and selling locally. However, once in a great while they turn out to be a major player in our food system. TTDNK are also wary of "big government" coming to shut them down.

The truth is- "Big government" does not want to shut them down. They want TTDNK to follow the law and prepare the food products they make safely. Safely means- the product won't harm anyone. Let me repeat that, it won't harm anyone. Just because, you with your cast iron gut can eat it and survive does not mean that  a 3 year old can consume it safely, or someone who is already ill can consume it safely. It is not based on your immunity.  Look up children, raw milk and E-coli. Google it go ahead. I will wait. Did you watch the video??? That is what I am talking about! If you didn't watch the video go back later- it is eye opening.

Proving that the food is safe is accomplished by this process called a scientific study. That is right science. Not pseudoscience, real hard science! The other key is that is not the, "Big Governments" job to prove that you product is safe! It is your job as the producer. This means the producer needs to do their homework. "Big Government" has all of the science at their fingertips. The producer needs to know the science as well as, if not better than the regulator.  If you are making a product you need to know your pathogens of concern and be able to explain how you are controlling the pertinent little buggers. Then you need to PROVE you are doing so. That is right here is that proof again.

Personally, you can make all of the pickles, jams and jellies that you want. The minute that food moves into commerce ALL bets are off. Homemade food is awesome. I garden, I can and preserve. I also do not sell it to anyone. It is for family use and I tend to stick to tried and true recipes.         

So here is the positive in my tirade. Every day in every state, there are countless inspectors doing their jobs. We are ensuring that what is purchased in the retail establishments and restaurants is as safe as we can make it. Every day countless unsafe practices are stopped and you, the general public, never know it even happened. Every day a silent group of unnamed people, sometimes labeled, "Big Government", are looking out for you. And that is regardless of what they are called and how they are treated. Every day countless recalls of foods take place that you never hear about. Every day countless food borne illness outbreaks are aborted by removing dangerous foods from the system. It does not matter if you know about it or not. It is happening all around you. And that is positive!!     

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Food IS love!

Another blogger I adore wrote about food and providing it for loved ones. See the sidebar. It struck a chord. An idea has been niggling in the back of my mind for several weeks. Food is love.

In Jo's world, Food IS love.

If someone is sick - I offer food. Soup or juice to help feed thier ailing bodies. Nothing is better that getting hot soup when one can barely move from the couch or bed.

If family is visiting it may be simply offering snacks and beverages as a form of hospitality.

When there is a death, there is no asking, one simply shows up with food for comfort for the bereaved.

A new baby produces a couple freezer meals or a roast chicken to help out the exhausted new parents.

A holiday is a feast! A chaotic time of joy and sharing. Gifts of glistening jars of jam are handed out each year to friends and family. Holiday dinners center aroubnd hours of cooking traditional and not so traditional foods.

When my husband, the chef, works late, I try to make him dinner. It is warmth and love waiting for him when he comes home after cooking for everyone else.

My garden provides love in it's purest form. Fresh, safe foods that are amazing to eat.

The foods I make for family and friends are an expression of who I am and how much I care about them and thier wellbeing. When I cook, I think about who I am cooking for and what nourishment this food can provide them- for both body and soul. Many times it is hard to express how we feel in a hard situation. I express a lot through food.

In Jo's world, food IS love.