My First Yogurt–Bleagh!

To get into the mood for writing about yogurt, I spent several days scarfing down at least one Stonyfield Farm Organic Whole Milk Yogurt every day. I like to add bee pollen–two superfoods in one delicious serving!

The bee pollen this time is locally produced at Thomas Honey in Lake City, Florida. I got it at the Florida Folk Festival last May when I appeared there as an unfeatured fiddler.

Some people might challenge the assertion that yogurt is a superfood. But, I have anecdotal evidence that you can get super results from eating it!

First, my bleagh! story.

I was in my early twenties when I first tried eating a yogurt. At that time, I wasn’t into health food, so I don’t know what I read or heard about yogurt that prompted me to give it a try.

What I recall vividly is the experience of spooning slowly through a Borden’s strawberry yogurt. As I took in the contents of the now familiar 6 oz cup, I thought, “Hmmm, a little sour like buttermilk, a pudding-like consistency…” The jury was out.

Then I got to the bottom of the container. There was a pinkish, gelatinous layer on the bottom. Yuck! The jury came in with a unanimous verdict of Disgusting.

And that was it for several years.

Moving ahead to 1969 and my arrival at the Sunshine Company commune in Detroit, this is what happened.

While taking a shower, I found out that my hair was electing to leave my head in great numbers. Panic! How could I be a hippie if my hair was falling out?

Somehow, my synchronistic discovery was that Bulgarians enjoyed a full head of luxuriant hair because they ate yogurt. In fact, lactobacillus bulgaricus was named after them.

This time I was fortunate to get Columbo whole milk yogurt. Much more pleasant to eat, it was a rich, comforting experience. Immediately my hair decided to hold on to the scalp.

Ever since that time, I’ve been a grateful eater of yogurt. And, even though it is a different color now, I still have hair on my head.

Millet at the Health Food Store

My first visit to a health food store was in 1955. I was on a mission. I had read about the five sacred grains of China, wheat, rice, barley, soy beans and millet. I was after millet.

Being a 12 year old boy back then implies a lack of sophistication more common to a 7 year old today. I didn’t understand what the store was about.

Ann’s Health Foods seemed small and dark. There were lots of little items on wood shelves. There were wooden kegs holding items under tight lids. It had the appearance of a movie western general store, only shrunken to fit the proprietor.

She was a petite woman that I thought of as old. Considering how much longer she lived after I met her, she was not really an old woman. She did have the self-possession that we often find in elders. She knew she was different. She was ready to advocate, even defend that difference.

I asked her for the millet. What did I hope to gain from millet? As a boy raised on the icons of Popeye and Mighty Mouse, it was clear that certain foods could impart super powers. And I desperately needed a super power. (You can see why I’m drawn to superfoods!)

After a brief interaction with the intimidating shop keeper, I left the store with a small paper bag of ground millet and another small bag of raw sunflower seeds.

The sunflower seeds weren’t bad. They raised my hop0e for the millet.

My mom helped me prepare the millet by adding water and helping keep an eye on the pot while it came to a boil. Soon, it was ready, but my hopes were crushed.

It had a bland, different taste, not a good combination. I’m sure I underseasoned it. If I had thought of adding sugar and milk, as I did to cream of wheat, it may have passed muster.

Millet did not take a place in my diet. I did not return to a health food store for fifteen years.

I did continue getting sunflower seeds. There was a deli on the way home from school, when I walked or biked. It had roasted, salted sunflower seeds. They had a much better flavor. Sometimes I got roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, called pepitas, and targetted to Tampa’s Latino community.

When I did begin frequenting the health food store again, Ann had a new location. Her store was bigger and brighter. Oddly, she was about the same age.

I don’t go to health food stores as often these days. The supermarkets have brought in so many items that I used to get at the health food store. But, I haven’t seen any millet.

Maybe it’s time to go on down to the health food store and get a bag of ground millet. Maybe all it needs is maple syrup and a little hemp milk.

Quinoa the Super Grain of the Andes

The first time I cooked quinoa I was amazed at how the little rounds grain unfurled into a spiral. Then, the nut-like flavor way surpassed my expectations.

Still, I was a little impatient with the need to rinse the grains to avoid bitterness. You don’t have to do that with rice.

Now we have the updated info from a real expert, Carolyn Hemming.

And Now, the Food Revolution

Coming Full Circle with Back Yard Gardens

The Food Revolution is now upon us. We have come full circle. Starting from family farms and back yard gardens, we first evolved to the Green Revolution.

Who remembers the Green Revolution? It wasn’t a revolution in the sense of the lower overthrowing the higher. It was really a further concentration of wealth and control from the hands of the many to the fists of the few.

Pushed by Big Ag chemical fertilizer and pesticides, we found ourselves supplied with food by factory farms. The torch of questionable progress is now held by GMO seeds, “Frankenseeds.” These are produced by the same companies.

If we collectively fall for this one, the game is over. It’s totally rigged with a complete lack of ethics.

The good news is the Food Revolution, as written about by Janet K. Keeler of the St. Petersburg Times in her article, Who’s Who in the Food Revolution.

She tells us that folks are choosing to work their own gardens. People are buying more produce grown locally, much of it organically grown.

Clearly, we have come full circle by this trend.

Some of the players in this arena include:

1. Wendell Berry

2. Alice Waters

3. Michael Pollan

They all are in favor of getting our food from nearby farmers, or growing it ourselves. They favor sustainable farming. That usually implies organic or biodynamic farming.

If Michelle Obama can dig it, we can dig it, too.