by Pettus Read
I'm often asked questions about Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie whom I write about in my columns, which I appreciate very much. Those two individuals have returned a time of life to many of my readers that they enjoy reminiscing about, and have brought back memories of family members, just like my two family characters. And the recipe for Aunt Sadie's teacakes that Uncle Sid and I enjoy so much continues to be a major request from readers.
That was until the last article where I wrote a sort of tongue-in-cheek story concerning Uncle Sid explaining "natural" foods to his granddaughter. I had one reader from out in California take on Aunt Sadie's cookies by commenting, "Labeling cookies made from "scratch" as natural is also disingenuous and confusing since the described cookies are made of some of the worst ingredients you could choose to make a healthy cookie. White flour produced in a factory and completely stripped of nutrients is just a high glycemic sugar substitute and Crisco shortening is the original bad fat substitute being made entirely of partially hydrogenated oils. Eat these cookies the rest of your life and you'll be the next diabetic victim of a heart attack." The California commenter went on to say, "A little more thought and informative advice in published articles would be more helpful in teaching young people the advantages of old and new nutritional practices."
Aunt Sadie's teacakes are about as old a nutritional practice as I know and the original recipe used lard instead of Crisco. If I had used the term lard in the article my California friend would really have called out the fat police on me. Most of the people I've known who have eaten these teacakes have lived up into their eighties and nineties, so, I guess I do need to put a little more thought into my published articles since these teacakes are so dangerous and folks take me so seriously.
I don't believe I have ever written that you should eat Aunt Sadie's cookies at every meal, which I would like to do, but know I shouldn't. I guess some folks just want to put good cooks out of business and childhood memories away. But a multigrain bar with a glass of soymilk from grandma just doesn't cut it for me. I'm just glad Uncle Sid doesn't do Facebook, where this appeared in the local paper, or he would have given out a few disingenuous remarks about "scratch" cooking.
It is much like all the mythical remarks made recently about boneless lean beef trimmings. Known to the news media and those who wish to do away with animal agriculture as "pink slime," it is 100 percent USDA inspected beef. By showing a picture of something that really was not what all the hoopla was about on Facebook and other social media, plants that produce this product are now going out of business and people are losing their jobs over total misinformation.
Imagine trimming fat from a roast or steak. There's always some meat that is trimmed with the fat. It is this meat, trimmed from the fat, which becomes boneless lean beef trimmings. When you compare the nutrition analysis of this lean beef with 90 percent lean/10 percent fat ground beef that you buy for your own personal cooking at home, they are virtually identical. That's because boneless lean beef trim is beef - period.
Then there were those who said it had dangerous chemicals in it. They were talking about the ammonium hydroxide, which is essentially ammonia and water. Both of these are naturally occurring compounds that have been used to make foods safe since 1974, when the Food and Drug Administration declared it "Generally Recognized as Safe," the highest safety attribution the agency assigns to compounds. Boneless lean beef trimmings receive a puff of ammonia to eliminate bacteria safely and effectively. When combined with moisture naturally in beef, ammonium hydroxide is formed, which is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, in our own bodies and the environment. Food safety experts and scientists agree it is an effective way to ensure safer ground beef.
Uncle Sid does use the term "pink slime" but only when referring to cousin Pirtie's strawberry yogurt salad each Christmas. He would agree there are things we all may do to help with the problems of misunderstandings concerning what we eat. We should demand that all regulatory efforts be based on sound science, not on emotion that causes panic in consumers and financial ruin for producers, as well as manufacturers.
Above all, do what our teachers and mothers have told us for years. Work on our dietary patterns, eat more fruits and vegetables along with the rest of the other food groups, and don't panic over a Facebook post or Internet page created by someone who lives on top of a mountain. Also enjoy a teacake every now and then. Aunt Sadie says it won't hurt you.