Hallo

Hallo

Day 5: 100% organic

Today I actually managed to buy 100% organic, with help from Citymarket, Ekosoppi and a marketbooth from Solsidans Trädgård at the market square!

In Ekosoppi I found organic Cola from Whole Earth, it’s going to be interesting to see whether it falls in my husbands taste! They have quite a lot of different chocolates in Ekosoppi, and I just HAD to try some of them, being a bit of a chocolate-addict… I found organic yeast at last, so now I can actually bake organic bread! And I bought 4 sausages for 3, 50 euros, tasty but I can’t really get used to paying that much for meat! The most basic stuff like milk and youghurt I bought in Citymarket, and the vegetables at Solsidans booth.

So – 100% organic today! :-)

Day 4: Expensive meatballs

I love my husband very much, but sometimes he’s a pain in the ass! Today I asked him what he wanted to eat for dinner, and of course he wanted spaghetti with meatballs.

What’s wrong with spaghetti and meatballls? 1) I really really don’t feel like eating meat these days, I’m turning into a vegetarian, slowly but surely. 2) I haven’t found any organic meat yet other than a couple of sausages in Citymarket.

After a short walk around the city, I found this little amazing shop, Ekosoppi, which only sells organic products. The shop is not very big, but they have everything you need from shampoo to dog food, all organic.

Ekosoppi have a rather small amount of products from Ilmajoen Makkaramestarit ranging from minced beef to reindeer sirloin. I bought 300 grams of minced beef for 4,59 euro, I could get the same amount for 2 euros in Minimani. Back home in my kitchen, I found that the meat was a very high quality and it seemed to have a smaller fat-content than the minced meat I would normally buy. It was good meat. All in all I think it was worth the extra money.

If I had more money I would buy all my groceries at Ekosoppi, no doubt about that. Tomorrow I think I’ll have to go and check out more of their products!

Day 3: Comfort food

I’m a bit embarrassed about it, but the truth is that though I might be a chef in my professional life, most of my home cooking is – well – lets just say very simple. Most days where I’m alone and hungry I will cook the same dish: pasta with tomato pure and parmesan. I’m not sure if you can say that I actually COOK it, since it’s just a question about boiling some pasta and adding tomato pure and parmesan afterwards, not a very big gastronomic challenge.

I always have pasta, tomato pure and parmesan at home. It doesn’t really matter what kind of pasta, everything goes,but when it comes to the tomato pure there’s only ONE that works!

When I was a kid, my Dad and I had quite a few arguments about whether the dish served was pasta with tomato pure or tomato pure with pasta. I was pretty picky back then, but pasta with tomato pure was always a success! The tomato pure on our table was from Beauvais, my parents tried to introduce other (cheaper) brands, but none of them were accepted by me! Ketchup were put on the table too, but I never touched it.

When I moved to Finland I had some trouble finding tomato pure and if I hadn’t found Felix tomato pure, I would properly have moved back to Denmark. I LOVE Felix tomato pure and I can’t live without it.

Yesterday I ran out. And I can’t buy a new tube since it’s not organic!

After a hectic search in Minimani and Citymarket I found a tomato pure produced by Biona Organic (the ones with the sweetcorn). 3 times more expensive than Felix’s puree. In a glass jar instead of the tube I’ve gotten so used to. It felt wrong.

At home, when the pasta was boiled and the tomato puree added, I found that the only difference between Felix and Biona is that Biona’s might be a bit more liquid than Felix’s. The taste is nearly the same. I can do that. I will have to cut down on the amount I normally use for a bowl of pasta, since the price is so much higher, but I’ll survive.

I only have 100 grams of parmesan left. Soon I will have to find an organic alternative – I wonder if that is possible here in Vaasa?

Day 2: A nice surprise

So, today I decided to go to Citymarket to check out how they’re doing when it comes to organic products! We have two Citymarket’s in Vaasa, a big one a bit outside the city and a smaller one just in the center. I went to the big one, assuming that their sortiment was a bit bigger.

I was surprised to see that Citymarket have a rather big sortiment of organic products compared to Minimani. I found 29 different fresh vegetables and fruits, all very expensive, but they were there! All the organic products is marked with a green price-tag, so they’re very easy to find when you look down the rows in the shop. I found many different kinds of flours and cereals and several organic breads too. Organic milk, creme fraice, vegetables, snacks, legumes. They also have things like sugar, cacao-powder, coffee and stuff like that. I even found 2 different organic chocolate-bars!

4 organic meat-products, not butter and no yeast. Other than that, Citymarket have more or less all you need organic. There’s no a lot to choose between, but it’s there. I made a list over different Finnish companies that I discovered on my journey around the shop: Myllärin, Pirkka and Sunspelt, all compagnies with a rather big sortiment of organic products produced in Finland. Good to know that compagnies like that actually exists!

So – it seems like I have to start shopping in Citymarket instead…

Day 1: 85% organic

Today I went by my favorite shop, Minimani, to buy a bit of groceries. This is the first time were I’ve been in Minimani and have actually been looking for organic food, and I must admit that I was disapointed! The few organic products they sell are hidden away among all the other products – you really have to look for them to find them! No organic butter, a very limited sortiment of vegetables, and no organic meat what so ever. It is possible to find the bare necessities, but nothing more than that!

But – I managed to get the stuff I needed: Ridicoulus expensive youghurt, milk that costed double the price of normal milk (0,80 euro – 1,59 euro), onions costing 3 times as much as the normal ones! I will have to do a more systematic comparisment of the prices at some point – but in general everything was at least double the price of the non-organic alternative. I wonder if some of the other shops like CityMarket and Prisma are doing better?

85% of the groceries I bought today was organic. It is not 100% but I think it’s a pretty good start. I “sinned” by buying normal butter and yeast, but I simply couldn’t find any organic alternatives, and we can’t live without it! Maybe I could have done better, but all in all I feel pretty good about this…

The Two Week Challenge

To really get started with buying organic, I decided to challenge myself with a “two week challenge”. Since I will be going abroad on holiday the 31th of May, the challenge is going to be short but intensive!

The rules:

- I am only allowed to buy organic food products

- Food products should be bought locally if possible

- Food products should be bought Fair trade if possible

- I am not allowed to waste any food

- I am allowed to buy a small amount of not organic goods to ensure that my husband will not demand a divorce (coke)

- I will write about my progress every day

- I am allowed to use all the food products I already have in my kitchen, organic or not organic

Killing Animals

I had planned to not write about this subject until I felt I could write totally objective. I also wanted to do some more research about it first, but I changed my mind.
Actually I woke up at 3.30 after a nightmare, and I just had to write, it couldn’t wait. I needed to get it out of my system. Since I had no time for research all the following fact are taken from the book Eating Animals and Wikipedia.

We all know that there’s nasty things going on when it comes to conventional animal farming. We all know that animals suffers in different ways during ”production”, especially in animal factories like the ones in US and China.
But what about when they die?

I always thought that when an animal died – it died. Like that. Paw – bong – dead. How difficult can it be to kill an animal without the animal having to suffer?
But that is not how it is, at all.

Capital punishment is an issue that’s been debated quite a lot through time. If, say we can’t avoid capital punishment, the least we can do is to make it painless isn’t? Whether different methods of execution involves suffering and how much have been subject to many discussions and is taken up by the press nearly every time a prisoner is executed in US. The electrical chair is only used very little now a days, mainly because of lacking efficiency. There’s been incidents where the subject had to be choked several times, subjects that bursted into fire and people that were clearly conscious and in pain for minutes before dying. The most used method now is lethal injections and also that method have it’s problems. The injection need to be done very precisely, the right amount of medicine needs to be used. Human error have resulted in many painful executions with lethal injections too.

My point is: it have proven difficult to kill humans in a civilized and humane way, even though it is a very limited amount of people who is executed annually in western countries, and even though it is ”professionals” that performs the execution.
How then with animals?
In the big slaughterhouses in US thousands of animals are killed everyday. A worker on the kill floor can kill thousand cows during one shift. How can we even think that it’s possible to do that without the animals suffering, when we can’t even execute our own without pain?

Cow’s in a typical slaughter house is ”killed” using a bolt-gun. The gun is pressed against the cow’s head between the eyes and when fired shoots a steel bolt into the animals skull and retracts it. If used correctly the cow will die instantly. If not, the cow might only be knocked unconscious or temporarily stunned. The gun have to be operated correctly, the blow needs to be hard enough and it needs to be fired precisely. If it goes wrong the first time and the cow is still alive and kicking, it can be extremely difficult to keep the cows head still enough to give it a second blow.
After being shoot, the cow is being hanged from the hind legs and hoist into the air. The neck is cut and the cow is drained for blood. This will kill the cow because of lack of blood to the brain, but it takes several minutes, which is why the animal is supposed to be unconscious or death already.
After bleeding the animals are being skinned and thereafter dismembered.
If the cow dies from the blow of the both-gun, it is lucky. If only a limited amount of cattle were killed in the slaughterhouse, it would properly be possible to kill every cow in that way.
But thousands of cows are being killed everyday and a big percentage of them are not being killed by the first blow. Cows are being hanged to bleed while still fully conscious. Sometimes on purpose – the bleeding goes faster if the animals is alive and it’s all about time and money. Because of that some cows will still be alive when the skinning starts. Some cows are lucky, their miserable life is ended by the bolt-gun, but for other cows even death is several minutes of suffering.

Chickens are being decapitated, which properly is the most humane way to kill. It is as fast and painless as it comes. The chicken are hung by the feet and first dragged through a electrified water bath to knock them unconscious. After that they go through the automatic throat-cutter and from there to the scalding-tank. The voltage in the water bath is often not high enough to really knock the chicken unconscious. And the automatic throat-cutter always miss some animals that will have their throat slit by backup-slaughters instead. But they will miss some of them too. 180 million chicken are improperly slaughtered every year, according to the National Chicken Council. Some chickens will still be alive when going to the scalding tank.

(Fish ought to be mentioned here too, but I’ll talk about that in a separate topic later on)

Gail Eisnitz researched cruelty towards animals over a ten year period resulting in her book Slaughterhouse. The book consists of interviews with slaughterhouse workers and is the definitive proof that something is wrong, other than just the inhumane slaughter of the animals.
Hitting, stomping, cutting, kicking. Workers letting their frustration out on the animals. They’re going to die anyway, Some of the workers might be sadistic already, and the rest are made sadistic from their work. Normal people putted under extreme pressure. It might be normal and natural to kill animals, but to kill hundreds of animals everyday?

This is how it works in US. I am still looking for information about the situation in Denmark and Finland, but it is not that easy to find. I like to think that we’re doing better than over there!

I know that they are only animals, but it feels wrong. I know that they’re are born and raised to become meat on my table, but it still feels wrong. They are living and breathing creatures. Don’t they deserve a decent life without suffering, or at least a quick and painless death?
I don’t know if killing animals is wrong, I’m still thinking about that one, but how can it ever be okay to cause pain and suffering to a living creature whether it’s a human or an animal?

I’m not completly sure about what my opinion is – I just know that reading the fact about how these animals are treated makes me feel sick.

I am not a vegetarian.
Yet.

Made in EU – part I

Yesterday while researching for my next post, I stumbled upon one of those small things that have annoyed me for quite a while. Since I was already sitting in front of the computer with 100 tabs open on Firefox, I could as well start to do some research on the subject:

Sweetcorn

There’s nothing wrong with these sweetcorn! They’re in a nice can, produced by Biona organic, both Certified Organic by the Organic food federation, Debio and EU. They proberly taste good (I don’t fancy sweetcorn though). It only containes sweet corn, water and sea salt – talk about a clean product! A quick look at Biona’s website tells me that they believe in 100% traceability for all their products.

Why is it then that the only information I can find about where the product is made, is “Country of Origin: EU”? Since when did EU become a country?

Right now EU are working on a law about marking imported products with Country of Origin: “Goods should clearly state their country of origin, to help consumers to make informed choices” And that is good – of course ALL the products available on the market should be labeled with Country of Origin. Why? Because I want to know, I have a RIGHT to know, whether the grapes I’m eating has been grown in France or in Columbia, whether my childrens toys are produced in China or Bulgaria.

If EU wants me to be able to make an informed choice, why is it then that they introduce the “made in EU” label that includes 27 different countries?

After quite a lot of searching online I found this list over bar codes The bar code is to be found on all products, and it shows which country the product is “from”. That means that it teels you in which country the bar code was issued, NOT which country the product is actually produced in. My sweetcorns barcode starts with 50, which means it is from UK. I knew that more or less already, since Biona is a english company and the companies adress is on the can, but that doesn’t mean that the corn is actually grown in UK.

What to do? I went to their website and sent them a mail with the simple questions: “Where do you grow your corn? And why doesn’t it say so on the can”? I could assume that they were grown in UK, maybe they are, but why don’t they just write that on the f…… can?

Why do I even care? What does it matter where a product is produced?

Does it really matter to me?

To be continued…

Why did I decide to start this blog?

I’m a complete virgin when it comes to blogging. I’ve never tried it before and I’ve only read a very limited amount of blogs.  I’ve never had a reason to blog before, never had a project that it would make sense to work on through a blog.

But now I’ve found one, and that project is the main reason for me starting this blog.

When I was a kid I was very interested in enviromental issues, animal rights, self-sufficience and things like that. We had chicken in our backyard, grew our own potatoes and had solar-cells on the roof to heat up our water. Then I started in gymnasium, after that right into working-life, moved out and suddenly other things became more important.

Recently I started reading again, something I haven’t really done since I was younger, and I stumbled upon Jonathan Foers “Eating Animals”. That book reminded me about all those opinions and ideologies I have, and like to talk about, but that I never actually live after. I decided to go through them one by one, with critical eyes and a open mind, and decide to live them out or change my mind.  I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I don’t want to preach about organic food while I’m eating a BigMac. I want to decide which roads to follow, considering all the different aspects of consumerism.

There’s 3 reasons for me to start this blog:

1) To force myself to do this project in a organized way

2) To practise my written english

3) To maybe inspire others and/or get some feedback

On the page “My Mission” I have listed the different topics I’ll go through to reach my goal.  There’s quite a few, some of them I already have a strong opinion about, some of them I know nothing about. This is going to be an exciting trip.