Canterbury Tales

(Post #4 on our trip to England)

I loved Canterbury.  With it’s old city walls, cobblestone and shop-lined streets, for me it was classic England.  I had a great time going into little boutique shops and dodging the hordes of French students on field trips.

That Oil & Vinegar shop in the background was awesome!  It had tons of different types of, well, oil and vinegar, on tap!  There must not be a lot of foodies around that area because it was closing down but it was really neat and I had never seen anything like it.

One of the gates into the city.

Pam told us that she used to work outside the cathedral gate at a fancy little tea house.  Now it’s a Starbucks.  Darn you Starbucks and your McDonald-ized coffee!  I would have loved to have gone to the tea house.  With our lack of coffee in the mornings, the Seattle siren called out to us with her coffee smell, but we resisted well and found ourselves a more local coffee shop to sit and sip at.  We knew Sean would be proud.

I was interested to see what type of brew methods coffee shops use in England, but coffee shops in England don’t brew coffee.  To them, a coffee is one of the drinks made with espresso.  Where I do enjoy a latte here and there, I pretty much prefer brewed coffee.  I don’t claim to know much more than the little bit my brother, Sean, has shown me (he is an expert) in the ways of coffee, but I do have more of an appreciation for it than a gas station or fast food joint can offer you.  But while in Rome (England), do what the Romans do (drink tea instead of coffee).

Now for the grand finale of our Canterbury tale, the Canterbury Cathedral.

This was a historical delight for me.  I went through a hyperfocus stage on Queen Elizabeth (but went from Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth), so to be in the cathedral that Henry VIII attended was such a treat!

Go to Canterbury.  I liked it.  Jon liked it.  We think you will too.

Advertisements

From Hoi Polloi to the Davenport

(Post #3 on trip to England)

There’s something to be said about breaking bread with a person. Not to over-spiritualize it but the New Testament seems to talk a lot about the early church fellowshiping or breaking bread together; hanging out. To me, there’s something meaningful about having a good meal with someone. It seems the best way to get to know a person; to sit face to face or shoulder to shoulder, just spending time together while eating good food.  I think spending time with Nick’s family eating a good meal was some of my favorite times.  They were all really “lovely” people and I feel like I know them more now that we’ve broken bread together.

Food and people just go together and so they do in this post.

Now the British aren’t wildly famous for their cuisine. But I’m not going to join the “English food is so bland” bandwagon. I don’t think that’s true either. All in all, it was pretty much the same.  America isn’t famous for it’s dishes either (I mean, unless you count McDonald’s, of course). You can find most of the same brands there. I will say that the food in the grocery stores is quite a bit cheaper there, even with the exchange rate (the exchange rate made Jon cry). Cheese (good cheese) is actually better and cheaper there. Beer is a far cry better. Other than that, it’s about the same.  For my Non-GMO food friends, they have the same problems there as we have here, although I saw lots of signs for local markets and farm fresh foods. I think they’re pushing the “let’s get back” route more than we are. Come on England, if you can push to Non-GMO, then maybe we will follow! France has banned GMO’s so if you ever get to go there, enjoy your eating freedom!

Eating out is more expensive (at least most of the places we went), so my advice to anyone visiting England is to save money on lodge and food (our place was pretty cheap for a week and was very clean and comfortable) and spend the money in seeing things and traveling (most everything we wanted to do seemed to cost 18-20 pounds per person which exchanges to 28-31 dollars a person- ouch!).  Going to the market and cooking at your rental will be fun and save money.  Eat out during the day, when you’re out and about at little fish and chips and kebab shops or pick up a pasty.  Those places are very affordable and filling.

These yummy cornish pasties we had at a shop in Canterbury.  They come in many different flavors (mom had some sort of Indian flavored pasty, Jon and I had a chicken and vegetable, and Brian, Pam, and Nick had sausage rolls).  The best way I can describe them is that they’re like handheld potpies with a flakier crust.  Very good and very filling.  The picture in the top right is Jon and I with Brian and Pam.  You can’t really tell…because my mom took the picture, let’s leave it at that. 😉

See?  Fellowshipping.  Ok, really we’re laughing at my mom’s photography “skills.”  But it brought us together nonetheless.  Thanks, mom. 😉

Jon looking handsome and me being silly with our fish and chips.  That is one piece of fish, people!

We met Nick’s parents and two uncles at a village called Loose for lunch at  The Chequers.  I’ve always wanted to try Moussaka and so I ordered that (top picture) and it was very, very good…but…it’s not traditionally a British dish, it’s the dish that the Greeks are most famous for.  According to About.com, Moussaka is a casserole made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling then topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce (a white cream sauce) that is baked to golden perfection.  Mine had the eggplant and potatoes and something that had a risotto-type texture and was vegetarian.  And yes, that’s cheese melted all over top.  Very tasty and not bland at all!  Jon had a cheeseburger with a pico de gallo topping.  Not very British either but also good.  🙂

Indian restaurants are to England like Mexican restaurants are to America.  They are everywhere.  We ate at one in West Malling and had a lot of food.  We all shared the different types of dishes (that my mom could name for you but I cannot remember whatsoever).

Another night, we met up with another one of Nick’s aunts and uncles and went to a very nice Chinese restaurant with them and Brian and Pam.  We had starters and then all ordered a main course to share.  The have a large lazy susan in the middle of every table that makes it very convenient to spin around and get a taste of everything.  It was a great evening with great food!

So, yes, we went to England and ate Greek, Indian, and Chinese.  But I think my favorite meal was sitting on Brian and Pam’s couch with a cup of “Brian’s Famous Tea” (as named by Jon- he didn’t think anyone else could make it like Brian) and Pam’s cheese sandwich.  The warmth of their little flat is nothing compared to the warmth of these two people.  They’re the kind of people that you immediately feel comfortable with and anyone would want them to be their grandparents.  I feel like these moments were the best, “British” moments we could have had.  I am horribly sad that I didn’t take any pictures of these moments.  The rest of the evenings we snacked on chips (crisps), meat pies, cheese, bread, and beer in our little bungalow watching shows on BBC (Big Hairy Bakers needs to come to America- we loved it!).  It was a very relaxing comfortable way to spend our evenings after our days of walking.

When you go on these kinds of trips you are very aware of your surroundings and the sights and never forget to take pictures of these, but the moments on the davenport are perhaps the most important.  Remember to take pictures of these.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…and Ferries…and lots of Walking

(Post #2 on the trip to England)

“Our goal when we get there,” Nick announced, “is to stay awake as long as possible to join their schedule.”

Curse those words.  Although they were wise and needed to be said, they rattled in my head the entire flight.  I struggled to sleep sitting up, or leaning on Jon, trying to make sure none of my crazy sleep jolts hit my innocent neighbor.  I had even bought some melatonin spray at the airport before we left.  All that did was give me crazy in and out dreams thinking that I had maybe slept an hour only to find out it had been ten minutes.  All I could think was how I needed to be sleeping because when the flight landed it would be 6am and the start of a new day.

Thank goodness we didn’t bring the kids.  I don’t think they would have survived.  And then I would have played the roll of adult instead of the ten year old, constantly checking the screen for my silent, “are we there yet?”

I don’t like flying and even more so I don’t like airports.  They make you feel like criminals just for wanting to travel.  You hold your breath as your things go through the scanner, even though you know you have nothing to hide, you feel almost certain that they’re going to find something incriminating about you.  The customs people, especially when we were coming back into the US were extremely rude.  They were 30 something men who seemed like they were tripping on the power that they can be rude and you will most likely take it.  I surely didn’t want to call them on it and risk the chance of them flagging me for one reason or another.  It’s like talking back to a cop that’s pulled you over for speeding.  Futile.  And I’m sorry, but the TSA, to me, is a complete joke.

TSA officer with Jon’s bag open, holding up the London bus and taxi purchased for Greg, “What’s this?”
Jon, “toys.”
“Are they made of metal?” holding the unopened package.
“I’m not sure, they appear to be.”
“What’s this?”
“Chocolate.”
“What’s this?”
“Chocolate cookies.”
“What’s in this tin?”
“Cookies.”
“And is this more chocolate?”
“Yep.”
“Ok, you’re clear to go,” shoving the disheveled suitcase to the side.
“So, uh, I guess I get to pack it all back up?” annoyed, passive-aggressive Jon replies.
“Yep” equally annoyed officer replies while trying to get Jon out of the way so he can interrogate the next person.

What did the officer expect Jon to say as he held up the cookies, “oh no sir, those aren’t chocolate cookies, they’re exploding cookies.”  What’s the point in asking the passenger what each item is?  Is someone who is bringing something dangerous on the plane going to be forthcoming with that information?  Are they looking for discomfort or anxiousness?  Because with my level of uncomfortableness, I most certainly could have been considered a criminal then.  And I don’t even have one of those incriminating accents we previously discussed.  It’s a joke.  Ron Paul 2012. (That was for you Will)

But it’s a necessary evil, flying is, and we made it, and I’d do it again.  Only I don’t like Newark airport- I’ll choose one of the other options.  And Nick says flying into Gatwick is easier than Heathrow.  Duly noted.

The blue line is the route the pilot was to take. The yellow was the actual route we were taking…

Upon arrival we took a shuttle to the car rental where Nick picks up the full-sized Volvo (full-sized is an important description word because we will find out in the trip that no “car parks” or roads in England are designed for anything described as full-sized).  Getting into the car, there’s that awkward moment of who’s going to ride in the front.

I’m an annoying weirdo when it comes to being a rider. I think everyone drives too fast and brakes way later than they should. You see, when I was 15, my mom was too afraid to teach me to drive so she would close her eyes in the back seat as my 19 year old boyfriend taught me to drive. Now this guy was a crazy fast driver. Because of this I believed the interstate to be a puzzle; meant for you to weave in and out of cars in all lanes to never have to break your chosen speed (which was at the very least 10 over). Then I married Jon. He is a grandpa of a driver, believing that anything over 5 over is too fast. If the car in front of him is going slow he slows down (and doesn’t even kiss the bumper!). He uses blinkers at every turn and lane change, and waits the appropriate amount of time at stop signs (I’m not sure who taught him to drive but they did a good job). When we first dated, his driving drove me crazy. I constantly wanted to hit my foot on the gas pedal and I would find myself asking him, “aren’t you going to pass that car?” all the time. So over the years I had two choices: 1- I could be annoyed all the time and we could always fight over who was going to drive and traffic laws or 2- I could simmer down, kick back, enjoy life and sleep in a car knowing my life was more than safe in this driver’s hands. #2 seemed like the only real option to me. But that decision has come with it’s consequences. When you have the DMV poster child driving you around most of the time, EVERYONE else scares the crap out of you.  My efforts to try and hide my fear fail miserably, so I usually just tell people straight up- look, everyone I ride with scares me so don’t take it personally. It’s not you; it’s me. In fact, when I drive, I scare the crap out of myself (let’s face it, when I’m late, my foundational driving lessons come out).

So you can see I’m clearly not a good choice to sit in the front seat, on the opposite side of the car that I’m used to, feeling as if every car is headed straight for me. Remember that mom I described sitting in the backseat with her eyes closed while “teaching” me to drive? Yeah, clearly she wasn’t a good choice either. So Jon being the official front seat rider of the week is almost an unspoken certainty.  Now I will say, Nick is an awesomely cautious driver, but just the nature of the brain shift you have to do here makes it too much for me no matter how cautious he is.  Not to mention that he spoke of being nervous to drive on the left side of the road again.  When you’re driver tells you complete silence is needed for concentration, you buckle up- even in the back.

But the weirdness of driving on the left side eventually wore off and even mom eventually ventured into the front seat.  This was my favorite way to travel.  There’s no, let’s be there an hour early and wait or chances of late departures.  You get in and enjoy the beautiful countryside.  And I mean bea-uti-ful.  Nick was awesome about pulling over when he could to allow us to be tourists.

Dover Castle in the romantic English fog. Every morning we were covered in thick fog. I could just see Mr. Darcy crossing the countryside to Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Jon and I had a day of exploring London on our own.  However, we didn’t really think the trip through.  We were surprised that the train was going to take 2 hours one way which would leave us 3 hours in London only to make it back to the station for the 2 hour trip back; all for about $68.  Maybe not the most wisely planned trip but we had fun nonetheless.  The trains and stations are actually kept very nice.  And I took advantage of the time to blog the previous days (of which I would never post).

The scenery was sometimes beautiful and sometimes not.  Pulling in from the east side of London reminded me of times of bringing friends into Missouri via 44, East St. Louis, from Tennessee.  As you come into Missouri, right there at the sign is a ton of graffiti and lots and lots of trash.  You find yourself apologizing and promising that the rest of the city doesn’t look this bad.  It was similar coming into London the way we did.  Lots and lots of trash.  But by the time we pulled into London we were welcomed by the landscape of London that is promised.

Jon at the West Malling train station.

We would travel to London by train again (only this time only being an hour instead of 2 since we went via West Malling the second time around) for a day of sight seeing with Mom and Nick.

Nick checks for connection of his Blackberry Brick to the "free" Wifi. Fail.

There was also a ferry trip from Dover, England to Calais, France.  This was a frustrating day where the ferry was delayed causing 2 very long extra waits (without internet access…the magical iPhone quickly turned into an iPaperweight on this trip) and a trip to a very unimpressive port town.  But there will be more on Calais later.

And of course there was traveling by foot.

Walking in Canterbury…

Walking in London…

Dungeness…

Loose…

Ooooooh look some stairs!

And more walking…

Sorry.  I had to take this moment to make fun of our many, many pictures of each other walking!  Apparently we wanted to capture our good use of our legs on this trip.  Enter 500 Miles by The Proclaimers here.

Calling at Pluckley!

(Post #1 on trip to England)

It was my favorite announcement on the train ride from London to Dover.  I’m not one that is easily impressed or underimpressed (good ole Jenism) by accents.  It’s amazing to me how a lot of Americans can be wooed by an intelligent-sounding British or Australian accent or completely annoyed and bothered by a Mexican or Indian accent.  How a person can be determined by the sound of their words makes no sense to me.

But then again, I despise the twangy story telling of country music.  So I guess that’s pretty hypocritical.  Not even giving the song a chance as soon as I hear the way the banjo sings it’s notes…

However, when the lady came over the intercom announcing, “Calling at Pluckley,” I giggled to myself.  I have no idea why.  It just struck me funny.  Later, while watching BBC we hear how Pluckley is the most haunted place in England.  Oooooh.

Each night I blogged about that day of my trip.  However, we had extremely limited access to internet so they never got sent.  That’s a good thing.  My sister won’t even read my blog because it’s too lengthy and she’s my best friend.  So yeah.  As a writer I have a long way to go.  When I got home I couldn’t even read through my posts without getting too tired to go on.  I can do better than a simple, Day 1, upchuck. I must find a way to condense and summarize while still preserving the moments I want to remember (let’s face it by this time next year it will be a faint image, darn you horrible memory).  But for some reason I also want each post to be a little insight about me…and for me it’s a recollection of what has happened that makes me, me.  So the bunny trails, like my lack of appreciation for accents and hatred of country music are just bonus bits that are mostly for myself to remember (well heck, this whole blog is that!).

I’m going to do a little series to keep from one lengthy post, focusing on the Travel, the Food, the History, the People, and the Land.  I will try my best to keep it mostly pictures and not so many words.  But who am I kidding?  I just wrote an entire post about how I was going to write posts so there’s not much hope for me yet.

Here’s a picture to make this post worth your time.  🙂

Sunset in Dover

GMOs: in Food

This is to pick up from GMOs: from the beginning where we learned where they started- in the medical industry.  The research then brought me to the controversy of GMOs in your food.

I read through this quick read [I think it is meant for juvenille education purposes but, you know, that means it will be quick and to the point].  So I learned before that GMO is a genetically modified organism, where scientists take one gene from the DNA of one unrelated organism and puts it into the DNA of another organism.  From the outside the plant can look the same but carry a characteristic that it normally doesn’t have.  This biotechnology can range from tomatoes that are more juicy and melons that ripen more slowly to vegetables that can be their own pesticide.

For years, farmers have played with genetics to get the best from their crops and livestock.  They pick seeds from the best plants to re-use and they choose the animals that produce the most milk and are the most healthy [therefore carrying “good” genes] to use for breeding.  Farmers and gardeners have also learned how to cross similar crops.  For example, they can cross a juicy apple with an apple that is healthier for you, creating a healthy juicy apple.  They call these plants hybrids.  They can also cross breed similar animals.  A breed of sheep that can stand the cold can be bred with a breed that produces thick wool making a strong hardy sheep with thick wool [cross breeding animals, however, can take many years].  With biotechnology, scientists are able to take the desired gene from one organism and place it into the DNA of even an unrelated organism [this is a GMO].  Therefore, they can use a gene from a fish that keeps it from freezing in icy water and put it into the DNA of a tomato, resulting in a plant that can better survive frost.  Scientists discovered that a tiny bacteria in the soil makes a poison called Bt that can kill insects [but they say doesn’t hurt people].  They have now added the Bt poison to many crops making it it’s own pesticide.  This results in not having to spray the crop with pesticides.

Some scientists believe that GM crops are the answer to world hunger and our fears of weather changes.  They see endless possibilities of making crops that wouldn’t normally be able to grow in areas that are too dry or too cold.  They are doing things like adding a gene to rice that produces Vitamin A so that rice is healthier for countries that rely heavily on rice as a source of food.  They are using GM to make animals grow bigger and faster.  Or to make animals with less fat and more meat.

So why is this all so controversial?

Some scientists believe that GM crops could wipe out wild plants or create super-strong weeds.  Controlling GM crops is near impossible.  As corn that creates it’s own Bt is created, it can naturally crossbreed with other plants, making them create their own Bt.  This means that plants and flowers that you don’t want killing off insects [killing off insects means messing with pollination] or that it’s killing more insects than what you want.  Monarch butterfly caterpillars do not eat crops yet studies have shown that corn pollen from GM corn can kill them.  If a gene that allows GM crops to be unaffected by weedkiller, overtime gets into the weeds [through cross pollination] this could create a “superweed” resulting in the need for more chemicals needed to keep the weeds from choking out crops [brought to you by…the same company that makes the GMO seeds].  The effect that genetically modifying plants can have in nature is unknown and almost impossible to predict.

Right now crops are tested to make sure they are safe for us to eat.  They have said that complete testing of all GM foods would be too lengthy and costly of a process, so the government has come up with a standard that as long as it is “substantially equivalent in nutrition” to the conventionally grown food, the food does not need to be tested beyond it’s initial test.  The problem that some scientists argue is that they may be nutritionally equal but may not be physiologically equal.  Therefore their reactions with other chemicals could be different.  So, a GM tomato gets tested and approved  because it’s substantially equal. But the tomato sauce that gets made from the tomato does not need to be tested.  However, when it’s made, the tomatoes could react badly with [let’s say] the onions, causing it to be toxic when it normally wouldn’t have that reaction.  It would never be noticed because the tomato itself was not toxic and was deemed “the same.”  The problem didn’t occur until it was mixed in.  Since they are not testing all possible consequences of that tomato mixed together with everything else [and most importantly what reactions happen within our individual bodies], this label of “safe” is only relevant, at best, to the individual tomato that was tested.

People with food allergies could also begin to have reactions to foods they wouldn’t normally react to.  For example, in the 1990s a gene from a brazil nut was added to a soybean to make it more nourishing.  They realized that people with nut allergies would have a reaction to the GM soybean and had to discontinue.  So if we start adding soy genes into corn and corn genes into soy, it could mess with those who are allergic to corn but not soy [or vice-verse].  What about adding the fish gene into something like a tomato?  Someone who is allergic to fish could now be allergic to tomatoes.

These scientists, believe that this isn’t an answer to world hunger [or at least not a safe one] and is very damaging to our ecosystem and the way things naturally work.  As far as enhancing our food nutritionally, these scientists would say where a potato could be genetically modified to contain less starch, it would be safer to just eat less potatoes.

For more information by scientists in support of GM foods go here.
For more information by scientists against GM foods go here.

Both sites are done by professional, well-educated scientists.  Both, not surprisingly, talks very negatively and defensively against the other.  So which is it?  Who is right?  How far should we go in genetically modifying foods?  And because we “can” does that mean we “should.”

I dunno.

I think it is something for all of us to think about and make a decision for ourselves.  And here is where I have a huge problem.  Right now we are not able to make the decision, whether our family will or will not be eating genetically modified foods, on our own.  Over 80% of processed foods [non-organic] contain at least some GM foods.  Whether it’s a little [just a bit of the corn] or in entirety [that tomato].  They are not currently labeled.  Which means I can’t watch and see if I personally have a negative reaction to soybeans or just these particular genetically modified soybeans.  In most of Europe, they have now moved to making food makers and restaurants label foods if they contain GM foods.  But not in America.  The US is currently the largest maker of GM foods.  I’m not sure the reason behind them not labeling them except that they want to protect their industry and are afraid that we won’t buy them if we know they’re there.  So right now, the only way I can choose to not eat GM foods is to buy purely organic.  The problem is, like all products of higher quality, they cost more.  My family can’t afford to eat 100% organic like I would like.  It concerns me to not be able to look at two brands of a product and choose which one uses GM foods and which one doesn’t [I can at least choose a brand of spaghetti sauce that doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup over a brand that does].

So whether or not you believe it’s good or bad, I think we can all agree that it’s our right to know that it’s there.  Here is a link to a site that shows how you can read a plu to avoid GM produce [of course I don’t know if it is accurate].

To join the fight visit this site: www.labelgmos.org
Or to learn more about the movement against GMOs: http://www.saynotogmos.org/
I tried to find a site to go to, if you want to support the GMO movement but couldn’t, so you’re on your own there.  😉

Also- this link will take you to the research Dr. Oz did on the subject.

Hopefully this helps you understand the fight better.  I don’t think I exhausted [of course] all research on the subject but it helped me understand the fight and the arguments on both sides for me to be able to make a decision for my family.  Hopefully it helps you decide for yours.

GMOs: from the beginning

GloFish pictured above is the first genetically modified pet.

This is the first of two posts about GMOs where I want to compile the information I learn.  Obviously I have an opinion.  Everyone has an opinion on everything.  But I always try to remember that there are 2 sides to every coin.  I’m always open to read more information that is presented to me.  I will put out the info that I find in my search.  I’m also going to ask the questions that the information raises in my mind.  If anyone finds answers to these questions feel free to add a link.  I am not offended by your opinion but I am offended by rudeness or snide remarks, so if you have conflicting views, no biggie- leave comments below with your educated information [I cite sources, so should you] minus the rudeness and I’ll be happy to keep reading on the subject!

Like all good internet researchers I started here with Wikipedia.  I know, I know, hardly scientific or reliable BUT it cites it’s info [which as we know I am a believer of] and so it is a good place that has a lot of links on the same topic, a place to start and branch from.  To sum up the page, basically GMO [genetically modified organism] is where they take the DNA molecules from different sources and combine them to make a new set of genes.  Now the techniques of how they do this sounds a little iffy to me, yet I acknowledge my very limited biology knowledge could be the reason the uses of “viruses and “negative-bacterias” to accomplish the integration of the molecules sounds scary to me.  Maybe the terms “virus” and “negative-bacterias that cause plant tumors” encompasses much more than what I know about.  Could definitely be.  But it automatically makes me feel uneasy about the process.

Nonetheless, it’s done and now you have a GMO.  Here is the quote from Wikipedia of the first GMO:

“This is called genetic engineering and was made possible through the discovery of DNA and the creation of the first recombinant bacteria in 1973; an existing bacterium E. coli expressing an exogenic Salmonella gene.[4] This led to concerns in the scientific community about potential risks from genetic engineering, which were first discussed in depth at the Asilomar Conference in 1975. One of the main recommendations from this meeting was that government oversight of recombinant DNA research should be established until the technology was deemed safe.”

I clicked on the reference above [4] and tried to read that report of this first creation but since I’m not biologically sound couldn’t really make much of it.  So going by what I read here in Wikipedia, what they created had Salmonella.  And it scared people.  And they said we have better watch this [in 1975].  In 1978 Genentech was founded and in September they released that they were able to create human insulin [up until this point diabetics were taking insulin shots that was taken from the pancreas of animals see here].  As exciting as it was here is a quote from Genentech’s press release:

“While extensive testing and refinement of the process is needed, we want to see human insulin and other genetically engineered products benefiting the people who need them in the shortest possible time,” said Swanson.

Four years later, in 1982, FDA approved Humulin, the first r-DNA [recombinant DNA] human insulin manufactured by Lilly.  To me, it seems like a pretty good discovery for those with diabetes.  Of course, there are many debates to some of the side effects [of which the FDA says there are no differences between natural human insulin and GMO human insulin].  Here began the wide the use of GMOs in pharmaceutical drugs.

BUNNY TRAIL
*Side Note: Here as I click on link to link to link I begin to see a close relation to the pharmaceutical drug company, Lilly, and the Bush Sr. and Jr. administrations – Bush Sr. who was on the board for Lilly in1977-1979…right before he ran for president in 1980.  Hmmmm.  I wonder who footed the bill for his campaign…note to self: research what legislations regarding drugs may have occurred during Bush Sr.’s reign. In 2002, during Bush Jr.’s administration, this little diddy went down [from this page of Wikipedia]:

Vaccine legislation protection

Early in 2002, U.S. Senator Bill Frist tried to obtain protection for Eli Lilly from suits attached to legislation that would increase the availability of vaccines to average Americans, and regulate lawsuits against Eli Lilly involving thiomersal, but this attempt was thwarted by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, who opposed the measure. Despite Kennedy’s effort, however, identical legal protections found their way into Homeland Security legislation (H.R. 5005). After the bill passed, no one in Washington, D.C. was willing to take responsibility for having written or inserting the Lilly legal protections. The rider was later annulled by Congress in 2003. Eli Lilly’s Political action committee (PAC) had given Frist almost $10,000 in campaign contributions in 2004.

The White House denied any knowledge of the author/sponsor of the Lilly amendment. Many argue this stretches belief, considering the ties the Bush administration has to the pharmaceutical giant.

So in 2002 Lilly pays to get written protection from lawsuits regarding their Thiomersal used in vaccinations.  Why would they pay $10,000 for that?  Because this campaign was happening [encouraging everyone to get a flu shot, actually 2 shots, targeting small children].  And they knew the vaccines had Thiomersal [a vaccine preservative containing mercury] in it and they new that mercury in children causes neurological damage.  You’ll notice in that previous link, information from the CDC [Center for Disease Control] about what mercury does, vaccines aren’t listed in the ways exposed to mercury.  They say ethylmercury isn’t harmful like methylmercury is.  Ok. So.  Lilly spent a lot of money to make a protection against lawsuits magically appear…because Thiomersal isn’t dangerous?  Sounds “fishy [mercury pun intended]” to me…but we’ll explore this bunny trail another day when I blog my vaccination research.*

Ok back to GMO’s originating in the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Here I can see the benefits of the use of GMOs.  Those who are prescribed a pharmaceutical drug are given a list of possible side effects and risks attached to the use of this GMO derived drug.  From there it’s up to the consumer to do their research and decide if it is right for them.  Even if they decide to use the drug, they can monitor how they feel and can know what is the source of how they feel- negatively or positively.  Either way it’s up to the consumer.

Now another way that a GMO is now used is in our food.  Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

To date the most controversial but also the most widely adopted application of GMO technology is patent-protected food crops that are resistant to commercial herbicides or are able to produce pesticidal proteins from within the plant, or stacked trait seeds, which do both.

Click here to continue with me in my search about GM foods.

Salmon, in the crockpot?

Do you like my bonus mom's oldie dishes? They're kinda fun. 🙂

Sounded odd to me too but if you can bake a cake in your crockpot (a really awesome molton-lava one) then cooking fish in your crockpot doesn’t seem too far off.

I got this recipe from here.

What You Need:
1/2 pound to 2 pounds of salmon
2 lemons
12 oz of fresh spinach
1/2 t black pepper
3/4 t kosher salt
2 t dill
1/4 cup white wine (water, vegetable broth, or apple juice would all work in place of white wine.)

Directions:

PUT entire bag of pre-washed spinach in the crockpot (use organic spinach – spinach is one of the worst for having E-coli…don’t believe me, read here.  3 deaths?!)


PLACE
the fish on top of the spinach and sprinkle both sides with spices and herbs.
SLICE the lemons and place them on top and around the fish.  Pour in the wine.
COOK on low for about 2 hours or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Normally with a crockpot meal you don’t really have to watch the clock.  If it goes over no biggie- it will just be more tender.  Not the case with this meal.  I cooked it longer than 2 hours (just waiting for ppl to come home) and it was a little tough.  Remember how we talked about overcooked fish gets tough and fishy?  True.  It was still good though and incredibly easy.  Next time I’ll just watch it a bit more.  The surprise with this one was the spinach.  Oh my goodness it tasted so good.  There were 4 adults eating this meal and we all wanted more spinach.  If I were to ever make it again for more than just our little family I would put another bag in.  It seems like a lot of spinach when you are stuffing it in but it cooks down a ton.

This is good and is in my lemony-goodness obsession category (Ok, I don’t actually have a lemony-goodness category, but I should).  Put this on your list to try.