This and That


Today I have a few miscellaneous pieces of food related information I thought you might be interested in.

Are Recyclable Grocery Bags Safe?

One, the New York Times reported recently that even reusable or recyclable grocery bags carry an environmental risk. Ay my age, this is just too funny. This is rich. I am of the age when I can remember when paper bags were the environmental risk because we were cutting down all of the trees in the forest.

So we went to plastic and everyone, especially environmentalist, shouted Hallelujah. We are saved.

I hated plastic bags from the get-go. I generally tend to ask for paper. I have come to tolerate plastic. But just barely. The biggest problem for me is that when I pick the bag up everything in it goes topsy-turvey, sideways, and katty-wampus. This is bad if you have a loaf of bread in the bag. It gets squashed. I just love it when the milk carton tips over and starts to drip in one of those plastic atrocities. NOT!!

Another thing I hate about them is that I buy 6 items at the store and they pack it in 3 or 4 bags. Now how is that saving the environment? I could have all six items in one paper bag. Seems so bass ackwards to me.

I never got into the bring your own bag thing either. For me that is akin to ringing up my own groceries. I refuse to do that too, unless the store will pay me the same wage they would a grocery clerk.

Stores today want me, the customer, to do it all while they charge me more and more for the groceries. I don’t think so!!!!

So it was with secret, perverse pleasure that I read the aforementioned news article about recyclable grocery bags. Seems some of them contain unsafe levels of lead. Not so environmentally friendly after all.

I also think that over time they could get very dirty and harbor a lot of bacteria unless you wanted to wash them after each use. I am too lazy and too grumpy to do that.

Are Super Big Stores On the Way Out?

Two, the blog Organic Authority recently reported that big supermarkets may be on the way out. Hallelujah and the saints be praised!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does anyone besides me remember when a grocery store was a small neighborhood business?

I think grocery stores are too darn big these days. Plus too often they masquerade as department stores. I don’t want to buy my clothes where I get my food.

Size wise stores rival the size of a football field these days. It takes forever to get from one end of the store to the other. When my back is acting up that is a long walk on hard cement floors. And I have friends and neighbors who have had hip and or knee replacements and it is even harder on them.

I often shop small stores for that very reason. And the meat and vegetables are usually better at the smaller stores. Often the price is the same and is often less.

I also like these smaller stores because they don’t have those stupid so called member cards. Oh how I hate those tracking devices.

Mostly I use the big stores to stock up on sales of canned goods and paper products.

According to the article:

Convenience and high cost of space is obviously a big reason why mega-stores might want to slim down, especially in a bad economy, but changing consumer tastes are another important factor – maybe the biggest factor.

What do you think? Do you use recyclable bags? Which do you prefer? Mega-stores or smaller stores for you?  Leave your ideas in the Comments section below.

Featured Recipe    Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Pecans and Cranberries

I thought I would share one more side dish you can serve for Thanksgiving. Brussels sprouts are a fall and winter vegetable. They are good even if it is not Thanksgiving.

Some people do not like them. They do have a very strong flavor. And sometimes they are bitter, especially late in the season. But I think the main reason some people do not like Brussels sprouts, or many vegetables, is because they have never tasted them well cooked. Too often they are boiled into a tasteless mush.

That is certainly not true with this recipe. 

This is what you will need for 4-5 people:

1 pound Brussels sprouts

2 strips bacon

1 shallot

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1-2 tablespoons sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of ½ lemon

1-2 tablespoons pecans

1-2 tablespoons dried cranberries

NOTES on ingredients: You can use bacon bits but the sprouts will not be nearly as tasty. If you do not fry your own bacon use a tablespoon or two of olive oil to sauté the sprouts. If you do not have a shallot, use ¼ of an onion. You can use any nut you wish, walnuts or pistachios; use your favorite. You can substitute raisins or leave out the cranberries if you like.

Here is what you do:

Dice the bacon.

Fry the bacon in a skillet large enough to hold the sprouts. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the rendered fat.

Wash the sprouts by placing them in a bowl of lukewarm water and swishing them around a bit. Soak for about 5 minutes. Then rinse the sprouts under running water. Cut off the bottom stem. Do not remove too many of the outer leaves.

Then cut each sprout into 4 or 5 slices.

Dice the shallot and the garlic……………….. 

………and sauté them in the bacon grease until softened.

Add the sliced sprouts to the bacon fat and sauté about 1 minute stirring them to coat in the bacon grease.

Add the butter, salt, pepper, and sugar and mix well until the butter melts.

Sauté the sprouts about 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally until crisp tender and heated through.

Place the cooked sprouts in a serving bowl and top with the bacon, pecans, and cranberries.

Bon Appetit!!!!


1 pound Brussels sprouts      $2.49

2 strips bacon                      $0.46

1 shallot                              $0.25

1 clove garlic                       $0.09

2 tablespoons butter             $0.15

1-2 tablespoons sugar           $0.04

Juice of ½ lemon                  $0.33

1-2 tablespoons pecans        $0.80

1-2 tbspn cranberries           $0.39

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $5.00
Cost per person/4 = $1.25

Quote of the Day

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.  

Author Unknown 

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2 comments to This and That

  • Not to bash China – I don’t like to bash in general – but the reusable bags with lead came from China. About a year ago I bought brand name underwear of various colors made in China. I lived to pay for the doctor visit and prescription that resulted. It’s the dye they use. I stopped buying any foods – like seafood — that come from China and neighboring countries after the melamine in children’s milk scandal two years ago.

    Someone gave me a nice, large, green reusable bag that I used at Whole Foods, where they pay me a nickel for each bag I bring myself. About a month ago, it disappeared out of my unattended shopping cart. C’est la vie. I ask for paper. In California, there’s talk that plastic will be banned and shoppers will have to pay for paper if they don’t bring their own bags. These things do tend to happen here first.

    On small stores: This reminds me of the article on Trader Joe’s we discussed. I was especially struck by the comment that people don’t like the option of choosing between 30 different types of peanut butter. We’re already overloaded with decision making. Let the store research the best buys and let me pick from a smaller selection.

    I love Brussels sprouts. Eat them every week. I can understand why some people don’t like okra (slimy), but not what they have against Brussels sprouts. They’re not even bitter.

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