Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My So-called Cheeseless Existence

The hundred mile diet is a massive success so far, with two exceptions:

1) there are hidden ingredients out there that taint my virginity,
2) dirty dishes.

The dirty dishes never end. I need one pan to cook salmon or scallops. One pot for steaming turnip and mustard greens (turn up and must turd), another pot for boiling beans (must toot) and a crock to bake them in. I'm forever doing the dishes which I could just as easily do at a restaurant for $100/day, if I worked a twelve and a half hour shift. Minimum wage in New Brunswick is $8 per hour, tied with British Columbia for the lowest in the country.

My other niggling problem with the hundred mile diet is trying to remain faithful to my goal of being a purist to the concept. Here's an example: I like cheese and I've used the image above to prove it. I figured that Sussex brand cheese would be made from Sussex area milk, so I bought some. The ingredients in my old cheddar are as follows: milk, bacterial culture, salt, rennet and calcium chloride. It also says 'may contain colour'. What is colour exactly? And where does it come from? My cheddar is the colour of a school bus so, yeah, I'd say it may contain colour, or automotive paint.

There's a pretty good chance that the milk in my cheese comes from Sussex, New Brunswick's dairy town, not to be confused with Rogersville that boasts of being Canada's Brussel sprout capital. Nobody in Rogersville talks much about Brussel sprouts these days as the boom in Brussel sprout tourism seems to have died down. Even the thousand room Hyatt Grand Rogersville has closed it doors.

If you click on the link to the town of Sussex, as many tourists undoubtedly do, you'll find another link on the home page that allows you to use on-line services to pay your Sussex water and sewer bill by either Mastercard or Visa. Welcome tourists! What the hell were they thinking? It's possible that this web site was built for local residents but as a tourist, I'm more interested in the balloon festival than paying my innkeeper's sewer bill.

As someone who eats a lot of beans and mustard greens, I do have a passing fancy in keeping the sewers clear, so I'm not really complaining. It's more that I'm pointing it out as a curious addition to a tourist town's home page. They might have, for example, mentioned the murals that grace countless exterior walls throughout the town. Some are quite exquisite.

Back to my cheddar. The milk is probably local, makes sense. The bacterial culture is beyond me. My research takes me to the labs at CSI Sussex, yet I still don't understand what goes in the world of bacterial culture, so I'm going to pretend that I didn't see it on the ingredient label.

Rennet. What the ____ is rennet? I consult Wikipedia for information on rennet. It's not pretty. Suffice to say that it's a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach.

Enjoy your grilled cheese sandwich, my friends.

The girl working at the Armadale Farm stall at the Sussex Farmers Market kindly told me that her company buys rennet from Ontario.

There goes my hundred mile diet as far as cheese is concerned.

I bought some cheese from her anyway as the cumin gouda was too good to resist. I momentarily forgot that cumin came from Asia. I hope that, in time, I'll be able to forgive myself for my little transgression. My cumin gouda has me on the 10 000 mile diet with a pit stop in Ontario for some mammalian stomach enzymes.

Is there nothing local these days, other than breast milk, notwithstanding that they're served in cups likely sewn in China. (I might get some comments, finally, from this one).

I'm not going to give you the link to the Sussex Farmers Market web site as it's quite awful, plus you can't pay your water and sewer bill there. The market itself is quite lovely.

This incident with rennet has me reading the labels of everything. My Armadale Farm Balkan style yogourt contains streptococcus thermophilus. Streptococcus is wonderfully effective in producing yogourt, strep throat, meningitis, bacterial pneumonia and necrotizing fasciitis. Streptococcus is something that causes my wife to cancel concerts, thus impinging my ability to afford semi-local cheeses. In yogourt, it imparts a flavour that leaves me speechless.

My culinary world is in turmoil as you can see. I'm still a devout follower of the hundred mile diet and I'm planning on taking most of it into August with me. It's depressing that so many silent and muted ingredients come from afar. I have yet to contact the Sussex butter company to see where they get their salt. I pray to god that it's some kind of hideous byproduct from the Penobsquis potash mine, just down the road from Sussex.

I'm going to phone the Sussex butter company to see where they get their salt, right after I do the dishes.

No comments:

Post a Comment