I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Problem Solved

Until I became a chef, I had a serious bug up my bum about people with "food issues." You know, the ones who go out to restaurants but have 'nothing to eat', the ones who ask for four hundred variations to a dish, the ones who can't eat anything but cardboard sprinkled with low-fat fake bacon sprinkles which were manufactured only in Eastern Siberia. Heaven help you if you have the ones manufactured in WESTERN Siberia, those ones are no good.

Then I became a mother, and a chef, and I realised that while there are food issue bullshit artists out there, a vast majority of people really DO have some sort of food issue. For some it's simple - like people who prefer not to eat coconut, or those who (like me) think veal is creepy. For others, their food issues define their life - they're coealiacs, diabetics, people with extreme allergies and so on. Far from being annoying, these people are just trying to live the best life they know how.

People with food concerns make up a small but significant portion of my business clients - and it's a major reason why I chose to keep my work kitchen as nut free as possible (even though it meant, *sniff*, no walnuts in my carrot cake). Almost every week I'm making dairy free, gluten free, or egg free cakes. I get so many grateful people calling and telling me their child has never had a "store bought" birthday cake before, or the bride didn't think she could eat her own wedding cake, or their grandma's 80th was made better by her being able to eat the dessert.

In my own household we are fortunate enough not to have any food issues (unless you count overeating as an issue!) Recently I was given some cans of the new Carnation Soy Creamy Cooking Milk to try ... and I have to be honest, I looked at it and thought, what the HECK am I supposed to do with this stuff? I'm not a huge soy milk fan, and I was worried that if I put it in anything my kids would taste it and think it was off. Plus this stuff is lactose free, dairy free, cholesterol free, gluten free...and too many 'frees' makes me think this stuff is taste free, too.

However as we all know I'm all about nothing ventured, nothing gained and so I started to add the soy milk to everything. Tonight, in fact, it's in the mashed potato on top of our Shepherd's Pie. A couple of days ago it replaced normal milk in porridge, and yesterday I tried it in my classic Devil's Food Chocolate cake.

The good news - nobody could tell the difference in ANY of the above recipes. I tried the milk neat and while it definitely has that nutty soy after taste, it's actually quite pleasant (much to my extreme surprise.) It's surprisingly creamy without being 'thick' and I have to say it wins big points with me. Often when I cater a Friday night dinner I'm at a loss for dessert - since so many of them are dairy based, and we have some family members who keep kosher. I haven't tried the soy in anything other than cake, but my money is that it works pretty well for most things.

The hardest thing about being a person with 'food issues' is how everything needs to be made special for you, which can be annoying to you and everyone else around you. I can really see how a product like this takes that annoyance factor away ... because basically you can just follow a normal recipe and swap out the dairy milk for the canned soy variety. Suddenly instead of being weird food freak girl, you're acceptable in mixed company. Bonus!

.... and since this is sounding like a endorsement for this product (which, let's face it, it is), I do have one teeny tiny minor gripe about the product. The picture on the front (which on my cans is of a 'Creamy Spring Veges and Fettuccine') kinda makes me want to hurl. The meal just does not look appetising AT ALL, and instead of looking creamy and delicious, just looks like someone squirted some horrible Australian mayonnaise over pasta. And we ALL know how I feel about Australian mayonnaise, don't we? (and isn't 'veges' spelled 'veggies'? Enquiring minds want to know.)

Otherwise - this stuff is fab... especially because it makes my food issue friends less annoying to cater for.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

!!! (I have no words. Except... I want this now.)