Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I'm nuts about yogourt. So when I was shown the above video of Alton making yogourt like MacGyver in his hotel room I was pretty excited. I think that whole segment with Letterman is awesome tv. I love the pepper-grinder!!! But the yogourt recipe is just awesome. I'm totally going to try this in the next couple of weeks. I love Alton's attitude about food and finding alternative methods of thinking about the living space and food! He rocks!
I didn't grow up eating yogourt. We ate very simple when I was growing up and not particularly healthy. We were pretty strapped for money with both parents working hourly jobs or in the military. And the trend for "futuristic quick easy food" was in high-gear just before the change in trends towards "health food". To this day I really do not like canned baked beans. I kind of get "the gag" because we ate so many of them, with hot dogs, when I was a kid. Sundays were a big deal because we lived with my grandparents and everyone would make a somewhat amazing dinner of roast beef. I remember vegetables as being pretty blah: colourless or grey mush. At some point...everything changed. My parents got interested in hippie culture and trends that arose out of the music they listened to and the cultural changes contesting the status quo around them. They listened to a lot of pop music like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Judy Colllins, Bob Dylan, Credence Clearwater Revival (my dad saw them in concert), The Beatles and Neil Diamond. This music had a cultural kind of outflowing that spread different jewelry, clothing, attitudes and "new" foods. We moved to the west coast and food got suddenly really interesting overnight. Hippies and pop culture icons like The Beatles and Bob Dylan were going to exotic countries, checking out world religions, or politics and food was part of the idea of a return to a more traditional and "healthy" lifestyle. Okay...aside from the drugs, heh heh.
Now, I realize, there may have been lots of people who ate very conscious healthy food without listening to The Beatles or The Grateful Dead, but my family wasn't one of them. I remember a distinct change in my parents when they had parties during the days my dad was going to college and the food we ate was a big difference. They discovered vegetables. Really good vegetables. I had never eaten broccoli or avocado till I was 11. No, seriously. Or yogourt. I thought these foods were the greatest invention ever. I started to get into the kitchen and want to prepare foods. Both my grandmothers were very very good cooks and when we were with them I remember being excited about food. Now, to be fair, my sister and I always loved food and cooking. We used to watch the half dozen tv shows on cooking all the time...and then we would play "cooking show". I should note that one of the official cooking shows on tv were the Kraft commercials. My sister and I would find things to cook with and we would create voiceovers like the Kraft commercials. We would pretend to be tv cooks and talk while we stirred food, or mixed it up. Sometimes, I still do this in my head when I cook today.
My sister grew up to be a chef and I've worked on and off in restaurants or bars since I was able to lie about my age and get a job. We figure that part of our obsession with food is because we ate so much crap processed food growing up. We are not only both obsessed with food, but also both of us are obsessed with food history and anthropology of food. (My sister is an amazing bread baker...and me...I believe we should scrap bread and starch from our diets completely. We agree to disagree..and sometimes this difference inspires us to discuss it for hours!)
At some point working in a vegetarian restaurant I learned you could make yogourt. It seemed like such an incredible idea. I began making my own yogourt sometimes in a pot on low heat on the stove or in the oven. Everywhere I travel I try to look for new brands of yogourt, or I bring a yogourt maker with me if I have the room. I've owned a few yogourt makers and they can be handy, but not necessary. If you ever decide to make yogourt, and it's very easy, don't forget that part of the process is cooling down the yogourt after it's been warming. Just as the low heat helps bacteria grow in yogourt, so does the cooling down process allow another layer of bacteria to grow. Yogourt is great for the immune system, and for getting protein and calcium. (and about a million other things) I have half a dozen yogourt companies I love and I am very loyal too. I can usually tell if a yogourt company changes it technique or recipe. Scary, I know. I love yogourt. I am a complete yogourt snob. I only buy the plain organic whole milk brands with at least five types of active bacteria. Stoneyfield yogourt is my favourite, and I remember the first time I ate it. See, yogourt is like a love affair for me...I was staying with a transplanted Canadian friend in NYC in 2000 and he was super excited about discovering this creamy rich brand. I made everyone laugh when we were grocery shopping in Vegas last year when I bought a monstrous tub of Mountain High Yogourt to put in our hotel cooler. I often eat just plain Stoneyfield yogourt with a little real maple syrup. But...making yogourt is one of the most economically valuable things you can do at home.
1) Stoneyfeild Yogourt
2) Brown Cow "creamy top" yogourt.
3) Benefits of yogurt and here
4) Some recipes to make yogourt at home without a yogourt maker.
5) An excellent yogourt for people who are eating low-carb or body building is FAGE. It is super thick and supplies a ridiculous amount of protein in a fairly small serving.