You Are What You Eat: Monster Edition (recipe included)

Whether you are overweight, trying to lose weight, or maybe just eating something, you have probably heard of the infamous phrase, “you are what you eat.” Normally (not that it helps), it’s supposed to keep us from eating unhealthy foods–you don’t want to be the lump of fat on a slice of steak, do you? No! So no more snacks, no more indulging. We switch out that bag of oil (and I guess, chips) for a lovely banana. We can’t get more healthy than that!

Usually, that’s what happens. It looks healthy, so lets eat it! We don’t exactly look past the surface of our foods. But the question is, do we really need to?

Let us smoothly transition to the topic of GMOs. What are they, and why do they matter? GMOs stands for genetically modified organisms–they are, in essence, foods/plants that have undergone biotechnological treatment and thus have altered DNA. This new DNA has a few purposes–it helps plants grow bigger, helps them resist herbicides, increases drought resistance, boosts nutritional value, and so much more. As a result, we have more food, and they taste and look better too.

Tomatoes

Clearly, most of us don’t think about whether or not our foods are GMOs when we eat them. Doing that would probably be like visualizing the movement of nerve signals through our bodies every time we move. We do, however, need to come to terms with the fact that a huge portion of our fruits and veggies and whatnot are GMOs. They’re not the exact same things people ate 5,000 years ago. This doesn’t mean they’re not natural or are demonic beings that have been released from the depths of our high-technology computers at the hands of evil scientists who are all out to give us cancer. But it does mean that they are somewhat different–and we need to understand that this is necessary in order to sustain and fulfill the needs of our population.

Some argue that the products of bioengineering are unnatural, and are linked to several diseases and disorders–thus, they want all GMO products to be labeled. This is, of course, very reasonable–who wants to put their health at risk by eating blindly? But in my humble opinion (I am not in any way a scientist or nutritionist), it would not do much in the end. Not only are we susceptible to dying/getting cancer just by being on Earth and breathing (though I do acknowledge that consuming artificially produced products may facilitate damage to health), there is hardly any way for us (at least, in the U.S.) to escape GMOs. If all of us wanted to protect ourselves from the “mutant!” foods that are GMOs and tried to turn to organic foods, it would not be feasible–with all the natural risks and threats of nature presenting themselves to agriculture, there simply would not be enough to support our population, and our supplies could not be as predictable.

So do we need to be so concerned about genetically engineered foods? Will eating these “human creations,” in the end, mutate us? I personally don’t mind if my banana is a hybrid banana, if that’s what makes it taste good. What about you?

Meanwhile, I have included a recipe here where you can embrace your inner evil scientist and engineer your own little fruit. It’s a summery recipe, but it’s always summer in California 😉 (even in January).

Reveling inside boundaries (recipe included)

Coming up with new ideas always involves looking back on familiar ones.

There have been too many times in which I have failed in creating new recipes and resorted to remaking those already in my collection, but that’s not always a bad thing. People always say, “think outside of the box!” but sometimes, revisiting the things you know and love is the exact inspiration you need.

Some time ago, I tried my hand at lychee ice cream. For those of you who love lychee like I do, you probably know what I mean when I say I was excited. I wanted a result on par with the lychee ice cream at Double Rainbow in SF (mmmm…or so I remember). Having failed at following conventional recipes for ice cream (mine always turned out hard and icy), I bought two large cans of lychee and set out to make my own. It was simpler than I had expected–using my experiences with melting sugar down into caramel and referencing more familiar recipes (that I had more success with), I reduced the lychee juice into a thicker syrup and chopped the fruits into bite-sized pieces to produce the defining lychee flavor (for these, I referenced caramel and strawberry ice cream).
And it wasn’t a complete failure! True, it was a little icy and strangely sour (I concluded that this was a result of the citric acid in the canned lychee juice) but it was one step closer to reaching my goal. I have yet to try it again, I’ll post the recipe when I perfect it.

So anyway, what I’m trying to say is you don’t always have to beat yourself up trying to be unique and attempting to venture into unexplored areas. Use your resources! They’ll help you more than any “spark of imagination.”

On another note: recently, my mother has become infatuated with some almond-pear bars she discovered at Nordstrom Cafe. She insisted that I try to make some, so here I am, nibbling at a pastry and scouring the internet for cake and tart base recipes, attempting to calculate the proportions of flour and other ingredients necessary for a successful imitation of the pear-bar’s texture. Alas, I am lazy, and I am not in the mood to complete my research, but thinking about the flavor of this almond-pear bar really reminds me of a dessert I grew up with, called almond jello. It’s probably the flavor of almond extract; I’ve always loved the smell and taste of it. Of course, it’s completely different from what I’m looking for, but I think reacquainting myself with familiar flavors and using them as references will really help me to pinpoint the taste of my final almond-pear bar.
Anyhow! I thought I’d share the (jello) recipe with you all today. It’s super easy, simple, and really delicious. Continue reading