Final Thoughts on Horsemeat … and … whoa now.

The upshot thinking from my previous rant is rather better thought out.

The mane* outcome from the Horrifying Horsemeat Scandal that has apparently rocked the UK is that the government has made the food manufacturers promise that they will test their meat products every quarter.

Great. So that’ll help … who, exactly?

What are they going to do? Every time they find evidence of some kind of ‘foreign’ meat, they will presumably trace it back, identify suppliers, decide what to do about it, try to walk the balance between media excitement and public hysteria. What a palaver.

This is a chance for them (the Govt., the manufacturers ho hum, and the producers, growers, farmers) to look at the processes they employ to achieve their ends (i.e. profit) and ask themselves if this is not an ethics question after all.

The labeling/dodgy suppliers issues are insignificant compared to the alarming moral slippage. The reason suppliers have to declare the percentage of meat in their products is because some of them use very little meat compared to their public image. They get away with it because ‘we’ buy it. Literally. And the more watered down the product is, the more money they make out of each sale.

At what point does the ‘helpless’ public put its hands up and say “No more!”? I’m all for mass production if it can be done at the level of quality we should expect. But it can’t. It isn’t.

The world has dumbed itself down on sandwiches and ‘mystery meat’** and the Govt. can now take advantage of that ignorance by paying lip service to ‘quality assurance’. The most important word in that phrase being the second.

This way they get to keep making the products and the profit, and that stays the damage. And the Great British Public gets to continue wolfing down huge quantities of meat-ish products without giving it another thought.

In the meantime … Small producers in the UK are struggling through high fuel prices (with the knock on effects on feed, labour, etc.), a wet, damp, torrential 18 months and the prices of milk and lamb dropping through the bottom of the market. Large producers are helping the supermarkets force the prices down through their economies of scale and now the market has little competition.

It’s down to the consumer to vote with their wallets.

People eat too much meat. The amount they think they eat may not be correct, due to the hidden fillers within popular products. The bit that is meat contains complex proteins which the body can sometimes struggle to break down. It’s far better to make the unsullied raw meat stretch across two or more meals, using potatoes, rice, vegetables, and beans than to eat the industrial fillers provided by food production companies. Sure locally reared British meat is expensive. But you don’t need as much as you think.

Changing your eating habits is really hard. It’s like joining a new culture. You have to try twice as hard to begin with because you sometimes have to learn things. Like how to cook. Remembering to read ingredients labels for vegetarian products. Boring *yawn* but necessary for survival.

I’m serious. Here’s the mantra: Meat less eat, veggies more eat, food more make. You have to say it backwards 242 times a day for four months.

*thanks to Tammy Maas for her earlier comments. Buy her newest book here.
**not a deliberate reference to Castleville, whatever you may think.



Stop Twining, Panicking and Carrying On … At least Horsemeat is Still Meat.

I’m so mad – nay(!) infuriated, I’m not sure I’m going to get this out in a coherent way. So apologies if it is just a garbled mass of opinion. Except I’m not sorry.

The British Public are a bunch of nincompoops. Or, as my three year old self told the mean next door neighbour – a BIG FAT POOPOO.

What is wrong with everyone? To all those people who thought that it was okay to eat ready made meals made from what passes as mince and other indescribable insults to food for the sake of convenience: yah boo sux. You flaming well deserve to eat something you didn’t expect. Don’t be so bloody lazy, and naive.

Oh, woe is you, you’ve been eating horsemeat, who knows how long. Well, what a surprise. You thought you knew what you were eating, because it said it on the label. *sigh*. I didn’t go to the best school, or the best university; didn’t get the best grades or the best degree, but somehow I magically know that just because something comes with a label, doesn’t mean that the label is true. Is it really lying if it just misses out information?

In fact (and this one deserves its own space):

If you can’t identify it as something specific (i.e. beef) and you don’t really know what the specific thing (beef) should taste like, then you probably shouldn’t eat it.

So much for everyone cooking from scratch. If they did, not only would none of this happen, but also that much lauded thing in times of impure food uncertainty – the British Farmer (and butcher, baker and candlestick maker if needs be, especially bearing in mind the price of electricity here now) would be surviving rather better than they are at present.

Anyone still eating ready meals now don’t like food. They aren’t interested in food in itself. That I understand. They simply require something to fill their stomach pit with fuel. Surely they don’t now care about what they are eating? Now that someone has told them it isn’t what they thought? How hypocritical.

Buy British. Make it from scratch. Get your hands dirty and learn how to survive, instead of giving it to manufacturers of false products who aren’t interested in your survival.



Carrot Cake Take 1

I’ve spent the day being hugely productive, although I don’t feel as though I’ve achieved anything much. Looking back, I did 2.5 hours working in home care, 3.5 hours writing for money, 4 hours trying to figure out Twitter, and another 2 hours this evening working, followed by a 45 minute telephone conversation and an experimental carrot cake (these last two simultaneously). The rest of the time was wasted, but in a ‘now’ way. Consciously enjoying the feeling of being present.

I guess I feel a little incomplete today, but not in any negative way. I think it is the Twitter effect. It jangles my head, a little like being in a crowd of people. I’m not great in crowds. Makes me uneasy, which is another way I want to describe the feeling. People come at you from all angles. It’s a new bullet to bite. Bit like trying to bite the bullets from an AK47.

Anyhow, the important bit was the carrot cake. Bear with me. I need to cut into it, decide if its worth icing, ice it (if applicable), and present it to my camera.

<<cue lift music>>

Okay. I don’t mind showing disasters, but honestly, this one isn’t worth a photo.carrot cake disaster See? (There’s only half of it there – the rest came off in my fingers … said the Actress to the Bishop).

If it wasn’t for the wonderful flavours, I wouldn’t entertain it again.

It tastes of cinnamon, allspice, earthy walnut (bottom notes) and a sweet coffee/maple over-note. There’s even a strongly accented bourbon. None of the above are in the recipe.

The whole thing was probably around 1200 calories in all (mainly the nuts), not bad for a cake. No flour (so edging on gluten free), no fat, just eggs, sugar and carrots.

The next time I make this, it will be a pudding in a basin. Maybe steam it. It’ll even go with a rum sauce.

Carrot Cake Weirdness, courtesy of Rose Elliot’s Book of Cakes (with a few differences) circa  1984.

Oven on 180 deg C. Separate two eggs into two different bowls. add 30g molasses/super dark sugar, 70g white caster sugar to the yolks and whisk or stick blend till light.

Chop 100g walnuts into bits and add that and 100g grated carrot to the mix. Beat together.

Whisk the egg whites until they’re foamy and stand up in peaks.

By hand, do this by repeatedly whisking the foam. Never dig deeply to the bottom where the remaining liquid white is as it slows progress. If it was going to foam it would have already done so.

Fold in the egg whites to the rest of the cake mixture evenly. One of my major mistakes was distributing the foam with most of it on one side. I was scared of accidentally beating the air out. One side of the cake rose; the other didn’t.

Pour it into a greased/lined 20cm tin (I will never do it this way again) or into a super-greased pudding basin and bake for around 30 minutes.

Tomorrow: carrot cake take 2.

Just Get On With It

Well, I don’t mind telling you that I suspect my get-up-and-go may well have got up and left without me this last week.

I’ve received useful information on what readers expect from an author’s blog … Like contact information, list of novels, that kind of thing.

I’ve a story to edit for an anthology, though I’m suddenly concerned that my grammar isn’t good enough(!) and am now harbouring thoughts of doing a post grad in grammar, or even literature.

And I’m all too aware that this next week will mainly be taken up with my day job, as I try to help my supervisor, who may well have worked every waking hour last week to compensate for the fact that I was out of action with a bad back.

I’m putting it all down at present to a mind which was addled with pain and pain killers, and a change to the mini pill which means my supply of the go-getter hormone estrogen has dried up.

Must get back on track asap. So …

First: geeses followed by sheepies, and the good company of himself.

Next: a new short story to write, with somewhere to send it.

Obviously, the other person’s short story to be edited, and everything to be sent back to the publisher.

It’s a good plan, right?

Also, I have a follow up blog to do from one about a week ago.

Yep, at least the ‘to-do’ list part of my brain is still working fine.

Off we go …

Ancient Meteor Defense System – any thoughts?

First read this news item, made available to the public courtesy of the BBC. Note the final paragraph at the bottom of the page:

Such meteor strikes are rare in Russia but one is thought to have devastated an area of more than 2,000 sq km (770 sq m) in Siberia in 1908.

And now check out this set of pages, detailing an intriguing set of theories, rather well researched – which also interestingly correlate with a particular battle mentioned in the Baghavad gita.

It may seem like a lot to read, but within the pages are detailed descriptions of nuclear/hydrogen-type bomb blasts, years and centuries before the first atom bomb was invented.

Interesting, no?

By the way, I only found this information courtesy of my friend, Tina Deschamps, a cleverer lady I do not know. And if she is prepared to give even a vague level of credence to this information, then so am I.

I love Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the one day in the year when smug single people can go around with a smile and not have to pander to Capitalism’s half-arsed effort in the middle of February. It’s no longer a big deal to not have a valentine. It’s annoying if you have; someone who expects to be taken out and treated just because some bloke in a boardroom said so.

It shouldn’t have to be like that. Why do we let them dictate to us in this way? ‘Them’ meaning anyone in power that you care to blame at the present time.

Himself and I are having valentine’s and pancake day tomorrow night. Only dead fish go with the flow.heart