Getting Dressed

8 Reasons Even Southern Women Who Like to Fish and Hunt Should Consider Switching to Organic Cosmetics


To a Southern woman, taking away our “beauty products” is similar to taking away firearms to a Southern man. We realize that “Even an old barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint. We consider putting on a full face of makeup is actually part of putting on the “full armor of God…after all, the higher the hair, the closer to God.

But even Southern women are becoming more and more concerned about the fact that many ingredients in our beauty and personal care products expose the wearer to a range of health concerns and may be linked to illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Even if most of us are not tree huggers…(after all, we love our bacon and fried chicken way too much to ever be vegetarians…the only reason we buy fabric shopping bags is so that our groceries won’t fall out of the bottom of the bag when we carry them into the house because the bagged at Walmart refused to double-bag them)…we do respect the idea that using certain products “harms the environment,” and we like river rafting and fishing way too much to simply stand by and let that happen.

Here are ten good reasons that even Southern women should consider switching to organic cosmetics instead of simply using the Cover Girl foundation and Bonne Belle bright blue eyeshadow that we all grew up with.

1. Organic 

cosmetics will not harm the environment

…and that’s one less thing to worry about while we’re getting dressed to go deer hunting or bass fishing….or watch some Bulldogs fight some Razorbacks.Conventional beauty products often contain aluminum and petroleum. Retrieving the aluminum and petroleum needed to make cosmetics requires a great deal of mining to be done in some of the world’s most beautiful and sensitive areas, such as the Amazon rainforest. Every year miles of land are destroyed and stripped of vital wildlife.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hesitant to all ask ourselves about every single product that we use while getting dressed…

  • Is the packaging recyclable?
  • Were the ingredients in the product grown with synthetic chemicals and fertilizers?
  • What happens when those chemicals go down the drain?
  • What will this do to our water supply and the local ecosystems?

2. Organic cosmetics contain no harsh chemicals...

Conventional makeup often contains chemicals that can not only cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, but many of these chemicals are downright poisonous to the endocrine system.

For example, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $72M of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades.

To make matters worse, The FDA has not formally regulated beauty ingredients since 1938.

A few of the main toxic chemicals found in beauty and skincare products include….

  • Formaldehyde, often found in baby ‘no tear’ shampoos and haircare products, liquid soaps, nail polish, may be a contributing factor in cancer development if inhaled or absorbed through the skin for a prolonged period of time.
  • Lead, often found in lipsticks and toothpaste, can cause brain damage, seizures, gastrointestinal issues, reproductive dysfunction, and kidney dysfunction.
  • Nitrosamine, found in almost everything, can form when certain chemical ingredients are mixed together and are usually not listed as an actual ingredient….yet many studies link nitrosamine to cancer. In 1996, the FDA “suggested” that cosmetic manufacturers remove any ingredients that create nitrosamine when combined with other chemicals, but this suggestion has been pretty much  ignored. In fact, ten percent of cosmetics still contain combinations of ingredients that create nitrosamines.
  •  Parabens…such as propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben….are found in almost any beauty product that has water added to it. Parabens have been shown to disrupt hormones and have the potential to cause cancer. A 2004 study found parabens in 18 out of 20 samples of human breast tissue. Parabens are in almost 100% of drugstore skincare products and cosmetics.
  • Phthalates…found in nail polish, air fresheners, perfumes, body sprays, detergents, and soaps…are not commonly listed as an ingredient, but a study by SafeCosmetics.org, found phthalates in at least 72 products they tested. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormones and decrease sperm count.

3. Organic makeup is better for your skin...

Products that are 100% vegan contain no artificial ingredients and are free of preservatives, parabens, additives and sulfates. USDA-certified organic beauty products only include organic ingredients that meet the same growing standards as organic food. Organic makeup is also free of mineral oils which can clog pores and cause skin irritation and breakouts.

4. Organic makeup does not contain harmful, mysterious “fragrances.”… 

Nearly all scented makeup products and perfumes list the word “fragrance,” but companies are not required by the FDA to list the actual ingredients that make up the “fragrance” in their products because that combination of ingredients is classified as a trade secret.

You may never know what harmful chemical components comprise those man-made scents that are actually behind that wonderful scent you so enjoy inhaling. You may actually be breathing in hormone-disrupting chemicals that could lead to infertility, cancer, nervous system disorders, allergies, and birth defects.

If a product is labeled as USDA-certified organic, each ingredient that makes up the “fragrance” will actually be listed individually on the packaging…and the product will include only 100% natural ingredients.

5. Organic makeup can help your skin have a smoother, more youthful appearance

Organic products often contains cocoa butter and various other nutrient-rich oils…such as extracts of white tea, grapes, apricots, and pomegranate seeds. Organic skincare products often contain oils…such as extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, and olive oil.

These oils provide the essential fatty acids needed for healthy, youthful skin, act as an antioxidant protective barrier, and may inhibit the production of collagen and elastase, two enzymes that break down the integrity and elasticity of the skin.

 

6. Organic makeup provides a certain level of sun protection

The skin on the face is thinner and more susceptible to UV-related skin aging. Ingredients commonly found in organic cosmetics that can help protect your skin from the sun include…

  • Coconut oil
  • Iron oxide
  • Titanium oxide
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc oxide

 

7. Organic makeup is better for sensitive skin...

Chemical-based cosmetics are more likely to cause skin reactions such as dry rough patches, rashes, rosacia and breakouts.

8. Organic makeup often performs better than traditional products…

Certified-organic beauty products are made with superior ingredients…ingredients that are pure, fresh and simple. Just as the best meals are usually not made ingredients that are pure, fresh and simple, neither are the best beauty products. Better ingredients mean better results.

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Getting Healthy

Twenty-Two Tweaks and Twists

We just covered how to make your own healthy deodorant with healthy natural ingredients…

…specifically the baking soda that we actually just bought as we get ready to learn how to deep-fry and make such unhealthy foods as French fries and fried onion rings.

But before we continue on our detour off the Raw Foods Pyramid into the forbidden world of deep-frying, I thought that this might be a good time to talk about a few of the worst and most commonly used unhealthy ingredients that the health and beauty and home products that most of us have simply been buying because “that’s what our mom always used to use” actually contain…

1. Artificial Colors…

  • What is it…The letters “F” (food) and “D”(drugs) and “C” (cosmetics) followed by a color and number, such as D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1, represent artificial or synthetic colors that are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources.
  • Why to avoid…suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant, and contributing factor to ADHD in children

2. Artificial Fragrances…

  • What is it…”fragrance” is a catchall term for the thousands of hidden chemicals used to make fragrances smell good. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list the actual ingredients in a product’s “secret formula,” meaning you as the consumer could actually be putting tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health without realizing it
  • Where it’s found…found in many cosmetics and skin care products including perfume, cologne, conditioner, face creams, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, body wash and moisturizers
  • Why to avoid…allergic reactions, headache, aggravated asthma, dizziness, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system

3. Benzophenone…

  • What is it…preservative commonly used to keep cosmetics and nail polishes from breaking down when they are exposed to ultraviolet light
  • Where it’s found…lip balms and nail enamels
  • Why to avoid…carcinogen

4. Diethyl Phthalate (DEP)…

  • What is it…a masking agent
  • Where it’s found..in many cosmetics
  • Why to avoid…believed to alter the function of hormones

5. Formaldehyde…

  • What is it…a potent preservative considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Carcinogens (IARC)
  • Where it’s found…nail products, body washes, conditioners, cleansers, eye shadows, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos
  • Why to avoid…has been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer, known to cause allergic skin reactions, may also be harmful to the immune system

6. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (FRP) …

  • What is it…preservatives used to help prevent bacteria growth-including sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, methenamine, Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15
  • Where it’s found…widely used in US products
  • Why to avoid..known human carcinogen, can trigger allergic skin reactions

7. Homosalate…

  • Where it’s found…sunscreens, liquid and powder foundations with SPF
  • Why to avoid…may negatively impact the function of hormones, makes it simpler for your body to absorb pesticides

8. Hydroquinone…

  • What is it…a skin bleaching chemical
  • Where it’s found…found in a lot of cosmetics, such as foundations, that have skin lightening properties
  • Why to avoid… can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent black caviar-size bumps…may also trigger the development of cancer or irritation of the respiratory tract, as well as the toxicity of organ systems.

9. Lead…

  • What is it…a neurotoxin
  • Where it’s found…hair dye and lipstick
  • Why to avoid…known carcinogen

10. Mercury…

  • What is it…known allergen
  • Where it’s found…mascara and some eyedrops
  • Why to avoid…impairs brain development

11. Mineral Oil…

  • What is it…by-product of petroleum
  • Where it’s found…baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels
  • Why to avoid…creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.

12. Oxybenzone…

  • What is it…active ingredient found in chemical sunscreens
  • Where it’s found…sunscreens
  • Why to avoid…: linked to irritation, sensitization, allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight

13. Parabens…

  • What is it…estrogen-mimicking preservative used widely in cosmetics used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products
  • Where it’s found…makeup, moisturizer, shaving gel, shampoo, personal lubricant, body washes, deodorants,cperfumes and other scented products, facial cleansers, and spray tan products
  • Why to avoid…linked to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm count…may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorder

14. PEGs…

  • What is it…polyethylene glycol, synthetic petroleum-based chemicals
  • Where it’s found…often used as a creamy base in moisturing cosmetics such as scrubs, body wash, makeup, toothpaste …recognizable as the tiny plastic beads seen in face scrubs, lip scrubs, and exfoliating washes
  • Why to avoid…skin-irritating carcinogen

15. Petrochemicals…

  • What is it…ingredients like mineral oil, paraffin, or petrolatum jelly that are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks
  • Where it’s found…mascara
  • Why to avoid…may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities

16. Pthalates…

  • What is it…a group of chemicals used to improve the performance of some skincare and cosmetic products
  • Where it’s found…used in hundreds of products, including nail polish, perfumes, lotions, moisturizers, fragrances, deodorants, and hair spray
  • Why to avoid…have been linked to increased risk of cancer–including breast, liver, kidney, and lung,—early breast development in girls, reproductive birth defects , endocrine disruption, damage, cancer

.

17. Propylene Glycol…

  • What is it…a small organic alcohol
  • Where it’s found…commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.
  • Why to avoid…has been associated with causing both dermatitis and hives

18. Retinol…

  • What is it…Vitamin A compounds
  • Where it’s found…widely used in sunscreens, skin lotions, lip products, and makeup
  • Why to avoid…when applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase risk skin sensitivity, skin lesions, and tumors

19. Siloxanes…

  • What is it…non-biodegradeable silicone-derived compounds
  • Where it’s found…common emollient used in makeup products to make the skin feel softer and smoother and to add moisture to the skin
  • Why to avoid…linked to tumour growth and skin irritation…also believed to disrupt the function of the endocrine system, interfere in hormone activity, and negatively impact fertility

20. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate…

  • What is it…an industrial-strength degreaser that can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products, especially foamy soaps
  • Where it’s found…shampoo, body wash, foundation, face wash, mascara, acne treatment products, mouthwash, and toothpaste
  • Why to avoid…known skin, lung, and eye irritant…also has the potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen that can also lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage…has also been shown to cause or contribute to canker sores, disruptions of skin’s natural oil balance and eye damage,and cystic acne around the mouth and chin


21. Toluene…

  • What is it…petrochemical solvent, paint thinner, and neurotoxicant that is able to dissolve paint and paint thinner…often listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene
  • Where it’s found…found in nail and hair products
  • Why to avoid…affects the immune, endocrine, and respiratory systems…may also impair fetal development, linked to malignant lymphoma

22. Triclosan…

  • What is it…widely-used antimicrobial chemical…(found in liquid soaps as triclosan…and bar soaps as triclocarban)that are very toxic to the aquatic environment
  • Where it’s found…often added to cosmetics and other personal care items cease of its germ-resisting properties…especially in toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial soap, and hand sanitizers
  • Why to avoid…known thyroid and reproductive hormonal disruptor…could possibly impair both muscle function and the immune system…considered to be potentially irritating to the lungs, eyes, and skin
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

As Warm As Toast

One of my original goals when I began this blog was to discover ways to create and enjoy more of a “natural” lifestyle…

But after I started this blog, my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…

So my focus changed from creating a more natural lifestyle to helping him learn how to cope with having developed the “Southern man’s rite of passage.”

Lately we have been talking about different cooking methods so that we can get back to the Raw Foods Pyramid and learn how to eat better—now only better for your health, but also better than what you’re been eating for the last how many years.

The cooking method that we are learning about now is “deep frying”…

Now we will look at five different batter types…first of all, a baking soda batter…

But before we start looking at baking soda as batter, I thought that I would cover some more of the uses of baking soda…for “beauty,” health and home.

Starting with using baking soda as a deodorant…

Okay, enough of a road map…to try to convince you that I haven’t veered totally off course with my priorities…

Let’s move on…

—————————————————-

Becoming a Smarter Consumer

Many of us have started paying way more attention to the ingredients in the products that we buy…making sure that these products do not contain parabens, formaldehyde, aluminum, synthetics, and other harmful additives that might be harmful to both our bodies and our community.

Many of the current skincare and makeup products not only contain these ingredients, but are more likely to irritate the skin, clog the pores, cause even more skin problems.

But on many of these more “politically correct” products, you may find natural cosmetics are much less effective,,,so many of us are starting to make our own alternative products….

In this post, we will look at using baking soda as an alternative to store-bought deodorant…

After all we all have to use it…it’s cheap…and we’ll have to have it on hand when we actually start deep frying our French fries and onion rings…

—————————

Why Baking Soda?

Baking soda is one of the best natural ingredients to use when making your own deodorant…if not the best…for many reasons, including…

  • contains no harsh chemicals, artificial fragrance, or alcohol
  • having antibacterial properties that help control the bacteria that grows in our underarms, which cause odor when they break down sweat.
  • helps balance and regulate pH levels in the body
  • neutralizes strong and obtrusive odors effectively—as already proven in its use to deodorize drains, trashcans, dishwashers, and refrigerators
  • offers long-term protection
  • relatively inexpensive
  • removes harmful substances from your body

————————

The How

There are several different options as far as using baking soda for deodorant, including…

  • Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have
  • Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder
  • Making a Spray Deodorant
  • Plain Baking Soda

There are also ingredients to add that will make your deodorant more effective. These include…

  • Aloe  Vera
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Dried Flowers…such as lavender
  • Essential Oils
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin E Oil Gel Caps
  • Witch Hazel

———————-

Recipes

1.Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have…If you find yourself with an arsenal of half-used natural deodorants that you quit using because they were ineffective…as so many are…then “fix” them by adding baking soda. To do this, roll out all of the remaining deodorant in the container. Mash the deodorant in a bowl with an old fork or spoon. Now add at least 3Tbsp baking soda and mix well. Once you have the right consistency – not too hard or too soft – pack your improved deodorant back into the original container and refrigerate for a few hours so it hardens.

2. Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder…Combine 2Tbsp baking soda and 1/3C arrowroot powder to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine them thoroughly…(more on arrowroot powder later).

3. Making a Spray Deodorant…Combine ½tsp baking soda, ½C witch hazel, and ¼C aloe vera in a spray bottle….(More on witch hazel and aloe vera later)…Shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. 

4. Plain Baking Soda…Simply put ⅛tsp…(no, I really don’t expect you to measure it, but you get the point)…in your palm. Now add ¼tsp water to your palm to dissolve the baking soda. The mixture should feel slippery, so add more water or more baking soda as needed. Apply the mixture to your underarms. Allow the mixture to dry before getting dressed.

5. Store Bought Options…Good choices as far as non-DIY OTC natural deodorants include the following…

  • Burt’s Bees
  • JASON
  • Kiss My Face
  • Trader Joe’s

6.  Add-Ins…Finally there are more ingredients that you can add to any of the above recipes, including…

    • Cocoa Butter…2Tbsp cocoa butter
    • Cornstarch…2Tbsp cornstarch
    • Essential oil…10-15 drops of essential oil—such as patchouli, myrrh, tea tree, lavender or orange.
    • Shea Butter…3Tbsp shea butter
    • Vitamin Oil…2 vitamin E oil gel caps

 

 

 


Storing

Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, once you finish making it you have two options as far as storing it….either transferring the mixture to a small lidded container or putting it into an empty deodorant stick that you already have.

When you’re not using the deodorant, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

———————-

Using

Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, rub a small amount of the mixture on your underarms. Wait up to five minutes before getting dressed to avoid smearing the paste onto your clothing.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Ah, Love Oil

glass bowl cork bottle
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After the breading material are set up and you have finish3d breading your food you can finally start cooking.

You should have already set up and start heating your oil by now…perhaps I shouuld have posted this earlidr, but let’s talk about which oiil you should be using to fry your food in.

—————————–

Smokepoint

When choosing which oil to use whenever you are frying, you need to think about the smoke point of that partcular oil.

It is important that you use an oil with a high smoke point.

But first, I guess you need to know what a smoke point is, if you’re gonna pick your oil wisely.

The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil can be heated to before it begins to smoke and burn…makes sense huh>!

Once your oil has reached this point, the oil will start to break down into its fundamental components—glycerol and fatty acids—and no longer be good for frying.

The oil will also start losing its flavor and nutritional value.

Once it has passed the smoke point, the oil can also be very dangerous, because it is much more likely to ignite when exposed to an open heat source.

Usually whenever you are frying, you want the oil to be somewhere between 350°F and 375°F, so your must have a smoke point that is  high enough to survive this amouint of heat.

———————————————————————

So which oils shoul you NOT be using?

Butter…has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.

Lard...has a low smoke point

Olive oil...Sure, you could use oil for frying, but I’d stick to using olive oil for sauteeing your foods since that olive oil usually costs more.

Shortening…also has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.

Sunflower oil…This oil tends to burn more quickly than most other oils.

Unrefined oils of any kind…These have too low a smoke point and can also be very expensive. Note that many of the oil that we will be learning later on that are good fort frying are sold in both refined and unrefined versions, so check the label before you use it.

Your fanciest or priciest oils…Frying reuires a whole lot of oil…using these here would simply be a waste of money. Also, thhe frying process can dim the flavor of, making it no more flavorful than any other given oil.

————————————————————-

And which oils should you be using?

 

Whenever you are choosing which oil to fry in, there are several things to consider. In addition to the smoke point, which should be slightly higher than the temperature at which you will be cooking, your oil should have a neutral flavor that won’t impart iany flavor on whatever you are cooking.

Also it is important that youu  hoose a good quality oil.

Each of the following oils can be a smart choice for frying because they all have a neutral flavor, perform well at high temperatures, and have a smoke point somewhere between 440° and 450°F….which is definitely above the typical temp required for frying, which tends to be around 350°F.

(Note that there are obviously more oils that are commonly used for fryiung—such as vegetable and peanut, but I have limited my list to those oils that we have already talked about being best for type-2 diabetics.)

 

1.Canola Oil

Benefits...Canola oil helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and stabilize blood pressure levels, The FDA agrees that 1-1/2Tbsp canola oil each day could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used instead of saturated fat.

Nutrition…Canola oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the alpha-linolenic acid, as well as monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that is considered healthy for diabetics. At the same time, canola oil is low in the unhealthy saturated fat that mostly come from animal products like meat and dairy.

Uses…Canola oil can be used safely at high temperatures because it has a higher smoke point than most other oils, but doesn’t have as much flavor as some other oils that are available and is not your best choice for certain things such as making your own salad dressing

 

 

2. Grape Seed Oil

Nutrition…this is a rich source of both polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and is very low in saturated fat

Use…nutty but mild flavor that can be used for all sorts of cooking and grilling and also works well in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies

 

 

 

3. Rice Bran Oil

Benefits….Rice bran oil will reduce your levels of bad cholesterol, and so is great for diabetics and those wanting to keep heart disease at bay.

Nutrition…Rice bran oil is rich in both monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fats.

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Reusing

You can either reuse your oil or dispose of it after you finish frying.

 

To reuse the oil…

  1. Let the oil cool down to room temperature.
  2. Filter through a cheesecloth…whatever the heck that is…
  3. Return to its original container.
  4. Add a small amount of fresh oil to have extend the life of the oil that you have just used.
  5. Store it in a cool, dark place.

You will not want to use the same oil more than two or three times in a row because each use will release more andf more fatty acids into theoil, reducing the smoke point and making it less and less appropriate to use at the high temperatures required for frying.

If your oil starts to look thick or brown, throw it out.

Never pour oil down the drain…lesson learned the hard way…never pour hot candle wax down the drain either…another lesson learned the hard way…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?!

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pan-Frying 101

 

2. Brining the Chicken…Typically when I frychicken, I cook approximately 3-3 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces….So let’s get started…
Soaking your chicken in some sort of brine will help the breading stick to the food better…and add moisture and flavor. Once you prepare the brine, simply add the chicken to the liquid and stick in the fridge at least thirty minutes, and even overnight.

 

4. Heating Your Oil…When frying chicken, it is important that the oil can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Peanut, canola or vegetable oil are your best options…Avoid using olive oil or butter.

 

 

 

5. Cooking Your Chicken…Gently place your breaded chicken skin side-down in your heated pan, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Replace the lid onto the pan. Cook the chicken about ten minutes, using your tongs to turn the chicken a few times while it cooks.

Remove the lid. Cook ten minutes more, uncovered…until the chicken is cooked through and the outside is a deep golden brown.

 

If you are using a probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken, the magic number is 165 degrees.

Remember to bring the oil back up to 350 degrees before you add the next batch of chicken.

 

 

 

Once your chicken has finished frying, place the hot chicken on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt for extra flavor.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

When done well, you should end up with a hallmark of great fried chicken—perfectly tender meat with plenty of that crunchy, dark brown crust that all of us Southerners so adore.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chinese Culinary Conflict—Shandong Campaign

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chinese Culinary—Zhejang Campaign

Zhejiang cuisine tends to be the simplest of all Chinese regional cuisines.

The focus of Zhejiang cuisine seems to be simplicity. The people of the region focus more on serving fresh seasonal produce served crispy, perhaps even raw or almost raw…much like Japanese food….fresh seafood…and

Zhejiang cuisine tends to be fresh, soft, and smooth with a mellow fragrance.,.,, with a good balance between saltiness and umami

Zhejiang cuisine uses a wide variety of cooking methods—including braising, sautéing, stewing, steaming, and deep-frying.

As far as meat, Zhejiang cuisins uses many different varieties of fresh seafood and freshwater fish caught from local rivers.

As far as sauce, Zhejiang cuisine tends to focus on simple marinades—such as a simple mixture of vinegar and sugar—instead of the more complicated sauces and marinades found in other Chinese regional cuisines.

As far as spices, Zhejiang cuisine tends to be lightly seasoned and veer on the salty side..

Examples of foods that you might find include…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chinese Culinary Conflict—Jiangsu Campaign

Jiangsu cuisine seems like the aristocracy of Chinese regional cuisine. I say this for many reasons.

First of all, Jiangau cuisine places much emphasis on artistic presentation—carefully arranging the food so that it makes visual impact.

Jiangua cuisine also requires being able to use precise and delicate carving techniques, mastering various meticulous cooking methods—such as braising, stewing, and quick-frying.

Not only that, but Jiangau cuisine is often the go-to for elite banquets and state dinners.

Jiangua cuisine combines several taste sensations—saltiness, umami, and sweetness—in almost every single dish. The flavors tend to be rich, light and fresh. The texture tends to be tender. The emphasis seems to be on soup, with soup being a staple on almost all menus. The foods tend to be highly aromatic.

As far as ingredients, the Jiangsu province is widely known as a “fertile land of fish and rice.” Because most of the ingredients come from the many rivers and lakes of the region, as well as the sea, the cuisine often uses a variety of fish.

As far as spices, sugar is often used to round off the flavors.

One dish that you might find on a menu in this region might be Salted Duck.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chinese Culinary Conflict—Hunan Campaign

When I first decided to take a detour through the different Chinese cooking cuisines, I had no clue that this was going to take up a total of nine posts…what started as one post, soon led into about two or three weeks on my blog.

And all this time I have been thinking back on those times as a kid playing the game of Risk with my brother…fighting over who holds what territory.

 

But Chinese regional cuisine also poses a risk of a sort…the risk of cooking with the wrong methods and ingredients for taking care of a diabetic…as well as the risk of standing at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet debating between  getting Sichuan chicken or Hunan chicken for about twenty minutes and then settling for the orange chicken of the sweet-and-sour chicken like most of us do anyway…

 

 

Anyway, on to the next province…

 

The Hunan Province is a land-locked agricultural hub in south-central China that produces a broad range of vegetables and herbs.

And Hunan cuisine takes advantage of  the great variety of ingredients that its rolling hills and beautiful valleys that the region provides.

Hunan cuisine is very similar to Sichuan food, but even hotter.

But the fact that the spiciness is derived from chilies makes it even more delicious because you can actually taste the ingredients,  instead of only being able to taste mouth-numbing peppercorns.

 

 

Hunan cuisine is not only known for this spicy flavor, but also for its deep colors, oily texture, and fresh aromas.

Another characteristic of Hunan cuisine is an emphasis on sourness. All shapes, sorts, and sizes of pickles are popular in the Hunan region.

 

 

As far as meat, Hunan cuisine uses lots of peppered and smoked meats, such as cured hams

As far as spices, people in the Hunan region can’t even begin to imagine life with without chilies. In fact, no dish is complete without chilies…kinda like no dish is complete without sour cream to many people, including me..

As far as other ingredients, Hunan cuisine uses heaps of garlic, shallots, and tofu, fermented bean curd.

 

 

Examples of foods that you might find in the Hunan region include…