All posts by BiscottiDon

Expiration Dates and Food Waste

Being a small business that has produced food I am full aware of how expiration dates work.  In my experience everything in the following video is accurate.

I am aware of and I have written on the topics of food quality and hunger.  One of the other things that Adam touches on in the video is food waste.  According to the USDA food waste in the United States “is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply”.  In 2010 this amounted to “approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food”.

This is perfectly good food that could feed the poor, hungry, and homeless.  A high percentage of this is food is never seen by the public but instead goes directly into landfills.  This makes added loss of land, water, labor, energy, and other resources diverting this food to dumps according to the EPA.  This could be beneficial to society but instead contributes to pollution.

The USDA reports on “How much food waste is there in the United States and why does it matter

The EPA’s report on food waste being the largest component of municipal landfills

Further reading in an article by TheAtlantic.com

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares – EXPERIMENT

What’s green and brown and all mixed up?

Some of my recipes I imagine and then create – with others I get the flavour idea from some other recipe, glean what I need from it in the way of flavouring and proportions, and then create my own cookie.  Early this month I came across a recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies – and they looked TASTY!  I instantly thought about this flavour being a cookie square…

Spread out in my forming pan and ready to go…

Around the middle of the month I got the opportunity to give it a go – take a look at the results below – it seems this is one of the times I nailed the recipe in the first go.  Here are two other bits of good news…

Yeah, I know, they’re a little toasted on top & don’t quite look minty green. I’ll see the inside results when I cut these apart after they’ve cooled over night.

…In simple terms, the way this recipe worked out, I learned more about my base Cookie Square recipe, enabling me to more easily make other flavours I imagine.

…I’ve already included this recipe in my soon-to-be-published baking book – not only do you get to see them here, but you will have the opportunity to make them yourself!

And how’s the book going?  There’s still a good chunk of work to do but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m working with an editor — Linda AKA CheckChick.com, who is FANTASTIC — and the writing is better than ever!  My *HOPE* is that the book will be published late-December or early-January.  Keep your eyes here and on the WIBC Facebook page…..

YEP – these cookies are GREEN! Trust me, I know – I live in a state where 1/2 of everything is green ….. not minty though.

Publishing Update – E-Reader Edition

As promised earlier today on Facebook
a Publishing Update!
Big or small, here’s the thing & here we go….
{Coming up – E-Readers & a Big Fat THANK YOU}

Ooh — BOOKS!

How do you like reading recipes?

When it comes to baking & cooking, I’m not particular — I prefer working from a recipe card, a piece of paper, or a book. Most of my recipes have coffee rings and other bits of ingredients decorating their edges. When it comes to working from an electronic screen I don’t mind working from my laptop, and I often do.

About a year ago I asked on the WIBC Facebook page what people prefer to work from — paper, computer screens, recipes written in pen on their forearm, etc. Largely I learned folks prefer paper, and I’m all for it. I am, however, planning to get my book published and As Soon As Possible following up with publishing for e-reader.

I have a little more work to go on my book before analogue publishing, and I’m already taking steps toward the re-format to follow. With this I have been learning that e-publishing is a different game — you have to do all sorts of different things to have your book appear right on an e-reader and there are different things you need to include in the writing — not to mention the things you CAN include …… yep, try to put a web link in your paper book!

*To That End*…. I posted a question on my personal Facebook profile lately asking about what I need to know to reformat my book as an e-book … the answer, A LOT. Okay, so, I’m working on that.

Big Tex – consummate Texas State Fair resident from 1952 to 2012

One of the responses I got was from an e-friend, Aleta somewhere in the great state of TEXAS (<– Note, everything is bigger in TEXAS), very kindly pointed out that to reformat my book for e-reader I would want to see it on an e-reader as I work, and she offered to send me one of her earlier cherished models.

My mom has been using e-readers for years … I’ve helped her figure out a few bugs with downloading her books …. but otherwise I’ve never used one & barely touched the things. I like my analogue books and have a stack of them to plow through. I asked my editor, Linda, if I needed one of these & about taking Aleta up on her generous offer. Short-story made longish by yours-truly, I took Aleta up on her offer and a smart little unit arrived by post yesterday!

Ophiuchs wrasselin’ a serpent with Hercules lending a helping club

This looks like a great device! And now I have to figure out how to work it …?… which, when it comes to electronics, I have a knack for that. I’ll just have to control my temptation to peek at it when I’m not currently working on my practical-publication — gotta get that puppy DONE!

There’s this great thing about finding passion for something & being a DIY’er — you say you want to do something and people come out and volunteer their support. Aleta has certainly helped me to go forward with her support in the new direction of Whidbey Island Baking Company.

Thanks Aleta!
All the Best ~ Don

WIBC on Facebook

The Great State of Texas and Texas.gov

Ophiuchus AKA the Serpent Bearer

Hercules who occasionally lends a helping club

…it’s still morning somewhere, right?!?

Mmm …. pie!

Sunday afternoon on the WIBC-Facebook page I said that I had a progress announcement about my baking book — and that I was going to post this morning …. and it’s now PIE’o’clock (3:14PM) …. and I’m realizing I didn’t get to it*, ACK! I’ve been busy getting my BagpiperDon website working right so it’s as equally as awesome as my recent updates to this site. ANYWAY…

I had a conference call with my editor, Linda, on Sunday. She is A*W*E*S*O*M*E — she’s bold, she’s brilliant, she’s hilarious, Linda Makes Work FUN! (And yes, Linda, you may quote me on that for your portfolio.) We nailed down a number of things both having to do with my book and my plans to re-release it after paper publication as an e-book. I have a check-list of the things I need to satisfy (as provided by my friend & e-publishing coach, Tom) — toward the end of my call with Linda I ran down the list and updated it.
(PSST! – Linda has a bran-new website COMING SOON – see here at CheckChick.com!)

Here’s the HURRAH Announcement

There are 18 total To-Do items on the list, I have 11 DONE, I have only 7 more to go!

Now — real quick — what does that mean?  Simply speaking, there are big tasks and small tasks in writing and publishing a book.  Usually writing the book is a huge task — DUH, obviously!  Other tasks may take a few hours, days, or weeks, and those are considerably short …. even if that means taking two days to craft a few paragraphs for the wings or back of a book.  There’s still the final edit work to do on my book, and the other tasks are really pretty small … but they add up & take time.  For DIY boot-strappers like myself that just means nose-to-the-gumption-grindstone!

“So when is your release date, Don?”

I am hoping to publish by Black Friday, however with everything going on I think it will be closer to Xmas. As many of you know I experienced a hard-drive crash early this year and have had to re-start my project working from old back-ups, e-documents I thought I had lost completely, and most but not all of the photos I had planned to include. Having received Linda’s added involvement has been nothing short of a GIFT! The book has been coming back together, and while it’s not done Right Now it is a better book than I had written last year. Do you think that this adds to my excitement???

OH YEAH!

So, work to go!
Back At It — Don

Tom and his many abilities at TrimbathCreative.wordpress.com
Linda, my editor, at CheckChick.com and her Check Chick Facebook page

* So here’s a little insight about being a small business owner….
It’s said that in ancient times if the gods wanted to get revenge on some humans they’d make them go crazy — and to accomplish this they make them fall in love. In modern times, I think gods make people go crazy by making them think “Hey, I can start & run a small business!”  Is a small business Love?  Well, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing…. then, Yes!

Food Stamped (2010)

Did you see my post about A Place At The Table?  Did you watch the film?  Watch it, and then immediately watch Food Stamped.

If you’ve followed along, the issues of quality food and hunger are close to my heart – and it is my hope that this is a topic is one that other people look at.

In “Food Stamped” Shira & Yoav Potash take ‘The Food Stamp Challenge’ (which seems to match the name of what a number of folks on Capitol Hill experimented with).  For one week they shop & eat on the average amount of money that someone receiving food stamps has to use – which is about $1 per meal for an individual.  They took this further by making a few ground rules that the food must be nutritious:

  • Every meal must include protein, whole grains & fruits/veggies
  • To buy as many organic items as they could afford
  • To eat as little processed foods as possible
  • At the end of the week submit their diet record to a registered dietitian for a nutritional evaluation

Through their film they interview food justice activists, nutrition experts, politicians, and ordinary people living on food stamps – all to look closely at the challenges that low-income Americans face daily trying to put three-square meals on the table.

Shira is a certified nutrition educator with a Masters of Science in Community Health Education.  She teaches nutrition-based cooking classes to elementary school students in low-income neighborhoods, most of who are from families that qualify for food stamps.

Yoav is a graduate of UC Berkeley and has taught film courses at the Bay Area Video Coalition and Academy of Art University.  He is a documentary film maker who has produced documentaries & videos for many companies and nonprofits.

FoodStamped.com

FoodStamped.com the film

Food Stamped Film Trailer

Food Stamped at IMDB

Fed Up

PS to “Ingredients – Who’s Your Farmer?” on 21February2016

I might – scratch that, WOULD – also add “Fed Up” to this list.  Something about the style of delivery in this documentary strikes me as ‘commercial’, regardless I still found thought provoking.

Fed Up at IMDB

Fed Up – movie home page

Fed Up at Wikipedia.org

(NOTE – This started as a small PS and grew as I found more & more important things to share.)

The more I watch this documentary the more I come to believe it is important.  As I watch, I find myself additionally reflecting on what I (too) have done with my WIBC products.  A big part of this video focuses on sugar and processed foods.  Let’s be very clear about a few things with respects to my company & products:

  • WIBC is (presently) licensed as a Food Processing Plant (emphasis added).  I understand this as a general purpose title given by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.  When the name of this license is put beside the term “processed foods” it may give the suggestion that what WIBC makes is ‘processed’.  I didn’t choose the title of the license, and this assumption or confusion should not be made.
  • I consider WIBC to be a part of the Local Food or Real Food movement.   I did not set out to do this, it is merely that how I make food falls within this idea.  I make baked goods like a person would at home, just on a commercial scale.  In frank terms, if you look at a food product ingredient label and read ingredients you have at home (eggs, butter, sugar, flour, etc) then you are essentially holding real food; if the ingredients read like a cross between Greek, Pig Latin, and Medical Terminology in unpronounceable syllables, then you’re dealing with a processed food (substance of some sort).
  • WIBC products do include various sugars.  I have never denied this, I have never hidden it in any way – in fact, my ingredients have been a part of my company’s transparency and I have very gladly talked about the ingredients used in my products.  To this end, the sugars used in my products comprise of white and brown sugar; other sugars come from fruit juice, molasses, white and chocolate chips, and M&Ms (unless there are any other ingredients I am not thinking of off the top of my head).  When you read the ingredients of a product that include these, (I suggest that) the only one that may not read so straight-forward is one that includes M&Ms.  The not-so-pronounceable ingredients to these are preservatives in the M&M food colouring.  Further …
  • What WIBC (AKA I) does not add to its products are stand-alone ingredients you cannot pronounce, strange flavour enhancers, or dubious preservatives.  As said, I make baked goods like a person would at home.  As a result my baked goods have a short shelf life & are meant to be consumed soon after preparation, and should be considered ‘Real Food’.
  • Maybe if you can’t pronounce something on a food ingredient label, don’t eat it.  If you ask a company that produces & markets food items, and they won’t talk with you or all they give you is prepared spin, maybe don’t eat what they’re offering.  If you do ask a food company about their products and their ingredients and they’re happy to talk with you about them and speak in straight-forward terms, and you understand and believe in their ingredients, that’s probably a better bet.  If you go to a grocery store or a farmers market and you know that a vegetable is a vegetable, an egg is an egg, and a loaf of bread is a loaf of bread (etc), then it’s probably a much better bet.

Well, it seems this is a pretty important PS for me.

Fed Up – movie home page

Ingredients – Who’s Your Farmer?

This film is all about the development of the local food movement.  The food we eat is no better than the quality of the ingredients that go into them.  More and more farmers are growing real food.  More and more restaurants and food companies (as I did with WIBC) are moving to work with no less than real ingredients.  The local food movement takes root.  Find farm-to-restaurant venues & patronize them.  Cooking is a joy, not drudgery – go to your farmers markets and buy local.

You’re a real person – eat real food!
Enjoy, Don

Ingredients at IMDB

CargoFilm-Releasing.com – Ingredients – Whos Your Farmer

Ingredients – Who’s Your Farmer

A Place At The Table

This film was produced by the same folks who made Food, Inc.  It points out and questions the following:

  • The U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries in the world – we also produce more food than we consume.
  • How is it and why is it that the U.S. has a substantial number of people who cannot afford to buy food and are starving &/or cannot afford to purchase quality sustenance?

Apparently we had this problem in the 1970s, and we beat it.  Now it’s back, and it’s not a simple issue, but an extremely important one.  One of the things that I wanted to do with WIBC while a production food company was to join this fight.  When I finished watching this film I started writing a letter to Jeff Bridges (the actor), but I was so fired up that I couldn’t tie my many thoughts and sentences together.  Why Jeff Bridges?  Watch the film.

A Place At The Table at IMDB

TakePart.com – A Place At The Table

Supersize Me and Food, Inc.

I made the gross mistake* of viewing these two films in the same day, back to back.  At the end of these I was so disturbed I thought I might not eat for weeks.  To sum up each of these films … Supersize Me is a ground-level, personal view of the issues with our mass-produced food; Food, Inc. gives both a local & global view of massive production of food and how this affects health, national economies, and political decisions.  Watch these, just maybe with a longer break in between the two films than what I took.
(*and I mean ‘gross’ in both ways)

Super Size Me on IMDB.com

Super Size Me on Wikipedia.org

 

Food, Inc. on IMDB.com

Food, Inc. on Wikipedia.org

 

Kitchen Tips – Yours & Mine

Do you ever find yourself in your kitchen making something tasty thinking to yourself “You know, that one thing that I do in my kitchen is a good idea and other people would benefit from knowing about it.”?  Yeah, me too.  Well, here’s your chance!

Over this past weekend while doing a little baking I thought of something I might add to my current in-process baking book — KITCHEN TIPS!  What’s a Kitchen Tip?  Well, one of my ideas — and I would hope this should be obvious — is to always keep your oven mitts or hot pads in a consistent place so you’re not scrambling for them when the timer rings.  I thought up & wrote down about another 5 and then I thought “ENGAGE YOUR PUBLIC” — so……..

WHAT ARE YOUR BAKING-RELATED KITCHEN TIPS?  Comment below ….. yes, I’m actually going to allow comments for once.  These would be suggestions related to setting up your kitchen for baking or around the process of baking (etc).  Write your tips, hints, & ideas here — they might get included in my baking book!

“Collect your cookie crumbs – they go great on top of ice cream! For best results, serve soon.” Marion C. – Milwaukee, WI”.

If I publish your idea I will try to let you know in advance.  Also, I would like to put your name & location as written above.  Now, I should also say — while I like this idea for my book, I’m not sure how I might include them.  My original idea was to disperse these notes throughout my tome but that doesn’t fit with my mental image of the contents – so these might end up as their own section instead.

Submit your ideas & you just might get your name in print!
Enjoy ~ Don