Thanksgiving !

For Thanksgiving I brought an organic apple pie and organic Brussels sprouts dish to my grandmother’s house. For the pie crust I used Whole Foods brand organic white flour and sugar, Spectrum organic brand vegetable shortening, and Whole Foods brand organic unsalted butter. Spectrum has showed that they are an ethical family owned company from what I have seen on their website. Spectrum’s shortening is made with organic expeller pressed palm oil. It is non-hydrogenated which makes it more healthy than other brands of shortening. The process of hydrogenation adds bad trans fats to food products. Trans fats are nearly impossible for the human body to break down and they may be a leading cause of heart disease. The reason why companies use hydrogenation is because it extends the shelf life of food products. Expeller pressing is “chemical-free mechanical process that extracts oil from seeds and nuts using a screw type machine” according to the Spectrum Organics website. Spectrum has boycotted the Canadian Fishing and Seafood Industry for killing baby seals to show their “stewardship”. They farm organically and on their website have a nice section on biotechnology and the harms that it causes. The palm oil used in the shortening is sustainable according to Spectrum. A percentage of the company’s revenue is given to their workers’ welfare association. Normally palm oil production involves clearing out large areas of land and disrupting the local people’s lives. Originally just a family brand, Spectrum has now joined the huge Hain Celestial brand. For the filling of the pie I used three organic Granny Smith apples and four organic Mcintosh apples. Using two different types of apples prevents the pie from becoming watery and balances the flavor. I purchased the apples from Whole Foods, they were grown in the United States. For the Brussels sprouts dish I used Napa Valley Naturals organic balsamic vinegar, the Whole Foods brand butter, Applegate Farms pancetta, and Brussels sprouts from Whole Foods. Napa Valley Naturals is a family owned business founded by Kendall Cook. It produces organic and natural vinegars, oils, and now cooking wines.  Ten percent of revenue is donated to “groups that support environmental preservation, sustainable agriculture practices, hunger prevention, and community-based health initiatives”. They have also donated 166,000 dollars to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which supports breast cancer. All Napa Valley Naturals products are vegan, Kosher, and gluten free. Their balsamic vinegar is from the Modena District in central Italy. It is “Chemical free, sodium, cholesterol, and GMO free.” It also is free of caramel coloring and added sugar. However it does contain natural sulfites. There is also naturally occurring lead in the balsamic vinegar. Many companies add sulfites to wine and vinegar as a preservative, but this balsamic vinegar has naturally occurring sulfites which come from the grape skins. According to the Napa Valley Naturals’ site, lead is absorbed by everything which grows in the ground. Applegate Farms produces organic meat and natural meats. They make several promises for their products such as, their animals are never given antibiotics, livestock eat a completely vegetarian diet, cattle are grass-fed, animals grow at their natural rate- they are not given hormones, products are minimally processed, products never contain artificial nitrates or nitrites- celery juice and sea salt are used as preservatives, meat is gluten and casein free, even the hot dogs are made from whole muscle meat- no mystery. Products are “uncured” which means that they have been preserved without a chemical agent. Pancetta is an Italian style bacon. There is a three month drying period in the production of pancetta which gives it a different flavor when compared to traditional bacon.

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