Mar 31, 2009

sickly sweet

Freakin' Splenda is haunting me! Twice in one weekend our household shopping was cursed by accidental purchases of products containing Splenda.

We don't buy too much in the way of processed food, so I think I've grown slack in the world of ingredient reading. How else can I explain being pressed to create bright colors of frosting in a pinch, breezing through some nasty chemical ingredient list on a tub of super processed frosting to make sure there was no egg or whey or lard, and realizing, while frosting a bright yellow cupcake with candied lemon peel on top, that the reason the consistency was so gluey was because it was reduced sugar frosting? Gross on top of yuk. It was too late to go back. I figured this is what I get for taking short cuts, even though I'd been asked to bake for a party, and I'm totally not a baker. I had no intention of eating any of the cupcakes, and warned everyone at the party, most of whom didn't care, that the beautiful pastel colors were made of poison.I claim some innoncence: I had been in a daze. The party was a naming ceremony and first birthday party for twins born to dyke moms, and conceived via in-vitro fertilization after years of fertility treatments. When I went on the frosting run, I'd just been at the gym listing to a podcast about Liza Mundy's new book about ethics questions and medical issues when children are created through fertility treatments, surrogacy, and sperm donors. The famous octoplets have given us a peek, but there are a whole lot more issues, many of which these very moms had experience with. It was a terrifying listen, having direct impact on this family I love, and most specifically on the smaller of the twin girls, clearly robbed of nutrition and everything else by the bigger, stronger one, and having just suffered whooping cough and pneumonia. I knew my arguments for adoption for well-founded, even though everyone is sick of hearing them! The party featured lots of cute, happy kids, however, and was so warm and sweet and supportive that my freakout melted.

The frosting was called out by one of the moms, who I'd pressed to stop using Splenda. Since she didn't care much about poisoning herself, I'd used the Huntingdon Life Sciences angle, a convincing one. Splenda was tested on 12,800 animals to "prove" that it's safe. Hello, we already know it's poison! Like how we know jet exhaust and cigarettes are poison, but we're still "testing" that on dogs. HLS exists specifically for crappy products like fake sweeteners, with hundreds of animals suffering every day because of it. All vivisection is grotesque, but nobody, no matter how uninformed, can pretend that product testing is okay. I was thrilled she remembered.So we left the party all warm and fuzzy, shaking the nasty fake sweet. Or so we thought. A person sometimes craves pickles. This sometimes happens when one's own stash of ferments from last summer is gone, and when that person is not on the lower east side of Manhattan with access to Guss' barrels of brine. So we're at the market and decide to splurge on a jar of fancy pickles. At the last minute, we feel guilty about spending the money and run back and swap the expensive pickles for a jar of Vlasic bread & butter pickles. Go home, go to crack them open, and see that they're made with Splenda.Insert string of expletives here.

Here's why I love belonging to a farm. Here's why I'm starting up a winter C.S.A. in my town. Plain old good food. Delightful treats. Good planning instead of shortcuts. No poisons. No animals harmed. Feeling completely spoiled without ever accidently eating shit like Splenda.

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