Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bunny Trails

In case you're not familiar with the terminology, a "bunny trail" or "rabbit trail" or "rabbit hole" is the educational equivalent of wiki-surfing.  You study one thing which leads to another which takes you to a distantly related tangent which leads you to another subject entirely which...well, you get the idea.

I discovered that A-1 steak sauce added to the marinade makes for truly excellent jerky.  But I'm kind of nervous about bottled sauces these days as I work towards healthier eating and a more budget-conscious grocery shopping experience.  So this morning I started looking for a recipe for homemade steak sauce.

This is a stock photo of my food dehydrator.  And meat gun.
Which led me to discover that soy sauce is in A-1.  I'm really trying to drastically reduce the amount of soy in our diets (oxalate concerns for me, estrogen concerns for Mindie) so I went looking for a non-soy alternative to soy sauce.

Found a good one and went back to the steak sauce recipe.  Worcestershire sauce was also a common ingredient across many steak sauce recipes.  I wonder if Worcestershire sauce is ok for us?

Um, apparently not.  It *also* contains soy.  Oh, and dissolved fish bodies.  And something called "devil's dung" which may be perfectly healthy but I prefer to not have poop in my food, even metaphorical poop.  So I started looking for a Worcestershire sauce substitute with no soy, dead fish skeletons, or metaphorical poop.

Which led me to a website full of recipes for lacto-fermented condiments.  This is more like it.  Lacto-ferments are good for you, I'm told.  I've been meaning to look into those anyway.

So I start reading up on how to obtain whey to make my own lacto-ferments.  Apparently the most readily available source is store-bought plain yogurt.  I can do that.

Then I discover that I can use this store-bought plain yogurt to make homemade yogurt.  While this SOUNDS like a stupid catch-22 for unwary health nuts, it's not.  One container of store-bought plain yogurt apparently contains enough "yogurt juice" to make about a gallon of homemade yogurt, some of which I can resample to make more homemade yogurt and on and on like the yogurt version of Amish friendship bread.  And who wouldn't love their own Amish friendship yogurt, right?
Yum yum!  This is whey.  I'm betting Miss Muffet wasn't
all that sad to give her curds and whey up to the spider.

All of this yogurt goodness leads me to Amazon where I start looking at yogurt making machines (not that they are necessary for making Amish friendship yogurt - a couple of jars and a foam cooler are pretty much the only things you really need, according to my reading).

Which brings me to frozen yogurt and ice cream makers.  Mmmm.  Homemade ice cream and fro-yo.  And without all the salt and ice that my current ice cream maker requires.  And the hours upon hours of noisy motors driving me batty.

Ice cream brings me to a new thought.  Mindie is starting orthodontics right now which creates a whole new list of verboten foods for her.  No jerky, no nuts, no fruit leather, no crunching on ice.  Basically nothing too sticky/gummy, nothing too hard, nothing too tough or chewy.  I wonder if ice cream cones are prohibited?

Because this torture is not enough, you will also not be allowed
to eat anything tasty for 18-36 months either.
I search the internet to find out if she's allowed to eat ice cream cones.  General consensus is sugar cones broken into pieces are acceptable.  Avoid waffle cones.

In the process I read loads about chewing gum in braces and this stuff called Xylitol which is a sugar alcohol used in artificial sweeteners that has application in preventing dental caries, treating osteoporosis, preventing ear infections, and controlling candida outbreak.

Which is the point at which I realized how incredibly complicated this bunny trail had become.  I looked back over the tabs I had opened along the way and marveled.  Then I determined to share it with you all.  Please tell me I'm not the only one out there that does stuff like this.  What convoluted bunny trails have you followed lately?  Have any of your bunny trails ever come full circle back to where you started?

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