Thursday, February 7, 2013

Glass houses ...

By now everyone will have seen the news about Chrissy Swan and the fact that she has publicly admitted to smoking while pregnant. To be totally honest I haven't seen the tearful interview she did on The Project last night and I only know of the story through social media. Part of me wants to watch and read all of it but then a bigger part of me feels like by doing this I am contributing to the masses who feel they have a place and right to judge.

Don't for one second think that I condone smoking while pregnant because I don't! Let me make that clear. I'm not a fan of soft cheeses or blue meat but I'm pretty confident that I may have eaten all sorts of foods that are/were/or could be on the banned list of substances to ingest when pregnant. The main reason that I am confident I did this is because I didn't actually realise that there was a banned list of foods! I understood the big ones no smoking, no booze and no drugs.

Luckily for me I didn't do the smoking or drugs and booze that stopped as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Of course the major quandary I had was that when I was pregnant with both our son and twins I was literally so sick that I was put on drips to hydrate me and told by drs to eat anything at all that I could keep down. I was also medicated to help me keep some food down and other complications so whoops there goes the no drugs thing.

But of course the world didn't crucify me partly because no one knows who I am and partly because it was ok my dr gave me the medication and told me to take it so it must be safe right? Then let's look to the food thing the list these days that is out while pregnant is HUGE! The big ones as I have mentioned are soft cheeses and blue (raw) meat. What I am sure I didn't know was raw eggs, cold deli meats, prepared salads (like potato, pasta) were also on the list.

Recently I saw something that someone couldn't give up their soft cheeses when pregnant even when there was a known listeria outbreak. She was happy to take the calculated risk that she wasn't going to contract listeria rather than give up her favourite soft cheese. I also saw on another site that someone was craving soft serve and she was concerned that this was endangering her unborn baby. Most people were relatively normal about things but there was at least one suggestion that she was trying to kill her baby by deliberately eating soft serve, seriously folks you don't know this lady and to suggest she is trying to kill her baby is going way beyond the pail. Not to mention the dozens of other mean, nasty comments about the risk she was exposing her baby to. I don't understand this, people still felt they had the right to disagree with her. And attack her is it not her body and her baby? It was soft serve after all!!!

Why is it that everyone with a computer now feels it is their God-given right to share their opinion with the world (much like me here...) Again not defending Chrissy but from what I've read she was pretty upset on The Project and she gets it, she understands and knows that what she is doing is wrong and she clearly appears to struggle with it.

Is it my place to attack her for smoking or someone else for their food choices or someone else again for drinking while pregnant. The answer I keep coming back to is no it isn't! The reality is I am not a perfect parent in fact I am not a perfect person I am terribly flawed and I make so many mistakes.

I feel for people who are in the public eye (and equally me a little for putting this out there) because once you put something out into the public domain you no longer own it. It is clearly commonly accepted that if you are a public figure then you no longer own yourself either. As a public figure you put yourself out there Chrissy makes a living by giving us her opinions on many things but really does that in turn gives us the right to attack the way people do?

We as a generation are constantly telling our children not to bully others, to be nice, to play nice. But what sort if an example do we as grown adults set for them? As grown adults people particularly women say some of the most nasty and horrible things to each other. These aren't even people that know us well these are just "people" who have taken exception to what we say or do. Why is it ok for adults to bully other adults, to call people names very publicly, why is it that adults can do these things (and these adults mostly are also parents) but we are forever telling our children not to.

Well you know what I call bullshit! I say that it is not ok. It is not ok to call anyone a name, it really doesn't matter what they do unless perhaps they are doing something directly to you that has an affect on you in real life or your children directly. I say that it is time that we stopped being bullies and we stopped justifying being bullies and saying we are doing in the public interest. You know what that is utter crap. When we call people names even if they are people we don't know and they don't know us it still has an affect on them especially if we do this online. Public figures google their names (heck I google my own name from time to time!) they know the things we say they can read and you know what I'm guessing it hurts.

Just like it hurt all those years ago when I was bullied and called names at school by the tough girls and the mean crowd well I'm telling you it hurts to read things nasty things said about yourself online. I've also read things about myself said by "friends" and it hurts. Just because Chrissy Swan doesn't know me doesn't mean that my words have any less power.

Frankly I think it is time we concentrated more about what is happening in our own backyards and own families and with our own children with our own lives before we start pointing the finger at others. As a parent I have a duty to show my children how to live by my example. Many years ago when I was teaching I had a child that swore a lot and right up in my face, it got so bad that I had need to speak to the student's parent after carefully explaining to the parent what was happening in class and could they help me they promptly turned swore at their child and I saw instantly that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I think that if we show our children that its not ok to call someone a name that will have far more power for them than just telling them it's not ok. If we tell our children don't call someone names but then turn around and do exactly that then it is a very hard and strange message for our kids to learn and most of the time they will struggle.

Perhaps just maybe if we stopped being so nasty and judgemental all the time to each other and supported each other more then maybe just maybe we could help each other. Perhaps if we have a friend who is struggling with an addiction to cigarettes instead of crucifying them for not giving up we help them and support them so they can give up there is a chance it might work.

I'm just saying until you are perfect yourself perhaps lay off on the vitriol. What's that saying people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!


Friday, February 1, 2013

I love to bake, what do you love?

I love to bake, more than that I love to spend time making really yummy things that I know my family and friends will enjoy to eat. I would say that I really have somewhat of an addiction to food magazines and I definitely indulge in far too much food porn and all of this only serves to fuel my desire to cook for everyone.

Some would say this really isn't a problem they know that anytime I am asked I will definitely whip up some kind of decadent gooey dessert that is totally fat and sugar free (ok so it probably is neither of those things at all but it is guaranteed to be gooey and decadent!). Of course a couple of years ago when our big boy was diagnosed coeliac I thought my world was going to end, little did I know that all the diagnosis did was open up a whole new section of cookbooks for me to drool over!

As far as the coeliac diagnosis went to say that my first reaction was one of shock and disbelief and I even looked at the dr and said surely not surely it could be something else ... You know less lifelong and less life impacting (I was thinking purely of how this was going to impact my life and my low affair with food to be totally honest!!) I look back now and realise how silly that reaction was, given I have such a love affair with food really I was probably best placed to deal with this challenge thrown at us.

In the just over two years since the diagnosis the variety of food available in the stores has grown exponentially, this largely I would think due to the fact that it is now fairly trendy to have some kind of dietary requirement and wheat intolerance is right up there at the top of most lists. But there are still so many things that you simply can't buy so what is a girl with a love affair with food to do but experiment.

In the past couple of years I don't think there isn't a family favourite that I haven't converted into gluten free. Of course there have been a few failures along the way like the strawberry shortcake that I made for my dad's birthday last year it didn't quite turn out, and I am sure there were more. But I would think that overall most of the conversions have been more than successful!

Last weekend I discovered a totally decadent banana roll with cream cheese filling, I was just waiting for an occasion to make it (mainly because as much as my man loves my cooking his expanding waist is testament to that) he just doesn't need me to make cakes for him! When we invited to a friend's house for a post Australia Day BBQ I knew I had the perfect place to try out my new find.

Of course as with lots of recipes this one was found on the web made by a lady in the states and wasn't gluten free so was going to need some modification. First substitute was the flour typically is use a gluten free premix bought from the supermarket mainly because I am not sure if mixing my own flours would be cheaper though this will be something I will investigate this year. Then partly because I couldn't find my baking soda and partly because I didn't read the recipe properly prior to making it I used SR flour instead of plain plus baking soda and baking powder.

Often times I find that making a sponge can be daunting and overwhelming but since Christmas I have made three chocolate sponge rolls and now this so I have decided its all in the attitude if I have the attitude it will fail then well it quite possibly will. Making a sponge that also had fruit in it was certainly a new experience but it worked and cooked perfectly.

The next step was a little tricky and is probably the most overwhelming part of making a sponge roll and that is the rolling. The trick that I read in this recipe is to roll while still partially warm and cool it rolled this will help the roll to stay rolled.

The last step and this is the bit that made the already very yummy banana sponge simply irresistible and also some more modification from me to the source recipe. The source recipe called for whipped topping something I had not heard of and upon researching decided I would do without and substitute with pure cream instead! The filling compromised of cream cheese and brown sugar whipped until the sugar was dissolved then I added the pure cream and whipped until it was thick then came the fiddle part unrolling spreading the filling and re-rolling.

I am pretty sure I put too much cream in but there were absolutely no complaints. Just before serving I drizzled some caramel topping over the roll as she had in the picture. When I brought it out for dessert there was no complaints about any of the modifications in fact I would argue that probably no-one even knew they had happened.

I get a real sense of pride when people eat my baking and say nothing because they are too busy eating. Sure I probably do like to do it for the compliments because I think in life we all do things that we know we are good at but in honesty I don't mind if I don't get compliments I really do cook simply because I love it. I'm pretty sure this is an inherited gene my mum and both grandmothers are/were great in the kitchen and I hope that I will pass this love onto our kids.

What is something you love to do or are really good at that you hope to pass onto your children?

Til next time