This week was dedicated to vegetables, grains, vegetarianism and healthy eating. Some people associate vegetarian food with boring, plain food. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. This kind of cooking excites me because there are endless possibilities with vegetables. If you think about it meat is much more restrictive than veggies. Vegetables have different colours, textures and flavours. There is much more variety than there is with meat. Just look at a seed catalogue or the vegetable aisles in the grocery store. Vegetables offer a rainbow of colour, whereas the meat section generally comes in shade of red.
We had a guest chef come in who is also a registered holistic nutritionist. She taught us about vegan cooking and fermentation. Many people in my class didn’t know about the benefits of wild fermentation. The difference between buying and eating sauerkraut from a shelf made with white vinegar and buying or making unpasteurized living sauerkraut can influence the health and number of the microflora in your gut. I also learned that white vinegar is either made with high-fructose corn syrup or is now provided by our oil companies as a by-product of petroleum. Does that even count as a food?
For those of you who don’t know, fermentation occurs when a microorganism (yeast, mold or bacteria) essentially transforms a fuel. This fuel is sugar. So corn syrup is the sugar used for making white vinegar and apples provide the sugar for apple cider vinegar. When making sauerkraut the cabbage provides the fuel for the lactobacillus bacteria to create the delicious sour flavour.