Updated: Oct 5, 2019
I’d never read an ingredient label as a young mother. I hardly bought fresh ingredients since they’d take longer to prep cook and would go bad sooner. Why would I need to buy fresh tomatoes? They had spaghetti sauce in a can for $0.50! I could just dump that on whole grain pasta and have a “healthy” meal, right? My son and I could eat off that for a couple nights. Easy, fast, left plenty of time for... laying around the house feeling sluggish and doing nothing.
Fast forward 15 years. I rarely buy anything in a can, bottle or box. 90% of what we eat is made from scratch. I buy meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts. IF I make spaghetti, I make the sauce from fresh tomatoes and produce that I cook down. We serve it over spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash and homemade meatballs. In fact, I have a meat grinder now, so the meatballs are usually made with fresh ground pork!
It's been a slow road to here, with quite a few bumps along it, but I've become quite adept at reading labels. Kallo and I even have a game where we guess which ingredient, either soy, wheat or corn syrup, will come first when we pick up a conventional product.
Paleo has become more popular and companies have realized they can capitalize on the paleo label, which comes with a host of pros and cons.
The loose definition of paleo lends itself to the cons, where cheap, grey area or blatantly non-compliant items make their way into the 'paleo-friendly' products in the name of larger profit margins. White potatoes, green beans, and even corn by-products or cane sugar are thrown into products to stretch more expensive ingredients and still labeled Paleo-Friendly. This makes it a minefield for newbies and old hands, alike. We can't trust the labels, and must do more than a quick skim of the ingredient lists, to make sure there's nothing hiding in there that we don't want to consume.
The pros are that finding quick on-the-go snacks, condiments and unadulterated baking/cooking ingredients has become easier and slightly more affordable. Local grocery stores stock coconut aminos, nut flours and ketchup made with honey so we don't have to order online and wait for shipping, or make our own!
That said, some condiments are still best made at home. More flavor and less cost for a better quality product are just worth the few extra minutes per week and the extra dirty dishes. Mayo is my favorite thing to still make at home. It's so fun to try different acid and oil combinations to come up with different flavor profiles. Lemon juice plus bacon drippings is my current favorite, and is utterly delicious on crepes with chicken, lettuce and tomato!
Lemony Bacon Mayo
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup bacon grease, just warm enough to be liquid
Combine the oils in a vessel suitable for pouring, like a Pyrex measuring cup or a plastic condiment squirt bottle.
Using a food processor or a blender, place the eggs, salt, mustard powder, garlic powder, honey and lemon juice into the work bowl and pulse a few times to combine.
Turn on high speed and pour slowly. And I mean slooooowwwwwly at first. Drip the oil in drop by drop for the first 1/4 of the oil. Once 1/4 is into the emulsion that is forming, you can switch to pouring in a slow but steady stream. Take your time, as going to fast will cause the emulsion not to form or to break.
Here's a simple video of pouring oil into the food processor. The slower, the better!