Popcorn and Soda
There is a poutine place on the far side of the lake. So I hopped in the canoe and decided to traverse the lake to see if this remote outpost in the Adirondacks might have a source of cheese curds that retain their squeak when tossed with crisp fries and hot gravy.
Do you know what went squeak though? My back, as I was pulling the canoe out of the water onto the landing at the other side of the lake. And to add insult to injury, the restaurant was closed on Tuesdays.
Now it hurts when I stand, hurts when I sit, and hurts when I lay down. So if I’m a bit extra grumpy for the rest of the week, you may understand why. Fortunately, our rental house is stocked with plenty of old VHS tapes, so I may be able to find ways to distract myself.
I’ve got plenty of popcorn and soda in the house too, which I picked up before the back went out at the local market. And I was both delighted and dismayed about what I found there.
Popcorn in the Fussy house is made the old fashioned way. I heat three kernels of popcorn in a pot coated with oil. And once those first three pop, I add a bunch more. Off heat, I swirl them all around for 30 seconds. Then the pot goes back on the stove, with a cover loosely fitted (to let out some steam, but keeping the kernels inside), and shaken periodically so that the bottom doesn’t burn and errant kernels make their way to the business end of the pot.
Typically, I find myself buying organic kernels, either from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or the Honest Weight Food Co-op. Not because I think they are more nutritious. Nor have I fooled myself into thinking they were produced without pesticides or herbicides. But rather, I buy organic corn to make sure I’m not supporting GMO corn, for reasons I’ve discussed earlier.
Just like there was a big move from the dairy producers in America away from rBST/BGH when consumers realized they prefered milk made without it, the NON GMO Project has also been gaining steam.
I was delighted to find the NON GMO Project “verified” badge on a bag of Jolly Time popcorn kernels in the Old Forge supermarket. Huzzah!
Mrs. Fussy thought there was only about a fifty percent chance that I would find any ginger beer at all in the same market, but I was certain they would have it. And lo and behold, there was a huge display of Saranac sodas, and there was a six pack of their ginger beer.
Let’s compare two different parts of the Saranac “World famous hand-crafted soft drinks” ginger beer label. Here’s one blurb:
Legend has it that Ginger Beer “heals the soul and cures your ailments”… We can’t guarantee that will happen, but our Ginger Beer will make your mouth stand up and take notice! We use “tons of ginger” for an effervescent slightly tart & snappy taste! Mix it, drink it, do whatever — you’ll love the real “ginger snap” taste sensation. Let us know what you think! Thank you and please tell your friends!
And then come the ingredients:
Filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural & artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness) and caramel color.
There’s no actual ginger in there. Maybe real ginger was used at some point in the chemical production of the “natural flavors” but that’s far from guaranteed. So that “tons of ginger” is really just about “tons of ginger” flavoring. And it’s slight tartness can be attributed to the citric acid.
What gets me is the marketing of this soda as hand crafted. I can’t even get my hands on high fructose corn syrup. A while back, I tried. You know, because since the corn lobby was trying so hard to normalize this strange product, I thought I might try using it at home instead of sugar.
I mean, it’s supposed to be practically identical, and superior to granulated cane sugar in syrups. But for whatever reasons, it’s not available directly to consumers.
Anyhow, I’ll take what I can get. Because this rental house by the lake came with Moscow Mule mugs, and dammit, I needed ginger beer. Although now with the back, and the prospect of needing pain meds, my cocktail days by the lake may be over.
Sigh. At least I’ve got popcorn and soda.