Everything Old is New Again

Just like the song says…everything old is new again. I suppose every generation thinks it at some point and often with an eye roll attached. That’s not to say there’s no innovation or new discovery, but some new ideas are really just repackaged innovations of a previous era.

If there’s a popular buzzword floating about, the concept may fall into this category. Think of the terms EcoFriendly, Free Range Parenting, Unschooling, Optics, Sourcing, Clean Eating, and Plant-Based Diet. I saw Michael Phelps on TV this morning telling me to turn the water off while I’m brushing my teeth to conserve water. My first thought was, who doesn’t do that? I also turn off the lights when I leave a room (or never turn them on during the day), keep the thermostat set below 68 in the winter, take warm rather than hot showers, and only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Conservation is just how I was raised.
One of the buzzwords in food right now is Upcycling. You may have heard the term in relation to old furniture and household goods that have been transformed and repurposed to make them relevant. In food, the term means cooking with food that would otherwise be discarded. That could mean “ugly” vegetables, fruit pulp, produce left in the field, food that ends up in dumpsters behind food distributors because use by dates are nearing, the woody tips of asparagus and mushrooms, broccoli or cauliflower stems, prepared coffee, the green tops of beets and carrots, etc.

While this concept has been popularized by chefs such as Massimo Bottura and Dan Barber, it’s not a new practice. In my family wasting edible food was a sacrilege. We would never have thought to draw attention to repurposing leftovers, using all parts of a vegetable, saving pot likker, or making preserves or pies out of bruised fruit. We never threw away the neck, liver, or gizzards from a chicken. Ugly tomatoes went in tomato juice.

Not only would we have felt bad about the money we were throwing away wasting food, we worked too hard on the farm and in the garden to throw away our sense of accomplishment. Even now I feel bad when I fail to water the mint soon enough and the plant dies. Mint is a luxury herb I can live without, but I still feel the loss as a personal failing.

If a new buzzword brings attention to food waste and helps people think differently, that’s a good thing. It’s just not a new thing. If food waste is an old thing that bothers you, I’d still recommend the movie “Just Eat It”. That recommendation is old too, I’m just upcycling the link for purposes of this post.

Soooo, I’m all for reducing, reusing, recycling, conserving, repurposing, and upcycling in an ecofriendly way. I’m not all that concerned how the choices I make look from the outside. Optics don’t tell the whole story; you can’t judge a book by its cover; you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors; they killed the electric car and now it’s back.

All I know is everything old is new again!





Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

NO Labor Day! Ideas for Inexpensive Gluten-Free Holiday Fun

I’m thinking the upcoming holiday really should be revised to NO Labor Day! I’m pretty sure my boys would agree. digger danTo quote one of James’ favorite children’s books: “‘I won’t work. I won’t work. I won’t work today!’ hissed Digger Dan.”(1), and while the day is billed as a day to honor the contributions of American workers, most of us just want to join Digger Dan and take an extra day off! By the time we reach Labor Day in the South, we’re exhausted from relentless heat and humidity. The kids are back in school along with a bazillion activities and we won’t have another break until Thanksgiving. I’m with Digger Dan too – some time off seems right!

I always think it will be fun to spend some time with my friends during a long weekend, but I’m well aware that if I plan a big party or trip, my time off can quickly turn right back into work. Having faced this dilemma many times, the kids and I have come up with a few fun ways for the gluten-free crowd to enjoy the holiday with friends without a lot of work and without breaking the bank! Perhaps you’ll want to give them a try. Here are a few ideas:

A neighborhood parade.
Be sure to divide up all the duties so that no one has too large a task and communicate via group texts.

If you want to go big – One person can get permission from the city to block off the street for a couple of hours.
One person can be the grand marshall for the parade. The grand marshall will decide what time the parade starts and the order in which the participants will appear. One person can be in charge of “floats”. Keep this simple. Have the kids who have wagons bring them already decorated (or not). A few balloons taped to the side or some streamers or paper signs work just fine. If you have some soccer players on your street, they can wear their soccer uniforms and march along together. Taekwondo students can wear their uniforms and much like bands perform in parades, they can stop along the route to perform a basic routine. Another idea is to have everyone dress as what they want to be when they enter the workforce. If someone has an easy way to broadcast music, add music. If not, leave it out. At the end of the route, set up a folding table and lawn chairs and let everyone bring one food item chosen from this list that requires no research of gluten-free food:
Baby carrots
Celery sticks
Cucumber slices
Squash slices
Raw broccoli
Athenos Hummus
Bing or golden cherries
Watermelon slices
Honeydew cubes
Cantaloupe cubes
Sliced kiwi fruit
Potato chips
Tortilla chips
Wholly Guacamole
Cheese cubes

A sprinkler parade.
If you really want to keep things simple, this is a fun variation that’s especially good for a scorchingly hot day! Get all the neighbors to synchronize their automatic sprinklers or drag out the hose with a sprinkler attachment and parade from yard to yard through the spraying water. End with a Slip’n Slide in someone’s yard. In a dry yard, provide a couple of ice chests filled with cold bottles of water and an assortment of single serve gluten-free ice creams (they even have a spoon included), tapioca pudding and rice pudding like these:
Haagen-Dazs Single Serve Cups in Vanilla, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coffee, Strawberry, or Dulce de Leche
single ice cream
KozyShack Original Recipe Rice Pudding
KozyShack Original Recipe Tapioca Pudding
KozyShack Original Recipe Chocolate Pudding

If you’re not a fan of parades, invite a few friends over for a Tent Movie Festival. Take the mattresses off your beds and drag them into the TV room (or use air mattresses). Create tents over the mattress area using sheets. For this event, you can even wear your pjs!

At one of these parties, we drank Blake’s fresh jalapeño juice. I’m not going to recommend it as an option for the average consumer, but it was interesting and not as overpowering as I expected. It’s probably a better idea to choose some snacks from the above lists for your menu and then watch movies for hours in your festive movie tents. That’s about as much non-work as I can imagine.
party tent
If you don’t want to bother with the tents, have a Documentary Film Festival with a food theme. Cue up Fed Up; Bite Size; Food, Inc.; Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead; Just Eat It; Super Size Me; and Food Matters. In an ironic twist, James worked as the colorist on several of these movies – so much for having Digger Dan as a hero.

For your film festival, buy an assortment of teas – green, white, rooibos, pu-erh, chai, and passion. Serve them hot, cold, and/or blended into smoothies or milkshakes. Don’t drink too much passion tea in one day. It will make you drowsy and grumpy, not passionate at all. Seriously, I’ve done it and I felt awful!

Of course, your Documentary Film Festival doesn’t have to have a food theme. Cue up Happy; I Am; Print the Legend; Citizenfour; Dancing Outlaw; I Always Do My Collars First; and Naked States. With all the online streaming services, you can stretch this idea into a whole lazy weekend and never run out of options.

Wear a mustache and act surprised!
Sometimes errands pile up and a holiday weekend is a great time to catch up. Of course, that doesn’t sound very fun. Make it fun by gathering friends or family, donning fake mustaches, and then running your regular errands looking surprised! Snap photos or video of yourselves and people’s reactions along the way. When you get home, look back at the photos. The laughter will do you good for a long time to come.
That’s it. Done. You have entertainment, social engagement, food, and fun without a ton of work and expense. Of course there are a million variations on these themes. Let us know what you come up with!

Have fun, and happy NO Labor Day!

(1)Digger Dan by Patricia Lynn (Author), Si Frankel (Illustrator), 1953

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”