Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Artificial Food

Rant time. Yesterday evening, around 8pm, I was doing some prep work for a menu change, and I picked up a box of chicken stock. Normally, I would just drain the box into the soup and continue on with other prep, but seeing as this was the last item on my list, I paused and looked at the box. One of the ingredients in the stock was "Natural Chicken Flavor". When there are processed ingredients that contain multiple ingredients, the box is required to show those ingredients as well. So I peer into the parenthesis, and the first ingredient of "Natural Chicken Flavor" is "Natural Chicken Flavor" (followed by water/salt).

Does this bother anyone else? That here in the good old USA we don't need to actually tell you what you're consuming, as long as it's legally ok to put it on the box? Now I know what natural chicken flavor is, so this particular instance doesn't irk me too much (just a little), but there are other similar things that bother me too. For example, I have next to me a bottle of apple juice, which the bottle claims is "100% Juice". Let's check the ingredients shall we? Water, Apple Juice concentrate. Lovely! My 100% apple juice is processed apple concentrate, with water added back so it fits a ratio that the government says is ok to call 100% juice.

And then there's "Cheese food" - I'm not sure I even want to know.

By the way, natural chicken flavor is chicken scraps that are unusable for meat products, which are cooked, dehydrated, and powdered. So next time you see natural chicken flavor, remember that it's actually chicken powder. Before I end up going down a taco bell beef rant...

Here's a chicken stock recipe from my favorite TV chef, Alton Brown. It's also one of the best stock recipes around.

  • 4 pounds chicken carcasses, including necks and backs (chicken bones for those of you who aren't breaking down whole chickens)
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2
  • 4 ribs celery, cut in 1/2
  • leek, white part only, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 gallons cold water
So, it's a really simple recipe. Chuck it all into a big pot, bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it go for at least 6 hours, skimming the scum from the surface periodically. Alton recommends putting a strainer basket down in the bottom of the pot on top of everything to keep all the big stuff from surfacing. It's a good recommendation. Stock can be frozen, and has a long shelf life. 

Starting tomorrow, I'll begin how-to posts, so anyone who reads can start making everything from scratch.


  1. Sounds interesting.
    I'll have to try this at home.

  2. I hope it's as simple as you say it is.

  3. This sounds delicious, I'll def try.

  4. Sounds very tasty! Will try it later when Im reviewing the next documentary. Read my reviews at tv-reports.

  5. sounds pretty good and simple. i might try it some day.

  6. Alton Brown is the man. I don't know why he sticks around with all those other fools on the Food Network. He should be on a classier channel. How long does his keep for? Can you freeze up what you don't use? Thanks for sharing your input on this.

  7. I need to learn how to cook.

    When I DO, I think I might come here for your recipes. They look delicious.

  8. when you say carcass you mean a freshly dead chicken?

  9. omg now i'm really hungry

    Check out my blog!!

  10. Is cheese food the petroleum byproduct that's used to make sure cheese doesn't burn at higher temperatures?

  11. Tried this once at a friend's, but didn't bother with the recipe. Thanks a lot!

  12. hmm I have to try this out

  13. I love biscuits, this looks awesome right now.

  14. You make some good stuff. Never disappoint.