Friday, June 28, 2013

Guest Post - Montino Bourbon

I fell in love, I was betrayed, and now...

I still remember my first taste of catchup; I must have been about 6 years old, in Austria, visiting my brother-in-law's relatives. There was a mysterious red sauce in a bottle, and I was allowed to taste it. It was doled out like liquid gold, and as far as I'm concerned, it was.

When I arrived in the United States at age 8, in 1950, I soon became acquainted with Heinz tomato ketchup, and it quickly became my favorite condiment. Adults used to say that I put catchup on everything. “I'll bet that he even puts ketchup on ice cream” they used to say of my fondness for what I consider to be the ultimate sauce. 

Years later, I actually tried out catchup on ice cream.  

It was an experience I need not repeat. 

But at least I gave the lie to those who said that I “even put catch up on ice cream”. I sometimes wear a T shirt that says “I put catchup on my catchup”. I have been known to compose poems to catchup, such as:

       One sauce to rule them all, one sauce to find them
       One sauce to put on the scrambled eggs and thereby bind them

Recently, I found out that Heinz had sold out to Monsanto, the ultimate betrayal. I resolved that I was going to make acceptable catchup at home, and so I researched recipes. It turns out that in the old days, catchup was fermented. I found a recipe and made up this batch, fermented it for 5 days as directed, and now have decanted it. The next time I have scrambled eggs, I will put it to the ultimate test.

I have taken a solemn vow; no more Heinz. It breaks my heart, but it'll be better for both of us. I cannot countenance this betrayal and remain in this sick relationship. I'll remember you fondly, from back when you were just a simple American company, but I do not intend to let any of your products pass my lips ever again. 

I am resolved to make the best catchup ever.

Cry bitter tears, Heinz; you have lost your most faithful customer.

Here is a very simple recipe for non-fermented catchup.

one 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Very finely chopped onion and garlic, to taste

Mix all ingredients together, simmer for about half an hour, then refrigerate. 

The next time I write, I will tell you all about fermented ketchup, which is the way that ketchup used to be made in the “old days”. And yes, there are a variety of spellings; from the original “ketjap", we now have ketchup, catchup, catsup, and a few others.

Montino Bourbon

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just One Thing

Recently, I was reading through the Harvard Business Review and came upon a blog post called To Change Effectively, Change Just One Thing . I know, the Harvard Business Review sounds like it might, at most, inspire a giant yawn, but it’s actually full of fascinating and surprisingly easy to read tidbits. Take a look sometime, you’ll probably get hooked just like I did.

This particular article began by focusing on how changing just one thing about one’s diet can lead to significant and sustained weight loss. Now, I don’t really need to lose weight, but I am interested in learning and improving as much as I can, so I kept reading. And I was glad that I did, because the author then went on to discuss how the “change one thing” principle can also be applied to business and to life in general.

That got me thinking about the one thing I could change right now that would impact my life. 

I’ve been dealing with a challenging situation for a while. It involves someone that I’ve done business with for many years, who seems to always have their hand out, asking for more and more. I finally came to the difficult conclusion that it was not an equitable situation, and that I was being taken advantage of.

I’m a giver by nature – it feels good and it attracts people of a like mind. However, I’ve found that it also, unfortunately, attracts the takers. So, I’ve had to take a really hard look at a life lesson that’s been staring me in the face – how to discern between those who share my love of giving and those who merely take advantage of it. This is not an easy thing to do! I would much rather give without reservations and have life be nothing but rainbows and unicorns. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Product Review: Aubrey Organics GPB

We all use personal care and beauty products – in fact, it’s a multi-billion dollar a year industry worldwide. In recent years, companies have been responding to the needs of consumers for more natural, earth-friendly and cruelty-free offerings, and that’s great. But, compared to Aubrey Organics, they’re all Johnny-come-lately’s.  Here’s Aubrey’s story (and yes, there really WAS an Aubrey) from the Aubrey Organics website:

A pioneer in natural hair and skin care, Aubrey Hampton paved the way for a fledging natural products industry in the 1960s by making plant-based, synthetic-free personal care products on his own terms. Today his hair, skin and body care line is sold all over the world, but his connection to natural ingredients goes back to his father's organic farm in southern Indiana, where his mother made her own herbal beauty products at home.

A phytochemist and herbalist, he founded Aubrey Nature Labs in 1967 with just two products — Relax-R-Bath and GPB Hair Conditioner — simple beginning he quickly grew into the multi-national, multi-million dollar company that bears his name. Through the years Aubrey created over 200 hair, skin and body care products, which are internationally recognized as the most natural herbal products available. Nearly every health food store in the United States and Canada carries his products, which are also sold throughout Europe, Asia and South America.