I’m switching to a new host….


It’s so great to be back! I thank everyone who stayed connected with the blog during my absence. I especially extend a very heartfelt thanks to the vegan husband for keeping the blog going during this time.

Recently the better half and I made our annual voyage to Providence to dine at one of our favorite vegetarian restaurants. We were not disappointed as the food was delicious and packed with flavor. But, if you think that eating at a vegetarian restaurant equates to healthy eating you may be mistaken…

Tho paragraphs above are the start to my next post.  I’ve finally completed the process of switching hosts for this blog site.  The new site will have the same title, contain all the information from this blog, but will have a slightly different look.

Some of the followers of this site may not successfully transfer over; therefore, you may no longer receive emails from me.  If you wish to continue to follow me please go to suzannekasparson.com on 8/14/2018 or later and sign up to follow/receive future emails.








Milk By Any Other Name

glass of almond milk with almonds strewn about


I guess you can’t get milk from an almond.

I have to admit I was up against the clock with this month’s post.  Between vacation, a visit from the vegan daughter, and a weeklong heatwave, my creative fluids were in drought mode.  But then my thirst for ideas was slaked by the Food and Drug Administration, and their recent announcement that almond milk should not be called “milk”.

As far back as 2000, the National Milk Producers Federation felt the threat from soy milk, and petitioned the FDA to “take appropriate enforcement action to prevent misbranded products from entering the marketplace.”  They cited a federal standard that stated it’s got to be from a (healthy) cow if you want to call it milk.

Dairy farmers don’t like non-dairy products (of which almond milk is 64%) taking up space on the grocery store shelves.  Maybe some consumers think that almond milk comes from a cow, but has almond extract for added flavor.

In a Huffington Post article, Bruce Friedrich of the Good Food Institute tried to be the voice of reason, saying that people associate “milk” with almond and soy milk, so what’s the big deal?  The Good Food Institute focuses on plant-based alternatives, so we have to take Bruce’s opinion with a grain of quinoa.

I’ve touched upon my personal milk evolution in the past.  For years, I had daily doses of whole milk. In my 40’s, I progressed through 2%, 1%, and skim, before finally settling on almond milk.  I dabbled with soy milk but it was more flight of fancy than anything else.

I visited gotmilk.com, run by the California Milk Processor Board, in 2015 for a post (“Got Controversy?”), and I wondered what they had to say about the whole almond milk thing.  Surprisingly, or maybe not, they don’t say much.

The astronaut that was serving up milk on their homepage in 2015 has been replaced by a mother (or possibly a nanny) and two children.  There is a sidebar article entitled, “Real Milk Comes From California Cows (Not Factories).” In the article, we learn that 97% of Americans get their milk from cows, not all cows give milk, and cows can drink up to 50 gallons of water per day.  I find it hard to picture a cow drinking that much water, but who am I to argue?

In an article about exercising, the site also advocates having a slice of apple and a glass of milk before a workout, and chocolate milk after one to refuel. And, did you know that people who drink more dairy products actually weigh less and have less body fat?

I think I’m going to stick with my almond milk.  According to the carton, it has 50% more calcium than milk, and has less calories and no cholesterol.  As far as calling it milk, I really don’t care if they call it “almond drink”, “almond milkish”, or “almond milk, not to be confused with real milk”.

But, there is one thing that makes me curious.  Where are these milk factories I’ve been hearing about?

Please leave a comment…


The Marshmallow Kid


girleying a marshmallowfromthe marshmallow kid testPOSTED BY THE VEGAN HUSBAND

The vegan spouse recently paid me one of the greatest compliments I have ever received.  She told me she wants to eat more like me. Not what I eat, necessarily, but how I eat.

In our household, I am known for making food last a long time.  Food, in this case, often means sweets like candy, cookies, or similar treats.  It is because of me that I am eating Christmas cookies in March or Easter candy in June.  I think I make things last because I like them so much that I don’t want to be without them.

I have, unwittingly, applied this style of eating to daily meals as well.  A few years ago, I started bringing my lunch to work so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat in our cafeteria.  I would bring a type of fruit, wasa crackers (celebrating 100 years in 2019!), and a yogurt. This was a good combination, but it didn’t carry me through the afternoon.

I gradually added more than one kind of fruit in order to fill me up, but also to allow them to play off of each other.  Sometimes one fruit is really good, but the other one is only so-so. By having two, the good one makes up for the average one.  This week I had a combination of cantaloupe, banana, strawberries, and blueberries. The flavors all blended together seamlessly.

While I’m eating lunch, I’m usually reading a book, playing a game on my phone, or doing a crossword puzzle.  If you were to watch me eat (which I find pretty weird), you’d see me eat a few bites of fruit, read a couple paragraphs, and then have a bite of a cracker.  And repeat. The yogurt is the dessert.

We eat supper while watching television.  Depending on the news of the day, that alone can slow down our eating.  What also slows me down is the heat of the food, which can mean temperature, spiciness, or both.  I can’t help but eat foods that are really hot in a deliberate manner.

I think we eat at about the same pace, but the vegan spouse feels she eats too fast.  Where’s the fire? What’s the hurry? Sometimes food tastes too good to eat slowly. Think pizza or Chinese food.  Still, I do like to experience all the flavors and textures of food.

In addition to wanting to eat like me, the vegan spouse has also given me a new nickname.  “You know,” she said, “you really are the marshmallow kid.”

To get that reference, you have to go back fifty years to a study conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University.  Mischel gave four and five-year-old children a marshmallow, and told them, if they didn’t eat it within fifteen minutes, they would get a second one.  It was a test to see if children at this age understood the concept of delayed gratification.

The study has been repeated numerous times over the years with researchers relating the decision to eat the marshmallow (or not) to everything from SAT scores to success later in life.  Some have touched on the guilt you get from eating the marshmallow, while others have focused on the goal setting ability of those who don’t.

But let’s get back to me.

In our house, being “The Marshmallow Kid” is really nothing more than having the willpower to make something delicious last a really long time.  I wear the name with pride, but I don’t really know if that’s one of my skills or not. Mischel’s study tells us that many of the children who were able to resist the marshmallow did so by distracting themselves with a song or a dance.  That sounds more like me.

Are you a marshmallow kid?   Please leave a message…


(Don’t) Eat Like You’re in College


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Thirty-five years ago this month I graduated from college.  I’m proud of it, but, man, it seems like a long time ago.

We played frisbee on the quad.  If you had a decent stereo, it took up one-third of your dorm room.  Ronald Reagan was in the white house. Michael Jackson was at the height of his power.  It was the early days of AIDS and the final days of M*A*S*H.

I would like to say that I started honing my solid eating skills at that tender age, but, sadly that’s not the case.  I once won a six pack of beer off a neighbor for eating something on a dare.

My private, liberal arts college spoiled us in many ways.  While we had one central dining hall on the weekend, several dorms had cafeterias where you could eat three meals a day, Monday through Friday.  How great was it to roll out of bed and walk downstairs for breakfast on a rainy or cold morning? Pretty great.

To the best of my recollection (thirty-five years, don’t forget), here are some of the highlights of four years of college eating.  Be forewarned that not everything was on the meal plan.

ECLAIRS.  Is this really how I want to start this list?  Yes, it is. College ruined whatever affinity I had for eclairs.  I used to love these delicate pastries with the Bavarian cream filling and a stripe of chocolate on top when I was younger. They must have been something we had for special occasions. In college, I don’t remember us having many desserts. Besides eclairs, I’m picturing a cheesecake that was much too smooth, creamy, and tasteless to be cheesecake.  But I remember eclairs often being the default dessert. I ate so many eclairs, today I can’t even look at one.

PIZZA.  Thankfully, pizza in college did not ruin me for pizza after college.  We ate pizza at the student center. We knew every place in town where you could get pizza.  Some were legendary and some were not. It didn’t matter; we ate them all. If anything, I think I could have eaten more pizza in college and been just fine.

SALAD.  You could easily live off of salad in college.  Every meal had a huge salad bar. The weekend dining hall had an even bigger selection of greens and toppings. If you didn’t like what was being served, you could fall back on salad without a problem. Still, I remember thinking at the time, “Who would put chick peas on a salad?”

IHOP.  While there was a popular diner for late night, off campus eating, my crowd was big fans of the International House of Pancakes.  Though I shudder to think how we got there and back, I can still taste their huge cheese omelettes which came with a side order of pancakes.

GRILLED CHEESE.  During my Junior year, one of the Freshmen had a roommate who dropped out.  His double room became a regular hangout. No one had microwaves then but some people had toaster ovens.  Once we savored the deliciousness of a late night grilled cheese sandwich, we all began bringing bread and cheese back from dinner to stock his fridge.

BRUNCH, PART ONE.  If you could drag yourself out of bed on Saturday or Sunday before it ended, brunch was something to look forward to.  You didn’t have to wonder what would be served. You could count on scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon, sausage, and many cups of coffee.  Halfway through, it became less about the food and more of a social event.

BEER.  If you’re lucky enough to go to college, you will drink a lot of beer.  In my Sophomore year, we had t-shirts printed with our dorm name scrolled over the Moosehead beer logo.  I think I still have mine somewhere. But, leaving breweries and craft beer houses aside, can we admit that keg beer is not very good?  After you pumped it to death (because that’s what you do), you had to pour about a hundred glasses before getting anything other than foam.

BRUNCH, PART TWO.  If you knew someone with a car and had a few dollars in your pocket (maybe some students had credit cards but I didn’t), you would go off campus to a restaurant in town that did an amazing brunch.  You would bring your parents there if they came to visit. Omelettes made to order, steamship round, desserts, french toast, and the list goes on. It put our school brunch to shame.

We have been on some college campuses in the last few years and things have changed.  Kids today have a lot more choices. If you are the parent of a college student, you needn’t worry.  The quality of the beer, er, salad is a lot better too.

What was/is your favorite college food?   Please leave a comment…