Updates from October, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 10:28 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

    The rising cost of food is in the news, a story targeted for a long weekend traditionally focused on a lavish dinner. I imagine the vegan festival is scheduled around this time for the same reason.

    Incidentally, this piece in Metro by Zoe Magalhaès defines the problem with many vegan food substitutes: they’re ultraprocessed foods, and just because they’re vegan it doesn’t mean they’re better for us than the conventional foods they’re meant to replace.

    A couple of years ago, news came out around the same time about the dangers of ultraprocessed foods, and the growing popularity – and plausibility – of fake meats. I didn’t see many critics putting the two things together, but that article does it well.

    • Blork 10:46 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      Not just ultra-processed; ultra-packaged. Take a walk through a Rachel-Bery or an Avril store, and what you find is row after row of highly processed, highly packaged food that was manufactured very far away. And over in the corner is a small section full of sad, limp, and overpriced organic fruit and vegetables, mostly shipped in from California. And yet those stores are filled with jittery orthorexics with their half-filled panniers (they can’t afford to fully fill them) convinced they’re doing the right thing.

      (I have nothing against veg- or veganism, nor organic foods. What I object to is the cult-like way the “wellness” industry sucks vulnerable people into that highly profitable world of bullshit.)

    • j2 12:02 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      The super-processed foods are more “comfort food” once you’ve got experience. Or maybe fast food is a good way to put it. Less effort for familiar mouth feel, sometimes taste, for things which take effort in the vegetarian recipe box.

    • Chris 16:26 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      >…many vegan food substitutes: they’re ultraprocessed foods

      As opposed to the meat they sell us? Totally not ultraprocessed, right?

      I don’t think the veg / non-veg distinction matters here. Most food they sell is ultraprocedded. Period.

    • Blork 16:29 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      True story. When I first moved to Longueuil there was a Rachel-Bery on rue St-Charles (the shopping street in the “village” part of Longueuil). It had the vibe of old-school vegetarians who spend their time thumbing through musty issues of the Whole Earth Catalog. Lots of wood around, like you were in a barn. Produce displayed haphazardly in straw and wooden baskets. Hand-painted signs. Calm indirect lighting. Interesting mix of fresh, local, and imported packaged goods.

      I would go there occasionally because the boulangerie section was pretty good and they had a few products I liked that were hard to find in conventional grocery stores.

      Then they closed for renovations.

      When they reopened it was unrecognizable. The lighting was bright and stark. No sign of wood or natural materials anywhere, everything having been replaced by metal and white glass backlit shelving like you see in the fancy cosmetics aisle at an upscale department store.

      That jar of salsa that once sat on a rough wooden shelf now looked like something displayed at MOMA. And of course the prices rose correspondingly. The whole experience was changed; it now felt like you were being scammed by marketing people who assumed everyone had a six figure income and would gladly pay more for the honour of buying at a “prestige” market.

      I never went back, and the store closed within months. Now it’s a paint store.

    • walkerp 17:12 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      Rachelle-Bery was bought by Sobey’s. Don’t conflate actual veganism and vegetarianism with the marketing thereof, though it is understanding why one might do so. You can have a healthy and tasty vegan diet without having to substitute.

    • Ephraim 17:46 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      Agave syrup drives me NUTS. We have perfectly good natural maple syrup in Quebec and yet people insist on bringing in agave syrup with all the fossil fuels that it consumes instead of maple syrup. Not to mention that they can also use beet sugar.

      And yet, with all this nonsense and all these stores, I find it hard to source certain things, like TVP, potato starch and nutritional yeast. And I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian, it’s just stuff that I like to use in cooking. And if you are looking for Tofu, especially soft tofu, it’s just easier (and cheaper) to go to an oriental market anyway.

    • Mark Côté 19:35 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      As others have said, fake meats by and large aren’t sold as a healthier alternative to meat; there are other reasons for consuming them.

      Carbon footprints are hard to measure but a recent study says fake meats are by and large better for the environment than animal meat.

    • Kevin 23:39 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

      I think vegetarian food that replicates meat is missing the point. It’s kinda lacking authenticity. I eat/cook vegetarian food that has a history and cuisine/culture.

    • Mark Côté 10:41 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

      I don’t think there’s a single “point” to vegetarianism.

    • Chris 11:32 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

      Kevin, most people, vegetarian or not, don’t care about “authenticity” in their food.

      Mark, I’m confused. First you say ‘fake meats are by and large better for the environment’ then you say there’s not a singe point to vegetarianism?

    • Ephraim 12:14 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

      Meanwhile, anyone have a good source for TVP, gluten and nutritional yeast that are priced more reasonably than the packaged supermarket stuff?

    • dwgs 12:55 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

      Ephraim, have you tried Anatol on St. Laurent in Little Italy? https://www.epicesanatol.com/en/

    • Meezly 13:19 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

      I’ve noticed a rise in a number of natural health food/bulk stores pop up in neighbourhoods the past couple of years. Perhaps there’s one in your hood, Ephraim? Even Bulk Barn sells nutritional yeast now. I’ve gotten bulk nutritional yeast from LUFA for a decent price (it came in their supposedly compostable bags).

    • Meezly 13:42 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

      Back to this post’s topic, yes, the article explains it well for people who may be fairly “new” at being more mindful of their food choices.

      Omnivores and vegans alike are all in the same boat when it comes to how multinationals have monopolized our food choices. Whole Foods and Rachelle-Bery are now owned by multinationals, our favourite “natural” brands have been bought up by multinationals.

      We all know that Big Food wants to profit off of our desire to eat “healthy”. There’s so much green-washing and health-washing, it can be exhausting to research and parse through every label. And many of us don’t have the time to make healthy, homecooked meals every day either, and it’s also a struggle to maintain a balance.

      But processed vegan foods are generally quite pricey and I’m certain that people will figure out that making large portions of legumes, etc. and having large freezers is the most practical budget-friendly way to go 😉

    • Chris 18:34 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

      Well said Meezly.

    • Mark Côté 10:09 on 2022-10-11 Permalink

      @Chris, right, environmental footprint is just one “point” to vegetarianism. People eat meatless diets for a variety of reasons, and thus some vegetarians are repulsed by fake meat, while others enjoy it. Speaking for myself, as a long-time vegetarian, I love and cook what some might call “authentic” food (which I see as a heavily loaded term) made from whole foods (beans, nuts, etc.), and I also enjoy a veggie dog. I feel no conflict there.

    • Ephraim 13:07 on 2022-10-11 Permalink

      @dwgs – Thanks. We have to go to Milano soon for Italian spicy peppers anyway.
      @Meezly – Thanks, I’ve been, but sometimes their prices are a little high for specialized products.

      I sometimes can pick up matzo meal (breading) and potato starch just after Passover… when no one wants them anymore. I expect to find potato starch in the Oriental markets, because the Japanese use it for fried chicken, but they tend to have more tapioca starch than potato starch, oddly

    • carswell 16:57 on 2022-10-11 Permalink

      I regularly see potato starch at ExoFruits, one of the city’s top green grocers, on CDN just north of Queen Mary. Unlike fresh horseradish, its presence doesn’t appear tied to the Jewish high holidays.

      My current bag — Purest brand, made in Canada — came from Lipa’s, the kosher market on the east side of Parc just north of St-Viateur.

      And, yes, Asian grocery stores often stock it, though more ones that cater to Chinese than Japanese or Korean in my experience. Became aware of this when I noticed that Fuchsia Dunlop’s Chinese cookbooks call for potato starch in preference to cornstarch.

    • Ian 19:45 on 2022-10-11 Permalink

      As not all omnivores eat hot dogs every day, not all vegetarians eat soy dogs every day. I live in a family where there are different dietary requirements and have gotten used to all kinds of ways to prepare food, and it’s really not that big of a deal.

      We should all know as adults that buying processed food is less healthy and more expensive regardless of our diets.

      Or, as one of my friends who is Hindu and has been a vegetarian her whole life said on trying “beyond meat”, if you want meat that badly, just eat it. There are many things you can do with vegetables that taste much, much better.

      Me, I love a grilled bavette, but will just as happily have chickpeas and rice.

      @Ephraim for potato starch have you tried instant mashed potatoes?
      @carswell I have noticed a lot of gluten free stuff at Lipa’s and the other Jewish groceries. I’ve made the gluten free matzoh balls from the mix and frankly they aren’t much different.

    • Ephraim 06:32 on 2022-10-12 Permalink

      @Ian – Mashed potatoes would make potato flour, not potato starch. Potato starch is created from pressing the starch out of the potatoes.

      If you want to make proper potato latkes, when you grate potatoes, put them into a tea towel and extract the liquid into a glass. Let the liquid sit for a few minutes and you will see it separate into white potato starch at the bottom and potato water. You dump out the water but keep the starch and then add the starch back into your potato latkes. Potato starch adds crispiness. (Also, you can microwave the “dry” grated potato, if you want to ensure that you cook out the raw taste of potato)

      It’s also used as a coating for frying because of how it crisps. For thickening, potato flour (or mashed potatoes) work well and don’t have the need to be premixed with cold water, like unmodified corn starch.

  • Kate 09:50 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

    André Chagnon, the founder of Videotron back in 1964 and known as a philanthropist, has died. He was 94, and as La Presse says, “fait partie de cette génération d’entrepreneurs qui ont contribué à la prise en main de l’économie du Québec par les francophones.”

    • Kate 08:20 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

      The Journal has a couple of pieces Sunday on epidemics in Quebec. One piece looks back at the 1885 smallpox outbreak which killed 3,224 people in Montreal, yet where effective vaccination was resisted by many. Another article says the 1918 influenza epidemic is the worst that Quebec has faced, but it goes on to say that it killed 14,000 people in the province, while Covid is inching toward 17,000.

      That item also lists several other epidemics that have affected Quebec, including cholera, typhus aka “ship fever”, other waves of influenza, and polio.

      • Tee Owe 10:55 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

        Comparing numbers of deaths needs to factor in relative population sizes – what percentage died of flu in 1918, versus COVID today?

      • Kate 11:08 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

        Good point. This Wikipedia page lists the non‑indigenous population of Quebec over the years. In 1911 it was 2,006,000 and it’s now approximately 8,600,000.

    • Kate 08:01 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

      Is it just me, or is the Journal quietly crowing a little in this piece on how public transit has not recovered its pre‑pandemic ridership and more people are driving cars?

      Sadly, the basic observation seems to be true. I mostly walk where I need to go, but Saturday I had groceries to haul, so grabbed the 55 bus home. Pre‑pandemic, that bus was usually fairly full on Saturday afternoons, not like rush hour, but a seat wasn’t a certainty. Yesterday, there were only 3 other people aboard. I wasn’t even the only person wearing a mask.

      • EmilyG 12:56 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

        Some of my friends brag about how they recently “bought their first car.” It makes me a little sad.

        I remember when I used to live closer to town, and there were always parked cars all the way up and down the street (I was a little surprised at how many people in that part of town, well enough served by public transit, needed to have cars.) I’d hear constant horns honking as people locked their cars. Much as I liked that part of town, that fact of life was annoying.

    • Kate 07:38 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

      Outremont is going to ban gas‑powered leaf blowers as of next year. It’s not entirely clear here whether it’s the frivolous use of a fossil fuel or the ungodly noise that has residents annoyed.

      • EmilyG 12:57 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

        I wish they’d ban those everywhere on the island of Montreal. Or all of Quebec. Or worldwide.

        What many people don’t realize is that there are people with sound/noise sensitivities, and the noise of leafblowers is not just annoying, but genuinely distressing to those people.

      • Ephraim 17:55 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

        One of my best buys was actually a wet/dry vac that you detach to use as an electric leaf blower. It’s a pain to store, but it’s a fantastic tool if/when you need it. Not only can you use it as a leaf blower, you can use it to vac or blow in a drain when you have a clog (faster, better and more natural than drain cleaner – a little liquid soap also helps), we’ve used it with a malfunctioning dishwasher, to blow stuff dry (or dryer) and to vacuum up leaves and small stones. You just need to buy a long exterior reel extension cord for like $40.

      • Kate 20:55 on 2022-10-10 Permalink

        Does it work as a hair dryer?

      • Ephraim 11:49 on 2022-10-11 Permalink

        It has no heating element. But it will push enough air at something to get it to the point of quickly drying

      • Andrew 15:15 on 2022-10-14 Permalink

        The two stroke engines that they use are horribly inefficient and polluting. It’s the kind where the oil is mixed into the gas and they spew significant amounts of unburnt hydrocarbons into the environment.

    • Kate 07:34 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

      A man was seriously injured and hospitalized after being attacked by three others on Saturday evening in eastern Hochelaga. Neither report mentions either stabbing or shooting in this incident.

      (The French expression “passer à tabac” is defined in the Wiktionary but why the word for tobacco also came to mean beating people up isn’t explained.)

      • Harry 08:27 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

        Mutilation of a southern French middle ages pronunciation / shortening of “tabasser.”

      • Kate 10:51 on 2022-10-09 Permalink

        Thank you, Harry.

    • Kate 07:27 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

      Boroughs are passing bylaws to block the sale of seniors’ homes after several high‑profile instances of elders being told to pack up and go.

      • Kate 07:25 on 2022-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

        The two children’s hospitals are facing a wave of respiratory illnesses – not only Covid, but others as well.

        Compose new post
        Next post/Next comment
        Previous post/Previous comment
        Show/Hide comments
        Go to top
        Go to login
        Show/Hide help
        shift + esc