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Mother Linda’s Update

© Mother Linda's  


May 2004

Tour of a Lifetime

On April 20, 2004, I got the opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to tour the Domino Sugar Factory in Baltimore, Maryland. This facility is not open to the public or press, but the doors were opened when a culinary conference came to town. Although no cameras were allowed inside the factory, it was a fantastic, albeit noisy, experience. Our guide was a jovial and knowledgeable former worker in a Nebraska high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) factory. He told us that he much preferred refining sugar, which was a much cleaner process than the one for HFCS. For details of HFCS processing, see my article “The Murky World of High Fructose Corn Syrup— http://www.westonaprice.org/motherlinda/cornsyrup.html. Over the course of our tour, we were told several times, “The only chemical used in sugar production is lime and the only solvent water.”

Thirty-four other participants and I, all members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), donned safety helmets and goggles, before we took off toward the pier. At the dock, we saw tons of Floridian raw sugar being loaded off a huge barge onto a conveyor belt. This belt deposited the sugar in gigantic piles reminiscent of salt piles to treat the roads in winter, only ten times bigger. The tour took us through all the various steps of sugar processing. All the sugar technology terms I had studied and heard over the past ten years finally crystallized (pun intended). To top off my sweet week, I attended an entertaining and educational lecture at the conference by Johns Hopkins sugar historian and scholar Sidney Mintz, author of Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History.

Rocco’s Flavor

Rocco Dispirito, a speaker at the IACP conference in Baltimore, is so darn cute, but I think the kid has substance. Some of you may have seen the tumultuous new reality show featuring Rocco’s namesake restaurant. Now, as if TV fame is not enough, Rocco is coming out with a new cookbook called Flavor. I haven’t gotten to cook through it, but I am impressed at first read. A few recipes list corn or vegetable oil as an ingredient (which I would freely substitute with butter, olive oil, or even coconut oil, depending on the recipe), or are a bit too fusion for me, but none list junk ingredients. Rocco promotes real cooking and he plowed $150,000 of his advance back into the book to fund the inclusion of more than 600 color photos creating a gorgeous book. I really appreciate the photography—no tricks that make the pictures look phony.

Okay, I got possessed. I just had to have my copy signed by Rocco—inscribed to Mother Linda (he’s holding mine)—and then I had to have a photo. I’m showing the one I took of Rocco without me in it—it’s much prettier.