Jean, a lovely 80-something year old Torontonian, supplied us with the following recipe. She gave it to us on this stained and slightly torn piece of paper that she says has been kicking around her recipe drawer for decades. Once she started thinking about it she realized a colleague of hers gave it to her almost 50 years ago!
We asked her whether she cooks organic meats or just buys what is available at the grocery store; she said the latter. This is not uncommon, as buying organic meats is quite costly and therefore, unattainable for some people. This is a sad consequence of our current food system, especially since certified organic meats are healthier for the consumer.
By eating certified organic meats versus non-organic meats reduces the risks of exposure to hormones and antibiotics used on many agriculturally farmed animals. Certified organic meats also have “lower levels of IGF-1, a hormone linked to cancer” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/336209-is-organic-meat-healthier-than-meat-containing-hormones-antibiotics/). There are multiple health benefits, but certified organic meats are also better environmentally as well. “Organic farming uses natural methods to maximize production, such as keeping cattle on their preferred grass-fed diet and allowing chickens to free range. Generally organic farming means better conditions for animals, and all certified organic meat comes from animals that have only eaten organic food” (http://www.princeton.edu/greening/organic4.htm).
We are not advocating against meat consumption, especially since we just provided a recipe containing pork (although, within our group some of us are vegetarian). We are advocating making smart choices in the type of meat you are buying. In a consumerist and capitalist society, money is powerful if individuals think about where they are spending it and make informed decisions.
Hawaiian Sweet and Sour Pork – Serves 6
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ lbs lean pork (tenderloin or shoulder) cut into cubes
½ cup water
1 large tin (600 mL) pineapple chunks
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp soya sauce
½ tsp salt
¾ cup green pepper strips
¼ cup onions, sliced
2 tbsp corn starch
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Brown pork in olive oil on medium heat in large pan. Add water (more if desired) and simmer one hour or until tender.
Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Combine brown sugar and corn starch in a small bowl. Add pineapple syrup, vinegar, soya sauce and salt. Combine and pour on pork. Cook over low heat until thick. Add pineapple, green pepper and onions.
Simmer 20 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles.