In case you have been locked in an ivory tower and have not noticed rising food prices at home or food riots around the world, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently announced that billions of dollars are needed to boost agricultural industries in order to deal with global food shortages which are resulting in substantial increases in the cost of food. The UN World Food Programme states that the problem is a result of “increased energy costs, rising demand from economic growth in emerging economies, the growth of biofuels and increasing climatic shocks such as droughts and floods“. The issue is obviously more complex than that, and I am certainly not claiming to have a good grasp of the situation. Although I may not be completely informed, I still feel that increased agricultural production is not an adequate solution as it does not consider the detrimental effects of intensive and unsustainable agriculture on the environment. The CBC has two websites (here and here) dedicated to the world food crisis that I would recommend if you are interested in learning more.
I have been having a food “crisis” of my own lately, which seems particularly banal to write about in context of current world issues, but I was feeling some pressure from my lovely co-author to pick up the blogging slack. As some of you may or may not know, I have a tree nut allergy along with an associated sensitivity to a million and one fruits and vegetables. Not all tree nut allergy sufferers are allergic to peanuts, which are a legume. However, it is incredibly difficult to guarantee that peanut products have not been cross-contaminated with tree nuts. In spite of this knowledge, I have continued to eat peanut butter, as it is one of my favourite foods. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear that my body is no longer capable of consuming my beloved PB. In a desperate bid to find a substitute, I shelled out over 9$ (DISGUSTING in comparison to the price of PB) to try out a soynut butter (soynuts are roasted soy beans).
I purchased Selecta Peabutter (made in Montreal) from the Herb and Spice on Bank St. Aside from being produced in a nut-free facility, it is also gluten free. It approximated the texture and taste of PB fairly well, although the taste is distinctly that of a soynut product. I think it will do as a fine replacement for PB in times of desperation. The only problem with this stuff is that it is ridiculously expensive, which may sway my decision to purchase it again.