I love the topic of what’s in your food. When I wrote the My Halal Kitchen cookbook, I learned more than I ever expected – or perhaps thought possible- about what goes on in the food industry that effects what’s in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products we use on a daily basis. It was mind-blowing and changed the game of how I not only look at food, but also how I think about my mission at My Halal Kitchen. It’s not just about writing recipes anymore; it’s also about constantly learning how the food industry changes, what kind of strange and unhealthy ingredients land in our food and what I can do to help you solve that problem.
That said, I love meeting people, particularly those in the food industry, who are going deep into what’s really in the food they create. It’s really difficult for restaurant owners, especially because of the cost of food- cheap food is tempting because the potential for massive profit is at their feet. However, there are good people out there who really do care what they make for the people who buy their products. They care deeply about the health of people and planet, and those are the types of foodies I like to surround myself with to reach the goal of educating as many people as I can about making the changes that are good for all of us- a conscious, holistic approach to eating and living.
This brings me to one of my recent Facebook live interviews where I chatted with Dobra Bielinski of Delightful Pastries bakery in Chicago. Dobra and I met when I was giving a talk for the Culinary Historians of Chicago at Kendall College. I was talking about halal with respect to how Muslim eat and what we look for in our food, including breads and doughs that might contain human hair or duck feathers, often using the name l-cysteine or dough conditioner, which is used to help these products stay softer longer, particularly in mass production. She took this information to heart and began checking to make sure all of her suppliers products were free of these elements. Later, we were both inducted into the Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago Chapter together at the same time, earlier this year. From then on, we’ve had deeper conversations about bread and pastry products, particularly the impact of bleaching and bromeating flour, which she explains in the video below. She’s a real gem, dedicated to lifelong learning and serious about her craft, which I have so much respect for- you’ll see why here.
Love to hear your comments and questions in the comments section below. Enjoy!