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CCFB News» November 2022

Downwind

11/01/2022 @ 9:00 am | By Bob Rohrer, Manager

 

Cold, snow, wind, and weather discomfort season are approaching. For me, this also means biscuits and gravy season. The season is best survived from the comfort of a country café or one’s own kitchen.

 

Biscuits and gravy season is not like hunting season…there is no seasonal limit.

 

I “bagged” a great plate of Bs and Gs recently in Wisconsin at the Eagle Inn in Prairie Du Sac. The hot and creamy breakfast was made all the better coming off of 2 days of camping with my wife as night temps hovered around 32⁰ F. The warmth of the biscuits and gravy flooded deep into my stomach and my soul with every bite. As I wrapped up the breakfast, I wondered how to get away with licking the plate. Societal norms competed with the thought that no one knows me in Prairie Du Sac. My wife subtly shook her head no.

 

Speaking of healthy foods…

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hosted a stakeholder webinar on the topic of “definition of ‘healthy’ on food labels”. I did not see a healthy label when I ordered the biscuits and gravy breakfast but that did not stop me. We each have our own definition of healthy and I guess the FDA needs one, too, so that everyone plays by the same rules. But what is that definition?

 

I hear people define healthy as:

  • Low-fat?
  • Low carb?
  • Organic?
  • High in protein?
  • Vegetarian?
  • Low in saturated fat?
  • High in fiber?
  • Locally grown?
  • Low in sodium
  • Grass fed?

 

I tend to believe healthy is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Many food companies use of the word “healthy” for marketing purposes. Just add the word “healthy” and it must be true. In fact, why not just add the word “healthy” to the name of the product. I can think of several products that have the word healthy within their name. Are they actually healthy? It probably depends on who you ask.

 

Would I order biscuits and gravy if the name included the word “healthy”? Probably once for a taste test. Today’s increased attention to mental health also falls into the definition of healthy, maybe even with food. I know that my outlook on life and positive mental attitude can be greatly enhanced by a big plate of steaming hot Bs and Gs. There is a version of “healthy”!

 

I call on the FDA to include “comfort food” within the definition of healthy. One’s mental health may depend on it.

 

Obviously, I used the term healthy very loosely in this article. Below is a link to the Federal Register that contains the details of the proposed healthy definition change for the purpose of food labels in great detail…87 pages worth of detail.

 

Federal Register Website

 

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I have been writing Downwind since 1988 when I started as the new manager of the Carroll County Farm Bureau. I continued writing at Adams, Kane, and then finally Cook County Farm Bureau. Over the years, it has mostly been published on a monthly basis, corresponding with the publication printing schedule of each County Farm Bureau.

 

Originally, when I first wrote the column, the purpose was to communicate directly to members what was going on within the organization. Useful…perhaps. Boring…definitely. It was a “just the facts” update. Through the years, the column evolved to be more of a connection with members to communicate about agriculture, farm life, food, issues, and whatever else crossed my mind. I truly thank each County Farm Bureau for giving me the latitude to explore some new dimensions, make plenty of writing faux pas, and have a little fun.

 

Through these years, a number of different things, including family, volunteers and leaders, friends, current events, farm policy, and life in general, have influenced Downwind content. One of those influencers passed away recently. Edna Nykaza (from Steger) was a volunteer, greenhouse owner, and the spouse of former Farm Bureau president, Ray Nykaza. For 23 years, she provided feedback regarding my topics and did not hold back on her punches. She would send me a note with two thumbs up when she thought I wrote a good one. She always told me that her favorite columns were when I wrote about farm life growing up as a kid (this article may have disappointed her).

 

At the visitation last month, her daughter, Donna, told me that due to Edna’s deteriorating health in recent months, Donna would read my column to her mother. I did not know how to respond and still do not. I am humbled by the thought. RIP, Mrs. Nykaza, you will be missed.

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