“So what is a kitchen inventory? ” is a question I have been getting a lot from people.  I thought I would explain it  with an example of a common item we almost all have in our kitchens.  Something we use because it says “product of Italy” and claims to come from the correct region of Italy where this product should come from -Modena.  But your “Balsamic Vinegar of Modena”  isn’t balsamic vinegar at all.  It is instead wine vinegar, grape must, caramel, antioxidant. 

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Real, true, authentic balsamic vinegar only has ONE ingredient, grape must.  Traditional balsamic vinegar must be aged for at least 12 years and can easily cost over $100.  You can buy younger (and less expensive-around $25) vinegars which have only been aged for a few years or even shorter periods of time but still contain only the grape must from Trebbiano grapes.   It’s easy for one to look at the Hy-Vee brand and think ” well of course that wouldn’t be real Balsamic Vinegar”.  But don’t get too cocky.  Even some of the organic brands sold at New Pioneer Co op that are decently expensive when not on sale still have wine vinegar listed as the first ingredient.  Since they don’t have any other additives such as brown sugar or caramel to add volume and speed up the process, I would suggest those over the cheaper brands.  But you still aren’t using traditional balsamic vinegar and are instead using an imitation of sorts.  If you like the taste and don’t mind that it isn’t ‘traditional’ then by all means don’t spend extra money on it but please find one without caramel listed as an ingredient.

The caramel coloring added to foods is not what I would consider to be real food.  It is the result of a carbohydrate ( such as corn syrup) heated to a very high temperature and the addition of an acid to break down the sugars.  It is an industrialized food additive. Remember how you have always been told that eating burnt food isn’t good for you, that is can be carcinogenic?  And despite those warnings you still eat the burnt parts because they sometimes simply are delicious and think ” oh well, I only do that once in awhile”?  Well, without thinking about it, you eat burnt foods whenever you eat something with caramel coloring added.  That is, in my opinion.  Caramel coloring is in places you wouldn’t even begin to suspect and that is one thing I do for you during a kitchen inventory.  I show you which industrialized food-like products have been masquerading as real food in your kitchen.

It’s not your fault, it’s not anyone’s fault as the industrialized food system has hired brilliant marketing professionals to trick us into buying all sorts of things that are fortified this, enhanced with that, and now lacking of *insert current bad boy of the additives list*.  You will buy granola bars that have a badge on the box proudly stating to contain no high fructose corn syrup, but guess what it does contain?…high fructose corn solids. Go ahead and shake your fist at that box smirking on the shelf in your kitchen.  I made the same mistake a few years ago before I started down this path of only eating real foods.  The food-like products in your grocery store are as sneaky and slippery as a used car salesman trying to convince you that the original Hummer gets more miles per gallon than a Prius” plus you are saving the environment by buying a ‘recycled’ car instead of a new one! Let’s get the paperwork started!”. 

It can been intimidating to sift through all of these products, ingredients and figure out what the best alternative is.  That is where I can help.  I don’t just tell you ” Bad, bad, eh, could be worse, good, bad” while throwing things in a trash bag and magically restocking your kitchen as they do on a reality show.  Instead we do it in steps.  You learn why I don’t recommend a certain product or consider it a real food.  You come shopping with me and learn how to get the best deals on good food and how to avoid marketing traps.  (Hint- If it claims to be good for you, it’s most likely not- real foods don’t need to hire advertising agencies to prove their nutritional value) I help rewrite your favorite recipes, cook with you and am available for questions practically 24/7. What I want most of all is for YOU to be able take pride in reclaiming your kitchen and become less dependent on processed foods.

I hope that helps answer the question of what a kitchen inventory is and a little more about what it is that I can do for you.  Please contact me with any questions!