Halloween treats: Who do you trust?
Do you mind if I have a bit of a rant?
As the news rolls in about melamine in children's candy and I prepare to write a book about "inconvenient food," I consider our society on Halloween. We talked last week about all the ideas for what to give away on Halloween, some of us bemoaned the problem of not being able to hand out homemade treats because of scares (for the record, I heard a piece on NPR in the last few years about how there had been maybe two cases in all of history of people getting poisoned/hurt from Halloween treats -- less than chances that a hurricane will rip through our city).
I've given up sugar and am trying to greatly reduce my children's intake, though I let them eat whatever they get given (within reason) by teachers, relatives, friends. But really, my values these days are "prepare food with love" and I can see no love for anything but profit in the contents of the candy aisle (or the cereal aisle, or most of the aisles in the grocery store). My go-to treats are honey lavender shortbread, hazelnut butter cookies, apple pie (sweetened with maple syrup), sourdough carrot cake, and the standby: homemade oatmeal whole wheat bread with lots and lots of butter and honey. Why would I go to the store, buy something I don't believe in that very well could poison you (if the sugar isn't poison enough -- now that I've given it up even a "fun size" bar would give me a two-day headache), just because my neighbors can't trust ME?
I start to wonder if the proscription against homebaked food has gone on long enough. How did our society become this insane place where we trust a corporation unquestioningly but we don't trust our neighbors? How is it that we have grown so ill-confident of our kitchen skills that we don't even dare challenge rules against bringing homemade food to public school? (Let's leave aside allergies for the moment -- that's not the reason schools banned baking.) Damn it, I trust you to know enough about cleanliness not to get my food all poopy!
So I'm going to hand out lavendar shortbread cookies for Halloween today. I'll have an alternative (we have leftover candy on a high, high shelf) because I haven't yet gotten to the place where I want to force my neighbors to trust me. Next year maybe.