Saturday, October 30, 2010

Power of a Marshmallow

I am not an economist.  In fact, I spent much of my time in my one college econ class sleeping.  That hasn't stopped me from forming opinions about what is a great economic idea and what is economic suicide.  American jobs shipped to other countries is a bad economic idea.  Buying massive amounts of goods produced in other countries is a bad economic idea.  Spending copious amounts of personal income in megastores, such as WalMart, is a bad economic idea.  Supporting local businesses is a very good idea.

Trickle-down economics, supply-side economics, horse and sparrow theory, noblesse oblige, Reaganomics, call it what you will, works only for the rich.  Making the rich richer at the expense of the working class should actually be called the piss-on-them theory, full force, not a trickle in sight.  I actually believe people would be comfortable with the idea that some are wealthier than others, if the wealthy weren't always trying to screw workers out of just one more dime. This makes me think of all the low-information voters who vote against their best interest by responding to the shrillest political voices. Those who shill for big business always have the biggest mouths and pithiest slogans. They're like shiny bits of trash to a magpie.

I believe the very foundation of a strong economy begins with the working class and how we spend our money.  Our very powerful collective dollars are the answer to much of our country's economic cancer.  We should spend our dollars on the products of local businesses, thereby building up our local economy and creating local jobs. This brings the substantial benefits of buying wonderful products and developing relationships with the business owners.  With such local support, businesses grow, and the weakened roots of economic stability begin to strengthen and thrive. Suddenly, a business that employed just one now employs 10. 

Which brings me to marshmallows.

I recently attended an event in Los Angeles showcasing local businesses and their products, Artisanal LA.  The products were all edible or food-related and locally made.  As I walked through the event, I was deeply moved by the creative energy and vitality in the room.  The business owners and their employees were excited to present their products to people and people were absolutely loving what they were tasting and learning.  They were also buying.  I saw a lot of very full bags at Artisanal LA.  If just half the people who attended the 2-day event choose the locally made product the next time they shop, our economy is heading in the right direction.

After tasting vanilla bean marshmallows from Plush Puffs, I can assure you, itty-bitty, jet-puffed fluff will taste like glue.  I'm planning on doing my part in saving the economy by eating as many of these marshmallows, and other tasty delights from local businesses, as possible.  I encourage you to do the same. Check out the Artisanal LA site for the businesses who participated, source local products, visit farmers markets, and share what you find with others. 

The path to economic recovery begins with the thoughtful steps we make every day with our dollars.  I think about the safety speech we are given on aircraft when we are told to take care of our own oxygen mask before helping others.  We can only help the nation when we can breathe ourselves.

Here is a brief list of some of my favorite finds at Artisinal LA. We'll be loyal customers of these following companies:

The Welsh Baker
Delicious grilled cakes.  We bought classic, walnut maple, blueberry.  Planning to order pumpkin soon! As you would expect, coffee or tea and a Welsh cake is just a perfect combination.  Really fabulous with a dessert wine, such as Muscat.  These darling cakes are really, really addictive.

Lindy & Grundy
The sad part is we never got to meet Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura (Lindy & Grundy) because they were always talking to people when we got to their booth.  The good news is we are going to be customers of their butcher shop and hope they will be open for Christmas!  From their website:

We will be offering beef, lamb, pork and chicken that are all sourced locally and free of hormones and antibiotics. In addition to custom cut meats, we will be making all of our sausages, roast beef, pastrami and much more in house!

Plush Puffs
Simply the very best marshmallows in the world. Fairly sure someone is coming into our home and eating them when we are not here.  We can't possibly be going through all these bags of marshmallows ourselves!

Xarene makes the most extraordinary tarts I've ever tasted.  They are fresh, delicate and delicious.  She often uses ingredients from her own garden as well as the gardens of friends.  She'll even make you a tart from fruit grown in your own yard, if you'd like one.

Morning Glory Confections
Max Lesser makes some very tasty brittle.  Loved the Fleur de Sel & Peanut, Indian Curry & Pistachio, New Mexico Chili & Pumpkin Seed, Thai Curry & Peanut.  We've been using this brittle as an appetizer and a dessert.  We're doing some wine pairings with this as well.  Haven't had it yet but am certain the Fleur de Sel & Peanut with Prosecco would be terrific.

San Angel Mole
Hand-crafted, all natural, small batch traditional Mexican sauces.  We bought the Black Mole, Red Mole, and Cascabel sauces.  All quite delicious.  Excellent recipes on their website

Jenkins Jellies
I have to admit, we are going a little overboard with their Hell Fire Pepper Jelly.  We're putting it on everything!  Toast, meat, fruit, cheese, chocolate, Morning Glory peanut brittle, The Welsh Baker cakes, Plush Puffs marshmallows.  Yes, it's that good.  We bought three bottles.  Need more!


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