Supermarket Encounter... What's so bad with my marge?

I had a bit of a run in today at the supermarket. As I was taking my non-dairy margarine down off the shelf, so that I might indulge in some shabbat baking (being on holiday at the moment I have time to play with recipes I usually don't have time to contemplate!)
As I took it down, a woman asked me how it compared to another big brand - I said I couldn't tell the difference, but I always baked with it so not sure one would! She then launched into a rant - 'I hope it isn't like XBrand - they're full of hydrogenated fats! They are terrible for us, they're killing us! I don't know why they keep putting it in things, or why supermarkets keep selling it! They obviously hate children. And if we buy it, as a community, we must also hate our children! And kosher products are particularly bad when it comes to this! Why do we not love our children?'

Well. I didn't quite know what to say. I nodded understandingly, and said 'wow, I should really look into that'! I spent the rest of my shop avoiding eye contact as we continually bumped into each other (I showed her where soap was) mostly out of guilt for my complicity in poisoning my loved ones and hating my non-existent children!!

With relief I looked at my marge when I got home. I do love my children-yet-to-be! No Trans fats or hydrogenated oils! Thank heavens! Though if anyone can recommend shabbat baking recipes without dairy or marge I'd love to hear them! But it did peak my interest. I've heard about how terrible palm oil products are for the environment (a good way to protect out children's future environment!)- and unfortunately it's very hard to identify as often it isn't listed on our ingredients. The problem with hydrogenated fats are less what they do to the environment, and more what they do to our bodies, significantly increasing the risk of heart attacks.

Perhaps this takes us back to the fact that the best food is that which we've made ourselves, and involved as small a number of processed products as possible - perhaps this might be my next 3 month challenge! It would need a big clear out of our cupboards, but I know we already do better than in years gone by (G taught me one can make a curry from scratch - it doesn't have to be from a jar!) but there's obviously still a long way to go, and we need to do better both for our own bodies, and the environment - not to mention those of our (as yet non-existent!) children.


  1. Interesting post. So hard to make the right ethichal choices when shopping. So many different things to take into consideration. And when it comes to food they make it even harder for us by masking ingredients. Have you been watching "Kill it, cut it, use it" on BBC? Really interesting series on the use of animal by products. I personally think that to a large degree it's better to use the waste products from the meat industry than to chuck it. [Very different to killing animals purely to get the fur, ivory etc]. - Anyway, if you've not seen it, you might want to check it out. Especially since you've got some time off! :) Have a lovely evening!


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