Agar-Agar: A wondrous product to replace gelatin you thought only existed in your dreams. Derived from seaweed, agar agar is available in bar, flake and powder form. It is used like gelatin (which comes from bones and connective tissue of cows and horses) to firm up desserts and on its own create a fruity sweet.
Agar is better than gelatin because it can be melted and retain its shape again. In lab experiments where bacteria are grown, agar has replaced gelatin.
To replace gelatin in recipes use the equivalent in flaked agar. 1 tablespoon of flaked agar equals 1/2 teaspoon of powdered agar. Make sure your powdered agar doesn’t contain fillers like sugar. It can be bought at health food stores, Asian groceries and online.
My Peanut Butter Pie recipe in Lickin’ the Beaters 2: Vegan Chocolate and Candy contains agar and is super creamy and rich!
Air Cast: I broke my foot a while ago and they put me in an air cast (aka moon boot). It’s a high tech plastic and Velcro devise that you can pump up with air to make it snug around your leg. It’s one of these “technology has come a long way!” kind of things. Trouble is, it costs $150 if you don’t have insurance. Trouble is, I live in CANADA – the land of socialized medicine! I was quite shocked and perplexed when the nurse unveiled it, began putting it on, and told me I would have to pay for it. There was no mention of getting an air cast USED. It’s bad enough to have to pay out of your own pocket for this, and to know there are HUNDREDS of these things sitting around collecting dust in people’s closets is very disconcerting. Setting up a “free store” for used medical equipment in each town would be great idea – especially if you live in the USA.
For a while in Toronto there was a “Care Collective” where people got together and discussed medical needs and different ways of thought to help members of the community. Super idea. Often radical ideas don’t seem to dig into real concrete situations in society like finding people to help with your ability issues, pick your kid up after trombone lessons, or finding a free cane to hobble on after you’ve broken you foot. So here’s to a better society filled with neighborly neighbours, vegan ice cream and all the medical supplies you need free of charge.