« Leak test | Main | Tenting by the lake »

Art show & yogurt rant

For the past week Emma has been attending art camp in a crooked house in the village.

Art class crooked house1.jpg

Since today was the last day, there was a grand unveiling of all the art and of course all parents (and in Emma's case, grandparents) had to come see. There was some mighty fine art there, including painting, pottery, and digital photography.

Art class Okeefe.jpg

For full-timers with children, we can offer this experience as an example of how you can enjoy local activities and communities even though you're "on the road". The class was only a week but it was a great opportunity to spend "quality time" with other kids. Even a family moving at a fairly rapid pace can usually carve out a week here and there.

Art class crooked house.jpg

The next structured learning experience for Emma will be swimming lessons. We'll rejoin a bunch of kids that Emma has been learning to swim with for the past three years. Between now and the start of swim class she wants to keep going to the skating rink in the morning, which she has been doing for three weeks.

Rant department: Eleanor came home with a single container of Brown Cow yogurt (my favorite brand) and the bad news. It now has pectin added just like all the others. Not much, judging by the mouthfeel, but it's the principle of the thing. Whose bright idea was this? What was wrong with just making it from milk?

I did some research and found this quote from an article published in Dairy Foods, May 1999:

Suppliers are making this [premium, all-natural yogurt] possible through the introduction of specialty starches for yogurt stabilization. These starches replace gelatin and non "all-natural" hydrocolloids, resulting in a simpler ingredient label to satisfy health-conscious consumers.

Well, that's all very nice, but I agree with an online poster who wrote: "... yogurt with added pectin is no longer yogurt, it's jello."

Elsewhere, I read this:

Nonfat milk, when inoculated with yogurt culture, will not thicken into traditional "yogurt" consistency. So a thickener must be added. Some companies use pectin, some use tapioca starch.

The Brown Cow Cream Top plain yogurt I like isn't made with nonfat milk, so that excuse doesn't fly with me. I think they're compensating for something. From San Francisco Chronicle, March 3, 2004:

The best-textured yogurt contains none of these additives [gelatin, pectin, gum], relying instead on high percentage of milk solids to do the job.

I'm beginning to see a yogurt conspiracy here. Time for me to try Fage, Trader Joe's, and Nancy's, as many blog readers recommended last time I ranted on this subject. (Hey, yogurt is serious business to me. A couple of spoonfuls every day seem to really benefit my digestive tract. And I love the taste ... Throw some in your fridge and see if you don't agree.)


Rich, Pectin is usually associated with fruit products, such as jams, jellies, and even preserves. Does the yogurt you are getting contain fruit? If so, they may be compensating for a fruit issue, rather than a yogurt issue. Also, guar gum is more commonly used in things like yogurt as a thickener, rather than pectin.
If you want to try a different slant on your favorite yogurt, you can get a small container of yogurt with fruit, configured in Swiss style, and pop it in the freezer. When it freezes, you wind up with a treat that is similar to sherbet in taste and consistency. It is a change of pace for the standard "bucket 'o goo" that many yogurts seem to be.

You may want to try making your own yogurt, that way you could have it the way you like it no matter where you are. :) Once you get the hang of making it, it really isn't difficult.

Have you tried kefir? If you get some kefir culture (often called "grains") it's easy to keep a perpetual supply. Kefir has a broader spectrum of probiotics than yogurt.

I agree with you about the importance of probiotics for the digestive tract. Good stuff!

White Mountain yogurt (I checked the fridge) contains: Grade A pasteurized whole milk and live yogurt cultures (Acidophilus, Bulgarics, Thermophilus, and Bifidum). We love it, however, It's made in Austin, so I don't know how widely it's distributed. Can you ship yogurt?

All right. looked it up. you should be able to get it.

Our local sandwich place in Boston carries several brands of yogurt that don't contain pectin. I forget the names but remember that one, maybe two of them are made in Vermont! Also, one is made using buffalo milk and it's delicious.

I love Fage. Their non-fat yogurt has excellent mouth-feel and tastes great. It's well worth the extra pennies.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please enter the security code you see here