Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is not my friend. I have been allergic to it since I was about 12, long before it became cool to hate it. This inexpensive sweetener is in almost everything commercially produced, from the obvious sodas, candies, and donuts to the less obvious breads crumbs, salad dressings and tomato sauces.

It is a simple sugar (unlike the more complex maple, honey or other sweeteners) that is often blamed for our country’s obesity problem. Corn syrup is inexpensive to produce and plentiful in this country. As it has been in the news more and more, companies are finding alternatives and more obviously labeling products that do not contain corn syrup.

Every year, it gets easier and easier to buy products without corn syrup or artificial sweeteners like sorbitol or saccharine. For example, Trader Joe’s has a wide selection of sandwich breads, at least two ketchups and shelves of sauces (meat marinades, sundae toppings and more) without corn syrup. These were the kinds of items I’d either have to make myself or forgo.

I learned how to cook out of an effort to recreate the corn syrupy dishes that other people were eating and I couldn’t. Almost any dessert made at home can be made without corn syrup. For example, a pecan pie can be made with rice syrup instead of corn syrup. I haven’t mastered candy making (caramels or caramel sauce elude me and ruin my pots), but I’ve made many successful cakes, brownies and cookies. Most Kosher for Passover products do not contain corn syrup (marshmallows, jelly cookies, etc.)

How do you avoid corn syrup?

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