The Sun in Taurus is making a conjunction to Ceres, the goddess of agriculture (as well as some secret rites), exact tomorrow. Speaking of secrets, Eric pointed out to me recently that “the composition of food is becoming a kind of secret rite of the chemical magi” – and yesterday I had a reason to pipe up about that.
I’d just read a newsletter from my awesome, neighborhood market, which offers local produce, meat and dairy as often as possible as well as organic as much as they can. They began as a bakery, and sell their own baked goods, soups and a selection of better-than average prepared meals — all with a full listing of ingredients. The newsletter proudly declared they would soon begin using a locally made butter in all of their baked goods. Exciting news — it’s great butter — except for one thing: I had discovered a few months ago that their unsalted butter (the kind most bakers use) contains an unnamed “natural flavoring.” Their salted butter is just sweet cream and sea salt.
I wrote an email to the manager of the market, who writes the newsletter, explaining how I noticed this ingredient — and that it might be a problem.
A few months ago I had a conversation on Facebook with a friend who has some dietary restrictions. She had posted a comment complaining how frustrated she was that an “all natural” butter seemed to be the key ingredient that was making her feel sick when she ate her own baked goods. I don’t know all her sensitivities, but I do know she bakes gluten-free and cooks from scratch because of her sensitivities.
I suggested this great, local, all-natural butter. My friend said the butter causing the reaction was that very brand and that she was going to have to go back to a national brand – which bummed her out.
I immediately did some investigating online, since the box of this local butter in my fridge clearly listed only cream and salt. I asked her if she used the tub variety instead of the stick variety, thinking that might have an additive, but she was using sticks. I checked out the label on the unsalted version at my neighborhood market. I was rather shocked to see that the unsalted butter also listed a “natural flavoring” — and figured whatever it is must be what my friend is sensitive to.
I explained to the manager of this great little market:
I realize that dietary sensitivities can be hard to pinpoint, hard to cater to, and that most people with really severe ones give up on prepared foods anyway (like my friend has). But given the reputation you guys have for good-quality ingredients in well-made, tasty food, I would hate to see that trust undermined by a mystery ingredient none of your customers would think to look for, and that the store’s labels likely wouldn’t list (or know to list).
I’m not sure what you or the bakers can or want to do with this information, or if it’s possible for you to find out from the people who make the butter what the “natural flavoring” is so that it can be listed as an ingredient on the baked goods, or if the recipes can be adjusted to use salted butter instead of unsalted. But I thought it might be worth it to bring the subject up.
Who knows — my friend might be the only person in the state who’s sensitive to whatever is in the unsalted butter, but I still think the information should be available.
I have a call in to the butter makers myself now, to see if they’ll tell me what it is. It may be “natural,” but that doesn’t mean everyone can eat it without consequences, and unless some one asks — and tells — no one can make an informed decision about eating the baked goods at my awesome little market.
Sun-Ceres is not, of course, operating in a vacuum. It is making an earth trine to Pluto in Capricorn, opening the door to that evolutionary, disruptive, life-changing energy in a way that might be a little more easeful. Taurus and Capricorn may tend to like tradition, but they also bring a sense of grounding in tangible reality. This trine brings Sun-Ceres into the Uranus-Pluto square itself, to which Mercury is still lending its powers of thought and communication.
That square wants us to take action, and speaking your mind fits the bill. With its proximity to the Aries Point, what you think of as ‘just one person’s little problem’ could turn out to have wide-ranging impact. When it comes to the state of our food supplies and our health, this impact can have very real and direct implications. What is Sun-Ceres bringing to your attention today and what do you have to say about it — and to whom?