Yesterday I visited my friends at the television program Mass Appeal. We were originally scheduled to make simple appetizers and an even simpler dessert.
The producers decided to devote the entire episode to the worthy cause of donating blood, however, and asked me whether I would change the menu to feature foods with a lot of iron.
Here’s what I know about iron in food. (I started to tell this story on the air but got distracted; I’m still learning how to work on TV!)
My great-grandfather died of pernicious anemia in 1917 at the age of 56. He was a physician—but in 1917 even physicians didn’t know that iron could help with anemia.
His granddaughter, my mother, was understandably worried about anemia. When my brother and I were growing up, our mother served us liver on a fairly regular basis in order to make sure we had enough iron in our diets.
It was NOT my favorite food, and my mother learned to watch me carefully as I ate it to make sure I didn’t surreptitiously feed most of my portion to the dog.
As I grew older, I realized (and quickly informed my mother) that the liver was unnecessary. As this chart from the Red Cross illustrates, any number of foods—most of them tastier than liver, in my opinion—contain that mineral.
So of course I told the producers at Mass Appeal that I would be delighted to whip up a little iron.
We began by making clam fritters and spinach salad. Here is the video.
Next, we made Kate’s Fantastic Ginger Snaps from my Pudding Hollow Cookbook. The Kate in the recipe is Kate Stevens of Charlemont, Massachusetts, who generously shared her recipe with me.
These cookies get iron from both molasses and ginger—and I have never served them to anyone who has not fallen in love with them.
Here’s the video.
And here is the recipe.
I’ll be back on Mass Appeal in a couple of weeks playing with zucchini. In the meantime, I hope my readers will make sure to eat foods with lots of iron—and of course to donate blood.
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