I am obsessed with ingredient labels. I take 23% longer than average to make a food purchase decision because of that. (John thinks it’s more like 50%.) Although it’s not a bad habit it can be annoying if you’re my shopping companion.
Annatto is an ingredient I have often read on ingredient lists without really knowing what it was. I figured it had something to do with food coloring but didn’t know what it looked like or where it came from. During my last trip, I got to see annatto in its raw state, before it’s transformed into food coloring powder or liquid to give foods such as cheese, butter and smoked fish a yellow or orangey red color. I opened and touched it; it stained my fingers and then my shorts. It was a gorgeous crimson red that I would not have minded wearing on my lips. I learned that in Central America, it is not only used to color food but also to give it a nice peppery flavor. Dishes such as arroz con pollo and arroz amarillo often call for annatto.