Archive for the ‘Food for Thought’ Category
Last night we were lucky enough to play host to a crowd of intelligent, motivated, and committed environmentalists with one thing in common: a dedication to the human consumption of bugs. Recently we published a blog post explaining why we are jumping into the world of entomophagy (pun intended). Last night’s inspired and informed guests, curious (and pleasantly surprised!) first-time bug-eaters, and general spirit of collaboration and optimism, affirmed our commitment to this growing movement.
In the buzz of last night’s event preparation, Harman from World Ento turned to in.gredients for a simple teriyaki sauce to use in his cricket cooking demo. Erica, a veteran team member and the creative force behind our weekly salads (among other things), sprang into action and pulled together this impromptu “bug sauce.” To say the crowd was impressed and pleased with the results is an understatement.
Well, here’s the recipe, by popular demand!
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tsp ground giner
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp turbinado sugar
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- Combine all the ingredients except the oil
- Drizzle the sesame oil into the mixture while whisking to emulsify.
- Enjoy! On crickets, a salad, chicken, or stir-fry!
We’re all about new ideas.
We’re also into revitalizing old ideas that have gone by the wayside. Eliminating unnecessary food packaging and focusing on locally and sustainably grown foods are good examples of old ideas made new again, and so is this: eating insects. Entomophagy, as it’s formally known, is a practice dating back thousands of years. Today, however, Western cultures hardly know the first thing about eating bugs, even though many other culinary traditions (Mexico, Thailand, and China, to name a few) still consume insects with regularity. As far as we’re concerned, insects are overdue for a resurgence in the West, and we’re not the only ones who think so.
Since 2010 when the idea of in.gredients was born, entomophagy has been on our list of creative solutions to environmental and social problems. Only recently, however, did we connect with two groups here in Austin leading the way in edible insects. World Ento, founded in Georgia in 2010 and recently re-located to Austin, is setting industry standards for safe, sustainably-raised insects. Little Herds, an Austin non-profit in its final days of a crowd-funding campaign, is on a mission to educate the public about the merits and joys of eating insects.
What are those merits, you ask? Insects are a highly efficient and nutritious source of protein (complete with all 9 essential amino acids), which makes insects far more viable in a resource-limited future than traditional sources. To give some context, the resources required to raise one pound of beef can raise nine pounds of crickets. That’s a significant difference, and one we simply can’t afford to ignore as population growth and resource depletion continue.
So how does one eat insects? Well, with over 2,000 edible species, the options are almost endless. Chefs from all over the States, including Austin’s own Sonya Cote, are already incorporating insects into their menus. Not excited about a whole cricket on the end of your fork? That’s fine, World Ento makes both cricket and mealworm flours that incorporate safely prepared insect meal into white or whole wheat flour. From there, the possibilities range from chocolate chip cookies, to pancakes, to just about any recipe involving flour. It’s a simple way to add a healthy, sustainable protein, and the insect flavor and texture are hardly detectable.
World Ento raises and sells clean, safe-to-eat, and ethically harvested insects (Good Karma Killing, as World Ento calls it, is a freezing process that lulls them into a painless stasis), and soon you’ll be able to find them (as a Chocolate “Chirp” Cookie Mix) at in.gredients!
Want to learn more? Follow World Ento and Little Herds on Twitter, and come out to our pre-party (for this amazing event) next Tuesday, February 18th. We’ll have tons of samples and a few of the big names in entomophagy on hand to talk to you in person about this exciting movement. Hop on board – you won’t want to miss this one.
Today we are thankful for our early adopters. We are grateful to the folks who looked at our business model and mission statement and said to themselves, “Yes, this is something I believe in.” Whether this support came in the form of funding our Indiegogo campaign, helping us dig our garden beds or shopping here since day one, we are thankful for each and every one of you.
The founders of in.gredients took the conventional grocery store model and flipped it on its head. In a country where over 40% of our food goes to waste and so much unnecessary packaging fills the shelves, in.gredients exists as an alternative. We are a small grocery store that serves our community sustainable, seasonal and local food. We believe in our farmers, ranchers and artisans and think that our money should stay within our community. in.gredients isn’t about convenience. We are about innovation and shifting the way people shop and interact with their food. So today, we are thankful for all of those that believe in what we are doing.
In 1962 a man named Everett Rogers published a paper titled, “Diffusion of Innovations” This paper sought to explain how, why and at what rate new ideas and technology spreads through consumers. Shaped like a bell curve, this idea shows that there are a small number of early adopters, and these are the folks that catch wind of an innovative idea, acknowledge its purpose, and sign up. From there, more and more people catch on and eventually this idea becomes a part of everyday life.
Source: Alta Street
While a majority of the real life examples apply to technology (DVD players, Apple iPods, etc.), this is a theory that can be applied to any innovative idea. In Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, he asks the question why some leaders, businesses and organizations are so great at inspiring action and change. Referencing great leaders from our past, he suggests his Golden Circle idea. According to Sinek, every single person and organization knows what they do 100%, but very few people and organizations know why they do what they do. Not many organizations have pinpointed what their purpose is. Instead, they think from the outside in, first answering what, then how and finally why.
What makes inspiring innovators different, is that they answer the why first. They inspire by making believers out of their followers. As Sinek puts it, “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” These believers, they are the early adopters. They are the ones that will dive head first into the business before anyone else. They are the people who funded us before we opened, volunteered countless hours to help us build the store from the ground up, and continue to shift with us as we grow and adapt our business.
Today, we are raising our glasses to our early adopters. The people who heard about in.gredients, saw that we were pioneering the idea of a zero-waste grocery store, accepted that it would be a work in progress, and have supported us ever since.
Thank you for believing in us, we wouldn’t be here without your continued support.
This Thanksgiving week, we are dedicating our blog to things we are thankful for. Today (and every day), we are thankful for real food. We are thankful to our local farmers who we know by name, and who work hard to grow the most beautiful produce we’ve ever seen. We are grateful for our ranchers who treat their animals with respect and put value in the life of another creature. As a business, in.gredients is dedicated to sourcing from local farmers, ranchers and artisans so our customers can shop here without fear of hidden costs to your health or the health of the environment.
We’re advocates for real, local food and here’s why.
Conventional food, while monetarily cheaper due to government subsidies and policies, has a much higher cost than you might realize. The Sierra Club’s National Sustainable Consumption Committee launched a campaign about the true cost of food. In a short 15 minute movie, they walk you through what conventional food really costs.
Let’s start with meat. The average United States citizen eats 270.7 pounds of meat per year, which is more than almost any other country on the planet (Luxembourg eats slightly more than the US.) Meat has a much larger impact on the environment than any other food we eat. One quarter-pound of hamburger meat requires 6.7 pounds of grains, 52.8 gallons of drinking water, 47.5 square feet of land and 1,036 Btus (british thermal unit) of fossil fuel energy. In this country, a majority of the meat is raised in factory farms, where animals are not only treated inhumanely, they are given copious amounts of hormones and antibiotics. Did you know that US livestock operations use 77% of total antibiotic use? That’s 3.9 time greater than the amount sold to humans. Needless to say, our current source of meat is sick. The Sierra Club estimates that the true cost for a one pound, conventionally raised steak is $815 a pound.
Source: J.L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, December, 2011
Credit: Producers: Eliza Barclay, Jessica Stoller-Conrad; Designer: Kevin Uhrmacher/NPR
Next up is conventionally grown produce. Mono-cropping has become the norm for growing fruits and vegetables in the United States. Only planting one crop at a time means that a single disease or pest can wipe out an entire crop. To avoid this, big agriculture turns to pesticides. Nearly 1 billion tons of pesticides are used every year, which kills the “bad” pests while simultaneously killing everything else around it. This causes a loss of 24 billion tons of topsoil a year, as well as contributing to the pollution of our rivers and groundwater. Not only does mono-cropping and big agriculture damage the natural environment, it also hurts small family farms.
Did you know that the largest 10% of the farms collect 65% of the government subsidies, and 7% of our farms sell 72% of our food? And a majority of the “food” they are growing are corn and soy, which are used to make the massive amounts of processed foods that have become the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner for many American families. So what’s the average cost of a conventionally grown tomato? According to the Sierra Club, the true cost of a tomato is $374.
Last but not least is processed food. Let’s take a look at a box of cereal. Boxed cereal was one of the earliest convenience foods and represents the power of marketing and packaging. They represent how you can take a cheap commodity crop (corn, soy, wheat) and convert it into a “high value” good. In reality, there is little to no nutritional value in processed foods, and they are basically fat, sugar, salt and chemicals passed off as food. Because of processed, “convenient” foods, 15% of American children are overweight, a number that has tripled in the past 25 years. It’s not just the kids, ⅓ of American Adults are overweight, which has increased the risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and numerous other health ailments. It’s the first time in history where children have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Alright, enough with the doom and gloom facts. The fantastic news is that we, as consumers, have the power to vote with our fork, and make it clear that we value and want local food. With the average meal traveling approximately 1,500 miles, it’s time to take a step back and look at the food growing around you. Eating locally saves up to 17 times the fuel costs of conventional food. There are now five times the amount of farmers markets today than there were in 1980, and the organic food market is growing 25% every year. And while the monetary cost of real, local food might seem more expensive, when your food comes from a place that works with nature, not against it, it costs a lot less in the long run.
This Thanksgiving, stop by in.gredients or your farmers market and thank the amazing folks that work tirelessly to grow food you can eat with pride. The real cost of our conventional food system is haunting, and we are the only ones that have the power to change it. Support local, seek ownership and responsibility for the food you’re buying for yourself and your family, and let’s work together to build community around real, local food.
If you want to know more about the real cost of food, here are some great resources:
It’s nearly August, which means that we are wrapping up summer (did it go by extremely fast to anyone else??) and tumbling into fall. That means you still have a month to cram your brain with as many books as you can. Or, if you have children, perhaps this is a list you can carry into fall when the little ones go back to school. We did some research and compiled a list of books that are all about food through a variety of lenses. A book for every mood, no matter what your relationship to food is.
By Elissa Altman
Elissa Altman is a food writer and blogger at Poor Man’s Feast, a James Beard award-winning blog. This memoir follows Altman’s upbringing in New York City where she learned that food should be fancy, that was until she met her partner who was devoted simple living. This is a heart warming story about a city girl turned rural farmer. Bonus: 27 delicious recipes.
By Wenonah Hauter
Hauter is the executive director of Food and Water Watch and owns an organic family farm that provides vegetables to hundreds of families through a CSA. In her book, Hauter takes aim at the control of food production by a handful of large corporations – backed by political clout – that prevents farmers from raising healthy crops. The bottom line of her book is that solving the crisis will require a structural shift in politics, not just personal choice.
By Jonathan Bloom
We had the honor and privilege to meet and spend the evening with Jonathan Bloom when he was visiting Austin. His book explores waste in our food system and how we can address these issues, both reducing food waste and saving money.
By Michael Pollan
As one of the best known food writers, Pollan dives into the art of cooking. How it is what sets us apart from other mammals, and how the power of the four classical elements (fire, water, air and earth) transform the things we grow into delicious things we love to eat and drink. As always, he explores this subject through hands on learning through the art of grilling with fire, cooking with liquid, baking bread and fermenting.
By Michael Moss
It’s always nice to add an in-depth investigative journalism book onto your list. This book examines just exactly how and why we can’t get enough of the salt, sugar and fat in our diets. It’s an eye-opening and informative book that will leave you with a very honest picture of how serious food advertisers are about selling us things they know are bad for us, with little to no concern for our health.
By Austin Food Bloggers
We love our community of local food bloggers. There’s a huge community of folks that are dedicated and passionate about food. This cookbook is a sampling of some of their favorite dishes and stories of life in Texas. Recipes include persian stew, czech kolaches and good ol’ fashioned Texas sheet cake.
Do it Yourself
By Carleen Madigan
This book is perfect if you have a small space, want to grow food and don’t know where to start. From a quarter acre it’s possible to harvest 1,400 eggs, 50 pounds of wheat, 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 280 pounds of pork and 75 pounds of nuts. That’s a lot of food, it’s time to get started!
TED Talks are all the rage these days. Covering a wide range of subjects, there’s something for everyone. It’s incredible how inspirational people can be in 15 minutes. If you haven’t listened to a TED talk yet, we’re bringing you five of the TED talks that stuck with us.
Surprise, surprise, they’re all about food.
This one brought tears to our eyes and hope to our hearts. He’s 11, y’all. This TED talk will definitely make your friday.
Have a strong opinion about farmed fish and seafood in general? Us too. Watch this fantastic talk from chef Dan Barber.
We had the privilege to meet Anna when she was recently in Austin, and this woman lives and breathes food activism. Listen to her take on what the billion dollar food industry is doing to our countries children and teens.
It’s hard to talk about food without talking about access and security. This is another inspirational talk that will have you tearing up your front yard to plant a garden.
This man is a leader in the food community, and this is apparent in the fact that he gave this talk in 2007. He knows his stuff, and is honest about what we need to do as a country to make a change. Eat less meat.
Stephen is a South Bronx teacher/administrator growing over 25,000 of vegetables in the bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance. “It’s easier to raise healthy children than to fix broken men!”