If healthy, sustainable, delicious food is going to come to dominate our culture, eating in this way needs to be accessible, easy, tasty, and fast so that all people can increase their patronage of local farms and embrace home cooking in ways that work for them. Along those lines, I’ve been very interested in the new (ish) website Taste , which specifically bills itself as a website for the home cook. There are reviews and features of cookbooks, recipes, and stories about food culture, and it feels like a sort of curated Food52 with many innovative stories and cooking ideas. I like this website a lot and I’m excited to see how it grows.
While I was paging through Taste’s features I read an interview by Andy Wang with the founders of the blog Thug Kitchen, a Million Books and F-Bombs Later. I had just checked Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway’s first book, Thug Kitchen, Eat Like You Give a Fuck. I found their approach to vegan cooking and home cooking in general really refreshing. The massive quantity of expletives aside, Davis and Holloway speak to people who are tired, intimidated by cooking, and don’t want to spend a ton of time and money doing so. Thug Kitchen’s book is encouraging and has accessible recipes to eat well and feel good. From the interview, it’s good to hear they have no intentions of slowing down.
I’ve also found myself returning lately to The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner. I may have mentioned this book before, but it is packed full of well explained recipes for cheeses, vegan milks and dairy, and meat substitutes that are tasty and nourishing. Schinner doesn’t include many unfamiliar additive ingredients, and when they are necessary for a texture or consistency, she does a good job explaining what they are and how they work. While I haven’t made the jump to vegan, books like hers make it easy to make plant based choices and offer new ways to enjoy creamy, hearty, or savory foods.
As an interesting ethical aside: Would You Eat Chicken Grown in a Lab? Andrew Amelinckx reports for Modern Farmer on efforts to grow poultry tissue without a sentient animal attached. The resulting animal protein is technically “chicken,” but no animal dies (or even lives?), pollution issues are largely avoided, and animal treatment ethics are somewhat a nonissue, although it is still very resource intensive. While the lab grown chicken doesn’t seem that it will be on the market any time soon, I’m interested to see how this science evolves.
Overall, we seem to be at a time where consumers and diners are more knowledgeable than ever about their food and have high expectations for the businesses they patronize. The Hippies Have Won, by Christine Muhlke for The New York Times, profiles open minded restaurant kitchens and consumer trends towards whole grains, global flavors, and well sourced ingredients.
Yet awareness of farming and ecological issues only goes so far. Pollution, global warming, and water shortages still loom, and we need to continue to dissect and move forward to address the health of our planet. This essay, Where the Water Goes by David Owen New Yorker, is based on a forthcoming book, and delves into impending water issues rising in the western United States. I am looking forward to reading the book and learning about the origins of our water woes, but also looking to how to respond for a productive future of food and water.