Subtle Shift

The coronovirus has changed how we shop for groceries, writes Anna Rahmanan at the Huffington Post:

“Doorstep delivery and online shopping, already popular before COVID-19, have become part and parcel of a business model that once relied almost exclusively on brick-and-mortar stores. Moreover, the pandemic appears to have affected not just where and how we buy food, but what we’re actually eating.”

Okra Studies

Author Chris Smith talks about his book The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration, which recently won the James Beard Award for food scholarship:

“In some ways, I consider the book the start of my okra journey. Since its publication, I’ve connected with so many people that share a passion for okra. I keep thinking of new ways that I could use okra. At the beginning of this week, for example, I had 2,000 pounds of okra seeds delivered, and a few breweries are looking to use it for okra seed beer. It’s really an ongoing journey of okra craziness.”

Fungus Among Us

Elazar Sontag examines the science of mold on food:

“Mold is a key ‘ingredient’ in many of this world’s greatest foods: Cheese, soy sauce, dry-aged steak, and sake to name just a few. But knowing that mold has graced some of the foods I love rarely results in the sort of confidence I need to casually cut some fuzz from a loaf of bread and get on with my life.”

Waste Not, Want Not

In a conversation with Heated, Chef Rudi Liebenberg gives advice on how to limit food waste:

“I think it is important to first understand how we shop. Food has become cheaper and we buy in excess. We are given fantastic recipes and ideas from all platforms guiding us on how to entertain and cook. What we do not have is enough information on what to do with the stalks, bones, and wilted items. We consume as fast as possible, as much as possible. We cook in excess. Once we start looking at our shopping basket and fridges differently, we can also look at how we cook at home.”

Radish Fetish

Faith Durand makes the case for radishes:

“If you’ve only eaten radishes somewhat reluctantly in salads, I need to ask you to try again. Radishes are a little spicy, a little juicy, and oh-so-crunchy, and they’re one of the best vegetables that people quite frankly don’t eat enough. They’re my favorite roasted vegetable, and their spectacular color makes them one of my favorites to put on a veggie board, too.”

Taking the Pulse

Joe Sevier asks chefs how they like to cook beans and argues that they’re actually a great summertime food:

“If putting a big pot of dried beans on the stove to simmer away for few hours sounds like a totally winter thing to you, you may be missing out on some of summer’s best dinners. As we’ve pointed out recently, sometimes cooking a large batch of something low and slow is the answer to cutting down on dinnertime stress.”

Machine Cuisine

White Castle is trying out a robotic line cook named Flippy:

“The robot, made by Miso Robotics, has already been frying food and cooking burgers in venues including Dodger Stadium. White Castle will be the first fast-food chain to pilot a robot cook in the kitchen.

“Flippy, which can learn and improve its performance through AI, will start out on the fry station before potentially expanding its purview to the grill.”

Treasure Map

King County, Washington, has launched Local Food Finder, an interactive service that helps residents identify and shop from local farms:

“The mobile-friendly map is one of several ways King County is supporting local farmers who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted farmers markets and restaurant sales. It is a product of the Local Food Initiative that Executive Constantine created in 2014 to strengthen King County’s local food economy and increase equitable access to healthy, affordable food.”

Straight to the Source

In the age of COVID, more people are buying directly from farmers, reports the Portland Press Herald:

“Some farmers have refocused on selling directly to customers rather than wholesale to restaurants and schools. Many have increased their online presence through virtual stores and websites while at the same time giving up once prime spots at farmers markets. Many farms have said it’s too early to know how much difference the uptick in business will make, and they’ve been too busy with sales to take time to crunch the numbers anyway, but the increased interest in shopping at their stores is certain.”

Scrubdown

It’s time to clean our kitchen, says Annie Siebert:

“First, a disclaimer: I am a Clean Person. I wipe down the stainless steel, scrub the sink, and sanitize the counters at least once a day. It is kind of a lot, especially with a toddler constantly dragging his filthy little hands across the front of the dishwasher, but messes stress me out. I am not suggesting that you are disgusting if you don’t uphold this standard; in fact, I envy you for being so chill.

“But my special blend of anxiety and willingness to uphold the illusion of control makes me pretty qualified to offer guidance on how to clean the room where you prepare food. This is not a story about handy tips and tricks for keeping your kitchen spotless. This is about recognizing months of neglect and remedying it.”