It’s Moosewood’s world. We’re just eating in it.
Consider granola: The word used to be a derogatory term. Now it’s a supermarket category worth nearly $2bn a year. Kombucha was something your art teacher might have made in her basement. The company GT’s Kombucha brews more than a million bottles annually and sells many of them at Walmart and Safeway.
And almond milk? You can add it to your drink at any of 15,000 Starbucks locations for 60 cents.
Just as yoga and meditation have gone mainstream (and let’s not get started on designer Birkenstocks), so have ideas and products surrounding health, wellness and eating that play like a flashback to the early 1970s.
Co-op staples of that time – the miso, tahini, dates, seeds, turmeric and ginger that were absorbed from other cultures and populated the Moosewood restaurant cookbooks – now make appearances at some of the most innovative restaurants in the country, where menus are built around vegetables and heritage grains. Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise and kale, the bacon of the clean-eating moment, is now routinely heaped on salad plates across the land.
The hippies may not have won the election, but they are winning the plate. (Or rather, the bowl).
“The counterculture is always ahead of what’s happening in mainstream culture,” said Peter Meehan, the editorial director of Lucky Peach magazine. “It’s as true in any creative field as it is in food.”
Deborah Madison, the author and chef who made vegetarian cooking sophisticated with her 1987 cookbook Greens,has seen this food before: She cooked it in the 1960s as one of “a growing number of people who were trying to cook differently from our parents”, she says.
“Our intentions were good,” Madison continues. “We were using wholesome foods in contrast to our mothers’ new reliance on cake mixes, white flour, TV dinners and that sort of thing.”
The problem, she said, was that her generation didn’t know much about cooking.
“What we cooked was very much on the stodgy side,” she said. “Today the same foods are now seen as interesting and delicious and worth eating. We can appreciate their flavours, textures and general possibilities because we – that is, the big collective we – know so much more about cooking foods of all kinds.”
The current food mood may also be a reaction to the more exhausting aspects of life in the digital era.
“It’s a weird mixture of technology and palo santo” – iPhones and incense – says the chef Gerardo Gonzalez, suggesting that people who live online may be moved to seek out the restorative properties of natural foods. “You’re constantly in this thing that’s not reality, and eating food can be the most real act you can partake in.”
At Lalito, his restaurant in Manhattan, Gonzalez serves food he describes as “hippie Chicano” like vegan chicharrones and the brown goddess cucumber salad with brown mole vinaigrette, mint and candied pepitas, as well as dishes like eggplant topped with tahini, lemon juice and Japanese gomasio seasoning. (The restaurant opened in late 2016 as Lalo. It was recently renamed to avoid conflict with a similarly named restaurant).
Growing up with chain restaurants and living with the “mental fog” that comes from regularly eating meat, dairy and starch led him and his peers to seek an alternative.
“I think people are now more likely to turn to açai bowls than a bacon cheeseburger for their hangover,” he says. “For a lot of people who gravitate toward this lifestyle, it’s not hypocritical.”
As one of the owners of Dimes, a restaurant that opened three years ago in Manhattan, Alissa Wagner is partly responsible for bringing those açai bowls to the Instagram set. Wagner believes that diners are a lot more knowledgeable about where and how to eat better than they were when she graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute, a mostly vegetarian cooking school in Manhattan, in 2010.
“There was a huge awakening that happened in the last couple of years with the way that New Yorkers approach food,” she says. “The meat-heavy, super-masculine-style restaurants that were ever-present became outdated and were overtaken by a much more vibrant and produce-driven menu.”
Some of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the past year have had a crunchy vibe. Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco is never without a line for its rustic sourdough bread, whole-grain pastries and turmeric kefir. At Destroyer in Culver City, Calif., the chef Jordan Kahn incorporates elements like puffed rice and pickled mushrooms into his precise and visually arresting cooking. For his avocado toast – a dish that is the spiritual descendant of the 1970s avocado sandwich, smashed on health bread and topped with a handful of alfalfa sprouts — the avocado is confited. Brunch at the “veg-forward” Bad Hunter in Chicago includes miso-apple sticky buns and sourdough porridge with walnut butter.
In New York, Jean-Georges Vongerichten recently opened abcV, an organic, all-vegetable restaurant that serves dishes like “stems and sprouts” with sunflower seeds, and traffics in ayurvedic tonics, which have captivated millennials hunting for the next thing after juice. At L’estudio, the rough-hewed pottery is fired in the cafe’s adjoining ceramics studio.
And while the landmark vegan restaurant Angelica Kitchen in Manhattan is closing this week, its legacy is vast – veggie burgers and grain bowls, once a menu rarity, can be had at chains like Hillstone and Sweetgreen. (The chef Camille Becerra, who just opened De Maria, which is heavy on bowls, cooked at Angelica Kitchen – a formative experience). Even the elegant French restaurant Le Coucou serves avocado toast at breakfast and brunch, charging $18 for the winkingly named “Le Californien”.
Despite the often extragavant price tag attached to many haute-hippie staples and the Vitamix required to prepare them, this is food that is easy to make at home, with plenty of cookbooks for guidance.
The last several months have seen the release of many vegetable-rich and raw-food cookbooks, including ones from Lucky Peach; Martha Stewart; Wolfgang Puck; the vegan website Thug Kitchen; Sarah Britton, of the website My New Roots, whose Instagram feed of bowls and sprouts has over 330,000 followers; and Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice, a small chain of juice shops that started in Venice, in Los Angeles.
In her book and at her shops, Bacon, a former line cook at Lucques in Los Angeles – and the subject of a Twitter storm last summer, after a crystal was stolen from her Silver Lake location – spreads the gospel of coconut yogurt, reishi mushroom powder and meditation, while selling $10 Moon Dusted Milks made with brown rice protein, chia seeds and blue spirulina. Her plans for Moon Dust expansion are global.
Last week, Madison released In My Kitchen: A Collection of New Vegetarian Recipes. Her elegant earth-motherhood has given rise to a generation of chefs, cookbook authors and bloggers focused on vegetables and whole foods, like Anna Jones, who wrote the vegetarian cookbook A Modern Way to Cook. (Madison, like a baby boomer who is both tickled and horrified to see bell-bottoms come back in style, says she always found it “amusing that foods like the once-abhorrent brown rice have come around to being seen as good to eat, and preferable even to white rice.”)
For amateur picklers and kimchi-makers there is a new edition of Wild Fermentation, the 2003 manual that helped its author, Sandor Katz, become a heroic figure among cooks who ferment their own foods.
Like the back-to-the landers and Whole Earth catalogue readers before them, a new generation is once again becoming interested in fermentation, especially do-it-yourself projects, a shift that Katz attributes to people becoming more critical of the industrial food system and seeking alternatives.
“Once you start asking questions about how this food was produced, then fermentation is just part of the answer,” he says.
Food and drink news
Food and drink news
1/31 Gluten-free diets 'not recommended' for people without coeliac disease
Avoiding wheat, barley and rye in the belief that a gluten-free diet brings health benefits may do more harm than good, according to a team of US nutrition and medicine experts
2/31 Starbucks launches two new coffee-based drinks
Starbucks is launching two new coffee-based drinks in the UK, as it strives to tap into consumers’ growing appetite for healthy beverages. The Cold Brew Vanilla sweet cream and the Cappuccino Freddo, will both be available in stores throughout the UK from the start of May
3/31 Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Tiffin is making a permanent comeback after 80 years
The Cadbury Dairy Milk Tiffin, first produced in 1937, is making a permanent comeback to the UK. The raisin and biscuit-filled chocolate bar is being launched after a successful trial last summer saw 3 million chocolate treats – at the cost of £1.49 for each 95g bar- purchased by nostalgic customers
4/31 Pizza restaurant makes ‘world’s cheesiest’
'Scottie's Pizza Parlor' in Portland Oregon has created the world’s cheesiest pizza using a total of 101 different cheese varieties.
Facebook/Scottie's Pizza Parlor
5/31 A pizza joint in Portland Oregon has created the world’s cheesiest pizza using a total of 101 different cheese varieties. Why not eating before a workout could be better for your health
A study published in the American Journal of Physiology by researchers at the University of Bath found you might be likely to burn more fat if you have not eaten first
6/31 New York restaurant named best in the world
A New York restaurant where an average meal for two will cost $700 has been named the best in the world. Eleven Madison Park won the accolade for the first time after debuting on the list at number 50 in 2010. The restaurant was praised for a fun sense of fine-dining, “blurring the line between the kitchen and the dining room”
7/31 Why you crave bad food when you’re tired
Researchers at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago recently presented their results of a study looking into the effects of sleep deprivation upon high-calorific food consumption. Researchers found that those who were sleep-deprived had “specifically enhanced” brain activity to the food smells compared to when they had a good night’s sleep
8/31 Drinking wine engages more of your brain than solving maths problems
Drinking wine is the ideal workout for your brain, engaging more parts of our grey matter than any other human behaviour, according to a leading neuroscientist. Dr Gordon Shepherd, from the Yale School of Medicine, said sniffing and analysing a wine before drinking it requires “exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body”
9/31 British dessert eating surges after people ditch healthy eating in February
: In heartening news for anyone feeling guilty about quitting their New Year diet, it seems lots of us have given in to our sweet tooths once again. New data from nationwide food-delivery service Deliveroo reveals there was a surge in Brits ordering desserts in February compared to the first month of 2017
10/31 US congress debates definition of milk alternatives
A new bill has been created that seeks to ban dairy alternatives from using the term ‘milk’. Titled the DAIRY PRIDE Act, the name is a tenuous acronym for ‘defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt, milk, and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy every day’. It argues that the dairy industry is struggling as a result of all the dairy-free alternatives on the market and the public are being duped too
11/31 Cadbury’s launches two new chocolate bars
UK confectionary giant Cadbury has launched two new chocolate bars, hoping to lure those with a sweet tooth and perhaps help combat some of the challenges it faces from rising commodity prices and a post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound.The company’s new products will be peanut butter and mint flavoured. They will be available in most major super markets as 120g bars, priced at £1.49, according to the company
12/31 You can now get a job as a professional chocolate eater
The company responsible for some of your favourite chocolate brands – think Cadbury, Milks, Prince and Oreo – have officially announced an opening to join their team as a professional chocolate taster. The successful candidate will help them to test, perfect and launch new products all over the world.
13/31 MSG additive used in Chinese food is actually good for you, scientist claims
For years, we’ve been told MSG (the sodium salt of glutamic acid) - often associated with cheap Chinese takeaways - is awful for our health and to be avoided at all costs. But one scientist argues it should be used as a “supersalt” and encourages adding it to food.
14/31 Lettuce prices are rising
Not only are lettuces becoming an increasingly rare commodity in supermarkets, but prices for the leafy vegetables seem to be rising too. According to the weekly report from the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a pair of Little Gem lettuces had an average market price of £0.86 in the week that ended on Friday, up from an average of £0.56 in the previous week – that’s an almost 54 per cent increase.
15/31 Food School
Kids celebrate Food School graduation with James Martin – a campaign launched by Asda to educate young people on where food comes from. New research has revealed that children across the UK just aren’t stepping up to the plate when it comes to simple facts about the food they eat – with almost half of children under eight not knowing that eggs come from chickens
16/31 ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant
To encourage more people to cook and eat together, IKEA has launched The Dining Club in Shoreditch – a fully immersive ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant . Members of the public can book to host a brunch, lunch or dinner party for up to 20 friends and family. Supported by their very own sous chef and maître de, the host and their guests will orchestrate an intimate dining experience where cooking together is celebrated and eating together is inspirational
Mikael Buck / IKEA
17/31 Ping Pong menu with a twist
Gatwick Airport has teamed up with London dim sum restaurant Ping Pong to create a limited edition menu with a distinctly British twist; including a Full English Bao and Beef Wellington Puff, to celebrate the launch of the airport’s new route to Hong Kong
18/31 Zizzi unveil the Ma’amgharita
Unique pizza art has been created by Zizzi in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. The pizza features the queen in an iconic pose illustrated with fresh and tasty Italian ingredients on a backdrop of the Union Jack
19/31 Blue potatoes make a comeback
Blue potatoes, once a staple part of British potato crops, are back on the menu thanks to a Cambridge scientist turned-organic farmer and Farmdrop, an online marketplace that lets people buy direct from local farms. Cambridge PhD graduate-turned farmer, Adrian Izzard has used traditional growing techniques at Wild Country Organics to produce the colourful spuds, packed with healthy cell-protecting anthocyanin, which had previously disappeared from UK plates when post-war farmers were pushed towards higher-yielding varieties
20/31 France plans to usurp Scotland as the home of the world's best whisky
France is planning to usurp Scotland’s reputation as the home of the world’s best whisky, fired by a growing national obsession with the drink. According to a study by retail consultants Bonial, the French drink more whisky than any other country – an average of 2.15 litres a year, compared to 1.8 litres in second-placed Uruguay and the US in third on 1.4 litres
Bloomberg via Getty Images
21/31 The price of an avocado is set to rise
Britain’s avocado lovers are facing a significant increase in the cost of their favourite salad food because the so-called superfood is becoming too popular. High demand from health-conscious consumers has led Peru to triple its avocado exports since 2010, with exports to the UK up 58% over the past year
22/31 Eating cereal may not be the healthiest way to start the day
The old saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so many of us do as we are told and grab a bowl of cereal before we head out the door. But an expert has warned that while many cereals boxes claim their contents are the perfect start to the day, many are packed full of sugar and carbohydrates with little nutritional value. Even some seemingly-health muesli cereals have a lot of added sugar in the form of honey, malt, molasses, dried fruit or “even fruit juice”
23/31 Crisps made with real ingredients
Michelin starred chef, Simon Rogan in action cooking a menu inspired by the provenance ingredients in the new Chef’s Signature range from Kettle Chips. Kettle Chips, the nation’s favourite premium crisp brand, has launched the new range of crisps with exciting new seasonings, made with the highest quality food ingredients rather than chemicals or artificial flavours
24/31 Japanese whisky crisis
Suntory’s chief blender Mr. Fukuyo San blends component whiskies to create Suntory Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, a blend of young and old single malts. Japan’s warm climate and varied seasons makes it perfect environment to age and blend whiskies, creating subtle, refined and complex expressions.The recent trend for Japanese whisky has put the spirit on the verge of a global shortage
25/31 Non-alcoholic cocktails are seriously chic
We are living through a new era of creative, non-alcoholic drinks that go way beyond a coke or sweet mocktail. The world is becoming more health conscious. There's the war on sugar, and teetotalism is on the rise, with more than one in five not drinking at all (especially young adults), according to The National Statistics for Adult Drinking Habits. This abstinence is even more pronounced in London, with almost one in three turning away from alcohol. An increasing number of mixologists are applying their talents to the creation of non-alcoholic drinks that taste as good as their boozy alternatives
26/31 'Heat map' shows which areas of Britain enjoy the spiciest curries
After Bradford was named the Curry Capital of Britain for the fifth year running, a map has been released showing which regions of Britain enjoy a spicy curry and which prefer the milder variants. According to the map developed by Hari Ghotra, Kent, Essex, West Yorkshire and Lancashire are the heat-handling kings of Britain, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all prefer milder curries. The data was collected by monitoring the location of social media posts that mentioned names of curries. These were then given a spice rating and were then collated to give each area a score out of 1000
27/31 Guinness to become vegan-friendly
Guinness is set to become vegan friendly for the first time in its 256-year history, as the company announced its plan to stop using fish bladders in its filters
28/31 Why the salmon on your plate might not actually be salmon
Salmon that ends up on the dinner table may not be salmon at all, a study has suggested. The problem of salmon mislabelling has become an increasing issue in the US in the winter months, according to American research published by Oceana. The findings show that 43 per cent of the salmon tested was mislabelled – the most common instance of this being when farmed Atlantic salmon was sold as wild salmon
29/31 How dangerous is a bacon sandwich
A recent WHO report warning that processed and red meats can cause cancer may have left you thinking a little harder about whether to pick up that bacon butty for breakfast or ditch a beef-filled Bolognese for dinner - but how worried should we be? The review of 800 studies for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) prompted global health experts to cast processed meats - including bacon, ham and sausages - into the ominous-sounding list of group 1 carcinogens, where they joined formaldehyde, gamma radiation and cigarettes. Eating just a 50g portion of processed meat – or two rashers of bacon - a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent, the experts concluded
30/31 New Zealanders are behind a lot of the interesting food and drink stuff happening in the UK
Dark beers are more suited to cold months, so the thinking goes, but in one part of the world they're always popular. "Lots of breweries in New Zealand have got stouts and porters among their best sellers," says Stu McKinlay, one half of the duo behind Wellington brewing company Yeastie Boys. McKinlay recently swapped Wellington for west Kent in order to launch Yeastie Boys in the UK, and he's joined forces with four other breweries (8 Wired, Renaissance, Three Boys, Tuatara) as part of the New Zealand Craft Beer Collective, to promote his country's finest over here
31/31 Additives in popular chicken nuggets
Ingredients, a new book co-created by photographer Dwight Eschliman and food writer Steve Ettlinger distils 25 products, including popcorn, Red Bull and chicken soup, focusing on 75 of the most common food additives and revealing what each one looks like, where it comes from and why it is used. McDonald’s chicken nuggets were found to contain 40 different ingredients. These included dextrose, a sugar also used by shoe makers to make leather more pliable, and corn starch, used for thickening food as well as also being a substitute for petrol
He also cites recent scientific findings on the microbiome and the notion that health may be affected by bacteria and other microbes living in your intestinal tract, which are in turn influenced by what you eat.
“People are recognising that this important biodiversity inside of us has been diminished and are seeking strategies to restore it for immune function, digestion, mental health and everything else,” he says. “So people are seeking out bacteria-rich foods.”
In fact, a kombucha- and tempeh-making business just opened near Katz’s home in Cannon County, Tennessee, population 16,000. “It’s not just happening in New York, San Francisco and Portland,” he says.
(For the record, Mr. Katz bristles at the association of fermentation with hippiedom. “In terms of countercultural movements, I feel like punk is much more resonant,” he says. “The punk movement was all about DIY and publishing your own zine, and figuring out how to make things yourself and improvise.”)
Gonzalez has noticed a change in diners’ palates toward flavours that are brighter and more acidic, like those produced by fermentation, as well as earthier and umami-rich flavours, like nutritional yeast. “People are starting to realise that these ingredients are a whole new colour palette,” he says.
This group of Americans has also developed a less-sweet tooth and an appreciation of the textures imparted by grains like buckwheat and rye. “I was in a meeting last night where one person suggested making a chocolate cake recipe with fermented cabbage in it,” Madison says.
As with anything counterculture edging toward the mainstream, the threat of co-option looms.
Alice Waters, the Berkeley queen of local and seasonal cooking, applauds the movement away from fast and processed food, but said she was wary of how its language had been appropriated by mainstream brands.
“There’s a lot of hijacking going on right now that is very disturbing,” Waters says. “I mean, they can’t quite take ‘organic,’ but they’re taking everything else.”
At the restaurant level, though, hippie fare has long been “a lifestyle and a brand,” Gonzalez concedes.
“You’re not just selling food,” he says. “You’re giving the promise of a healthier life, or a more enlightened meal.”
Pan-griddled sweet potatoes with miso-ginger sauce
Time: About 1 hour
Makes 4 to 6 servings
4 sweet potatoes (about six ounces each), scrubbed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 (1-inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
A few pinches of sugar or 2 teaspoons mirin
1 heaping tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light sesame oil or other neutral oil, plus more for the pan
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted black sesame seeds, for garnish
Add about an inch of water to a stovetop steamer or a pot fitted with a steaming basket. Add sweet potatoes and steam until tender, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on their size.
While sweet potatoes are cooking, make the sauce. Pound garlic and ginger in a mortar until very smooth and then stir in the sugar, miso, vinegar, sesame oils and a tablespoon of water.
Halve steamed sweet potatoes lengthwise and score the cut sides in a crisscross pattern with a small knife. Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add a swirl of light sesame oil (about a tablespoon), then add sweet potatoes in a single layer, cut side down, and cook for three minutes, or until their natural sugars caramelize and turn an appetising golden brown. (Depending on the shape of your potatoes, you may have to work in batches).
Arrange sweet potatoes on plates or a platter and spoon sauce over them. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve alone or with any accompaniment you like.
© New York Times
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