Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘food’

18 AUGUST, 2010

4Food: Dejunking Fast Food for the Digital Age

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Holes that fill a market gap, or what the iPad has to do with taking down Monsanto.

We all know the story — fast food is awful for us, dreadful for the environment, and one of modernity’s most gruesome addictions. Yet in a culture of constantly shrinking time budgets and an ever-increasing marketability of convenience, it’s increasingly difficult to reconcile our moral and nutritional ideals with our fast-paced workaholism. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation, at least not if it’s up to 4food — an innovative restaurant concept aiming to de-junk fast food for the digital age.

Founded by British serial entrepreneur and ex-music-exec Adam Kidron, former CEO of Urban Box Office, and rock musician Michael Shuman, 4food is equal parts good food and digital age fixtures. Not only are orders placed through iPad-based “Dynamic Menu Boards” or pre-ordered online, but they’re also fully customizable to your lifestyle and nutrition goals. The entire operation is designed with sustainability and ethical conduct at its core — from the local, organic, Monsanto-unaffiliated ingredients to the fairtrade worker compensation to the in-store recycling and composting programs.

We bring fast food that’s fresh, delicious, and nutritious to all ages, lifestyles, incomes, and ethnicities. No fads, fillers, or anything artificial. We’re revolutionizing counter culture, in real-time.”

The restaurant’s signature product is the W(hole)burger™ — a donut-shaped beef, lamb, pork, turkey, veggie, salmon or egg patty, paired with one of 25 ethnically and nutritionally diverse Veggiescoop centers, each with unique nutritional attributes. The “holes” from the patties are made into skewers for a perfect bunless, low-carb, shareable meal.

4food’s manifesto is a fantastic epitome of what every eatery should aspire to do and be:

  • De-junked fast food is made of quality, natural ingredients and customizable to your taste and nutrition goals.
  • Our foods don’t contain any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats or oils.
  • No artificial sweeteners. No preservatives. No artificial flavor enhancers.
  • None of our food is fried.
  • If it’s soy, it’s not Monsanto* — wherever possible we purchase whole ingredients that have neither been genetically engineered nor modified.
  • Our chefs use simple and straightforward cooking techniques to prepare and cook your food to order.
  • Our cows, pigs, and sheep are humanely raised while grazing and eating vegetarian diets.
  • Our poultry and fish are fed heritage foods with no artificial growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • You know (because we tell you) where all of our ingredients come from.
  • We provide personalized nutrition facts, advice, and menu recommendations every day in—store, at www.4food.com, and printed on every receipt.
  • We charge reasonable prices, when the rights of farm workers to earn a living wage, the integrity of our food preparation, and the quality of our ingredients are taken into account.
  • Your purchases provide real world job training to individuals transitioning back into the work force—to earn more than minimum wage.
  • We compost in-store and recycle. We employ sunscreen systems, LED lighting, and purchase renewable energy credits from alternative energy generators. We’re committed to increasing our use of sustainable power as we grow.
  • We incentivize you to market your custom W(hole)burgers™ online, so that we don’t have to. The money we save on marketing enables us to purchase better quality ingredients and keep our prices down.

4food is part Apple store, part European coffeehouse, part Michael Pollan‘s wet dream. The first restaurant opens its doors at 40th & Madison in New York on September 7.

via Creativity Online

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11 AUGUST, 2010

What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets

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From Bangladesh to Brazil, or what photojournalism can reveal about food and cultural context.

In case you ever wondered, the most popular Brain Pickings post to date is our review of photographers Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio’s Hungry Planet — a grounding portrait of what the world eats, from the $376.45 an Australian family spends on food per week to the $1.23 weekly budget of a same-sized family in Chad’s poorest refugee camp. This week, Menzel and D’Alusio are back with their much-anticipated new book, What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets — a fascinating project telling the global story of our relationship to food through portraits of 80 people from 30 countries and the food they eat in one day.

I want people to understand their own diets better — and their own chemistry and their own biology. And make better decisions for themselves.” ~ Peter Menzel on NPR

38-year-old Maasai herder, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 103 lbs, typical daily caloric intake: 800 calories. Food staples: Maize meal and milk.

Image copyright Peter Menzel, menzelphoto.com

40-year-old Egyptian camel broker, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 165 lbs, typical daily caloric intake: 3,200 calories. Some food staples: Eggs with butter, fava beans, country bread, potato chips, feta cheese, soup, rice, black tea.

Image copyright Peter Menzel, menzelphoto.com

From a Japanese sumo wrestler to an American competitive eater to a Massai herdswoman, the book offers an exploration of demography through photography, contextualized by compelling essays from some of today’s leading food activists and thinkers, including indispensible voices on the issue like Brain Pickings favorite Michael Pollan.

20-year-old US Army soldier, 6 feet 5 inches tall, 195 lbs, typical daily caloric intake: 4,000 calories. Food staples: Mostly instant ready-to-eat meals.

Image copyright Peter Menzel, menzelphoto.com

36-year-old Latvian vocal teacher and composer, 6 feet tall, 183 lbs, typical daily caloric intake: 3,900 calories. Some food staples: Egg, rye bread with ham, cheese and butter, chicken, potato with mayonnaise, cookies.

Image copyright Peter Menzel, menzelphoto.com

Alongside each of Menzel’s photographs, text by D’Alusio outlines the specifics of the daily diet depicted and places it in a cultural context that explains why, for instance, a Brazilian fisherman of average build can consume 5,200 calories per day and an American truck driver who consumes a comparable amount is clinically obese. Ultimately, the project aims to illuminate the relationship between food and where we are, in life and in the world.

16-year-old Chinese acrobat, 5 feet 2 inches tall, 99 lbs, typical daily caloric intake: 1,700 calories. Some food staples: Yogurt, pork ribs, noodles, eggs, broth, green tea.

Image copyright Peter Menzel, menzelphoto.com

45-year-old Tibetan head monk, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 158 lbs, typical daily caloric intake: 4,900 calories. Some food staples: Butter tea, dried cheese curds, barley flour cake, noodle soup with potato.

Image copyright Peter Menzel, menzelphoto.com

Part Food, Inc., part FridgeWatcher, the project is a potent antidote to Neil Burgess’s recent rant about the death of photojournalism — What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets is a bundle of storytelling and humanity that unravels itself before your eyes, leaving you hungry to better understand the correlation between food, environment and quality of life.

via NPR

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28 JULY, 2010

The Geometry of Pasta: A Minimalist Design Cookbook

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Canestrini, canestri and what design minimalism has to do with the perfect sauce.

When you think pasta, you don’t immediately think design. But a new book out today, The Geometry of Pasta, is out to once and for all confirm every chef’s conviction: That food is art.

The unusual volume pairs London chef extraordinaire Jacob Kenedy with award-winning British graphic designer Caz Hildebrand, exploring the science, history and philosophy of Italy’s most iconic pasta dishes through more than 100 authentic recipes accompanied by stunning, artful black-and-white designs. And any book that comes with a trailer, a minimalist motion typography one at that, is a winner in our book.

In addition to the delicious aesthetic treat, The Geometry of Pasta promises to help you develop an intuitive skill for matching pasta and sauce to maximize taste and texture, a skill the authors — and pretty much all Italians — firmly believe is linked to the ability to choose the right shape of pasta for the sauce.

For a taste of the contents, sample some drool-inducing recipes and ogle some stylish pasta shapes on the book’s website. Then, grab yourself a copy of this wonderful intersection of the arts diguised as a cookbook and amp your kitchen’s hip factor definitively.

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