Sunday, May 16, 2010

Future Food

With the exception of television shows that I've either recorded or rented on DVD, I rarely watch tv. However, tonight, I took my plate of red greens salad, italian tofurkey sausage with onions and red peppers, and spicy fried potatoes with vegenaise-sriracha dipping sauce, and sat down in front of our tv. I decided on a show called Future Food, a show I'd never seen on a Discovery Channel network I'd never heard of ("Planet Green"). Anyway, this I decided to watch after I heard one of the chefs on the show say he was attempting to "shorten the food chain." Yes.

On Future Food, chefs Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche, of Chicago's famous MOTO restaurant experiment with food in quirky, interesting, and often very sustainable ways. This ranges from creating edible (and therefore eco-conscious) packaging peanuts to using miracle fruit to end world hunger to creating burgers out of what cows eat. It's a smart, entertaining show with a purpose. And I admire anyone who truly believes--and then actually does--make a meal out of stuff they found on the front lawn. Read interviews with these creative chefs here and here.

The episode I watched tonight was the "Burger Wars" episode, in which the kitchen creates its own version of three different burgers: a regular, 100% beef burger, a veggie burger made of spinach and herbs, and a burger made only of ingredients that cows eat (they used beets, corn, and grains). It was a competition to see which burger would win in two taste tests - one with college students, and the other, with MOTO customers. More than a competition, though, the idea behind this (and the show entirely) is to expand accessibility of sustainable products. And one way to do that, according to Omar Cantu, was to "shorten the foodchain" by eliminating the cow entirely. Right on, Omar. I won't tell you which burger won the competition so as to not ruin the surprise.

I also highly recommend checking out the Planet Green network website. If you're interested in DIY living, sustainability, vegetarianism, or if you're simply curious, you might find something you like there. I especially enjoyed the article on how to eat your own trash to cut down on landfill waste.


From the episode "Burger Wars," Future Food chefs prep their burgers for the college taste-test at DePaul University.

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