Interesting trends and fads in food have been the subject of several recent articles. Restaurant news maybe should make me feel put down because I rarely go out to eat any more when I am at home, but a couple of bits of restaurant news have amused me with their exaggerated trendiness. Also, I’ve been reading a bit about environmental issues related to the food supply. Here are a few summaries (with links if you want to read the full articles).
Veggie BurgersThank God, Veggie Burgers With Actual Vegetables Are Making a Comeback by Bettina Makalintal in Eater is about fake meat and its rise and decline. This topic reminded me how three years ago, when our household decided to reduce the amount of meat we were buying, we often purchased imitation meat -- specifically, Beyond Burgers -- and quickly got tired of them. Later, we experimented with the Impossible brand of artificial meat. Our use of Impossible meat lasted longer, but we've also become tired of this product. I think we have learned how to create more vegetable-based meals without meat substitutes. The article points out a general decrease in demand for these artificial products and the corresponding corporate losses. It seems that a lot of people had parallel experiences to ours.
"Its many problems aside, corporate fast food is a good indicator of consumer interest. What it puts on the menu is what it assumes to be appealing to a broad swath of American consumers. (It’s clearly not always right, as is the case with its unsuccessful fake meat experiments.) But this big reappearance of the definitely-vegetables burger suggests that people are interested in a return to form after trying out tech burgers. ... Finally, fast food brands are recognizing what vegetarians have long known: There is so much potential in making real, recognizable vegetables and legumes taste good, in patty form, without the need to approximate beef."
In photo: Impossible Meatballs that I made last year. I guess I'm not doing that any more! If I have to have meat, it will be real meat, and mostly I'll try to eat vegetables.
Beans!Are Beans Good for You? by Sally Wadyka, published in Consumer Reports in August, 2020, and updated this April, declares: "Lentils, kidney beans, black beans, and more offer unique health benefits."
How bad is plastic wrap?To Wrap Or to Not Wrap Cucumbers? by Chandrima Shrivastava and four other authors, published by Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, is a scientific research article about the environmental effects of plastic containers and wrappers for food packaging. It is very interesting and the conclusion is counter-intuitive: "using plastic wrapping for cucumbers clearly reduces the overall climate change impact." The research was very detailed, but here's the bottom line showing this reduction in climate change impact and how it can be measured:
"This is primarily because the benefit of a reduction in food waste is much more than the additional impact caused by the plastic wrapping. ... The benefit of using plastic packaging in reducing food waste is almost 4.9 times higher than the negative environmental impact due to the packaging itself. This impact will likely be larger, as we did not account for the reduced food waste at the consumer level due to wrapping. ... It was found that every single cucumber thrown away equals the impacts of the plastic packaging needed to wrap 93 cucumbers."