Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 107

This week was the Doughman Race which began and ended in the Durham Centre parking lot next to Hunt Street at the DFM.  We participated in the adjoining food fair replete with Triangle food trucks and had an amazing time chatting up Doughman runners/bikers/swimmers/eaters and sold a ton of hand pies (Tex-Mex!), challahs, salad (Spinach and Strawberry with Shaved Fennel, Toasted Almonds, and Lemon-Avocado dressing), and buttermilk biscuits.  Shouts to this week's giveaway winner Kate M-M!

Shouts to the crew: Thanks as always to our wonderful crew, Chef Matt, Lauren, Andy, Sara&Jeff, Jaime&Nancy.  This week we were lucky enough to have our bike delivery boy Jaime help out in the kitchen.  I was impressed with how fast he picked up the challah braiding.

Jaime rolling challah braids 

Chef Matt and Mackenzie on Hunt Street, Durm style hounds

This week: Day One is back in effect this Saturday starting at 5PM.  Family Night (tenders and tacos)!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why South Korean Ladies Don't Get Fat

South Korean ladies don't get fat.  If you look at the chart below, you will notice that South Korea has an obesity rate of 2.1% (2011).  The US, by contrast, has an obesity rate of 28.5%.

The key to South Korean fitness revolves around the consumption of fermented foods.

Why would fermented foods keep you skinny?

Fermented foods help us fire neurochemicals signalling satiation in the brain.  The only way to become skinny is to consistently limit the number of calories you consume.  The faster your brain becomes satisfied, the less you will need to eat.

Why does fermented food signal satiation?

Fermented foods contain both natural acids (lactic and acetic acids) as well as digestive enzymes.  Both of these things help to slow down the body's digestion.  The slower the digestion, the faster the brain signals satiation. Think of it like this: If you were to eat four Oreos, a highly refined product loaded with simple sugars, the brain might say, "Great, I can turn all of that blood sugar really quickly and easily.  Give me some more!"  This is why it is so easy to overeat on highly refined foods and then feel sick later.  But if you were to eat the Oreos coupled with a fermented food, your brain might say, "Wow! That was really intense.  This is going to take me awhile to digest so I'm actually feeling pretty full and will stop right there."

Common Fermented Foods:
  • Pickles
  • Yogurt
  • Cured Meats
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Breads (made with starter yeast cultures (e.g. sourdough))
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Cheese

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Forager

"[Euell Giboons] creates the impression that he is a millionaire by purchasing a dinner jacket from the Salvation Army and inviting professors and potentates to black-tie banquets at tables laden with sunfish caviar, cattail wafers, pickled top bulbs of wild garlic, wild-cherry olives, wild-grape juice, blueberry juice, dandelion wine, sautéed blue-eyed scallops, crappies cooked in tempura batter and served with mint and sassafras jellies, day-lily buds with pasture mushrooms, sautéed oyster mushrooms, buttered dandelion hearts, buttered cattail bloom spikes, wild asparagus, scalded milkweed buds, wild salads (made from Jerusalem artichokes, ground-cherries, wild mustard, watercress, wood sorrel, perslane, and greenbriar under wild-leek dressing), hot biscuits of cattail-root flour, May-apple marmalade, chokeberry jelly, dandelion-chicory coffee, candied mint leaves, candied candied wild ginger, wild cranberry glacés, candied calamus roots, hickory-maple chiffon pie, and sweet blackberry wine.”

From "A Forager", John McPhee, 1968

Learning From Our Customers

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how much there is to learn about our customers' preferences and tastes.  I would say that a company that feels they know everything about their clientele is not pushing the envelope.  With the Day One project, we initially tried to build off the enthusiasm from the Ramen Night by offering a sit-down experience with a prix fixe menu.  As it turns out, even for an ardent niche market like the vegan community, attempting to change the menu every other week and expecting our fans to follow every new theme was likely unreasonable.  Ramen Night was successful in part because we promoted it with six weeks of lead time.  Day One has been up and running for nearly two months now and we have learned that with the short promotion lead times, it is likely more prudent to go with a more informal set-up and more family-friendly foods.  This lowers our price point as well, which is a sensitive issue for those who typically think about sliding-scale affordability.  We look forward to serving you next on Saturday, June 1 with FAMILY NIGHT, 5PM-10PM at Ninth Street Bakery.  Please feel free to leave comments or questions with any other suggestions you might have for us.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 106

This week we had Superfood Salad, BBQ Tofu Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Spiced Pear Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, Vegan Duplex Cremes, Raisinwiches (Vegan), and Vegan Chips Ahoy Cookies.

Many thanks to our hard-working crew: Andy, Val, Fantine, Jaime&Jay, SZ, and Chef Matt.

Track of the Week:

This Week: Day One will be off for next Saturday for Memorial Day, but Berenbaum's will be up and running.  It will be the Doughman Race that day, and we will be a part of the food fair that goes along with it.  We will be stationed across the street from our usual spot to accommodate all the food trucks that are coming out.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day One: Corner Store Gastronomy

This week things got crazy with our concept.  Portabello Vegan Jerky?  Hand-cut BBQ Potato Chips?  Fakey Oreos?  Who does this?

Next week is our last week for corner store/bodega gastronomy.  Come join us before we pour the last glass of Grape Drink.  Proceeds go to benefit the Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network and raise awareness about food deserts in Durham (where some of the foods we have to offer are the only food choices available on a daily basis for our fellow Durhamites; and if you don't believe me, just ask Dennis Coles).

This Week's Track (via Chef Matt):

Week 105

This week we came to market with Jamaican Jerk Tofu Savory Vegan Hand Pies, Apple Caramel Sweet Vegan Hand Pies, Bagels, Buttermilk Cake Donuts, and Potato Salad (Vegan).

Mad shouts to the crew: Chef Matt, Val, Andy, Sara&Jeff, Nancy&Jaime, Lauren M.

Track of the Week:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 104

Write-up this week from SZ who ran the market as I was out of town.  Also big ups to our crew Jason, Josh, Val, Chef Matt, and Andy!

It was a brisk and cloudy Saturday morning, but that didn't stop the crowds from descending on the market. The stand was left with only a handful of Caramelized Banana hand pies when noon rolled around.  The Caramelized Onion and Sweet Potato Savory Hand pies were a huge hit, followed closely by Matt's Superfood Salad
[Ingredients: kale, edamame, black beans, carrot, onion, cranberries, toasted sunflower seeds, dressing (rice wine vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, grape seed oil, garlic, salt, pepper)]. Big thanks to Josh and Jason for lending their time -- they were a huge help!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Day One: Indian Cuisine

This week's wrapup on the Indian Cuisine theme (from 5/4/13) comes from Chef Matt.  Check out this photo of the Parlour's Vegan Mango Lassi Sorbet that we plated as our dessert course.  I heard the flavor was "off the chain".

In the great melting pot which is the American landscape you can find so much amazing culture if you bother to look around for it: Music, fashion, philosophy, lifestyle, and food from every corner of the world is often represented within the confines of a mere city block. As cultures become more interwoven in America, they also (sadly) can become more watered down and bland in their transition towards assimilation. In my mind the loss of cultural authenticity is most tragic when it comes to food (and, no surprise to anyone who knows me, music). 

With our Indian Night menu, we really aimed to capture some of the more exotic flavors that many strip-mall Indian restaurants would be hesitant to advertise to the average American palate, yet without totally sending anyone into completely unknown territory. 

While everything had its place (e.g. naan (shouts to Andy for preparing this), chickpea (chaana) salad, curry, and the incredible mango lassi sorbet that really stole the show for most folks (prepared by our homies at The Parlour)), my favorite component of the night was the Indian pickle course. Traditional Indian pickle is probably the most sour, salty creation I've ever tasted in my life. Bolder than any food on the planet, and so unapologetic in its aggressive one-two punch of flavors that are criminally underused (or often completely avoided) in most cuisines that have found success in our country. The spices were so exotic and unfamiliar; the way the pungency carves a path through your palate and wakes it up take-no-prisoners-style is simply mesmerizing (our version was toned down just a touch so as not to overshadow anything else, but next time you're dining at an Indian spot you owe it to yourself to try the real deal). 

Shout out to everyone that's been kind enough to allow us to get a little nerdy with our themes and cuisine. The fact that y'all keep coming out with so much support and interest motivates us to keep the ball rolling on this culinary adventure that is Day One. We have an endless supply of inspiration and look forward to feeding folks interesting food as long as you'll have us. Stay tuned...

Day One: Food Desert Gastronomy

On May 11th and May 18th, Day One Vegan Pop-up will be composing a menu from scratch, inspired by gas stations, bodegas, corner stores, and convenience stores.  Please see the menu posted below.

On March 22nd, I attended the Duke/Durham Health Summit, an annual event that sits at the crossroads of Durham community health and the Duke Health System.  The theme of food deserts came up several times, as well as the statistic that the poverty rate in Durham has jumped from 13.6% (2008) to 20.4% (2011) (American Community Survey).  That means one in five Durhamites live in poverty, and that number increases to one in four (27%) when you look at the child population.  Connecting poverty to food deserts is not a reach.  We often talk of low-income communities, when really we should be talking about no-income communities.  When families do not have a disposable $15-20 to buy ingredients for several meals at a time, they visit corner stores to purchase single meals that are sustaining and will cost only $2-3 each.  These meals are generally cookies, candy, chips, and soda.  To confirm this, Matt Props and I traveled to Trinity Food Mart, M&M Food MartHolloway Street Food Mart, and Big Apples.  We started at Trinity, and as we moved East, the choices that you might find at an ordinary gas station became slimmer and slimmer, the aisles more bare, and the point of sale enclosed by a plastic barrier.

To raise awareness on the dearth of choices available at corner stores, as well as the poverty that forces those choices, Chef Matt and I are next going to do a menu of corner store gastronomy, except everything will be made entirely from scratch, and vegan to boot.  We will donate $0.75 of every entree purchased to the Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network which serves homeless families with children, with an additional lump sum to them at the end, and additionally we will provide a personally prepared pop-up dinner for this charitable organization's clients.

We hope that you can join us on either May 11th or May 18th at Ninth Street Bakery (136 E Chapel Hill St., Durham) to sample our take on some corner store classics and raise awareness about food deserts in Durham.