I have an unnatural penchant for simple, straightforward things. Design is one of them. When I was a kid I loved the no-frills aisle in my supermarket. To this day, simple food packaging gets me jazzed. Public Goods is the latest in the short line of cleanly designed packaging available. The trick to these companies is that the food needs to be equally as good as the package design. Yeah, we eat with our eyes but only until it touches our tongues. So when my first box arrived I admired the unboxing but then tore right into a pack of ramen. Slurping down the last little bits of noodles was the acknowledgment of quality and validation of the small membership fee that allows these inexpensive, yet quality, items to show up on my doorstep. They jumped off as a Kickstarter and now are in full swing with stock across personal care, household, grocery, vitamins and supplements, and pet supplies. We heavied up on the grocery department but threw in some dental floss for good measure. Pro tip 😉 Oral hygiene is key when you are always eating. If you’re fast, you might still be able to catch the sale they were running on membership this month.
More Food Stuff
Ashley started Farmbox Direct because she thinks that the freshness of the farm should be available to everyone. Here in NYC we have an incredible framers market network but even then it’s sometimes tough to stop in. When I can, I usually spend the day with a brussel sprout tree or some lacinto kale hanging out of my bag. Farmbox Direct brings the freshness of the farm (or green market) to your door. It’s sort of like a CSA and Hello Fresh smashed together. The box comes with what is fresh, local and at it’s peak, given the unpredictability of mother nature. This is a good thing for adjusting our eating habits back to the seasonal, locavore ways of the past. I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother would spend a weekend canning tomatoes because they didn’t grow in the winter. Not the case today. That’s because those winter tomatoes are greenhouse, pesticide, growth hormone, genetically altered seed, specimens that probably can grow on Mars (and they taste like it too). Ashley’s roots are on a farm which makes her perfect to start a service like this. She understand the enormous impact it can have on farmers and those of us subscribed to their delicious, natural bounty.
We love cereal but, in all honesty, we’ve been out of the carb for b-fast game a while. The occasional cereal milk cone from Milk Bar and my once a year splurge on an oversize bowl of the Great Tony the Tigers’ Frosted Flakes are about all the Saturday morning, five-year-old-kid impersonations I allow myself. Imagine my zeal when I realized a few boxes of this more than playful, yet almost none of the guilt, quad pack of keto-friendly cereal showed up at my door. Magic Spoon is doing god’s work, if your god’s name is Kellogg. As the disruption and bettering of just about everything these days continues with a heavy foot on the pedal, Greg and Gabi disrupted an industry built on sugar-coated grains with free prizes inside. Taking the four most popular cereals; Frosted, Fruity, Cinnamon and Cocoa and turning down the crap but keeping all the flavor is no small feat. Any of their keto-friendly, gluten and grain-free flavors barely have carbs, 3g net if you’re counting, and are packed with 12grams of protein. Considering a comparable bowl of Fruit Loops has 21 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein, they quite literally flip the nutrition on it’s head. I know, what about your love for Toucan Sam, Count Chocula and the gang? Magic Spoon has that covered too. The boxes come with their own mascots and ride on sidekicks like Frosted Wizard and Flying Bunny. The team hasn’t produced any catchy jingles or wacky cartoon commercials yet but we wouldn’t put it past these guys to have animated mascots in the works. After all, they broke themselves into food disruption developing cricket energy bars so, this is an obvious second act. Uhh, sort of. As we learned when we were 5, pretty boxes and dancing animals only get you so far. If Magic Spoon tasted like the knock off Sugar Smacks your mom tried to pass off as authentic after a secret run to Pathmark we wouldn’t even be writing this story. So, product flavor is critical. First let’s talk about the shape. They went with the classic “O” for all four flavors. It took me a second to get past my love of the “flake” but on taste that quickly was forgotten. Each of the flavors was a time machine back to the 80’s right down to the last slurp of bowl milk. Impressed, I went in for a second round and decided the $40 a month subscription is as critical as my Spotify and Netflix monthlies. Speaking of, a little pairing of the two seem in order this Saturday morning. Here I come Papa Smurf.
This story will end your hunt for the perfect tomato. Here’s my slightly quirky yet educated guide on these famed fruits. While San Marzano tomatoes may be hyped up, the best canned tomatoes are the ones that you can easily find in your neighborhood. This guide features my top 5 canned tomato selections, all plum tomatoes, with a focus on use in Italian recipes.
Top 5 Canned Tomatoes
This Italian plum tomato comes from the San Marzano area near Salerno and has the official D.O.P. designation. The ingredients are simply Italian plum peeled tomatoes, tomato puree, citric acid, and salt.
Marco LaBella San Marzano
Also from the San Marzano area, these plum tomatoes have been grown by the Visconti family since 1957. The label is charming, and the lack of added salt is a plus.
Although not grown in the San Marzano area, these plum tomatoes from Parma are a go-to for me because they have the least amount of ingredients. It’s just plum tomatoes and a little tomato juice.
San Marzano Brand
Despite the confusing branding, this canned tomato produced and packaged in America is a delicious option. Ingredients include citric acid and sodium chloride but no basil leaf, which can be added separately.
Bianco de Napoli
Canned by chef Chris Bianco in California, these plum tomatoes are my new obsession due to their intense, rich flavor.
Watch this video to dive a little deeper and hear my favorite.
These top 5 canned tomatoes have got you covered, whether you’re making sauce, gravy, pizzas, lasagnas, and more. Don’t let the hype of San Marzano tomatoes fool you. The best canned tomatoes are the ones you can easily find in your local grocery with the least added ingredients.
We never thought of putting garam masala on cold greens either but a few nights ago we were treated to such a salad. A sprinkle of this quintessential Indian mixture onto crispy fresh fennel, juicy grapefruit supremes and the occasional candied ginger, worked better than I would have ever guessed in making our tastebuds dance. With a bit further investigation (Raiding our friend’s pantry) we discovered this triad of masalas from the late, great chef Floyd Cardoz in collaboration with Burlap and Barrel. Chef Cardoz passed from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020 but left a legacy through his compassion, teachings and artifacts, like these spices. Burlap and Barrel partners directly with small farmers to source spices that have never been available in the US before and help improve the livelihoods of their partner farmers. This collab was no exception. Working with Chef Cardoz’s wife and business partner Barkha Cardoz, as a memorial to his love for the cuisines of India and his passion for sharing them with the world, the three masalas are uniquely different but all Chef Cardoz. The garam masala is floral, sweet and aromatic. Second in the trifecta, the Goan masala has an earthy, pungent, gingery complexity flavor profile. Lastly, the Kashmiri masala brings the heat with a fennel, ginger and aromatic profile anchored by the Kashmiri chili. Aside from being great on your favorite greens, this trifector collection is a fantastic way to pay homage and connect with a chef who made a huge impact on the culinary world.