Hislops Wholefood Cafe in Kaikoura cafe branches out into raw food – Marlborough Express

Cakes can be made to suit a range of dietary requirements.


Cakes can be made to suit a range of dietary requirements.

Olivia Hislop was brought up on organic whole foods, so it was something of a natural progression for her to move into creating raw food treats.

Daughter of Paul and Elizabeth Hislop, proprietors of Hislops Wholefood Cafe in Kaikoura, and granddaughter of Ivan and Ella Hislop, themselves famed for their organic homestead south of the township, she is no stranger to the benefits of healthy food.

Ivan and Ella began their organic journey back in the 1950s, something which at the time would have seemed radical but which has become increasingly mainstream in recent times.

Olivia Hislop is making a selection of raw cakes to combat allergies and health issues.


Olivia Hislop is making a selection of raw cakes to combat allergies and health issues.

It was in the 1950s that Ivan’s brother, Archie, brought a flourmill to the family homestead which was the catalyst for the business which is now a prominent feature on the highway north of town.

* Organic style
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* Beef and Lamb Hallmark of Excellence 

It was the organic whole grain flour which started the burgeoning business, along with organic honey produced from the family’s beehives. 

Beetroot juice is used to give cakes their vibrant colour.


Beetroot juice is used to give cakes their vibrant colour.

Organic vegetables came later and opening a cafe seemed a logical progression for Olivia’s father, Paul, and his wife Elizabeth.

The cafe opened in 1995 with the goal of making delicious organic wholefoods “the norm”, and since then it has created quite a name for itself.

Olivia, now a mother of two, has worked alongside her family since she was young, starting from helping in the garden with her two brothers.

Olivia Hislop has spent a year researching and trialling her line of raw cakes to come up with the winning formula.


Olivia Hislop has spent a year researching and trialling her line of raw cakes to come up with the winning formula.

“Our main job was pest control, running around with nets catching white butterflies that would eat the greens.

“We would fill a whole Agee jar each and go exchange them for pocket money from our grandparents.”

Now she is helping the business progress to the next phase with her raw food products.

Award-winning family-run Hislops Cafe prides itself in organic wholefoods cuisine.


Award-winning family-run Hislops Cafe prides itself in organic wholefoods cuisine.

“Popular in Europe and the United Kingdom, raw cakes are now starting to be recognised a lot more in New Zealand,” she says. 

“When I first started making them two years ago, I had to talk people into having a taste but now they are being requested.

“I wanted to create something that was yummy to eat but also really good for you, so using fresh garden vegetables and fruit to brighten and enrich delicious healthy cakes sounded like the perfect thing to try.

“It keeps my 5-year-old interested in veges too!”

It has taken Olivia a year of trial and error, trying different ingredients and methods, to get the recipe just right.

“When I started they were mostly made to be frozen.

“They would be melting in the cabinet so decided to make my own recipes.

“Getting the ratio just right so they don’t melt but still taste nice, that was the hard part.”

Olivia also spent a lot of time researching top quality natural ingredients and their nutritional value.

Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, something which is lacking in New Zealand soils, while things like pumpkin seeds can offer a good iron boost, she says.

She is a firm believer in using food for health benefits and says eating a variety of food in its whole, raw state is a great way to retain nutrients and get the most out of quality ingredients.

“Cacao beans for example are rich in magnesium and iron, but by the time they are heated and processed with refined powders and sugars, it is rubbish.

“The cakes are raw, but im not super strict about using only raw ingredients – sometimes I like to add toasted nuts to sprinkle on top.

“More raw is good, but the main focus is to encourage more variety of whole foods into everyday eating, enjoying food in the form that’s best for our health.

“Simply put, when we eat foods closest to their natural form they are much easier for our body to digest. 

Once refined, processed and overheated, our system just doesn’t recognise it as food anymore, therefore creating a lot of health issues we all deal with day to day, mentally and physically.”

Olivia has worked hard to research the provenance of everything which goes into her raw food products, making sure they are from sustainable sources.

Her cakes and slices are sweetened with dad Paul’s certified organic manuka honey, something she had to trial to get the levels just right and make sure the flavour did not overpower the end product.

All of her ingredients are as natural, organic and whole as possible – she also uses pure maple syrup for sweetening, and coconut nectar for diabetics to avoid the sugar spike.

As well as a variety of cakes and slices in the cabinet at Hislops Cafe – these include chocolate slices, tropical treats and berry cheesecakes, Olivia loves a challenge and will also tailor-make items to cater for individual needs.

“That’s the reason I started trialling raw foods in the first place, so I could cater for friends with allergies.

“Everyone should be able to eat really yummy treats without having to resort to refined and over-processed foods, no matter what their dietary requirements.

“These days some people don’t have many options available and I want to help with that.” 






 – Kaikoura Star

How Students Can Live A Vegan Lifestyle On A Broke College Budget – Elite Daily (blog)

I’ve never been one of those people who responds to mention of a plant-based diet with, “But bacon is so good!” Despite this, I was skeptical about the word “vegan.”

The lifestyle, the political and social connotations, and the somehow inexplicable concept of cutting out all animal products were baffling to me.

When it comes to dieting, I’ve run the gamut. I come from a past of eating disorders, and I’ve tried a million quick fixes to drop pounds.

I’ve tried the South Beach Diet, the Atkins diet, the grapefruit-and-toast diet, the low-carb and low-fat diet and the restriction diet (eat anything, but everything in moderation). Two weeks ago, I was standing on the other side of all these failed attempts, almost in tears, at the breaking point of frustration. What more did I have to do to lose weight and keep it off?

Like a true Millennial, I turned to YouTube. There, I found an incredible community of vegan and plant-based advocates. I learned about the ethics behind a vegan diet, and also the science. Here was a lifestyle transformation where I could eat whole foods in abundance. Fruit, my once-feared enemy, could become my friend once again.

I cut meat and dairy a few weeks ago, and I haven’t looked back since. Below are my tips and tricks for navigating, purchasing and eating each meal of the day on your college campus:


Start the day with a fully raw breakfast (if you’re following high-carb, low-fat, like me). Once you get out onto campus and in the midst of the cafeterias, making smart choices gets tricky.

Starting the day with one fully raw meal ensures that your day will be balanced and filled with as many whole foods as possible. You can find cheap fruit at your local grocery store on your way home from class.

I’ve found bananas for $0.50 per pound, cantaloupe for $1 per fruit, mangos for 2/$1 and kiwi for 4/$1. In addition, fruits like apples, cuties, grapes and sometimes even berries can be found in the cafeteria. I usually fill up a takeout container a couple days in advance and supplement my breakfasts from it.


Try to make it the one and only time you’re in the cafeteria each day. I usually get whole wheat pasta with no sauce, and substitute in diced tomatoes or salsa I buy at the grocery store. I try to fill this up with vegetables, or grab a couple pieces on fruit on the side.

Stir-fry is another great option. I opt for a mix of rice noodles and brown rice, with a dash of teriyaki or gluten-free soy sauce and vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts, carrots, bell peppers, pineapple and water chestnuts.


If you’re running low on food, run back to the dining hall and stick to outsourcing soup, veggies and potatoes. On occasion, I’ll find vegetarian soup (black bean chili) from the dining hall, which I’ll cook over brown rice. If I can’t find soup, I’ll go for a couple of sweet potatoes, or make my own whole wheat pasta back in the dorm.

As far as affordability goes, I picked up a mini rice steamer for $15 at Walmart. Instant brown rice runs at about $2 per box, beans (for the rice) can be found around $1 per can, whole wheat, gluten-free noodles are about $2 a box and frozen veggies can be found at $2 a bag.

These prices vary from store to store, but the point is that these foods are some of the cheapest in the supermarket. Other good staples to have on hand include organic oatmeal or granola, chia and flax seeds (which can be bought in individual bags for a fraction of the cost), powered peanut butter or PB2 (Thrive Market sells some for around $2 less than wholesale price) and unsweetened almond milk.

Living on a tight budget and just a microwave, a rice cooker and a meat-and-processed-food-filled cafeteria has been difficult. But as you can see, it can be affordable and completely doable, given the right attitude and the willingness to educate yourself on the opportunities, products and offers out there.

May Contain Food review – half-baked swipe at food fixation – The Guardian

Anxieties related to eating, diet and restaurant protocol are something of a first-world issue, and when those anxieties are translated into contemporary dance, set to an a cappella and plainchant score, and performed at a niche metropolitan venue, you have an event whose multiple layers of fashionability, self-reference and irony are not easily teased apart.

May Contain Food, created by the choreographer and director Luca Silvestrini, seats its audience at tables around the Place’s performance space. There, we are “served” by Protein’s personable eight-strong cast, who dance and swoop around the room while delivering resistible appetisers (raw greens, cold rice) and idiosyncratic lyrics. We are invited to examine “the specials on the blackboard” – there isn’t a blackboard – before being served “an aperitif heritage fruit” (a cherry tomato), which we are advised to roll into our eye-sockets, hold to our ears (“listen to the tomato”), then chew 21 times.

Familiar phrases are intoned (“gluten-free”, “guilt-free”, “responsibly sourced”), and food flies around the stage, most memorably in a demonstration of “knife skills”, which turns into manic and uncontrolled hacking. Individual foodstuffs are viciously denounced, with a cucumber described as “a condom-wrapped piece of shit”, and a processed food as “the bastard child of insecticide and corporate greed”. Nor are vegetarians let off the hook, with one cast member angrily demanding to know why animals are not given the same love and space as free-range kale. This passage contains Silvestrini’s most inventive choreography, with cast members brutally manhandling their lolling, squawking, dull-eyed colleagues as if delivering them for slaughter. As a chef sings an anthem extolling the joys of meat-eating, her body orgasmically swaying against a white backdrop, she leaves a broad blood smear.

May Contain Food relates thematically to earlier works by Silvestrini, particularly The Big Sale (2005), which skewered hyper-consumerism, and Dear Body (2008), which took a satirical swipe at the cult of physical perfection. It’s performed with great verve – Sonya Cullingford is outstanding, and the reliably fleet-footed Carl Harrison on fine, arch form – and Orlando Gough’s score is splendidly, sonorously odd, with echoes of Corsican polyphony. But beyond charting the daftness of the food-fixated, which we’ve all had ample opportunity to do for ourselves over the years, Silvestrini doesn’t have a particular point to make, and the piece is just that bit too pleased with its own postmodern cleverness. It could also use some decisive editing. Unlike restaurateurs, choreographers should leave you wanting more.

At The Place until Saturday 7 May. Box office: 020 7121 1100

10 Foods That Fight Belly Bloat – Glamour

When bloating, cramping, or heartburn strikes, my brain goes into (WTF) detective mode, calculating every last morsel that passed through my lips and evaluating it after the fact as a potential threat. (CSI, dinner plate edition.)


Getty Images

Instead of trying to eliminate everything that might cause an issue, what if you could feel better by adding certain foods?

Clinical herbalist Guido Masé prefers this route. Masé, the co-owner of Urban Moonshine—whose organic bitters are designed to get your digestive system in tip-top shape—and author of The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter and Tonic Plants, explains that this type of stomach distress can be caused by the absence of important foods in our diet—and fixed by adding them.

Strongly scented herbs, for example, help control the nausea, gas, spasm, and cramping associated with everything from motion sickness to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Masé says. “They relax the smooth muscle bands that line our digestive tract,” he says.

Here, Masé shares his short list of foods and herbs that help ease digestive distress the natural way. And thanks to the strong connections between the gut and all facets of health, they might also rev your metabolism and leave you with glowy skin.


“It’s no coincidence that the after-dinner mint is still popular, but try the natural tea version instead: It works both hot and iced,” Masé says. Peppermint can help relieve spasm and cramping in the belly, “and it dispels feelings of bloating and fullness when we’ve overindulged,” Masé explains. Research has also been done on its ability to help manage IBS. How about a cuppa?


This root is known as one of the best natural remedies for nausea. “Clinical research finds it beats Dramamine for nausea, and works wonders for morning sickness,” Masé explains. Add it to a stir-fry, make tea with freshly grated root and hot water, or pop a piece or two of crystallized ginger (great for traveling, says Masé) to help ease digestion. “Ginger is also a good anti-inflammatory,” and helps relax the digestive tract, he says.

Fennel seed and bulb

“You will often find a small tray of fennel seeds on the way out of an Indian restaurant: a small pinch of these seeds quickly relieves gas and bloating,” says Masé. If you suffer from chronic bloating, consider using the bulb—its oils help relieve flatulence (TMI?) “better than almost any other food.” Grate or slice it, and eat it raw or roasted (try this couscous and roasted fennel salad.)

Apple cider vinegar

The powers of apple cider vinegar are numerous, and one of the biggest is how it helps curb digestion issues like acid reflux. “It works because the valve at the bottom of the throat closes tightly when stimulated by vinegar, and helps keep stomach acid where it belongs,” Masé explains. Plus, it’s a fermented food that’s full of healthy bacteria essential for keeping your gut balanced and healthy—another important facet of flawless digestion.


Sure, the lettuce-like veggie brightens up any salad, but as a type of chicory, its bitter flavor has some functional purposes, as well. “The bitter flavor primes digestive function, enhances the production of digestive enzymes, and helps our digestion naturally break down what comes after the salad,” Masé says. He suggests tossing it with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and some salt, and enjoying it before your main course to prepare your stomach.

Milk thistle seed

The mildly bitter flavor of this seed works to get those digestive juices flowing, “but it really shines as a liver detoxifier and anti-inflammatory,” Masé notes. “Daily use enhances the production of bile from the liver and this can help encourage good bowel regularity.” Grind a few tablespoons in a coffee grinder and sprinkle in smoothies, oatmeal, or soups.

Burdock root

This root, a popular staple in herbal medicine around the world and of macrobiotic cuisine, is really beneficial for gut health, Masé says. “It’s rich in prebiotic starches that feed beneficial gut organisms, making burdock a great complement to fermented foods.” Bonus: It enhances sebum production, helping balance skin’s moisture levels and control breakouts.


“The artichoke plant itself is a classic digestive bitter, used to smooth out irregularity, relieve heartburn, and prevent the fermentation that leads to gas and bloating,” Masé says. The leaves are used in liquid bitters, but you don’t want to eat those—the heart is an effective alternative that actually tastes good too. Masé suggests eating them drizzled with olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Slippery elm powder

This powder is a natural, herbal alternative to OTC laxatives. Masé explains: “Its water-soluble fiber content makes it an incredible, safe first-line laxative that is not habit forming—it’s soothing and restores regular bowel habits without ever loosening the stool.” Two tablespoons a day, mixed into a smoothie, is all you need for its effects.


Thinks: fermented, gut-boosting goodness. “Miso is loaded with a diversity of beneficial live organisms and helps restore and maintain good bowel health, especially after antibiotic use,” says Masé. Simply sipping on the warm broth can immediately calm and soothe your stomach. Add a dollop to hot water (but not boiling water—combine just before the water boils, or after you’ve taken boiling water off the stove) to make sure you don’t kill the miso’s healthy bacteria.

More Reading

7 fermented foods you should be eating

9 Ayurvedic secrets to great digestion

Why is there so much buzz about the elimination diet?

Raw Food and Vegan Options On The Local Take – WCLK

We would like to recognize Jazz 91.9 WCLK Small Business Network Member, Tassili Maat, founder and owner of Tassili’s Raw Reality, Atlanta’s Raw Vegan Cafe, providing healthy options in a casual atmosphere in the Historic West End District of Atlanta.  Saturday, April 30 on The Local Take we spoke with Natasha Brewley, Chef Beee of Quiche and Tell and Jamile Norman, Farmer J of Patchwork City Farms about their upcoming Facebook challenge Spring Into The Raw.  What’s an omnivore diet? What’s a raw diet? Is your food more nutritious if you do not cook it? 

Spring Into The Raw is a social media challenge designed to introduce more fruits and vegetables into our diets.  As we learn more about the benefits of a diet rich in the nutrients that come from vegetables this allows us to experiment with a new way of eating.

If you are on Facebook, click on to the Spring Into The Raw challenge to find out more. 

New raw food catering company avoids refined sugar – Stuff.co.nz

Shinee McIntyre, left, and Zara McIntrye, from Half Baked Catering, with a favourite among their customers: the raw ...

Miri Schroeter

Shinee McIntyre, left, and Zara McIntrye, from Half Baked Catering, with a favourite among their customers: the raw snickers cake.

With people’s growing awareness of the extreme amounts of sugar in many foods, raw food ‘baking’ could be a welcome solution.

Raw food treats can still curb your sweet tooth, as they swap the traditional sugar laden cakes for unprocessed and uncooked recipes. 

The raw snickers cake from Half Baked Catering.

Miri Schroeter

The raw snickers cake from Half Baked Catering.

New Zealand food experts deem food still raw if it is not heated above 46 degrees Celsius. 

One Wellington catering company specialises in raw food cakes so people can satisfy their sweet craving without refined sugar.

Zara and Shinee McIntyre from Half Baked Catering say a favourite among customers is the raw snickers slice with golden caramel, crunchy peanuts and chocolate mousse layers. 

One snickers slice is loaded with up to 40 cashews nuts per serve, and also contains dates, coconut oil and coconut nectar.

The McIntyre sisters make a variety of other treats, including raspberry chocolate slice and banana kiwifruit cake, that are sold at World Market in Lyall Bay. 

They make their own chocolate, dehydrate fruit, and soak cashew nuts to create a cheesecake base, which can mean two days for one creation.  

But they say it’s worth it. 

“Taste it, and we’ll tell you what’s in it, and you’ll be shocked,” Shinee says.

She says by eating less refined sugar, your skin, hair and wellbeing can improve greatly. 

Previously Zara was consuming two energy drinks a day, but by limiting her sugar intake to raw food alternatives for eight months she lost 20 kilograms. 

“You don’t feel groggy after eating it,” she says. 

Sugar is so addictive and it is great to be able to offer a more natural alternative, Zara says. 

Dietician Angela Phillips from Food Savvy says eating raw alternatives cuts out processed foods, but it still needs to remain a “sometimes food”.

“Effectively it’s still sugar and your body processes it the same,” Phillips says.

“I do get concerned that people think they can eat lots of it.” 

She agrees that natural sources of sugar such as fruit or high quality honey have valuable nutrients, which make raw cakes a healthier option.

The McIntyre sisters do not push exclusively raw-food diets but say that many people love the option of buying cakes and slices that are healthy and taste great too. 

They also say that there is no pressure to consume raw-food cakes in a few days after preparation, as they last a lot longer than baked goods.

Shinee says they freeze their slices for up to three months, but “it doesn’t really hang around that long,” as friends and family are bound to have a bite or two.


* Find out more on the sisters’ Facebook page: Half Baked Catering Co.

 – Stuff

Taste Of The Town: Eat It Raw At Plant Food + Wine – CBS Local

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Eat it raw. That’s what celebrity chef Matthew Kenney wants his customers to do at his new Miami restaurant Plant Food + Wine, a restaurant focusing on raw foods.

The restaurant was developed in partnership with party planner Karla Dascal, founder of The Sacred Space located in the heart of the Wynwood Arts District.

It’s a cutting edge concept. Everything is plant based, or vegan and raw.

Chef du Cuisine Horatio Rivadero trained under Chef Matthew Kenney who has another eatery under the same name in Venice, California.

“Should we carnivores be afraid?” asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“No way,” replied Chef Horatio. “First of all, this restaurant is made thinking of everyone. Actually 60-70-percent of our customers are not vegans so they are enthusiastic, they come and try our food and are blown away.”

The mission of Plant Food + Wine is to offer health and wellness through delicious food in a luxurious environment.

“Sometimes we think vegan raw is a simple salad and cucumber and that’s it. It’s a lot more. It can take a few days to do make a recipe. We try to develop recipes that will be memorable for you and your guests, explained Chef Horatio.

So what’s on the menu? There is plenty including a beautiful zucchini lasagna.

It begins with sliced zucchini and then Chef adds macadamia, ricotta, sun-dried tomato marinara, tomatoes and herb oil.

He stacks and stacks all the vegetables on top of each other and the result, Lisa Petrillo says, is amazing!

“Carnivores don’t be afraid, you’re going to love this,” exclaimed Lisa after she tried a delicious bite.

Next on the menu are Kimchee Dumplings. They start with dehydrated cilantro and coconut milk squares as the base. Chef fills the dumplings with fermented red cabbage mixed with cashew nuts, ginger, and chili to make the paste.

“It is an explosion of flavors in your mouth you would not know this is not a regular dumpling except it has incredible flavor,” described Lisa.

Finally, Lisa tried the Ceviche Tacos, where coconut meat is seasoned to make you think you’re eating fish.

“It’s amazing. You would never know there isn’t fish  inside. It tastes like a fish taco, and then it has everything in it like a ceviche taco,” said Lisa.

Plant Food + Wine is open 7 days week for lunch and dinner.

Click here for more information.

Loathed By Farmers, Loved By Ancients: The Strange History Of Tiger Nuts – NPR

The earliest records of tiger nuts date back to ancient Egypt, where they were valuable and loved enough to be entombed and discovered with buried Egyptians as far back as the 4th millennium B.C. Now, tiger nuts are making a comeback in the health food aisle. Nutritionally, they do OK.

Matailong Du/NPR

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Matailong Du/NPR

The earliest records of tiger nuts date back to ancient Egypt, where they were valuable and loved enough to be entombed and discovered with buried Egyptians as far back as the 4th millennium B.C. Now, tiger nuts are making a comeback in the health food aisle. Nutritionally, they do OK.

The earliest records of tiger nuts date back to ancient Egypt, where they were valuable and loved enough to be entombed and discovered with buried Egyptians as far back as the 4th millennium B.C. Now, tiger nuts are making a comeback in the health food aisle. Nutritionally, they do OK.

Matailong Du/NPR

Take a look at some lawns this spring. You might see something that looks like a crown of thin leaves and spikey, yellow flowers shooting over the grass, particularly if you live in the South. If the stems are triangular, you’ve just found a sedge. Dig it up. If it’s the right kind of sedge, clinging to the roots will be a few chewy, brown, marble-sized tubers called tiger nuts.

The plant is called yellow nutsedge or Cyperus esculentus, and it’s one of the absolute worst weeds in the world. It wreaks havoc on gardens and crops and causes millions of dollars of agricultural damage every year. But it’s also been cultivated for millennia, and yellow nutsedge as a crop, medicinal plant and weed has a very long, strange history with humans.

Today, tiger nuts have been getting a fair amount of attention in health food aisles. The tubers are becoming popular among paleo dieters and lauded as a “superfood.” An organic foods press representative named Ludovica Vigliardi Paravia emailed me to say, “what’s nuts is that TigerNuts are finally making a comeback, emerging as the #1 HEALTHY REAL HUMAN FOOD! [sic]”

Real human food? I was intrigued. The company sent some here to NPR, where they arrived in desiccated form.

Dried, the tubers resemble shriveled, mummified knuckles. That’s somewhat fitting, because the earliest records of tiger nuts date back to ancient Egypt, where they were valuable and loved enough to be entombed and discovered with buried Egyptians from the 4th millennium B.C. to the 5th century A.D. In the tomb of Vizier Rekh-Mi-Re’, a high-ranking ancient Egyptian official buried in the 15th century B.C., a wall painting shows workers shoveling heaps of the stuff while a scribe counts the amount.

Recreation of a painting in the tomb of Rekhmire, an important ancient Egyptian official from the 15th century B.C., by Nina de Garis Davies. It shows workers pounding tiger nuts into meal or flour.

Recreation of a painting in the tomb of Rekhmire, an important ancient Egyptian official from the 15th century B.C., by Nina de Garis Davies. It shows workers pounding tiger nuts into meal or flour.

Peter Roan/Flickr

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Peter Roan/Flickr

What records remain from antiquity suggest that tiger nuts were used medicinally and eaten as treats. The roasted, crushed tubers were eaten with honey, according to work by Moshe Negbi, a former botanist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Theophrastus, an ancient Greek botanist, wrote about boiled, sweet tiger nuts in Historia Plantarus. By the 13th century, records from present-day Valencia, Spain, show that tubers were being used to create a drink called horchata de chufa, “an ancestor of the horchata drunk nowadays,” according to researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

But yellow nutsedge’s reputation as a valued crop began turning in the 19th century. In the Manual of the Botany of Northern United States 6th ed., author Asa Gray wrote in 1889 that the plant was “becoming a pest in cultivated ground.”

There doesn’t seem to be any record that ancient people saw yellow nutsedge as a weed, but it’s certainly far better at destroying crops than being one, according to Michael Defelice, a retired weed scientist who’s written about the plant. In agricultural fields, yellow nutsedge can grow quickly and shade over other crops.

“The plant just chokes up everything around it. It’s really hard to kill,” Defelice says. It’s considered a noxious weed or pest almost everywhere it’s found in the world, including its native range in Africa.

And tiger nut has never really enjoyed widespread popularity or fame in the same way other ancient Egyptian crops, like barley or emmer wheat, have. Defelice says that’s because it’s just not economical.

“It’s not a great volume producer. You wouldn’t get a lot of food per acre. That’s why it remained a niche product,” he says. “In Egypt, there weren’t lots of options in those ancient times. So they worked with what they had. I think a really telling feature is that they coated them in honey.”

People enjoy the taste, though. Presumably, people continued cultivating and eating tiger nuts all these thousands of years. They’re still eaten in parts of Africa, and horchata de chufa is still a refreshing treat in Valencia. Granola, smoothies and flours can all be made with tiger nuts as well. These are all being sold as part of an attempted tiger nut renaissance in the health food industry.

It doesn’t taste terrible. When we tried them at NPR, the greatest endorsement a staff member had for the dried, raw tiger nuts was a thoughtful, chewed over “alright.” The tuber has a light almond taste and smell, with a surprising crunch after being rehydrated. After a few seconds of hard chewing, the tiger nut falls apart into what feels like the frayed end of a rope in your mouth. It is extremely fibrous.

On the nutrition front, it does OK. Tiger nut has a mix of mostly unsaturated oils, like avocado oil. “The tiger nut is between the tuber and the nut [in terms of nutrition],” says José Ángel Pérez Alvarez, a researcher at Miguel Hernandez University of Elche in Spain who studies tiger nuts. For instance, there’s less protein than a typical nut but more than the typical tuber. There’s more starch than the typical nut but less than the typical tuber.

Why or how health food companies seized on tiger nuts is somewhat unclear. Some scientists believe that certain pre-human hominids ate them as a part of their diet 2 million years ago, particularly because modern baboons seem to enjoy them. That may have spurred popularity among paleo dieters. It’s not really a “superfood.” But if you like the taste of faintly sweet, nutty things and making your jaws work for a snack, this might be the thing for you.

Raw foods on the rise as clean-label consumers crave more – FoodNavigator.com

From snack bars to spreads, chocolate to cheese, the trend for raw ingredients in processed foods is spreading across Europe, says Mintel, as consumer attention goes beyond the ingredient list to look at clean-label processing methods.

The process ‘behind the finished product’ is moving into focus and becoming a premium attribute not only for the health-obsessed, but increasingly also for consumers generally looking for higher quality,” says Mintel food and drink analyst Julia Buech.

This could be seen as a natural transition from the clean label movement as consumers grow increasingly wary of additives, allergens and chemicals in food but also ken to preserve natural nutrients.

“The concept is based on the understanding that the extreme heat of conventional cooking destroys many of the food’s beneficial enzymes and renders its nutrients mostly unusable. In raw-labelled foods, none of the ingredients have been heated to a temperature above 48°C in order to preserve enzymes and nutrients.”

There are no regulations surrounding the actual definition of what constitutes raw processed food, meaning there is some variation in interpretations. According to Teresa Havrlandova, founder of raw food firm Lifefood, any food that is heated above 45°C does not qualify, while Polish company Papagrin sells“42° products made with 42° technology”, such as its bread flavoured with onion, garlic flaxseeds and unhulled sesame seeds.

The top country for raw product launches in Germany, according to Mintel data, followed by France and the UK, Finland and the Netherlands.

The market research company has been tracking the number of raw product launches in Germany for the past four years and, although still relatively niche, it has seen the claims skyrockets in the past year,
with almost half (48%) of the country’s raw launches occurring in 2015 alone.

Raw claims can be seen on a diverse range of products, featuring prominently on the product packaging if not directly in the brand name, and snacks by far take the lead, accounting for almost one third (32%) of raw launches in Germany between 2014 and 2015, such as Raw Bite’s organic peanut fruit and nut bar or Roo’bar chia energy bar.

According to the Mintel analyst, the popularity for raw, nutritious ingredients in snack bars stems from a backlash against what is seen as a heavily processed category, with four in 10 Germans (42%) saying conventional bars are too processed.

Meanwhile a raw claim on crisps can boost the healthy image that vegetable crisps already enjoy by dispensing with the frying oil. Lifefood manufactures Crawnchies vegan stackable crisps while Inspiral’s Beetroot and acerola kale chips are air dried at low temperatures for several hours.

Another popular category for testing out raw ingredients is dairy, making up nearly one fifth (18%) of raw launches. Cheese made from unpasteurised milk is gaining traction, for instance, as it doesn’t have any of the health risks associated with drinking raw milk  but benefits from added flavour, and the share of raw cheese launches nearly doubled between 2012 and 2015, rising form 5% to 9%. What’s more Mintel’s product launch database shows even some private label brands are getting on board, such as Rewe’s organic mountain cheese.  

Raw chocolate confectionery holds plenty of promise. Although it currently accounts for just 1% of total chocolate launches, Mintel data shows raw chocolate product launches increased a massive 580% between 2012 and 2015, and account for 12% of raw launches, while a survey of 1000 people  found over half (56%) were interested in trying raw chocolate.

Meanwhile there are a few categories that have been under-explored by German manufacturers, leaving other European countries to step in.

“While raw launches in Germany are on the rise, activity in the country is still under-represented in a number of categories, such as cereals or soups, for example. The white spaces offer future opportunities for both domestic and international brands,” says Mintel.

Soupologie’s raw range – such as cucumber, avocado and kale or beetroot and mint – describes itself as the UK’s first raw soup, while Italy’s Ambrosiae Übergranola is raw chocolate, goji and coconut cereal with a German-inspired name no less.

In Honor Of #NationalPoetryMonth: Your Favorite Poems About Food And Farming – NPR

Acclaimed poet Maya Angelou knew how to appreciate a great steak.

Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

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Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

Acclaimed poet Maya Angelou knew how to appreciate a great steak.

Acclaimed poet Maya Angelou knew how to appreciate a great steak.

Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, and here at The Salt, we wanted to celebrate with a selection of the sauciest, most scrumptious verses about food.

Gastronomy and poetry are a natural pairing. After all, both provide necessary nourishment. And as poet Tess Taylor told us last week, “Food — ‘cultivation’ — is the most basic part of ‘culture,’ the art of stability, the art of civilization.” The whole process of growing and harvesting food, cooking it and savoring it has inspired generations of writers.

So, we asked you to share your favorite selections about farming and food — and we’ve gathered them up here.

Lots and lots of you recommended William Carlos Williams’ sweet and short “This Is Just To Say”:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

“Persimmons” by Li-Young Lee is another lovely ode to fruit:

… Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart …

As is Diane Ackerman’s “The Consolation of Apricots”:

… Somewhere between a peach and a prayer,
they taste of well water
and butterscotch and dried apples
and desert simooms and lust.

Sweet with a twang of spice,
a ripe apricot is small enough to devour
as two hemispheres.
Ambiguity is its hallmark …

And Matsuo Basho’s haiku meditation on melons:

Coolness of the melons
flecked with mud
in the morning dew.

And Seamus Heaney’s wistful “Blackberry Picking,” which begins:

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots …

Fruits and veg are necessary for a balanced diet — and for a taste of the latter, The Salt’s Maria Godoy loves Pablo Neruda’sOde To The Onion”:

Onion, luminous flask,
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
the miracle
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
like swords
in the garden …

Of course, produce easily translates into sensual verse.

But sometimes we all crave something meatier. For that, we can turn to Maya Angelou — a woman who knew how to enjoy a good, hearty meal. (She even published a couple of cookbooks). Here’s “The Health-Food Diner”:

No sprouted wheat and soya shoots
And Brussels in a cake,
Carrot straw and spinach raw,
(Today, I need a steak).

Not thick brown rice and rice pilaw
Or mushrooms creamed on toast,
Turnips mashed and parsnips hashed,
(I’m dreaming of a roast).

Health-food folks around the world
Are thinned by anxious zeal,
They look for help in seafood kelp
(I count on breaded veal).

No smoking signs, raw mustard greens,
Zucchini by the ton,
Uncooked kale and bodies frail
Are sure to make me run


Loins of pork and chicken thighs
And standing rib, so prime,
Pork chops brown and fresh ground round
(I crave them all the time).

Irish stews and boiled corned beef
and hot dogs by the scores,
or any place that saves a space
For smoking carnivores.

If that doesn’t fill you up, here’s Shel Silverstein’s whimsical ditty on hotdogs.

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2011 Evil Eye, LLC.

And Roger McGough’s “Vinegar”:

i feel like a priest
in a fish & chips queue
quietly thinking
as the vinegar runs through
how nice it would be
to buy supper for two

As McGough so cleverly notes, food is the stuff that connects us — it carries emotion and memory. In that vein, here’s an except from Robert Hass“Meditation at Lagunitas”:

… But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

And here is D.H. Lawrence, who shows us the best way to enjoy an apple — or any food, for that matter — in his poem “Mystic.”

They call all experience of the senses mystic, when the experience is
So an apple becomes mystic when I taste in it
the summer and the snows, the wild welter of earth
and the insistence of the sun.

All of which things I can surely taste in a good apple.
Though some apples taste preponderantly of water, wet and sour
and some of too much sun, brackish sweet
like lagoon water, that has been too much sunned.

If I say I taste these things in an apple, I am called mystic, which
means a liar.
The only way to eat an apple is to hog it down like a pig
and taste nothing
that is real.

But if I eat an apple, I like to eat it with all my senses awake.
Hogging it down I call the feeding of corpses.

We could go on, and on and on. But we won’t — because honestly, all this food poetry is making us hungry.

If we missed any of your favorites, please do let is know in the comments, or on Twitter @NPRFood.