Monday, October 24, 2011

Werners flingsalt and food wastage

Banana chocolate brownie with caramelized coconut topping
Food Diary (October 23, 2011)
Breakfast: Sourdough toast
Lunch: Beans in tomato sauce with polenta
Dinner: Pickled apple and carrot salad, sourdough toast

Recently I received a box of Werners flingsalt (flake salt) to review. The salt is extracted from ancient underground salt beds in Australia, where the flavor has been concentrated and purified for many years. 

I was excited when I received by box of salt. The only other time I was excited about salt was when I bought a box of Italian sea salt. Salt is salt, how can it be so exciting? There is more to salt, and I am saying this not because of this complimentary box that I received. I always thought salt just added saltiness to food until I tried the Italian sea salt. It adds flavor, and lots of it too. Salt is one of the most important flavor components in a dish. Pasta sauce without garlic is still delicious, chili con carne without meat is still delicious, cookies without butter is still delicious but food without salt can almost be inedible.

Werners flingsalt is a great finishing salt. It has a salty taste, obviously, but without the bitterness. Try comparing the taste of regular salt with Werners flingsalt and you will notice the difference. Werners flingsalt flakes are thin and brittle, they crumble and dissolve easily. Some of the flakes are shaped like pyramids. So Werners flingsalt brings additional characteristics to the party - good looks and crunch. I have tried Werners flingsalt in a number of ways such as on salads, on buttered bread and on  flaxseed oatmeal crackers.  

While the salt is quite expensive, it does not replace table salt. It would be a waste to use Werners flingsalt in cooking unless you really feel like. Its best used as a finishing salt and a little goes a long way.

Here is what they look like:

However I didn’t finish off the banana chocolate brownie with caramelized coconut topping with Werners flingsalt. The brownies were great, though the caramelized coconut topping was a bit too crunchy. The recipe is available here.

Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Camemberu
Sashimi: Omakase Taster

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: NY Times
When I was small, if I didn’t finish my meals my parents would remind me that there are so many people in the world who don’t have enough to eat. And I was lucky to have food. This trick worked sometimes. All my friends heard the same from their parents when they didn’t finish their meals. A friend of mine would respond “so send this leftover food to the hungry people”. This innocent statement by a child (now an adult!) demonstrates the problem that we face today, excess food being wasted and lack of food at the same time. The most obvious solution to send excess food to where it is needed is easier said than done.

Last year more than 925 million people, nearly 1 in 7 people in the world, were undernourished. The problem is not that the world grows too little food; there is plenty of food overall but it is wasted. Each year, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost worldwide. One-third of all the food bought in Britain is thrown away. Americans discarded 33 million tons of food in 2009, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Food is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. municipal landfills and incinerators. The countries of South and Southeast Asia produce less food per capita than industrialized countries in the West, but they waste roughly the same proportion, 30 to 35 percent.

In industrialized countries, wastage occurs at the consumer level, after the food has reached supermarkets and stores. Food is too cheap, it is thrown away without second thoughts. On the other hand, in developing countries, 35 to 45 percent of the food produced is lost before it reaches buyers. Most waste occurs during and just after harvesting and at the distribution stage. India, the world’s second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables, loses about 40 percent of that production because of mismanagement, inadequate infrastructure and storage, poor transportation, shoddy supply-chain logistics, and underdeveloped markets. 

So there you go, there is enough food in the world but it is wasted. And this is not easy to fix otherwise it would have been fixed long time ago. Wastage or inefficiency is part of life. In some countries up to a third, or even more, of the electricity produced is wasted due to poor infrastructure and other issues. The development (aid) industry has far too much money and at the same time more money is needed to improve infrastructure in developing countries. Connecting excess with shortage is so tricky. One of the sectors that does this quite efficiently is the banking sector. Someone’s $100 savings is combined with savings from other depositors and lent to clients in other parts of the country, and the bank makes a few percent profit only. But now even the banks are getting into trouble and they used to be one of the best examples. We are in trouble!

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  1. Good grief. So excited about the bars, I forgot to do the verification bit and lost the first comment. What I said was ....

    Sashimi and brownies! My favs (not in combination tho). Those bars look really yummy. Going over to check out the recipe now.

  2. Flingsalt! That is the BEST NAME EVER. I feel like I said that on here recently about something else...

  3. Hi three cookies,serious topic you covered here- when considering general wastage, there are plenty and ironic also.
    sometimes I wonder why some poor countries are not producing enough food staples to ensure their people have something to eat..
    Producing just enough grown for domestic use. There must be a way , there must be some crop that can be planted, a way for pest control, modern farming techniques and financial aid. Then there will be no more extreme hunger like the African child.
    i consume the himalayan salt.. i was told there's minute earth residue which over time can be unhealthy to the body, i was also told that sea salt is worst, they have chemicals in them.
    the real quality salt is 10 times more expensive.
    yummy brownies. have a nice day.

  4. I was lucky enough to visit a place where salt is harvested and it's a really interesting process! And completely not what I expected too :)

  5. We were just talking about the issue at church yesterday. Our pastors are so charismatic and love DOING the things they talk about. Funny thing happened though... Last year as they were calling schools in the local and some underprivileged areas to offer FREE food hampers to families, they kept hearing "no, sorry we are not interested" or "we can't give you their details". They persisted though and this year our hamper drive will be bigger than ever. I know that the issue is worse in third world countries, but starting small is better than just talking about it.

  6. Ooh, those brownies are so enticing! Great article...wish we could figure out a way to share the wealth when it comes to breaks my heart to know there are people who don't know where and when they'll get their next meal~

  7. Salt is one of my most favorite things on this earth and I think trying new varieties of it is super exciting! Love those huge flakes.

  8. Love the big flakes of salt. Those brownies look so decadent and so divine!

  9. Mr. Three-Cookies, the brownies look so brown and delicious!
    I can very well understand that salt is not just saltiness. Even though I live in Switzerland, I have been using French sea salt for years and the high quality one. I also use the best quality salt (called fleur de sel and taken from the first upper layer of salt beds) just to season food already cooked (like foie gras). When one day I have forgotten to buy salt in France and had to buy some "standard" articifially ionised salt in my shop downstairs it was so awful I promised myself I will always have an additional package of sea salt in stock just in case. Salt's taste does matter a lot!
    As for food shortage vs. waste, it is complicated not only in the scale of the whole world, but even in Europe. For example until EU created some "hygiene" laws bakers could officially distribute to poor people (or for example orphanages) unsold bread from the day before. Now it's apparently impossible, same for restaurants, which have to do it illegally even with products which stay edible and quite good for several more days. The restaurant owners and bakers are forced to throw away edible things which they could give to the poor.

  10. I have not heard of flingsalt but it honestly looks amazing with those big flakes and perfect for all the holiday baking I plan to do here in a month

  11. Ooh, that sashimi looks delicious.

  12. ping: sashimi brownies, never tried them either:) I need to work on the recipe again, will post soon

    Hannah: yes you did, you plan to name your second child filmjölk!

    Wan: I am sure there is a way to produce enough for domestic consumption but there are obstacles such as lack of capital, machinery, corruption, politicians, competition from other countries producing cheaper etc etc. I would love to try Himalayan salt – will look for it

    Lorraine: I remember that post

    Martyna: that’s unusual but not too surprising, refusing offers to help. Glad the pastors persisted and got their way

    Lizzy: thanks. Seems simple but too complex

    Joanne: I am starting to become a fan also

    Carol: thank you

    Sissi: I haven’t tried fleur de sel yet, will do if I see it. I am guessing once you get used to good salt it is difficult to go back to the regular stuff. I wasn’t aware of the EU crazy law but not surprised, there are so many other crazy laws. For example until couple of years ago crooked and imperfectly shaped fruits/vegetables could not be sold. That’s why we didn’t see crooked carrots, cucumbers etc but now the law has changed. I am sure there are many more stupid laws.

    Kitchen Belleicious: it does look great:)

    Yummychunklet: it does

  13. I've never heard of flingsalt before, but it sounds awesome. I will keep my eyes open for it. Thanks!

  14. Wow, look at those brownies. What a treat! It's such a bummer that I don't like chocolate because I don't get to indulge in delicious desserts like this!

  15. The salt looks great - and the brownies looks amazing! - is that really all you ate in one day??
    Mary x

  16. Mary: flingsalt is the Swedish word for flaked salt.

    Caroline: such a bummer indeed!

    Mary: I quartered the recipe so there was not much

  17. Haha! I figured they call it fling-salt as in to fling over your shoulder to counter bad luck.