The Taste of Tomorrow

Quick: What food is highly nutritional, abundant, renewable and possibly the answer to global warming?

Quick #2:   What was the foodstuff that the ToT author most regretted not featuring in the book with its own chapter? (see previous mea culpa posts, & “About Us”)

 

Seaweed, the perfect sustainable food, has long been a staple in Asia but has yet to show up on most American plates.

That’s why we’re excited to see a recent spate of interest from the mainstream media.

Fast Company profiles efforts to use algae to make, among other things, baked goods such as cookies, Omega-3 oil supplements, infant formula and jet fuel. Time names algae food among its top 20 green tech ideas. Both FC and Time mention Solazyme. While it hopes to ultimately sell algae-based biofuels, the San Francisco-area startup is marketing algae as a low-fat, high-protein replacement for eggs, butter and oil. (NOTE: we’ve tried algae sugar cookies – yum)  The Atlantic points to seaweed as a pollution sponge, and cites a Dutch professor who claims a seaweed farm the size of Washington state could satisfy all the world’s protein needs.

The jury is still out on seaweed. An Associated Press story outlines concerns about seaweed as a panacea. Is it harvested too quickly to measure or control its effect as a carbon sink? Will removing water during the fuel conversion process require lots of energy?

It may be a while before the algae biofuel market heats up. In the meantime, T of T taste kitchen staff are going to run out to the nearest upscale market for some Maine Coast Sea Vegetables or Ocean Approved laver (Atlantic Ocean version of nori), kelp (large brown seaweed) and dulse (red leaf algae).

Stay tuned for the results….

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in seeing the extraordinary diversity of “seaweed,” check out this brilliant site curated by Irish seaweed expert Michael Guiry.

– Rob Jordan

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