Andreas J. Düss

Founding Partner & Chief Creative at Nourish Food Marketing.

Voracious reader, passionate cook, monumental geek.

On the interwebs since 1999

Crickets for breakfast – yes, says President’s Choice

Danika, our photographer at Nourish Food Marketing, tested out the President’s Choice cricket powder in her breakfast. Her verdict?

I’m all for this stuff – it’s high in protein (13g for 2 1/2 tbsp), has a neutral flavour (they even recommend baking with it on the package), and it’s a more sustainable food option. I hope it gains more mainstream popularity because this small bag was around $12 if I remember correctly

We’ve been observing the rise in insect protein for some time now. We even served mealworm pasta at one of our parties, to great acclaim. Seeing this kind of product on the shelves with the President’s Choice brand should help it enter the mainstream.

Software will eat the kitchen – but, will it?

Jon Jenkins, Director of Engineering at Hestan Smart Labs (the company behind the Hestan Cue), is a very smart man. In the above video from the Smart Kitchen Summit, Jenkins talks about how software can revolutionize the way that home cooks use recipes, eliminating human error to help them achieve the same high-quality results every time—just like a restaurant.

It’s an interesting thought and a fascinating video. In some instances, the future Jenkins describes is already here. Sous Vide machines, which lead to guaranteed and consistent results, are now available for $150 or less. Scales are getting smart, automatically adjusting recipes to fit available ingredients.

However, I do think that Jon is making a classic engineer’s mistake when he compares restaurant food to home cooked food. Restaurant food is designed to showcase skill and consistency. But the home cook’s primary motivation is love and care for the person he or she cooks for. Here, effort and emotion often trump technical skills.

If my kids make pancakes for breakfast on a Sunday morning that aren’t technically perfect, I’ll still be proud of them. They, in return, would bask in our praise and happiness – an eating occasion was transformed into a situation where children and parents demonstrated their love for each other.

But, if they employ a kitchen robot that creates perfect pancakes every time I’d still be grateful for breakfast, but the pride and my kid’s sense of accomplishment would be greatly diminished.

For engineers, inconsistency is undesirable. But for human beings, inconsistency, and imperfection is sometimes a powerful way to communicate very human emotions.

Meet Suvie, the Robot Kitchen

One of my favourite podcasts at the moment is the Smart Kitchen Show, produced by Michael Wolf from the Smart Kitchen Summit.

In his most recent podcasts, he introduces Suvie, a robo-kitchen combining fridge and cooking appliance, with sous vide, steaming and cooking capabilities all in an appliance not much larger than a microwave. It’s a mix of the Jetsons meeting today’s consumer trends, where meal assembly trumps cooking from scratch and convenience rules supreme.

Worth a listen.

Seasoning salts

Seasoning salts have been one of these things I kept reading about, but then not following up. My chef friends swear by them, as a quick and surefire way to season proteins with an added boost of flavour.

So finally, I decided to hop onto the bandwagon, after yet another recommendation, this time by Nigel Slater in Eat. My enthusiasm was being aided by a surplus of lovely fresh dill, thyme, and chives in the kitchen, all of which needed to be used before wilting away.

I decided on two flavorings, one Nordic and cool for fish and one warming and Mediterranean for poultry and pork.

For the fish seasoning salt I finely chopped a large bunch of dill and zested an organic lemon. The resulting mix was spread on a quarter-sized sheet pan (one of the most undervalued tools in any kitchen – I could not imagine cooking without them) and left to dry for 12 hours before mixing with kosher salt on a 1/3 ratio.

The warming mix contains finely chopped thyme, chives, garlic, lemon zest with a generous sprinkling of fennel seeds. Again, this mix was dried and then mixed with kosher salt.

I’m storing the salts in vintage mason jars and they should be good for a couple of months – although I can’t imagine they will keep that long. The first outing for the Nordic Salt was with a lovely piece of salmon cooked sous vide. It was perfect, with just a hint of lemon and dill.

Germany 2015

It was high time to see the families back in the old country. Both Anja’s mom and my parents are getting on in years and while both have visited us in Canada, we don’t foresee any more international travel for either of them. Apart from Skype calls, neither of our parents had met the twins in person yet. Apart from that, there was a wedding and friends to be visited.

I have to be honest at this point – I did not want to go. I hate flying at the best of times, and the idea of flying with three young kids filled me with horror. I don’t sleep on planes, and have always hated the flight east. A short, sleepless, night followed by a disorientated, grumpy, day and relentless jet lag. When I am on my own, I can just grump away, but with the family, that’s not an option.

But, it was the right thing to do, so we booked the family onto an Air Canada flight to Copenhagen – Anja’s brilliant idea. Copenhagen is only about 250km from Sierksdorf, the village on the Baltic Sea where she grew up, and where we were renting an apartment. Copenhagen, the Scandinavian air travel hub, is also a direct flight from Toronto – no changing planes in Frankfurt, the German hub, which would have been a nightmare. My parents would take the train up and visit for a week.

Paying for five full price tickets meant that we had no option but go for cramped Economy seats. Anja did the booking and, thank you, thank you, thank you, got me seated in the emergency row, with ample legroom for my 6’6′ frame. Air Canada flies the new Boing Dreamliner on the Scandinavian route and it was indeed a beautiful, spotless, plane with large windows, ample headroom and all mod-cons. Boing did a great job on the plane, if only they could design an economy seat one could sit in in comfort for longer than an hour at the max. We eyed the large seats in Business and Premium Economy with envy as we were herded towards the back of the plane.

There is no way around it, the night flight to Europe was uncomfortable. The kids were overtired but even they had a hard time sleeping in their small seats and only crashed out periodically. Thankfully the flight was fast, six and a half hours, and when we landed in Copenhagen we were in better shape than I would have predicted.

Also, there was Starbucks, and two large coffees later we felt we were ready to take on the day.

But we weren’t out of the woodwork yet. Copenhagen Airport managed to lose half the plane’s luggage, including ours, on the runway for an hour, with neither apology nor reason forthcoming. This was followed by Avis trying to cram us into a tiny Toyota – despite us booking a seven seater people mover three months in advance.

Terse words ensued, centred around the idea of customer service in general and the deplorable state thereof at Copenhagen Airport. We finally settled on a brand new VW Passat station wagon. Still cramped, but at least the luggage and all three kids fitted in – just.

We strapped in and set off. At the first traffic light, the engine stopped. Confusion ensued until I realized that this was normal behaviour. Taking my foot off the brake instantly re-started the Passat’s diesel engine and we were ready to go again. All of this was happening in the name of fuel economy and worked extremely well. Despite putting well over 1000km on the car, we only had to fill it up once. German engineering at its finest.

The drive out of Copenhagen was painless, even with extensive roadworks. Waze instantly recognized we were travelling, and while we had to reset the language from Danish to English, worked just as well as it does in Toronto – helped by the fact that mobile internet in Denmark is fast and available almost anywhere (unlike in Germany, but more on that later). I had originally planned to purchase a Danish and German Sim card for our phones phone, but Rogers roaming fees these days are extremely reasonable – use your phone just like you use it at home, data and calls, and pay a maximum of $100. Beats purchsing local data access in my book, so that’s the deal we went with and it was worth every cent. Emails arrived instantly, although texts took a little longer, phone calls were made without even thinking about it.

The VW came with its own, very capable, onboard navigation system so between the two screens we managed to avid the worst of the traffic and soon found ourselves in the lush Danish countryside, on our way to Germany. The kids, at this time, were fast asleep in the back.

Several long bridges and one windy ferry ride later, we arrived in Germany and pulled in at our apartment.

From Honda to Dodge

Our Honda Odyssey had been doing a great job for the last three years, but I knew I wanted to sell it while it would still bring a decent price on the second hand market. We had been, casually, looking on Autotrader for either a Dodge Durango or a Mercedes GL, our shortlisted vehicles. While… Continue Reading

Catching up

This blog has been sadly neglected, but that’s the way it goes with young kids around. Life’s busy. Additionally, 2015 just wasn’t a good Airstream year for us. There were mishaps, breakdowns, lack of time, lack of planning, missed opportunities. Few trips jelled. Part of this was due to our extended travel to Europe, to… Continue Reading

New show reel

Over the last year, we’ve been shooting more and more beautiful food videos. So much so, that it was high time for a new showreel. Take a look, but don’t blame me if you’re ending up hungry. Continue Reading