All-Electric Dessert Truck Takes Food Mobility to Another Level

Chris Albrecht wrote . . . . . . . . .

If there was such a thing as a Spoon Bingo card, FRO would be a winner, ticking off a number of trends we follow including sustainability, plant-based foods, and the rapidly emerging world of restaurant mobility.

Los Angeles-based startup FRO runs an electric, solar-powered food truck that serves up vegan “ice cream.” FRO Founder and CEO Deloss Pickett was formerly with Tesla, where he worked on that company’s Powerwall battery storage product. Pickett took that electrical know-how to build out the first FRO electric truck, which houses a bank of batteries to power the company’s frozen dessert offering. The truck even has solar panels to provide extra juice for the machines to keep the batteries humming.

Because all the power is supplied by these batteries, the FRO truck doesn’t need an external gas generator or to plug into an outlet when it stops to serve customers. It’s all self-contained and can last ten hours on a full charge (with a couple extra hours provided by the solar panels on a sunny day). This zero emissions aspect is a nice bit of sustainability, but it also increases the FRO truck’s mobility.

Food trucks have been around for a long time, but their very nature is undergoing a pretty rapid evolution in the back half of 2019. In September, Zume launched its first mobile kitchen, which allows restaurants to extend their delivery footprint by placing full ghost kitchens-on-wheels directly in neighborhoods, closer to customers. Then earlier this month, Ono Food launched its robot-smoothie-maker in a van, also in Los Angeles, which can travel to different parts of the city in the same day to follow the crowds (and their money).

Think of FRO as the smaller, more lightweight next step in that evolution. Sitting somewhere between a food truck and a vending machine, Pickett told me by phone this week that the vehicle is actually classified as a cart, so it can go on city sidewalks. But it’s demure stature and self-contained power supply makes it easy to set up shop quickly on college campuses, at farmers markets or in outdoor festivals.

Once set up, FRO sells a patent-pending vegan frozen soft serve. Pickett wouldn’t tell me the exact process, but it starts with Evolution brand pressed juice to which they add some vegan stabilizers to produce flavors like strawberry lemonade and citrus chocolate. We don’t know if FRO is as good as Perfect Day’s flora-based ice cream, but FRO is building on the idea that you don’t need dairy to make a cold dessert that people will want.

One trend the FRO truck is not following is full automation. A human is still on board to pour out 7 – 8 oz. desserts for $6.00 a piece. Pickett said that they had looked at creating more of a self-serve situation, but that wound up slowing the whole process down. While having a human on board does speed things up, it does deprive FRO of deeper, software-driven data insights that it could use to become more efficient in its inventory management, and location placement.

FRO is bootstrapped right now and Pickett said he’s focused on generating revenue and learning from real world conditions before he begins the process of raising money and scaling up. Though FROs are owner operated right now, it seems like once its technology has been built up and iterated, there’s no reason FRO couldn’t license out its platform to other brands in other parts of the country. That would certainly check one more box on The Spoon Bingo card.

Source: The Spoon

Veal Goulash


600 g veal shoulder, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
300 g onions
50 g butter
20 g paprika powder
1 garlic clove
zest of 1/2 lemon in wide strips
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup cream


  1. Fry in large heavy pot the finely chopped onions and paprika powder. Add a hint of water, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt. Stir well and bring it to a hard boil.
  2. Add the veal, the tomato paste and the water. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered at a medium heat until the meat is tender.
  3. Take out the meat and pour the gravy through a gravy separator or a strainer.
  4. Mix the sour cream with flour, stir into the gravy, add sweet cream and bring it to a short boil.
  5. Season to taste. Add the meat to the gravy and serve with sour cream topping as a garnish.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Culinary Austria

New York City Council Votes to Ban Sale of Foie Gras

Barbara Goldberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

New York City, often viewed as the fine dining capital of America, on Wednesday became the latest U.S. locality to ban the sale of foie gras, prompting the country’s largest producer of foie gras to vow to mount a court battle to overturn it.

Foie gras, French for “fatty liver,” is a delicacy produced from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed corn.

Animal rights groups contend that the force-feeding process is painful and gruesome. Farmers who raise birds for foie gras defend their practices as humane.

The New York City Council voted 42-6 to “ban the sale or provision of certain force-fed poultry products” beginning in 2022, imposing a fine between $500 and $2,000 for each violation.

“The council is banning a really cruel and inhumane practice,” said Jeremy Unger, spokesman for Council member Carlina Rivera of Manhattan, who introduced the bill.

The nation’s largest maker of foie gras, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, located in Ferndale, New York, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of New York City, defended the practice it uses to make the luxury item.

The other two foie gras makers in the United States are La Belle Farms, also located in Ferndale, and Au Bon Canard in Caledonia, Minnesota.

“I can tell you we take proper care of the birds,” said Hudson Valley manager Marcus Henley. He said the farm, which employs 400 people, makes foie gras “in conformity with humane animal management and in compliance with the laws of the state of New York.”

The ban would take effect in three years, in a move meant to give farmers time to retool their businesses to focus on other products, Unger said.

But Henley said New York City represents about a third of his farm’s revenues and rather than planning to adjust its business, he intends to head to court to seek to overturn it. It was unclear how many restaurants and groceries would be affected by the ban.

“We don’t have an exact number but roughly 1 percent of restaurants in New York City serve it,” Unger said.

Foie gras bans passed elsewhere in the United States have had mixed results. Chicago’s City Council approved a ban in 2006, only to repeal it two years later after then-Mayor Richard Daley called it the “silliest ordinance” ever passed in the Windy City, which made it “the laughingstock of the nation.”

California’s ban on foie gras went into effect in 2012 and remains in effect after the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court, in January declined to hear an appeal from foie gras producers.

Source: Reuters

Study: When You Eat May Matter More Than What You Eat

Len Canter wrote . . . . . . . . .

There’s evidence that the old expression “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” could use some tweaking. With one important revision, this approach could help not just for better health, but also for losing weight.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when you eat rather than what you eat could have the bigger impact.

Researchers compared the weight loss results of two groups of dieters, all women between the ages of 18 and 45, who ate the same number of daily calories. The group that had its main meal of the day at lunch lost 3 pounds more than the group that ate a big dinner — 12.5 pounds compared to 9.5 pounds over 12 weeks. They also had greater improvement in insulin sensitivity, which can help keep diabetes at bay.

While more study is needed to find out if these results can be maintained and if they apply to the general population, it’s a simple lifestyle change that anyone can make. As a bonus, you may not experience the typical mid-afternoon hunger that has you reaching for snacks, or worse, a trip to the nearest vending machine for a candy bar.

If you bring lunch to work, you might find it a challenge at first to pack a more substantial meal. It may help to order in, using the dollars from your dinner budget. Of course, after having a large lunch, you don’t want to turn around and have a large dinner, too, a habit it will take time to break. To make the adjustment easier, at dinner, fill your plate with healthy foods you can eat in high volume, like a salad and lots of veggies.

Source: HealthDay

Predicting Frailty, Disability and Death

Movement is a part of daily life that most people rarely spend time contemplating, but changes in such movements can portend disease and decline. Watch-like devices known as actimetry sensors, which can be worn on the wrist or ankle, allow researchers to collect information about a subject’s motor activity. In a study led by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, researchers analyzed patterns of movement among elderly study participants and found that irregular, spontaneous fluctuations could predict a person’s risk of frailty, disability and death years later. Their results are published in Science Translational Medicine.

“Human movements possess complex fluctuations that are not simply determined by scheduled events. In this study, we found that more random activity fluctuations were associated with increased risk for frailty, disability and mortality in older adults,” said corresponding author Peng Li, PhD, an associate physiologist in the Brigham’s Medical Biodynamics Program, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. “Importantly, these alterations occurred many years before any incident when people still had no overt symptoms, providing a possible opportunity of early prediction and prevention.”

To conduct their study, Li and colleagues analyzed motor activity data from 1,275 older participants and looked at the participants’ outcomes up to 13 years later. Motor activity data were collected daily using an activity monitor that participants wore on their wrist.

The team found that elderly people with more random fluctuations in daily motor activity had increased risk of death, disability and frailty. Specifically, the team reports that risk of frailty increased by 31 percent, the risk of disability increased by 15 to 25 percent, and the risk of death increased by 26 percent for one standard deviation increase in the randomness from the mean.

The authors note that to establish the current technique as a diagnostic tool, results will need to be replicated in a larger dataset. Participants in the current study were relatively old and it remains to be determined if the same method can predict outcomes in middle-aged and younger adults.

As compared to traditional clinical assessments, actimetry sensors are unobtrusive, cost-efficient, and feasible for long-term health monitoring. In addition, traditional activity measures such as physical activity levels and daily activity rhythms can be affected by the daily schedules and environmental conditions (such as interactions with caregivers). The proposed fractal measures are less affected by these external influences.

“Our proposed motor activity measures may provide a potential tool for remote medicine and facilitate mobile health care, which is clearly important considering the challenge of population aging on health care systems all over the world,” said Li.

Source: Science Daily

Today’s Comic