How to Make Toast Even Better: Fry It

Marian Bull wrote . . . . . . . . .

You know how to make toast. Your 6 year old cousin knows how to make toast. You just pop the thing in the toaster, you are saying to me in your brain right now. And yes, you’re right: that’s a completely viable way to make toast! It’s perhaps the easiest task you can accomplish in a kitchen without a microwave. You can even do it under a broiler if you’re lacking in counter space for single-use devices.

But that is not, unfortunately, the best way to make toast. That is not the most delicious way to make toast! That is not the way to make yourself yearn for your toast the way you yearn for a stupid pair of expensive sneakers or an all-expenses-paid trip to Tulum. For that kind of toast, you’re going to need a bottle of good olive oil, and a pan—yes, a pan! Like the one you use to make eggs!—on the stove. Because the best, tastiest, most perfect toast is toast that is fried.

Anyone who does things like crossfit or counting calories will probably stop trusting me at this point, and I understand that. There are people who don’t want to go adding a tablespoon or two of (“good”) fat to their diets. Toast that has been fried until glossy and golden in a pan full of hot oil is not the basis of a “low-cal breakfast”. It’s not going to give you the same effect as, say, a smoothie. But it is fucking delicious.

Here’s what happens: When you fry a thick slab of bread in olive oil, the insides get soft—for this reason it’s a great way to use up a loaf that’s almost stale—and the outsides get golden and crunchy. (My former boss, who is the person who exposed me to fried toast, likens it to a “[very large crouton].”) It is the perfect base for a cooked egg, or some vegetables, or beans, or even something like sliced fruit—anything that’s not too, too fatty. (Avocado is pushing it.)

And the process is easy, albeit slightly more laborious than your standard toast production. Get yourself a thick slice of crusty bread. Heat up a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pan, until it’s shimmering but not smoking. Then add the bread, and flip when it’s golden, and cook the other side until it looks good too. Sprinkle the thing with salt, and then eat it plain, or underneath whatever leftovers are sitting in your fridge. You will not necessarily feel virtuous, but you will feel happy, and that is important, too.

Source: GQ Magazine


The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s

Olga Khazan wrote . . . . . . . . .

In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, it’s increasingly looking like Alzheimer’s is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.

In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimer’s leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, that’s not always the case.

A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

“Dementia is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions strongly associated with poor quality of later life,” said the lead author, Wuxiang Xie at Imperial College London, via email. “Currently, dementia is not curable, which makes it very important to study risk factors.”

Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, performed her own review of studies connecting diabetes to Alzheimer’s in 2016. She sought to reconcile two confusing trends. People who have type 2 diabetes are about twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and people who have diabetes and are treated with insulin are also more likely to get Alzheimer’s, suggesting elevated insulin plays a role in Alzheimer’s. In fact, many studies have found that elevated insulin, or “hyperinsulinemia,” significantly increases your risk of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes, who don’t make insulin at all, are also thought to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. How could these both be true?

Schilling posits this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain—the same proteins that clump up and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t have enough insulin, like those whose bodies’ ability to produce insulin has been tapped out by diabetes, aren’t going to make enough of this enzyme to break up those brain clumps. Meanwhile, in people who use insulin to treat their diabetes and end up with a surplus of insulin, most of this enzyme gets used up breaking that insulin down, leaving not enough enzyme to address those amyloid brain clumps.

According to Schilling, this can happen even in people who don’t have diabetes yet—who are in a state known as “prediabetes.” It simply means your blood sugar is higher than normal, and it’s something that affects roughly 86 million Americans.

Schilling is not primarily a medical researcher; she’s just interested in the topic. But Rosebud Roberts, a professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic, agreed with her interpretation.

In a 2012 study, Roberts broke nearly 1,000 people down into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbohydrates. The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs. People with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, can dress and feed themselves, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. Intervening in MCI can help prevent dementia.

Rebecca Gottesman, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, cautions that the findings on carbs aren’t as well-established as those on diabetes. “It’s hard to be sure at this stage, what an ‘ideal’ diet would look like,” she said. “There’s a suggestion that a Mediterranean diet, for example, may be good for brain health.”

But she says there are several theories out there to explain the connection between high blood sugar and dementia. Diabetes can also weaken the blood vessels, which increases the likelihood that you’ll have ministrokes in the brain, causing various forms of dementia. A high intake of simple sugars can make cells, including those in the brain, insulin resistant, which could cause the brain cells to die. Meanwhile, eating too much in general can cause obesity. The extra fat in obese people releases cytokines, or inflammatory proteins that can also contribute to cognitive deterioration, Roberts said. In one study by Gottesman, obesity doubled a person’s risk of having elevated amyloid proteins in their brains later in life.

Roberts said that people with type 1 diabetes are mainly only at risk if their insulin is so poorly controlled that they have hypoglycemic episodes. But even people who don’t have any kind of diabetes should watch their sugar intake, she said.

“Just because you don’t have type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can eat whatever carbs you want,” she said. “Especially if you’re not active.” What we eat, she added, is “a big factor in maintaining control of our destiny.” Roberts said this new study by Xie is interesting because it also shows an association between prediabetes and cognitive decline.

That’s an important point that often gets forgotten in discussions of Alzheimer’s. It’s such a horrible disease that it can be tempting to dismiss it as inevitable. And, of course, there are genetic and other, non-nutritional factors that contribute to its progression. But, as these and other researchers point out, decisions we make about food are one risk factor we can control. And it’s starting to look like decisions we make while we’re still relatively young can affect our future cognitive health.

“Alzheimer’s is like a slow-burning fire that you don’t see when it starts,” Schilling said. It takes time for clumps to form and for cognition to begin to deteriorate. “By the time you see the signs, it’s way too late to put out the fire.”

Source: The Atlantic

From Trash to Treasure: The History of Barbecued Ribs

Robert Moss wrote . . . . . . . . .

Pork ribs are a staple of American barbecue. Memphis is famous for its dry-rubbed version, and rib tips are a staple at Chicago’s South Side barbecue joints. Even down in beef-centric Texas, pork ribs are in high demand, constituting one-third of the state’s “holy trinity,” along with brisket and sausage.

But that hasn’t always been the case. Historically speaking, ribs are relative newcomers to the pits. Nonetheless, many writers have erroneously assumed that the antebellum South was their likely place of origin. This explanation by Meathead Goldwyn of strikes the standard chords that have led some people to assume barbecued ribs were a product of that time: “In the pre-Civil War South, Masters got to eat the best cuts of meat. They ate the tenderloin from along the pig’s back, ‘high on the hog’ (yes, that’s where the expression came from), while the slaves got the tougher, more gristle-riddled cuts.”

But no one was putting slabs of ribs on barbecue pits back in the 19th century. Instead, barbecued ribs are an early 20th century innovation, one driven not by the distribution of pig pars on a plantation but by the rise of industrial meatpacking, mechanical refrigeration, and commercial barbecue stands. And our barbecue menus are richer (and our fingers stickier) as a result.

The Whole Hog

It’s easy to forget how dramatically mechanical refrigeration and railroad transport changed the way Americans eat—especially when it comes to meat. Fresh meat from larger livestock like pigs and cows wasn’t available year-round before the Civil War, because there was no way to keep it from spoiling. Farmers had to wait until the first cold winter weeks to slaughter their pigs; it needed to be cold enough—below 40°F—for the carcass to cool quickly and not spoil, but also not so cold that the meat would freeze.

A hog killing on a 19th-century farm was a laborious but celebratory event, with the whole family and plenty of neighbors and friends pitching in. Almost every part of the pig was put to good use. The blood was reserved for puddings and the fat rendered into lard in giant kettles. Smaller scraps of meat and fat were ground into sausages, and the heads and feet were boiled to make “souse meat” or rendered into a thick, savory stew—hash and rice, South Carolina’s traditional barbecue side dish, evolved from these hog-killing stews.

The carcasses were then allowed to chill overnight and the next morning were cut into hams, shoulders, and “middlings” (side meat or bacon), which were taken to the smokehouse and preserved by curing and smoking. The parts left behind—the chine (backbone), the tenderloins, the chitterlings (intestines), and the ribs—were eaten over the next few days.

Those traditional hog-killing dinners featured fresh roasted spare ribs and chine served with bread, potatoes, apples sauce, and cabbage or greens. And they might well be the only fresh pork a farm family enjoyed all year. They couldn’t have a hog killing during the summer—especially not in the South—for the meat would spoil in the sweltering heat long before they finished all the butchering, lard rendering, and sausage-making.

There was one exception to this, though. At big events, where the entire community gathered, farmers could take a few pigs to a shady grove where a barbecue pit awaited, slaughter them and remove the entrails right on the spot, and put the whole animals on the pit to cook. And that’s exactly what a 19th-century barbecue entailed.

Barbecue originated not as a way of “making do” with lesser cuts, but rather as a method of whole-animal cookery—one usually staged for a large crowd. I’ve been unable to find any accounts that describe enslaved people (or anyone else, for that matter) cooking ribs or other individual cuts on a barbecue pit. Plenty of primary sources, however, describe or illustrate whole carcasses of pigs, goats, lambs, and even cows being cooked over a bed of coals in pits dug in the ground. When people in the 19th century ate barbecued ribs, they pulled the meat from a whole pig that was already cooked.

The Meat Packers’ Cast Offs

This doesn’t mean that no one ate spare ribs in the 19th century—they just weren’t barbecuing them. As the century advanced, ribs became available in greater and greater quantities, provided you lived in the right place—namely, a city like Indianapolis or Louisville, where hogs were being packed and processed to ship around the country.

Industrial pork packing arose in the early decades of the century, driven first by improved river navigation and then by the expansion of railroads. Cincinnati, blessed with a prime position on the Ohio River and close to burgeoning cornfields and hog farms, emerged as “Porkopolis,” the largest pork-producing city in the world at the time.

By 1836, Cincinnati’s four largest slaughterhouses were collectively killing and butchering some 2,600 hogs in a single day, producing between 200 and 500 barrels of pork along with 200 kegs of lard. In these early days, the tools and procedures used to slaughter a hog in a commercial setting were not so different from those of a rural hog killing; it was just conducted on a much larger scale, with each step—dispatching the pig with a blow from a hammer, scalding the carcass in boiling water, scraping the hair away—performed by a different worker, on an assembly line of sorts.

Barrels were essential to the pork trade. With no means of refrigerated transport, packers had to preserve the meat before shipping, but they didn’t want to waste weeks slow-smoking it like farm families did. Instead, they packed the hams and shoulders in barrels, filled in the gaps with chines, hocks, and jowls, then poured in a sweet and salty “pickle” made from rock salt and brown sugar boiled in water.

The spareribs didn’t fit in the barrels, and packers found themselves with literal tons of unwanted racks on their hands. “It is said that during the hog-killing season in Cincinnati,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported in 1844, “any keeper of a boarding-house, by sending a basket to the butcher’s, can have it filled with the finest and most delicious spare ribs, and ‘free gratis for nothing’ at that.”

But even the city’s boarding houses couldn’t eat up the supply. In the early days, one account recalled, “cart loads upon cart loads of spare-ribs” were “drawn to the water’s edge and emptied into the Ohio to get rid of them.”

That started to change in the 1870s, when artificial ice-making and then mechanical refrigeration transformed meat packing from a seasonal to a year-round business. Now packers could hang onto spareribs and sell them to retailers as a low-cost cut.

Recipes for spare ribs appear in cookbooks and newspapers with greater frequency in the closing decades of the 19th century. Many advised cutting the ribs into three-bone pieces and parboiling them before seasoning and finishing on a hot gridiron over coals in a kitchen fireplace. Others called for roasting them in an oven over a bed of sauerkraut and serving with applesauce, mashed potatoes, and mustard.

In 1895, the Ottawa Herald (that’s Ottawa, Kansas) contemplated options for Thanksgiving menus and noted, “Turkey and cranberries may cost more than spare ribs and turnips, but a good, well seasoned spare rib baked brown and crisp beats any turkey that ever flapped his wings.” But pork ribs weren’t destined to displace the gobbler on the traditional Thanksgiving menu. Instead, they helped transform the way Americans ate their barbecue.

The Rise of the Rib Shack

Before the 20th century, barbecue wasn’t a commercial product. It was served at occasional, large-scale gatherings where whole animals were cooked outdoors on open pits. These events were typically provided free of charge as part of community Fourth of July celebrations or political campaigns.

As the country urbanized, though, entrepreneurial cooks started selling slow-smoked meats on city street corners and in courthouse squares. Often these were farmers who slaughtered one or two of their own pigs, cooked them on a pit, and took the meat into town to sell over the weekend. The first barbecue stands were informal operations—just a tent or temporary shed—but over time they evolved into permanent restaurants, and their operators began offering a regular slate of meats. They increasingly bought those meats from local packing houses instead of raising the animals themselves, and many restaurateurs started buying individual cuts like shoulders and hams instead of whole pigs.

Those local packers had plenty of spare ribs on hand, too, which they were happy to unload for cheap. The historical record doesn’t pinpoint any particular region where barbecued ribs were introduced, nor any particular type of operation. In a matter of a few years, spare ribs could be found all over the country at barbecue stands, cafés, and take-out butcher shops—anywhere that had a barbecue pit and smoked meats to sell to the public.

In the 1920s, A.R. Hubbard’s Cafe in Houston offered barbecued ribs alongside dinners and short orders. Clegg’s Hotel and Cafe in Greensboro, North Carolina, featured “barbecued spare ribs with sweet potatoes” for its 75-cent Special Sunday Dinner. Rasmussen’s in Davenport, Iowa, offered “Tennessee Style Barbecue Ribs,” which it touted as “inexpensive—with a fine appetizing taste.”

Rasmussen’s reference to “Tennessee style” is tantalizing, but I’ve found no other evidence to indicate that rib-cooking was more common in Tennessee than anywhere else. In fact, a surprising number of the stands selling spare ribs were found in Iowa—which, perhaps not coincidentally, was prime hog-producing territory.

One notable rib fan was the famed New York Yankee slugger Babe Ruth. The Yankees swept the St. Louis Cardinals in four games in the 1928 World Series, and the night after the final game, as the Yankees’ east-bound train rolled into Mattoon, Illinois, the Babe entertained his teammates and reporters with “50 pounds of barbecued spare ribs and an amber-color fluid which foamed suspiciously on being poured into serving glasses.” (This was in the midst of Prohibition, we should note.)

But you didn’t have to be a star athlete to relish a platter of ribs. In large cities—particularly those with a sizable African-American community—ribs emerged as a late-night staple for the nightclub crowd, as club owners set up small pits behind their establishments and cooked a few racks to sell to hungry revelers. In 1928 the movie editor for the Detroit Times returned from a visit to the East Side to report that “barbecue spare ribs in the doorway emporiums of the black belt” were also drawing in lots of white customers. “Served with a spicy sauce, the ribs are thirst-provoking; and nearby beer spots get a brisk play as a resort, color lines being ignored.”

Ribs were a hit among the late-night crowd in Memphis, too. The city’s rib pioneer was John Mills, who in the late 1920s opened a barbecue stand on 4th Street, just around the corner from the famous nightlife district on Beale. He cooked his ribs on a charcoal-fired brick pit in the alley out back and mopped them with a peppery hot sauce. Two decades before Charlie Vergos started selling his now-legendary dry-rubbed ribs at The Rendezvous, Mills was drawing a steady crowd of musicians and celebrities like Kate Smith and Bing Crosby, who always stopped by for ribs when they were in town.

The Golden Age of Ribs

By the 1930s, barbecued ribs could be found at thousands of barbecue stands, nightclubs, and cafes across the country. In the years just after World War II, ribs crossed over to the menus at high-end restaurants, as well. In 1948, the syndicated food columnist Ida Bailey Allen noted, “People pay fancy prices to nibble at barbecued spare ribs in a swanky restaurant,” bemused that a once-humble cut had gone uptown.

Ribs were in high demand for backyard barbecuing, too, as that form of home entertainment surged in the post-War years. In 1955, the New York Times declared, “This increasingly popular cut of meat inevitably will claim the attention of almost every outdoor cook during the summer season ahead.” A century before, packinghouses literally couldn’t give ribs away, but now, the Times reported, “their price is in their luxury bracket.” Since a pound of ribs served only one diner, effectively “the meat costs more than a sirloin steak or prime rib roast, both of which yield two to three servings per pound.”

This same period witnessed the emergence of the so-called St. Louis-style rib. This wasn’t a method of cooking, but rather of cutting the meat to gussy up its presentation. On a full rack of spare ribs, there is a line where each of the long bones ends and a short length of cartilage and fat begins. Butchers in St. Louis took to slicing away the tips (also called the “brisket” or “collar”) and removing the short, pointed end of the rack just past the 13th bone. The result was a long, squared-off slab that let diners chew the meat straight off the long bones without worrying about all the cartilage and fat on the ends.

The first mention I’ve found of trimming ribs this way appeared in 1947 in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. It describes the rib-cooking method of Adolph Feiler, the chef at the decidedly swanky Forest Park Hotel, who barbecued ribs on a charcoal rotisserie with electric powered spits, swabbing the meat at frequent intervals with a tomato-based sauce. A photo shows Roscoe Duncan, Feiler’s “first cook,” preparing the ribs by removing the tips with a cleaver. “This job is usually done by the butcher,” the article noted.

St. Louis’s local meat packers embraced the cut to differentiate their products from those of the national packing houses. In 1995, Elaine Viets of the St. Louis Post Dispatch interviewed retired local butcher Robert F. Eggleston, who recalled that in the post-War era there were 15 to 20 meat-packing establishments around St. Louis. “The major packers cut the spare ribs from the carcass and sold them that way,” Eggleston told Viets. “They left on a big hunk of bone and gristle we butchers called the collar. . . The St. Louis packers took off about half that collar. It cost consumers a little more, but it was a better value. Rib lovers bought it. That was the St. Louis cut rib.”

The method took off across the country, and by the early 1950s, butchers from California to Mississippi were advertising “St. Louis Style” ribs as a premium product. In Brownsville, Texas, in 1951, regular spares sold for 39 cents a pound, while St. Louis style ran for 45 cents. An ad in the Rockville, Illinois, Morning Star described the cut as “Center Strips of Ribs Only / The Brisket Is Removed” and declared them “Perfect for Bar-B-Quing.”

Ironically, this innovation let to packers having a new unwanted cut on their hands: the rib tip—that long strip of cartilage, gristle, and meat that had been carved away to pretty up the slab. Once again, barbecue joints came to the rescue. High-end hotels and swanky nightclubs might roast prime St. Louis cuts on motorized rotisseries, but barbecue cooks started buying up the tips and putting them on their old-school pits, letting the magic of smoke and time transform them into something delicious.

Rib tips are now a staple of St. Louis’s traditional barbecue restaurants alongside pork snoots—an even more undervalued part of the hog. In Chicago, which by the turn of the 20th century had eclipsed Cincinnati as America’s hog-packing capital, rib tips were adopted at legendary South Side joints like Lem’s and Argia B’s in the 1950s and 1960s and are now an essential part of the city’s signature style. Connoisseurs know they have to gnaw their way around a little gristle to get to the good stuff, but they swear the meat is tastier and worth the extra effort.

That’s a much better use of leftover pig parts than dumping them in the Ohio River.

Source: Serious Eats

Hongkongers Eat Enough French Toast to Cover Earth’s Circumference Annually

Victor Ting wrote . . . . . . . . .

Hongkongers consume the equivalent length of the Earth’s circumference in French toast annually, a survey has found, prompting a nutritionist to warn of health risks caused by the city’s snacking habits.

Other popular treats included French fries, fried chicken thighs, egg tarts and pineapple buns with butter, the online survey conducted by health platform HealthyD found.

“Hong Kong’s favourite foods are deep-fried with a lot of oil, and usually served with butter and syrup. Excessive consumption could lead to obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease,” said Cynthia Wong Oi-se, a senior nutritionist at NutraCare Consultancy.

The survey found Hongkongers get through about 320 million servings a year of French toast, a dish made of fried sliced bread soaked in eggs and milk and containing 420 calories per serving – the energy level of two bowls of rice. Some 57 per cent said this was their favourite snack.

French fries, 539 calories per serving, were second favourite, followed by fried chicken thighs (431 calories), toast with condensed milk and peanut butter (405 calories), egg tarts (230 calories) and pineapple buns (421 calories).

Some 55 per cent chose milk tea as their most beloved drink, the popular local beverage made from black tea and evaporated or condensed milk. One cup contains 140 calories.

Its popularity was closely followed by lemon tea and lemon water, according to the survey.

“One glass of iced lemon tea can contain as much as six spoons of sugar,” Wong said.

“Choose skimmed milk rather than full-fat as the latter is high in calories.”

A citywide health survey released by the government in 2017 found half of Hongkongers aged 15 or older were overweight or obese.

The online survey also found Hong Kong diners visited cha chaan teng on alternate days, with 88 per cent of respondents making a weekly average of 3.6 visits to the traditional restaurants.

The major reason for going to cha chaan teng was convenience, according to 68 per cent of the respondents.

Variety of dishes (41 per cent) and affordable prices (40 per cent) were also popular reasons.

Despite an overwhelming majority of 83 per cent of respondents thinking the snacks were “very unhealthy” or “not so healthy”, 61 per cent said they had no intention of making fewer visits to cha chaan teng.

Wong said a balanced diet and regular exercise were key to staying healthy and had some tips for cha chaan teng diners.

“Have a tomato and boiled egg sandwich or go for toast with jam if you are a toast lover. There are healthier options at cha chaan teng and you can do it step by step and build up a healthy routine,” Wong said.

More than 30 minutes of moderate to intense cardio exercise at least three times a week would burn calories and keep weight stable, she added.

Source: SCMP

Scientists Have Created a Vegan Lab-grown Ice Cream

Sigal Samuel wrote . . . . . . . . .

Summer is here, and as we all know, that means one thing: delicious, glorious ice cream. It’s the perfect treat — cool, refreshing, silky, sweet, and … grown in a laboratory?

Yes, lab-grown ice cream is here. It’s made from whey protein produced by genetically modified yeast rather than by cows. In fact, not a single cow is needed to create this brand-new snack.

It’s the culmination of five years of work at Bay Area-based biotech startup Perfect Day. The founders, Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, are young vegan bioengineers. They wanted to create a product that’s indistinguishable from cow-made dairy, yet reduces animal suffering by steering us away from factory farming, and helps fight global warming by reducing the number of methane-producing cattle and the land needed for grazing.

“Both of us happen to have a similar background of working in medicine, where therapeutics and medicines are made using basically fermentation already today,” Pandya said in an interview with Fast Company. “And so the two of us started scratching our heads and wondering, what if we just apply that same exact technology that’s been around for half a century to make the world’s most in-demand, highest-quality protein?”

There are already plenty of dairy-free ice creams out there — they’re made of everything from oats to almonds to chickpeas. But they don’t generally taste as creamy as traditional ice cream.

According to some lucky reporters who’ve tried it, Perfect Day’s ice cream does taste like the real thing, because it is the real thing: The scientists have made it using whey and casein, the exact same proteins that give milk its unique texture and flavor — it’s just that they’ve gotten a genetically engineered yeast to produce those proteins.

This is similar to the premise underlying lab-grown meat, which involves taking a few starter cells from a real animal, putting them in a growth medium, and allowing them to reproduce in the lab. What you get is genuine animal tissue — only you don’t have to slaughter an animal to get it.

Perfect Day goes one step further: It requires absolutely zilch from real animals, not even a single cell, a fact sure to appeal to vegans.

And the founders claim that making whey their way uses up 98 percent less water and 65 percent less energy than the traditional means of producing the protein.

They also point out that their method for making nutritious and delicious protein can be applied anywhere, including in regions where a harsh climate makes dairy farming tricky. “To that end,” their website says, “we’re building partnerships with governments and nonprofits across the planet who view Perfect Day’s approach as a means to provide environmentally sustainable and affordable protein to undernourished populations.”

Perfect Day so far has only a limited supply of the new ice cream. It sold samples to the first 1,000 customers to order via its website last week, who were offered vanilla salted fudge, vanilla blackberry toffee, and milky chocolate. The company quickly sold out, even though three pints cost a hefty $60! It may be a couple of years before you see its products on your grocery store’s shelves.

For now, the company is focused on becoming a supplier of animal-free protein to big food manufacturers, in hopes that’ll help it introduce the ingredient to a mainstream market. It’s already partnered with agribusiness giants such as ADM, from whom it’s raised some $60 million in venture funding.

It’s smart business for large food manufacturers to get in on this: The American market for for dairy alternatives (including dairy-free ice cream) is growing fast, just like the market for meat alternatives.

By aiming to partner with big manufacturers, Perfect Day is mirroring the strategy favored by meat alternative startups like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, which have teamed up with Burger King and Tyson, respectively.

These big players don’t share vegan values, but they have the mainstream cachet that could help a startup like Perfect Day scale up and penetrate the market faster than it otherwise would.

Source: Vox