I would like to use my time this week to welcome a new website to our Bay Area blog community: Mighty Foods.
This site, focused on "natural foods, organic ingredients, fair-trade products, veg-friendly recipes, sustainable farming, whole grains, organic wines, ingredient spotlights, news, profiles, reviews, gift ideas, new product information, culinary travel ideas, studies and trends -- information and inspiration, all wrapped up in one food-loving bundle," is the brainchild of Heidi Swanson and a small group of writers who make up the "Mighty Staff."
You may know Heidi from her site, 101 Cookbooks, from her book, Cook 1.0: A Fresh Approach to the Vegetarian Kitchen or from her articles for NPR or Edible San Francisco.
Why did you decide to start Mighty Foods?
There are a lot of food producers and manufacturers out there who are taking advantage of consumer trust and 'good faith'. They are selling and promoting products of the lowest conceivable quality -- cheaply produced 'food' derived from poor quality base ingredients. These are products and ingredients that are nutritionally compromised and created in an industrialized production cycle that often includes chemicals, pesticides, hormones, and questionable additives and preservatives. I'm upset about it.
Instead of focusing exclusively on all the horrible things that are going on in the industrialized segment of the American food cycle, we are interested in getting people excited about what is good out there -- delicious whole grains, natural sweeteners, and fresh farm-grown produce -- the Mighty Foods. We want to corral all sorts of information and inspiration about these types of natural foods -- all in one spot.
What type of person would read Mighty Foods?
Someone interested in what they are putting in their body. Someone interested in what their kids are consuming. The site will appeal to the adventurous chef. Also, people who love to cook, who are looking for ways to cook with natural, minimally processed ingredients or people interested in new trends and new products in this segment of the market.
Is this site more for people who are already committed to a natural lifestyle? Or is it also aiming to educate people who haven't taken the step yet toward a less industrialized lifestyle?
On a fundamental level we are interested in food that tastes the best. So, if for example, you have a new, all-natural, oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie that comes on the market and tastes crappy -- no bonus points for trying. There is a wide enough palette of delicious whole ingredients out there that the all-natural cookie should taste better than its refined counterpart.
Hopefully the people who are already interested in a more natural approach to food and cooking will feel right at home, and the people who are just starting to get ideas and information will be inspired.
I think people are beginning to realize its not just as simple as 'don't eat those fries' or choosing products that are free of trans-fats, it is much bigger than that. The building blocks of our everyday cooking are all refined -- the flours, the sugars, the salts, the oils. The recipes in all our cookbooks call for refined, denatured base ingredients, and it just goes on from there.
It's a strong cycle, and will be a tough tide to turn. It's really all about a re-education of the way people shop and cook. We feel like people are open-minded, but they are confused and don't really know where to go of inspiration and direction, heck, we are still confused at times -- we want to help and also learn in the process.
Who is behind Mighty Foods?
Me and a small, talented, collective of people that will probably evolve and change over time - but will most likely remain anonymous. If I could have figured out how to make the site completely anonymous, I probably would have -- I just couldn't figure it out technically.
Blogs in many cases are very personal, Mighty Foods isn't about a single person, or a single person's perspective - I've already got a site like that with 101 Cookbooks. I'm much more interested in exploring the collective at this point - the premise for Mighty Foods lends itself nicely to the power of the collective.