For the most part, I think people are inherently good. After all, gathering with strangers to save a drowning family or planting a tree every single day for 12 years is more than just intuition. With Hurricane Harvey on a full rampage, people have demonstrated as utmost selflessness towards others. These Houston bakers trapped in El Bolillo Bakery spent 48 hours baking bread for flood victims while waiting for rescue.
The workers used 4,400 pounds of flour to prepare hundreds of loaves of bolillos, kolaches and pan dulce for storm victims. As Harvey raged on, they found motivation in the good their work would do for the community. “They knew it was going to be needed,”
Luckily, despite floodwaters seeping in through the bakery doors, El Bolillo never lost power. Immediately after owner Kirk Michaelis evacuated staff, he personally delivered the baked goods to shelters across Houston.
“We’re not anything compared to some of the people out there working and doing amazing things,” Michaelis said. “We’re just doing our little part.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d call Michaelis and his staff pretty heroic.
If there is a better, cleaner, and faster way to make something, it’s probably the way to go. Synthetic wine is proving just that. The process uses no grapes but it just as tasty as any Sauvignon. Now, the brewing industry is following suit with Toast Ale craft beer, made from wasted bread.
Since Toast Ale launched in the U.K. in 2016, it has saved a total of 11 tons of bread from becoming trash there. In July 2017, Toast Ale expanded to the United States… By this time next year… Toast Ale will be saving 907 kilograms of bread a month in New York City alone, nearly 12 tons a year.
While the process may sound unusual, it has actually been common practice for some 7,000 years. Toast Ale works with existing breweries to avoid the hassle of building an entirely new facility. Also, the bread they work with is far from bad — so why have they been discarded?
Supermarkets demand that produce look a certain way, forcing suppliers to throw out perfectly good produce. Because the cost falls on the supplier, supermarkets are not incentivized to help reduce waste.
While I am throwing said markets some serious side eye, it’s businesses like Toast Ale that make living sustainably dough-able.
Ava Winery took the first step towards eco-friendly alcohol by creating synthetic wine. It seems sustainable distillery Misadventure and Co. are following in its footsteps by filtering Vodka made with food waste.
Once a week, it collects about a thousand pounds of bread products that a local food bank would otherwise throw out… “We get Twinkies, Ho Hos, French baguettes, crullers, you name it,” [says] co-owner Whit Rigali. “The whole bakery aisle goes into our vodka.”
Normally, Vodka is sugar from fermented starch. Using bread isn’t much different. The ingredients are first combined into a large blender and mashed into a porridge-like consistency. The distillery then adds yeast and moves on to the distillation process. The result? A pretty darn good Vodka.
“If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest contributor of greenhouse gases behind the United States and China,” [co-owner] Chereskin says. “In 2014, the amount of food wasted could fill the Empire State Building 90-some times.”
Expired Twinkies may not sound like an appetizing component of any cocktail — but it sure is unique.