In the U.S., diners throw away about 40 percent of the country's food supply every year. Food waste is a huge issue, but it’s hard not to occasionally let fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and other fresh foods wither in your fridge. What if you could avoid the frustration of taking out a slice of bread only to realize it’s covered in mold?
Andy George of the video series "How to Make Everything" wanted to put together a sandwich that wouldn’t go bad—one that he could come back to in a year and still safely eat. To do so, he talked to Daniel O’Sullivan, a professor of microbiology at the University of Minnesota, about the causes of spoilage. Essentially, keeping foods from spoiling means creating an environment where mold, yeast, and bacteria can’t grow.
The main ways to stop food from going bad include lowering temperatures, dehydrating, or lowering the pH (through pickling or fermentation), all of which make it difficult for those microbes to grow. George pickled, dried, smoked, and salted everything he needed to make a sandwich (even the bread), trying each technique on each ingredient to compare how they aged.
Delicious? Absolutely not. But safe? Yes—at least some of them. (Note: Don’t smoke your eggs.)
Loving coffee is a year-round activity, but in the dog days of summer you may not be in the mood for a steaming hot cup of joe. That’s why we asked Eamon Rockey, Director of Beverage Studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, to help us concoct three delicious cold coffee treats.
Coffee tonic is a simple, refreshing alternative when you get sick of plain old iced coffee. Granita di caffè—basically a grown-up snow cone— is an Italian classic. And Eamon’s “milk and honey” take on a Greek frappè is a caffeinated milkshake with just enough sweetness to be addictive.
The recipes all start with cold brew concentrates, which are increasingly available at grocery stores and ensure a consistent product from start to finish. You could also use refrigerated coffee leftover from the morning or any other (preferably strong) iced coffee; you may sacrifice a bit of consistency and flavor, but something tells us they’ll still be delicious.
Coffee Tonic Recipe
Grady’s Cold Brew Concentrate (or your preferred substitute)
Pour equal amounts of cold brew concentrate and tonic water into glass.
Add ice and stir.
“Express” (i.e. squeeze to release essential oils) a large piece of lemon peel into glass
Garnish with lemon and serve.
Granita Di Caffè Recipe
Red Thread Cold Brew Concentrate With a Hint of Chocolate (or your preferred substitute)
Simple Syrup (Optional)
Berries and/or Whipped Cream to Garnish
Pour cold brew concentrate into a freezer safe vessel
Optionally, for a sweeter treat, add ¼ cup simple syrup (50 percent water, 50 percent sugar) and stir
Place into a freezer and let nearly freeze (1-2 hours)
Break up any ice crystals with a fork and place back in freezer for roughly 30 minutes
Repeat step four two or more times, as needed, until the mixture is all icy granules
Alternately, skip steps three to six and leave coffee mixture until frozen (2-3 hours). Scrape vigorously with a fork. You may sacrifice some of the light texture of the other method, but the process is considerably simpler.
Serve with berries or (ideally fresh) whipped cream
“Milk and Honey” Greek Frappè Recipe
One Half of a Vanilla Bean
3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
3 Tbsp. Honey
3 Tbsp. Milk
4 oz. Grady’s Cold Brew Concentrate (or your preferred substitute)
Splash of soda water (optional)
Scrape half of a vanilla bean and add to heavy cream
Make whipped cream by mixing with whisk/hand mixer, or by shaking vigorously in cocktail shaker
Add honey to milk and stir to combine
Add milk/honey mixture to whipped cream and stir
Pour cold brew concentrate and a splash of soda water into glass
Top with half of the whipped cream/milk/honey mixture and stir
When Howard Schultz visited Milan, Italy in 1983 and realized the city was home to more than 1500 coffee bars, a light bulb went off in his head. Four years later, the ambitious Schultz acquired Starbucks—which had previously only sold ground coffee in bags, with no single servings—and proceeded to turn it from a six-store Seattle operation into a global phenomenon. Unlock the secrets of your home away from home with these 14 frothy facts.
1. Starbucks has a ban on smells.
Because aroma is so crucial to the Starbucks experience, Schultz—the company's longtime CEO who retired in 2018 and is now its Chairman Emeritus—laid down the law early on: Nothing can interfere with the smell of their freshly-ground coffee. The stores banned smoking in the late 1980s, years before the practice was commonplace; employees are alsao asked not to wear perfume or cologne [PDF].
The siren of the famous Starbucks logo is intended to represent the seductive power of coffee, with her hair tastefully covering any hint of immodesty. But when Starbucks was still a regional chain in 1970s Seattle, their logo was far more candid: The mermaid had fully-exposed breasts. Some customers commented on it, but it didn’t become scandalous until the company began making deliveries and had to put their signage on trucks. Reluctant to traffic in portable nudity, the logo was revised.
3. An immunologist cracked the Starbucks coffee code.
Infectious disease specialist Don Valencia was essentially just goofing off in 1990 when he developed a coffee bean extract that smelled and tasted just like the real thing. After neighbors couldn’t tell the difference between his sample and fresh coffee, he tried it out on a barista. Eventually, word got to Starbucks executives, who hired Valencia in 1993. Using his discovery to branch out into retail sales, Starbucks quickly became a top-seller of bottled coffee and super-premium ice cream—for a time, they even outsold pint-sized king Häagen-Dazs.
4. There have been Starbucks stores made out of old shipping containers.
In a monument to the company’s eco-friendly attitude, several stores built out of retired shipping containers have opened since 2011. Some use run-off drains to feed rainwater to nearby vegetation; others use local materials such as discarded wooden fencing to complete the job. The recycled storefronts are typically drive-thru only, but video cameras allow patrons to see a friendly barista's face. At 1000 square feet, they’re also smaller than a typical store—and Starbucks has every intention of using that tiny footprint to burrow its way into locations previously thought to be too small to lease.
5. Starbucks managers were forced to play with Mr. Potato Head.
Eager to ramp up efficiency in the face of stiffer competition in 2009, Starbucks dispatched executive Scott Heydon for some updated managerial training. To demonstrate how employees can cut down on idle time behind the counter, Heydon instructed managers to assemble a Mr. Potato Head toy and then put him back in his box in under 45 seconds. At least one supervisor was able to pick up the scattered pieces and re-assemble the spud in under 16 seconds.
6. The Starbucks CIA location is as secretive as you’d expect.
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Like most office buildings, the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia runs on caffeine. But it doesn’t run like a typical Starbucks: Baristas undergo background checks and aren't allowed to leave their posts without a CIA escort. Customer names cannot be called out or written on cups due to security concerns. Despite the precautions, it’s still a social atmosphere: According to TheWashington Post, one key member of the team that assisted in locating Osama bin Laden was recruited there.
7. The Starbucks employee dress code is very specific.
When Schultz opened his line of Il Giornale espresso bars in 1985, he mandated employees wear the bow ties and crisp white shirts common in Italy. The current dress code [PDF] has relaxed on the Pee-Wee attire but still insists on a certain kind of conformity. Rings cannot have stones; brightly-colored purple or pink hair is not welcome; untucked shirts can’t expose your midsection when bending over; ear gauges should be less than 10mm. Think you're going to sport a face tattoo or septum ring? Mister, the only thing you’re brewing is trouble.
Skiers in Squaw Valley, California looking for a caffeine fix don’t have to take off their equipment: the Starbucks at the Gold Coast Resort is open to visitors via a Ski-Thru. They also take orders from the aerial lift. What could be better?
9. Nonfat milk resulted in a Starbucks corporate standoff.
When Howard Behar came to Starbucks as an executive in 1989, he was dismayed to find that many customers had filled out comment cards voicing their desire for nonfat milk. But Schultz and his team had decided they didn’t like the taste and that nonfat wasn’t authentically Italian. Behar argued that customers should get whatever they wanted. Store managers protested, but when Schultz personally witnessed a customer walk out over the lack of options, he relented. Today, it's estimated that half of the company’s cappuccinos and lattes are frothed without fat.
10. You can get a Butterbeer frappucCino at Starbucks (if you know the right way to ask).
The preferred thirst-quencher for Harry Potter fans, Butterbeer isn’t really available outside of the books or the Universal Studios attraction—but you can get a pretty good approximation by requesting a Frappucino with caramel syrup, caramel drizzle, and toffee nut syrup.
11. The round tables at Starbucks may help you feel less lonely.
Feeling self-conscious about sitting in a Starbucks by yourself? Don’t be: the round tables are there to help. The company believes that circular dining areas can make a space feel less empty when compared to the stern edges of a rectangular or square table. They don’t want you to feel alone. So, so alone.
12. The Disney Starbucks has magic chalkboards.
When Starbucks opened at Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida, some of the company’s trademark features were tweaked to fit their magical affiliation. The chalkboard was re-imagined as a 70-inch touch screen that can render illustrations in real time. Customers can also “draw” on the screen using their fingers, take selfies, and see what visitors in Disney’s Anaheim Starbucks are up to.
13. Some Starbucks stores have the technology for the greatest cup of coffee possible.
Starbucks cares a great deal about serving an excellent cup of coffee. Employees never let brewed pots sit for more than 30 minutes, and stores use no artificially-flavored grounds. The next giant leap in bean prep might be the Clover, a proprietary machine engineered by Stanford that costs $13,000 to install and uses a vacuum and elevator system to shoot coffee grounds upward with precision water temperatures the result is said to be a peerless experience. If you’re lucky enough to be near a store that has one, expect to pay up to $5 a cup.
14. Customers think Starbucks gives away newspapers. It doesn't. Now it doesn't sell them, either.
For years, many Starbucks locations provided newspapers like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to customers. That practice stopped in September 2019. Why? People believed the papers were provided as a gratuity and left them in a pile or walked out with a paper without paying.
Additional Sources:Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup At a Time.