Gothamist/YouTube
Gothamist/YouTube

Restaurant Serves Food Prepared By Grandmothers From Different Cultures

Gothamist/YouTube
Gothamist/YouTube

You don’t have to score a reservation at a world-class restaurant to enjoy a great meal: Some of the best food on earth can be found right in Grandma's kitchen. One restaurant in Staten Island, New York, seeks to bring the ultimate comfort food to patrons in the most authentic way possible. At Enoteca Maria, “nonnas" from around the world take the place of professional chefs, Gothamist reports.

Owner Jody Scaravella felt inspired to employ grandmothers at his restaurant after losing his own grandmother, mother, and sister. "I think subconsciously I was just trying to patch those holes in my life and seeing an Italian grandmother in the kitchen cooking was my idea of comfort," he told Gothamist.

Scaravella started by placing an ad in an Italian-language newspaper calling for "Italian housewives to cook regional dishes." He’s since expanded his team of chefs from those of his own Italian heritage to include grandmothers representing different cultures and ethnicities. At any given time there are two nonnas in the kitchen: one from Italy and one from a different part of the world. A few of the places his cooks hail from include Syria, Poland, Nigeria, Venezuela, Turkey, and France. Enoteca Maria also features one male "nonno" who makes gnocchi, ravioli, and other fresh pasta for the menu.

The kitchen has been staffed by international grandmothers for about a decade, and in that time the establishment has received attention from around New York City and the rest of the world. Enoteca Maria even released its own cookbook last year featuring signature dishes from 10 of the beloved nonnas.

Customers craving a taste of grandma’s home cooking can visit the restaurant Wednesday through Sunday. (The restaurant closes when "everyone goes home!")

[h/t Gothamist]

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iStock
An Eco-Friendly Startup Is Converting Banana Peels Into Fabric for Clothes
iStock
iStock

A new startup has found a unique way to tackle pollution while simultaneously supporting sustainable fashion. Circular Systems, a “clean-tech new materials company,” is transforming banana byproducts, pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark, and flax and hemp stalk into natural fabrics, according to Fast Company.

These five crops alone meet more than twice the global demand for fibers, and the conversion process provides farmers with an additional revenue stream, according to the company’s website. Fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s are already in talks with Circular Systems to incorporate some of these sustainable fibers into their clothes.

Additionally, Circular Systems recycles used clothing to make new fibers, and another technology called Orbital spins those textile scraps and crop byproducts together to create a durable type of yarn.

People eat about 100 billion bananas per year globally, resulting in 270 million tons of discarded peels. (Americans alone consume 3.2 billion pounds of bananas annually.) Although peels are biodegradable, they emit methane—a greenhouse gas—during decomposition. Crop burning, on the other hand, is even worse because it causes significant air pollution.

As Fast Company points out, using leaves and bark to create clothing may seem pretty groundbreaking, but 97 percent of the fibers used in clothes in 1960 were natural. Today, that figure is only 35 percent.

However, Circular Systems has joined a growing number of fashion brands and textile companies that are seeking out sustainable alternatives. Gucci has started incorporating a biodegradable material into some of its sunglasses, Bolt Threads invented a material made from mushroom filaments, and pineapple “leather” has been around for a couple of years now.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Apeel
New Plant-Based Coating Can Keep Your Avocados Fresh for Twice as Long
Apeel
Apeel

Thanks to a food technology startup called Apeel Sciences, eating fresh avocados will soon be a lot easier. The Bill Gates–backed company has developed a coating designed to keep avocados fresh for up to twice as long as traditional fruit, Bloomberg reports, and these long-lasting avocados will soon be available at 100 grocery stores across the Midwestern U.S. Thirty or so of the grocery stores involved in the limited rollout of the Apeel avocado will be Costcos, so feel free to buy in bulk.

Getting an avocado to a U.S. grocery store is more complicated than it sounds; the majority of avocados sold in the U.S. come from California or Mexico, making it tricky to get fruit to the Midwest or New England at just the right moment in an avocado’s life cycle.

Apeel’s coating is made of plant material—lipids and glycerolipids derived from peels, seeds, and pulp—that acts as an extra layer of protective peel on the fruit, keeping water in and oxygen out, and thus reducing spoilage. (Oxidation is the reason that your sliced avocados and apples brown after they’ve been exposed to the air for a while.) The tasteless coating comes in a powder that fruit producers mix with water and then dip their fruit into.

A side-by-side comparison of a coated and uncoated avocado after 30 days, with the uncoated avocado looking spoiled and the coated one looking fresh
Apeel

According to Apeel, coating a piece of produce in this way can keep it fresh for two to three times longer than normal without any sort of refrigeration or preservatives. This not only allows consumers a few more days to make use of their produce before it goes bad, reducing food waste, but can allow producers to ship their goods to farther-away markets without refrigeration.

Avocados are the first of Apeel's fruits to make it to market, but there are plans to debut other Apeel-coated produce varieties in the future. The company has tested its technology on apples, artichokes, mangoes, and several other fruits and vegetables.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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