Touch, Then Feel

“Tactile experience my ass,” I heard my stepfather exclaim to no one. “I’ll show you the tactile experience of the pulse button on my CuisineArt.” 

He was a master amateur cook. His steak au poivre was unparalleled. His chilled salmon terrines  firm and delicately flavorful.  He was a surgeon by trade and knew his way around a carving knife. He appreciated and understood the chemistry of cooking.

He was responding to someone he saw on TV, whom he judged as a Luddite, who was making, in his opinion, the hopelessly flawed argument for the “tactile experience of food.” Her position was that one should chop everything with a knife, beat everything with a whisk, and avoid the utilization of electricity on the countertop. 

My stance is in between.  I try to avoid the tactile experience of washing dishes. If it takes longer to chop with a knife which but is quicker to clean than the food processor, I’ll choose the knife, even if the net prep time is longer.  That said, last night, with a haphazard pyramid of Brussel sprouts piled before me, I began chopping them in half, got through about 4 of them, despaired, pulled out the food processor and they were sliced in literally one second.  It was so satisfying. And this morning, the food processor bowl is still in the kitchen sink, waiting for its tactile experience with the sponge and dishwashing liquid.

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Knives or blades...?

The point here is that all cooking, prep, and cleaning should be pleasurable. Sometimes, convenient isn’t the same as pleasurable, sometimes it is. Let’s think about the tactile experience of what our food is stored and packaged in.  What I never find pleasurable is dealing with single-use plastic packaging.

How does that empty plastic bottle feel in the hand verses a glass one? It seems people have come to fear glass for its weight and breakability. But I think these attributes are assets. I find them pleasurable. I hate wrangling a cumbersome and nearly weightless plastic bag of empty plastic bottles into the dirty recycling bin. I much prefer the experience of glass in crates. I’ve never broken a glass bottle, and I tend to keep them for a while and use them for different things. I like the feeling, when I do return them for deposit, of getting some money back. It feels like free money, or like an incidental savings account. No downside to the tactile experience of reusable and renewable packaging, I say. Do you?

Your faithful Ozarkan,
Beth

A Single-Use-Plastic-Free Aisle? We're A Whole Single-Use-Plastic-Free Store.

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A search for "plastic free aisle petition" yields over 150,000 results.  The idea is that grocery stores respond to the demand for an aisle where the entire selection is liberated from single-use plastic packaging.

Ozarka is doing one better than that--or 5 or 10 or even 20 better than that.  Every aisle in Ozarka will be free from single-use plastic.   

And we're more than a glorified bulk foods store.  It's the stuff that we buy every day that's overwhelming our recycling schemes.  And you know what we're talking about: the bottles, the wrappers...the packaging traditional grocery stores force you to deal with has become part of the model.

All of our packaging, that's right, all of it, will be return for deposit, backyard compostable, or 100% non-plastic recyclable materials (such as glass) that are not downcycled.  You can walk into Ozarka empty handed and shop with us. And we'll make it really easy for you to bring the stuff back. Promise. 

So ok, it's righteous to shop for groceries knowing you aren't using excessive petroleum-based single-use packaging. But if we can't make this crazy convenient for you, we can't ask you to keep coming back. Our goal is to make you love shopping with us so much you won't even notice how awesomely environmentally responsible you've become. 

And, and, and...more.  We're also going to deliver the best fresh cut and prepared foods throughout the land.   An authentic traditional hummus done properly? Folks, it ain't even hard to get this right.

Your faithful Ozarkan,

Beth

 

 

Taking the Con Out of Convenience

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While Ozarka is still gestating and is for now a dream, a plan, and a digital destination, my schedule is more fluid. This gives me time to cook. One of my favorite ways to cook is to collect leftover bits and bobs and toss them together—usually the best way to do this is with a quick fry up or with an eggy thingy. Today it’s an eggy thingy made with a bit of tomato, zucchini, onion, dried herbs, sautéed chorizo (which is magic) and a semi-hard cheese sitting in the back of the fridge. 

Next, I’ll make crepes and use them to for the remainder of a jam I made by resuscitating fresh-frozen berries.

I’m cooking a lot right now because I can and because I like to. But I’m not a home maker. I’m not Martha or Nigella. My hero is Julia. She started her entrepreneurial career later in life, as am I. She embraced mistakes and failures. She advised her readers never to apologize and encouraged them to trash their kitchens. She was a revolutionary. She was weird.  I love her. I’m not alone. I was very pleased to learn I am not the only one who skips past the Julie parts and just watches the Julia parts on Netflix.

Back to the point. Listen. I’m not a hardcore person.  If I can’t make the Ozarka lifestyle easy for myself, I will never expect my customers to participate in it.  Mastering a seamlessly convenient experience that is also sustainable is hard and complex. That’s the fun of this. Taking the con out of convenience means substituting processed, fake food with the real deal. We are going to replace processed foods with high quality, simple and fresh prepared foods. I can’t wait to show you what’s on offer. When we crack this nut, just like Julia, we are going to make a monumental impact together.

Your faithful Ozarkan,

Beth