6 Wholesome Facts About Kashi

Kashi GOLEAN waffles
Kashi GOLEAN waffles
Mr.TinDC, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0 (cropped)

Since 1984, Kashi has sold plant-based foods made primarily from whole grains and seeds. The company is best known for its cereal products (such as the various GOLEAN flavors), but Kashi also makes crackers, snack bars and bites, cookies, waffles, and frozen entrees.

  1. Kashi was founded by Philip and Gayle Tauber.

In the early 1980s, Philip and Gayle Tauber were living in Southern California. They had worked together in business ventures devoted to bodybuilding, and indoor foliage, but wanted to start a company to help people eat more healthfully. They thought about naming their company “Gold'n Grains” and “Graino” before settling on Kashi. Bankers didn't exactly love their natural foods business concept, though, so the couple invested their life savings of $25,000 to get the business off the ground.

  1. The name Kashi is actually a portmanteau ...

Kashi is named after a fusion of the words Kashruth and Kushi. Kashruth refers to Jewish religious dietary laws, or the state of being kosher. Kushi refers to the last name of Michio Kushi, a Japanese teacher who shared his knowledge about the macrobiotic diet with Americans starting back in the 1960s.

  1. Kashi owes a little of its success to the Olympics.

In October 1983, the company launched its first product, Kashi Pilaf, a breakfast blend of seven whole grains and sesame seeds. But the pilaf had to be cooked for more than 25 minutes before eating—longer than most consumers had the patience for—and initial sales were disappointing. However, Kashi helped turned their fortunes around when they became one of the first companies to offer product samples at sporting events during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The samples helped the company develop a small, but loyal, following among athletes and other health-conscious types.

  1. In 2000, the Kellogg company bought Kashi, surprising some food purists.

The cereal behemoth Kellogg’s purchased Kashi in 2000 for $32 million, an acquisition that some people criticized because Kellogg’s food products sometimes contain artificial ingredients and refined grains (Pop-Tarts, anyone?). With the acquisition came a move to Kellogg's headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, although Kashi later moved back to California, a spot seemingly more in keeping with its brand ethos.

  1. Kashi's use of the term natural has attracted controversy …

Because the FDA does not regulate use of the term natural, food companies can use the term without actually defining what that means. In 2012, a grocery store owner in Rhode Island decided to stop selling Kashi products after he learned that Kashi used genetically modified soybeans and non-organic ingredients. He posted a note in his store explaining his decision, and photos of the note went viral on social media. According to USAToday, some consumers believed that the word natural on Kashi packaging implied the cereal was organic and GMO-free. The company later agreed to pay several million dollars in class action lawsuits to consumers who felt their use of the term natural was misleading, and agreed to remove the phrases "all natural" and "nothing artificial" from their products. (Today, all Kashi products are Non-GMO Project Verified.)

  1. Kashi has created a new protocol to support organic farmers.

In 2016, Kashi announced a collaborative effort to support farmers who are in the (time-consuming and expensive) process of transitioning their fields from conventional to organic agriculture. Working with the organic certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI), Kashi developed a new protocol called Certified Transitional, and then purchased the first crop of Certified Transitional ingredients—a hard red winter wheat. The result was their Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits cereal [PDF]. After a successful launch, the company's portfolio now includes eight other Certified Transitional products, and farmers have received more than $1 million to support transitioning their fields as of February 2018 [PDF].

Can't Find Yeast? Grow Your Own at Home With a Sourdough Starter

Dutodom, iStock via Getty Images
Dutodom, iStock via Getty Images

Baking bread can relieve stress and it requires long stretches of time at home that many of us now have. But shoppers have been panic-buying some surprising items since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to pantry staples like rice and beans, yeast packets are suddenly hard to find in grocery stores. If you got the idea to make homemade bread at the same time as everyone on your Instagram feed, don't let the yeast shortage stop you. As long as you have flour, water, and time, you can grow your own yeast at home.

While many bread recipes call for either instant yeast or dry active yeast, sourdough bread can be made with ingredients you hopefully already have on hand. The key to sourdough's unique, tangy taste lies in its "wild" yeast. Yeast is a single-celled type of fungus that's abundant in nature—it's so abundant, it's floating around your home right now.

To cultivate wild yeast, you need to make a sourdough starter. This can be done by combining one cup of flour (like whole grain, all-purpose, or a mixture of the two) with a half cup of cool water in a bowl made of nonreactive material (such as glass, stainless steel, or food-grade plastic). Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let it sit in a fairly warm place (70°F to 75°F) for 24 hours.

Your starter must be fed with one cup of flour and a half cup of water every day for five days before it can be used in baking. Sourdough starter is a living thing, so you should notice is start to bubble and grow in size over time (it also makes a great low-maintenance pet if you're looking for company in quarantine). On the fifth day, you can use your starter to make dough for sourdough bread. Here's a recipe from King Arthur Flour that only calls for starter, flour, salt, and water.

If you just want to get the urge to bake out of your system, you can toss your starter once you're done with it. If you plan on making sourdough again, you can use the same starter indefinitely. Starters have been known to live in people's kitchens for decades. But to avoid using up all your flour, you can store yours in the fridge after the first five days and reduce feedings to once a week.

How to Make Queen Elizabeth’s Beloved Chocolate Biscuit Cake at Home

Queen Elizabeth II at an afternoon tea event in 1999.
Queen Elizabeth II at an afternoon tea event in 1999.
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Between living in regal palaces and owning all the dolphins in the UK, Queen Elizabeth II is not like the rest of us in most ways. But there is one thing that many of us do have in common with her: a weakness for chocolate cake. Back in 2017, former royal chef Darren McGrady shared that the queen is especially partial to a certain chocolate biscuit cake that he served each day for afternoon tea.

"The chocolate biscuit cake is the only cake that goes back again and again and again, every day until it's all gone," McGrady told RecipesPlus. "She'll take a small slice every day until eventually there is only one tiny piece, but you have to send that up; she wants to finish the whole of that cake."

If the queen relocated from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle before she made it to the last slice, McGrady brought the leftover cake with him by train. Wishing you could sample the royal dessert yourself? If you’re willing to spend a little time in the kitchen, you can: The full recipe is available on McGrady’s website.

For novice bakers picturing something decadent and complicated, don’t worry—the recipe is refreshingly simple, calling only for sugar, butter, dark chocolate, one egg, and rich tea biscuits or other sweet, hard cookies. Essentially, all you have to do is crumble the biscuits into small chunks, melt the dark chocolate, combine all the ingredients in a certain order, and let the cake chill in a pan in the refrigerator for a few hours. Then, you use additional melted dark chocolate as frosting.

Step-by-step instructions and ingredient amounts can be found here. And if you’re a little wary about using a raw egg in a no-bake cake, here’s a similar recipe that calls for whipping cream instead.

[h/t The Royal Chef]

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