Food Inc.: Corporations Cooking for Us

Who decides what we eat - CookinGenie

04 Nov 2020

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Food Inc.: Corporations Cooking for Us

A few years ago, an infographic went viral that showed how most of the world’s food brands are owned by just a handful of corporations. 

food brands owned by corporations

Image Source: visualcapitalist

Around the same time that this infographic started circulating, a study found that nearly 60% of the calories in the modern American diet come from processed foods.  

 How did we get here with our food 

 In the early years of our countryhome cooked meals & fresh cooked meals were the ways to eatWe plucked our own chickens, grew our own vegetables, made our own bread. We ate whole foods made from scratch. There were innovations—a company called Van Camp sold canned beans to the Union Army during the Civil War, Clarence Birdseye introduced frozen foods in the 1920s—but for the most part, we knew where your food came from or at least knew the local farmer or butcher who provided our ingredients. 

 It was post World War II that our food supply really started to change. Food manufacturers who had secured government contracts during the war saw their profits plummet. To make up for lost wartime revenue, they started introducing new food innovations designed to appeal to housewives’ demand for convenience, like Minute Maid concentrated orange juice, Duncan Hines cake mixes, and Minute Rice.1 

(Also ReadMade to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis)

The way Americans shopped for food was changing, tooTurn-of-the-century housewives bought their food from the freestanding grocer, butcher, and dry goods stores. They’d hand their shopping list to the store clerk, and the clerk would pick all the items for them. The first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, opened in Memphis in 1916, and this new store model—where consumers roamed through the store picking out their own items from the shelf—quickly caught on. According to the National Women’s History Museumbetween 1948 and 1958, the number of supermarkets in the United States doubled to over 2,500 and for the first time, it was cheaper to buy processed food than fresh.   

 Suddenly there were lots of money to be made in packaged convenience foods and the mergers and acquisitions began. Large companies started gobbling up smaller brands, and the steady consolidation of the industry continues to grow. In the last 20 years, there have been 9,007 mergers and acquisitions in the food, beverage, and grocery space, according to The Food Institute.  

 Industry watchdog Food & Water Watch says that all this consolidation means that these companies have an outsized influence on the food choices, diets, and working conditions of people around the world — not to mention the impact they have on the environment. Reduced competition gives these corporations control of the market price that farmers get for their crops and livestock. It’s led to the decrease of family farms and the growth of factory farms, ecologically damaging farming practices, and more and more unhealthy processed foods on grocery store shelves.  

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Amidst all this, what can we do to eat healthy? We love eating out and that will always remain an enjoyable experience. But the sure shot way to eat healthily is to have more home cooked meals. Meal prepping can also be an effective strategy. But if modern life gets in the way of fresh cooked meals or meal prepping, consider businesses like CookinGenie. CookinGenie can send a Genie (culinary experts ranging from classically trained chefs to specialized home cooks) to your house to make home-cooked meals for you and your family. Click here to view our menus and book your Genie today & enjoy fresh cooking from wholesome ingredients.  


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15 Jul 2020

What is CookinGenie? CookinGenie is a service where delicious and healthy home-cooked meals come with only a couple of taps on your smartphone. The twist is that the food is cooked right in your kitchen.

It’s not catering. It’s not meal kits. It’s not food delivery. It’s not frozen 500 miles away.

It’s made fresh with ingredients from your neighborhood grocery. Enjoy it fresh for lunch or dinner, or as leftovers after. CookinGenie is ideal for you, your family & small parties of less than ten people.

How does it work? Go online to CookinGenie.com and select your dish and a time for our Genies to come to your very own house and cook JUST for you, your family & perhaps a few friends. Then all you have to do is sit back & relax.

Wait, who are our Genies you ask? They are experienced cooks who make delicious foods. Some of them have worked in restaurants before. How do we know about their cooking? Simple, we taste their foods before they cook for you.

A restaurant inside your home. The world on your taste buds (yes we have cooks from diverse backgrounds). More YOU time, while dinner is taken care of.

Check us out today. Book a time with one of our Genies – then sit back & watch us conjure up your dinner. Sounds too good to be true? Yes…. it’s magical. Visit Now: cookingenie.com

 

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15 Mar 2020

Most of us feel pretty confident in our ability to read labels and know what we’re putting into our bodies. But sometimes, understanding food labels can be daunting. We feel like we need PHDs in food science. Did you know, for example, that there are 61 ways in which sugar can be described on food labels? Surprised? We thought as much.

The FDA requires that ingredients be listed by weight in all packaged foods. Most of us are savvy enough to realize that the ingredients are listed from greatest to least, but there may be more than one form of sugar in the packaging. Bottomline, when you read food labels, be sure to understand everything that is listed. If you recognized all the ways in which sweeteners are put in packaged foods, you can make an informed choice about what you are buying.

In a recent article published by UCSF it was revealed that manufacturers add sugar to 74% of packaged foods. Consumers expect sugar to be added to dessert type items like cookies and cakes, but many are shocked to find out that otherwise “healthy” foods such as yogurt, breakfast bars, and juice often contain sugar. In some packaged foods, multiple sweeteners are used with different names.

So how can you be sure what you’re eating is healthy? Well the FDA is considering revising the guidelines for how food labels are created to help people better understand what they are putting in their bodies. But industry wide changes take time.

We, at CookinGenie, started our business with the core value that cooking from scratch is the healthiest way to eat. However, not all of us have the time to cook from scratch. If you fall in that bucket, consider CookinGenie. Our Genies are here to cook from scratch in your own kitchens. We choose only the freshest ingredients from your neighborhood groceries and prepare your food right in front of you in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Enough suspense on the 61 names for sugar though. Here they are:

1. Agave nectar,
2. Barbados sugar,
3. Barley malt,
4. Barley malt syrup,
5. Beet sugar,
6. Brown sugar,
7. Buttered syrup,
8. Cane juice,
9. Cane juice crystals,
10. Cane sugar,
11. Caramel,
12. Carob syrup,
13. Castor sugar,
14. Coconut palm sugar,
15. Coconut sugar,
16. Confectioner’s sugar,
17. Corn sweetener,
18. Corn syrup,
19. Corn syrup solids,
20. Date sugar,
21. Dehydrated cane juice,
22. Demerara sugar,
23. Dextrin,
24. Dextrose,
25. Evaporated cane juice,
26. Free-flowing brown sugars,
27. Fructose,
28. Fruit juice,
29. Fruit juice concentrate,
30. Glucose,
31. Glucose solids,
32. Golden sugar,
33. Golden syrup,
34. Grape sugar,
35. HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup),
36. Honey,
37. Icing sugar,
38. Invert sugar,
39. Malt syrup,
40. Maltodextrin,
41. Maltol,
42. Maltose,
43. Mannose,
44. Maple syrup,
45. Molasses,
46. Muscovado,
47. Palm sugar,
48. Panocha,
49. Powdered sugar,
50. Raw sugar,
51. Refiner’s syrup,
52. Rice syrup,
53. Saccharose,
54. Sorghum syrup,
55. Sucrose,
56. Sugar (granulated),
57. Sweet sorghum,
58. Syrup,
59. Treacle,
60. Turbinado sugar,
61. Yellow sugar

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Delicious Gluten Free Meals with CookinGenie

06 Jul 2021

The Challenge of Eating Gluten Free

For many Americans, trying to find good gluten free meals is a never-ending struggle. It’s estimated that about 30% of Americans follow a gluten free diet. A small number of these people have celiac disease, a rare disorder that causes violent illness after consuming products with gluten, but many others avoid gluten due to more minor sensitivities or to improve overall health.

Whatever your reason for seeking out gluten free meals, there’s no doubt it can be challenging. Today, as the popularity of gluten free diets have risen, it is easier to find gluten free foods, but there can still be many obstacles.

Many restaurants still don’t offer very many gluten free options on their menus, or menus don’t have specific dietary labels, which can make it hard for diners to distinguish which items are safe to order. Even in the grocery store, unless an item is clearly marked as gluten free, it can be hard to read labels and determine what is actually gluten free or not.

CookinGeine Has Plenty of Delicious Gluten Free Menu Items

This dynamic can make trying to cook gluten free meals at home difficult. Luckily, CookinGenie can service all your gluten free meal needs and then some! Scroll through the menus of our many talented genies, and you’ll find plenty of healthy, delicious gluten free meals available.

Treat yourself to a heart-healthy, gluten free meal of Pan-Seared Salmon over Creamed Spinach, courtesy of genie Lashondre’a Lenor. Or if you’re looking for an elegant gluten free chicken dinner, look no further than the delightful Lemon-Rosemary Cornish Hens found on genie Dylan Tompkin’s menu.

And if you also follow a vegan diet, (we have plenty of vegan food too) there are still plenty of delicious gluten free meals to be found on CookinGenie, such as genie Vanessa Cahoun’s amazing Jamaican Vegetable Curry or genie Ozelm Saritoprak’s authentic Turkish Stuffed Grape Leaves.

Our Genies go the Extra Mile to Create Gluten Free Dishes

Our genies take care to carefully select their ingredients to be accommodating to many different dietary restrictions. Take, for example, genie Jared Kent’s vibrant Pad Thai, which uses gluten free soy sauce, opening up dishes to gluten free eaters that might not normally be available.

Amazingly, that even goes for dessert! It’s notoriously hard to find good gluten free desserts, but CookinGenie has you covered. You can get your fix for a gluten free chocolate craving with genie Lamont Denny’s addicting Chocolate Caramel Turtles or genie Christian Farah’s decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars.

Each dish is marked with tags that explicitly note if that item is gluten free, so there’s no guesswork involved. But even if you see a dish that’s not marked as gluten free, there’s a good chance if you give us a call, we can work with your genie to adjust it to your preferences. Often times all it takes is swapping out flour or pasta for a gluten free alternative. Our genies are skilled adapters and are happy to go above and beyond to satisfy their customers.

Eating gluten free can be tough; let CookinGenie make it a little easier, and a little more delicious.

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