Ikeas pop-up restaurant: a crispbread-heavy menu and a virtual reality kitchen

The Swedish multinationals DIY eatery hopes to popularise the dinner party by holding tutored dinner parties in Shoreditch. But is it a flatpack recipe for disaster?

Now why would Ikea open a pop-up restaurant in Shoreditch, east London? I wouldnt even understand there being a permanent one, but at least I wouldnt be plagued with an insistent, existential sense of waste, making me yearn for a giant metaphorical recycling system, probably from Ikea.

The Dining Club, as it is called, showcases Ikeas wares, including the smallest kitchen in the world, which is about the size of a bath. It runs workshops. It employs chefs. It sells Daim bars and has plates full of fake meringue. It hosts tutored dinner parties, with crispbread-centric menus, all for free if you get on to the website fast enough. It has a virtual reality kitchen which (I have to admit this is cool) enables you to experience your workspace from the height of your pets. But why? I dont really know, says Fred Bolin, 41, the head chef. Im just a bit of a stupid chef. Im just thinking about the food.

We run a Life at Home report every year, says Jordi Esquinas, 35, Ikeas head of cooking and eating. And we realised people were spending less and less time cooking and eating. OK, so maybe they need to popularise the dinner party; but why micro-market it to a few score opinion formers? Why?

Then I had an epiphany; the genius of Ikea is that they dont ignore the undesirable. They approach them head-on, and revel in them. Back at the carefree turn of the century, when our biggest problem was how to assemble a Billy bookcase without having to immediately divorce you had to sign a pre-nup before you started about who would get to keep it they turned that into the selling point. Life was meant to be hard. Sweat was Swedish, and Swedish was good. Recently, as lifestyles have become more, shall we say, on the edge, they brought out their microapartment catalogue: dystopian box-living where your children sleep in a bunk above your tiny table, while your friends eat off the floor like dogs.

And across these decades of huge social change, there has been one constant: that as soon as you set foot in an Ikea, you long to escape. You cant; you havent found what you came for, and youve come many miles. You get distracted by a plant pot. You suddenly need a new chopping board. You havent even reached the bathroom section, and its already dark. This was a bold, some might say reckless attempt to make a feature of that, turn the very space that alienates us most into a hearth, a home, a community. If anyone would buy it, it would be the good burghers of east London.

I came out with a load of herring, so they got to me too.

The Dining Club by Ikea is open until 25 September.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/shortcuts/2016/sep/18/ikeas-popup-restaurant-a-flatpack-recipe-for-the-undesirable

Continue Reading

A video shows how one simple dinner plate can say a ton about hunger in America.


Theres something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online.

You’ve seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

GIF via Tasty/YouTube.

The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, “Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight.” And before you know it, you’re at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different.

As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: an empty plate.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that empty plates and empty stomachs are an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Currently, 1 in 7 people in the United States in our schools, communities, and in every county across the country struggle with hunger.

Today, we are down to our last dime, Gaby, a mother of three from Tennessee, told Feeding America. After the bills are paid, there is no money left. In fact, there is no money to pay the bills.

There are 48 million other Americans who know that feeling well.

We never thought our lives would turn out like this no one does, said Gaby. It was after she and her husband Josh both lost their full-time jobs that they found themselves financially underwater while trying to raise three kids. Their money for food quickly dissolved.

Kids have the most to lose with an empty plate.

Research shows that an average food-insecure family of four may forgo up to 100 meals a month because they lack enough money to buy food. That can be detrimental to the physical and emotional development of a child.

When kids dont have energy, they cant concentrate, learn, or grow. How are they supposed to chase their dreams and become productive members of society under those circumstances?

The good news is that hunger is a problem that can be solved if we work together to do it.

There are simple ways to help: becoming involved with a local food bank, checking out these anti-food waste apps, putting pressure on elected officials, and even spreading awareness through fun photo campaigns like this one:

Josh and I may have to skip meals, but we make sure our children never have to, Gaby said. Without help from the food bank, though, I really dont know how wed feed them.

Their local food bank, Second Harvest of Northeast Tennessee, has been there for them while Gaby goes back to school and Josh has started a new job. And thats a big reason she feels confident in saying they won’t always struggle like this.

Life is full of unexpected moments, but having enough food should always be a constant.

It’s hard to get much done on an empty stomach, which is why reducing hunger helps kids grow and strengthens our communities. Not to mention it makes those online food videos that much more appetizing when more people can enjoy them.

Check out the full Feeding America video:


Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-video-shows-how-one-simple-dinner-plate-can-say-a-ton-about-hunger-in-america?c=tpstream

Continue Reading