Archive | December, 2015

Tomorrow’s meatball

16 Dec

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Even if you’d know what they are made of, these meatballs still look quite tasty. And that is exactly the idea. The Danish designlab Space10, also known as the “external Innovation Center” by Ikea, wants to examine whether it’s possible to make sustainable food like algae and insects more attractive by putting them in a familiar form. In this case, the form of a meatball, which makes it no surprise that the project is called: Tomorrow’s Meatball.

Many people have noticed that our current eating habits aren’t very sustainable. Our meat production consumes huge amounts of clean drinking water. It also significantly contributes to global warming. Combine this with the strong growing world population in the coming decades and we can conclude that the future probably won’t be that bright. Therefore, the Space10 team questioned itself: what kind of meatballs will we be eating in about twenty years?

However, the team is aware that some creations might not look very appetizing. Still, Kaave Pour, the creative brains behind the initiative, is convinced that effective design can help to overcome the first thresholds. Take sushi. That’s a good example of how design can encourage people to get to know certain foods. Since sushi has become popular, we think it’s perfectly normal to eat seaweed, algae or raw fish, and I think the design of sushi has played a crucial role in there. Inspired to this, Space10 designed a series of design meatballs where you probably would like to take a bite out of, even if you would know what’s actually in it.

meatball 1The first meatball is made of artificial meat that’s grown in a laboratory. That may not sound so tasty, but there won’t be many people complaining about anymore if half of our planet will be under water as a result of climate change.


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The Wonderful Waste Ball is designed as a response to the large amount of food that is thrown away, even though it’s still good to consume.



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The Mighty Powdered glove Ball is so rich in nutrients that you can almost replace it with an entire meal. It contains vitamins, minerals, proteins and unsaturated fats.



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This nutty meatball is full of proteins and looks delicious. It seems to be completely ready to be packed some environmentally friendly wrap to put it on the shelf of an organic grocery store.



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Algae are very nutritious and can grow almost anywhere, without using too many resources.



meatball 6This meatball looks almost too good to eat. Thanks to the 3D printer, we can now get protein from food that initially doesn’t looks so delicious – such as insects – and turn that into a delectable meal.


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In 80% of all countries it’s normal to eat insects, so it seems only a matter of time before the other 20% (read: the Western world) follows.


I think these meatballs might not improve people’s quality of life at first sight, but it will definitely affect it. I do think that people find the new kinds of meatballs interesting, but they might react a little shocked when they hear what’s really inside. Maybe, if you wouldn’t tell them, they’d just try it.

One time I saw an experiment on TV where they gave 2 guys a bonbon. For them it was just a delicious white chocolate sweet, but what they didn’t know was that it was made of something else than chocolate. I don’t really remember what it was, but I think something like mashed potatoes could be an alternative for the inside of a white chocolate bonbon. So, they put the sweet in their mouth, expecting the taste of the chocolate. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t see this one coming. When they tasted ‘the other thing’ instead of the chocolate, they were pretty shocked. Afterwards they told the host of the show that if they had known it was something else than chocolate, they could’ve been prepared to this and wouldn’t have found it as disgusting as they thought now. This shows that food that looks like something else, misleads people. This can ward off their trust in the new kinds of food that looks like food they already know. On one hand I can see why Space10 wanted to create something that looks familiar to people, but on the other hand I think, by misleading them, they wouldn’t give them their trust in the future when it comes to ‘new food’.

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Easy & delicious Christmas

16 Dec

With Christmas in the prospect, I’m already thinking about what we’re going to eat. Raclette is something we Dutch people do when we gather around with friends and family for a nice and delicious meal. It has become so popular the past few years, that nowadays 1 out of 3 Dutchies use raclette to complete their Christmas party. But what is raclette exactly? Raclette is cooking on an electric Raclette grill, which is positioned in the middle of the table. Everybody gathers around and gets their own small pan to cook the kind of meat and vegetables they want. But, in the eyes of the connoisseur, raclette may be nothing more than vulgar tradition. Not only your clothes are getting smelly, but even your house has to ventilate for a few more days after it. And, even though the food itself is delicious, there aren’t a lot of vitamins in it.

This greasy Christmas tradition we have due to two chefs: Huub Oudshoorn and Ton Boer. They traveled together through Holland from the late 1970s until somewhere in the 1990s to give raclette demonstrations to housewife associations and schools. Preparing your own food at the table exists in many cultures – Korean barbecue, Chinese hotpot or Swiss cheese fondue – but the Dutch raclette tradition was coined by these two gentlemen as an advertising campaign for butchers. To avoid confusion: they have not invented the phenomenon of raclette, but they introduced it to the Dutch people.

In 1977, the Meat Information Office noticed that cheese fondue became very popular. Holland is a land of dairy, but if it continues like this, cheese will become more popular than meat in the future. To avoid this, Oudshoorn and Boer got the assignment to come up with something which would made consumers eat more meat.

Raclette was a perfect solution for butchers to sell more meat. With this, they could show people how to prepare meat and make sure they would buy more meat. Because, instead of one piece of meat per person, you eat three times as much as you’d normally do while doing raclette. From then on, they started to travel the country four times a week to demonstrate the raclette with small pieces of meat, which were made by local butchers. They added different cocktails sauces themselves. By doing this, they introduced raclette to thousands of people. And that’s the reason why we still love to raclette during the holidays.

The secret of raclette is hidden in a few things. It’s typical Dutch: easy and conviviality. You hardly need to prepare and if you take a seat, you don’t need to get up anymore. Another advantage of raclette is that there’s no one to blame when something fails, because you made it yourself.

Even though raclette became much more popular over the years, Oudshoorn and Boer are sorry that supermarkets trumped the butcher with their ready-to-eat gourmet dishes. At the beginning, butchers gained their profit from raclette, but all that cheap meat from the supermarket has conquered the market. However, they want to make people aware of the huge quality difference between meat from the supermarket and meat from a butcher. The second one has more quality, is more sustainable and has a better taste.

After typing this post, I started to think about raclette. I’d still love to do it upcoming Christmas, because I like the way the food is prepared and it’s just really innermost to do with family and friends. However, I’m doubting meat from the supermarket. We always use this meat for raclette, but I get curious what’s the different in taste between this meat and meat from a real butcher. I might go to a butcher this year to buy my groceries for my Christmas meal.

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But in which way does raclette contribute to people’s quality of life? At first, it became more and more popular over the years, which means that people like it. And even though the food isn’t that healthy, the experience of raclette increases people’s QOL. By doing it together, they create a feeling of emotional wellbeing for themselves, which also encourages their quality of life.


Things I find beautiful

9 Dec

The other day, when I was looking through Facebook, I noticed an article about a social experiment. This experiment was invented by 18-year-old photographer Shea Glover from Chicago. In May this year, she started a video project where she filmed ‘things’ she liked. That’s exactly what she told her fellow students. She was curious about people’s reactions when she told them they were beautiful.

There were many different reactions to the message of being called beautiful. You can notice a lot of emotions, feelings and thoughts in people’s reactions. Some of them were positive, like happiness, joy, exuberance, modesty, shyness or being flattered. Other reaction were not so positive. For example, disbelief, indifference, defenses or even anger. As you can see, a range of human reactions were expressed by this simple experiment.

It’s very clear that people have different reactions at a compliment like this. These reactions are representations of how they see themselves. If you don’t think you’re pretty, your reaction can be incredulously or maybe even angry. You can feel fooled or maybe even offended. However, if you do like yourself, this remark can feel like a confirmation or a compliment. It can even give someone who is uncertain about his or her appearance a sense of certainty. It loosens comments, depending how the other person thinks about himself.

While I was watching the video, I caught myself with a huge smile on my face. Seeing people getting shy, happy or even angry about a simple compliment as being called beautiful was so nice, but also very interesting to see. It just made me wanted to smile, just like most people in the video.

After watching I began to think about compliments. What would I do if I got a compliment like that? Probably I would blush with modesty, but be very flattered as well and take the compliment with proud. It’s not that I think of myself as a very pretty girl, but hearing others do would give me a great feeling. But also, knowing from personal experience, everybody gets a lot happier when you just take the compliment instead of saying ‘no, that’s not true’.  This shows that you’re probably not confident enough about yourself to take a compliment or just believe the person who gives it to you. It also gives the person who gives you the compliment a bad feeling, because you didn’t accept her or his meaning. In a certain way you can offend him or her by rejecting the compliment. So, next time someone gives you a compliment: smile, say thank you and just be happy that someone confirms your beauty.

This post says a lot about people’s health. By giving someone a compliment, you can put a smile on her or his face. If you manage this, you’ll increase their mental health. For a moment, they’ll get a feeling of happiness. And believe it or not, this smile you just gave this person could make his entire day. This inner confident boost will make them feel happier, more confident and stronger. It also increase their physical health, because, if you feel good on the inside, it will be shown on the outside.

The final conclusion of this post is simple: give some compliments now and then. It will not only make the receiver of the compliment happy, but it’ll also give you a great feeling of making others happy by complimenting them. Just give it a try!




Green to go

8 Dec

Even though I don’t ride my bike as often as I should, there are many people who still do every day, even when it’s raining. Of course, Holland is known for its bike riding and everything, but the seduction of taking the car when it’s raining becomes much bigger when you finally get your driver’s license.

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But, for those diehards wo still take the bike, moving from one destination to another ASAP is one of the most important thing when it’s raining. However, this can be difficult. Especially in the city when there are lots of traffic lights. For us cyclers, this is one of the biggest irritations; the endlessly waiting for a traffic light while all these dry motorists drive along. To make cycling in the rain a little more pleasant, in the city Rotterdam they’ve developed traffic lights who turn to green faster when it’s raining.

The city is getting better at responding to cyclists through things as wider cycle paths. Now they’re trying to enhance the bicycle experience even more. On a crossroad within the city they set up an experiment. They placed a sensor which notices when it’s raining.

Where bicycle lights are up to a maximum of three minutes on red, it gets adjusted to a maximum of about 40 seconds when it’s raining. This means that motorists, who are in their dry cars anyways, have to wait a little longer. A smart innovation for cyclists, but maybe an adverse change for motorists.

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For now, the sensors are only placed in Rotterdam. The municipality already suggests to expand these plans within Rotterdam. When it becomes a success, the idea will be transferred to other cities as well. It sounds like a great plan, so let’s hope it becomes a success so we all benefit!