Against the standardization of taste

Sunday, 19 April, 2015 By Lee Greene
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Given that you are visiting our blog, you probably know that here at Scrumptious Pantry we are all about saving the great flavors of rare heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties. What got me started on this was the discovery of the Ark of Taste, a list of culturally important foods at the risk of extinction – currently 2,431! The Ark oft Taste (like Noah’s Ark!) represents truly artisan food products, heritage breeds and heirloom varieties from all over the world and is curated by Slow Food, a non-for profit active in over 200 countries.

The BBC’s show “The Food Programme” has just launched a fantastic series , telling Ark stories from all over the world. Their first episode is streamed here and gives a great intro into the concept of Ark of Taste and the work done in the UK to preserve heirloom flavors. The episode kicks off with the recently announced mega merger between Kraft and Heinz and how “… more and more of us around the world are eating the same food… sold by food giants… But there is an opposite trend: preserving food diversity, keeping endangered ingredients and flavors alive”. It is a great episode and if you have 21 minutes to spare, we recommend you listen in! Over the following weeks, the Food Programme will end every episode (aired on Monday) with the story of one Ark of Taste product. Make sure to tune in.

We will be eagerly listening to discover tasty stories from all over the world, and hoping our Paw Paw story made the cut. The BBC recored all these stories at Terra Madre last October and we got interviewed about our work, too.

Because whenever we can, we include Ark of Taste varieties in our products – our hope is you will love them as much as we do, so as more eaters discover these tasty heirloom flavors, farmers grow them, chefs use them, eaters will buy them –  so together we can make sure these varieties, kept alive by individual families over generations, also stay with us for generations to come and we have more flavors to enjoy on our plates. Why stop at four meager apple varieties, if there are 7,000 to choose from (that was the amount of varieties cultivated in the US 200 years ago. On the contrary, four varieties make 90% of the global apple trade nowadays).

In our current line up, the following product use Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste varieties:

Scrumptious Pantry heirloom foods Ark of Taste Products


Pickled Beaver Dam Pepper

Paw Paw Curd

American Persimmon Hot Sauce

Chiltepin Hot Sauce

Beaver Dam Pepper Hot Sauce

Heirloom Tomato Relish w. Sheboygan Tomato


As the famous cry of action goes at Slow Food: Eat it to save it!



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