Mexico’s demand for peanuts outweighs supply so the U.S. is a top source for peanuts. And it’s been growing in importance. From 2007 to 2017, US peanut sales to Mexico more than quadrupled. That’s a lot of cacahuetes! In the U.S., the number one way to enjoy peanuts is in peanut butter. But in Mexico, it’s all about peanut snacks.
The food landscape is changing faster than ever. No longer do we want foods that simply fill our stomachs, we want to choose foods that help change the world, that foster social causes or give back to the environment, and more.
Several peanut and peanut butter companies reflect this larger, broader role food has taken on in recent years, while still making sure peanut products are both delicious and nutritious. Here’s a look at three companies taking on causes that are making real changes in our world.
Peanuts originated in South America 10,000 years ago, and their spread to the northern neighbor Mexico positions peanuts in this cuisine as authentic and traditional as it gets. Few cooking experts understand this better than Chef Iliana de la Vega. Originally from Mexico City, Chef Iliana’s calm and friendly demeanor belies a steely determination to share traditional regional Mexican cuisine within the US. Chef Iliana has established herself as the premiere expert on Latin cuisine, including receiving the prestigious Ohtli award from the Mexican government in 2014.
The ease, convenience and affordability of street foods is what launched them into the hearts and stomachs of people throughout the world. The food trucks, carts and booths that sell street foods are unique – they are often locally owned and operated, but feature global cuisines. The offerings are ever changing, adapting to new trends and testing new flavors, always providing consumers with tasty and trendy dishes.
So, what’s hot and next for street foods?
American-born Taiwanese Chef restauranteur Chris Cheung has quite the killer resume – having cooked with famed chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Vong and Jean-Georges. Currently, he serves as the executive chef of Tansuo restaurant in Nashville, and also runs NYC’s restaurant, East Wind Snack Shop – known for delicious dumplings and being one of the last standing Taoishan Tea Houses in NYC. But before all this came to be, Chris was living in China, studying dim sum in Hong Kong and farm-to-table cooking in the villages of Shanghai. Chinese cuisine isn’t just a passion for Chris, it has been his life’s passion. So naturally, the National Peanut Board wanted to know more and shot Chris five questions to learn more about the art behind his cuisine.
At Snackbar restaurant in Oxford, Mississippi, executive chef Vishwesh Bhatt is serving up Southern fare with global flare. His Indian roots add cultural influence to his culinary repertoire, but it’s common ingredients like peanuts that inspire his bold, global approach to Southern cuisine.
Chinese consumers love peanuts. The country is the number one producer of peanuts and yet China still imports peanuts from the US and other countries to meet the demand. This summer, American global food brand McDonalds tapped into Chinese love of peanut products and launched an LTO of a beef burger topped with a steamed egg and creamy peanut butter sauce. In a four-star review of the sandwich, this site said, “for those not in the know, peanut butter is probably the single greatest addition to a burger.”
Whether you’re hosting a casual backyard barbeque or an upscale dessert party, a cheese and charcuterie board is a great addition to the menu. A crowd-pleasing appetizer board doesn’t have to require much prep time, and it will keep guests occupied so you can enjoy hosting.
The peanut has deep roots in South America. In fact, the ancient ancestors of the modern-day peanut were recently traced back to the areas of Bolivia and Peru. Peanuts have been a familiar part of the diets of people living in these areas for centuries, from traditional complex mole sauces to empanadas filled with peanuts and potatoes. The love of peanuts continues today and you can see it on grocery store shelves too.
When you imagine a classic menu in the American South, what comes to mind? Fried chicken, pork BBQ, mac and cheese and collards, for sure. Kimchi fried rice might take you by surprise then at Chef Lee Gregory’s restaurant The Roosevelt in Richmond, Virginia. But Chef Lee says this dish makes perfect sense for a Southern menu.
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