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Subconsciously Incorporating R&D (Sustainability) Mindset in My Kitchen

Published: 2022-03-11 11:18

In my spare time, I can most likely be found in my kitchen; cooking, producing food and hosting people. Good food always leads to good mood, great conversations, then sometimes to terrific ideas. With my avid curiosity in food, I also enjoy doing ‘trials’ and ’mini-research’ on interesting ingredients that I’m intrigued to experiment with in my tiny kitchen. Reading articles on the ingredient’s properties, watching documentaries on food, and subscribing to renowned chefs’ journeys activities are what I usually do in my kitchen.

Recently, I also started to realize how the values that I uphold in my work apparently influence me, and how I subconsciously carry those values to my kitchen. One of them is circularity: how we always strive to close the loop and leave no significant impact to the environment. Translating and simplifying this into my kitchen could be as straightforward as trying to avoid food waste by proper food planning, maximizing the values of every ingredient and “performing trials” on new alternative ingredients.

Does it sound equivalent with avoiding designs which yields to trim waste in production, incorporating recycled materials into our packaging, and exploring new (renewable) alternative of materials? Perhaps they do, to some extent 😉 Last week I experimented with this beautiful, pink edible flower as the “alternative material” in my kitchen. I successfully cooked, processed, and “converted” this exotic pink flower into a delectable dish—of course after quite some readings and a bit of mini research on this ingredient.

Taking Recycling to Another Realm

A couple of weeks ago I made my own homemade tofu from raw soybeans. It was exciting to learn all the steps in the process and devour the fresh homemade tofu afterwards. However, the process leaves a byproduct, which is the soybean pulp called okara. Not wanting to waste this, I “mechanically and chemically recycled” the okara/soybean pulp and processed it into vegan soy patties.

The other day, I also made salmon head soup from salmon heads, which most people would probably be put off with and throw in a garbage bin. The savoury soup was so hearty and comforting for the cold Gothenburg’s winter weather. It was also more satisfying, knowing it was made from what most people would usually think as a waste.

When I cook fresh crustaceans, I also oven-grill the shells with some garlics to dehydrate them, then grind them with a mix of salt and sugar. Those shells, which are supposed to be waste already, turn to a real umami powder that you can sprinkle on food to enhance the flavour of the dish! I had never reflected upon this until recently, but this process of recycling the crustaceans’ shells to be a food condiment can be analogized as recycling our packaging: processing it into granulates / recyclates (PCR) and reusing it again.

Essity has really got a knack for knocking its values into one’s lifestyle–or at least into my lifestyle.

In my case, it is definitely how to live in a more sustainable and circular way, in my own interpretation. Circularity, much? 🙂

Cooking and Dining with Colleagues

In my previous blog post, I mentioned how open and friendly most people I meet in Essity are. It feels like hitting the jackpot, when your colleagues can also be your good friends even outside the working hours, and that you would be happy to enjoy dinner with them. With my immense passion in cooking, this also means inviting them to my kitchen, cooking together or hosting them. I run a small supper club and build my cooking portfolio (@diviecooks on Instagram), and once in a while I invited friends from work for dining in my kitchen and being the ”testers” of my food creation. Win win for all!

Looking back throughout my journey and life at Essity, it suffices to say it has been a ride with a broad spectrum of experiences. From working with substantial causes, being exposed to diverse and challenging opportunities, learning to incorporate good values I practice at work into my lifestyle, and moreover, having met people from work who become good friends. Wondering what else lies ahead…

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