Today’s Food Waste Friday is a spotlight on White Mustache Yogurt (Instagram) I learnt about the company last Fall and appreciated that the whey is utilized rather than tossed. The following are the responses to my food waste questions.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: The White Moustache tells a story about my family and my fellow Zoroastrians living in Iran, India and Los Angeles. It’s a story that’s personal and a story that’s universal.
It’s a story that The Economist wrote about when we were kicked out of California when all we wanted to do was sell traditionally made yogurt in local Los Angeles farmers’ markets. For me, the only way to truly know our story, is to taste it.
We incubate each batch using old-world techniques, the way my grandmother and her grandmother (and probably your grandmother) used to do it. Then we strain it slowly using good old-fashioned elbow grease and gravity in order to get a consistent thick texture. This extracts the whey, which most companies throw away, but we cherish at white Moustache. The devil is in the details, the pleasure is in the pain.
Since 2014 we have made a commitment to selling the whey as drinks and pops. We have not increased our yogurt sales until we find a market for all the whey.
We think we’ve perfected the healthy art of making yogurt without machines and without excess energy use while promoting an eco-friendly and completely organic environment for our yogurt cultures to flourish. We don’t add any preservatives, salt, sugar, cream or starches. We want The White Moustache to be as simple as possible.
I started this business with my dad. Despite numerous arguments about temperature, marketing and that one time we simultaneously fired each other – we really enjoy sharing our time together, capturing a part of our heritage to share with you.
Q: What are your thoughts on our current food waste situation?
A: I have many thoughts on this. On a personal-in-your-home level, I think we can all do better…but it is a matter of habits and innovating in the your kitchen. I am extremely hopeful and optimistic and inspired by the work we, as consumers, are doing at home to make progress on this front. It is so awesome. I remember learning how to pickle—and all of a sudden, all my scraps were being turned into pickles! And once a week I empty out my fridge and dump everything into a soup. It’s starting to be a super fun challenge for me to see how I can save things from the compost bin and use them in my cooking. What I am more terrified of is the in-built system of food waste that I see in the disruption channels of food. TERRIFIED. I think it is an unchecked result of lazy capitalism that encourages “waste” to build volume. Food waste has significant environmental, social and economic value, a shortsighted focus on profits is terrifying because that is the game you are asked to play if you want access to the marketplace. I have worked extremely hard to avoid this.
Q: What do you suggest is the easiest action a person can make when i comes to reducing their food waste?
A: Soups and Pickles!! Soups are great because you can dump everything in a pot and taste as you go—I have made some pretty wacky stuff, and even if it gets a litlle funky, I add a little bit of pasta and it’s totally hearty and yummy. Every time. If you have even a little bit of leftover onions or garlic or something from a salad, pickle it! It will last longer and add flavor to anything from a salad to a sandwich. I even put random pickles in my tuna fish and it’s always so delightful. The brine I make is simple: 1/2 cup distilled water, 3/4 tsp salt, 2 tablespoons yogurt whey. Room temp for two days for a night pop and done. Refrigerate and enjoy.