Cool Stuff Friday: MAD.


MAD (taken from the Danish word for “food”) is a not-for-profit organization that works to expand knowledge of food to make every meal a better meal; not just at restaurants, but every meal cooked and served. Good cooking and a healthy environment can and should go hand-in-hand, and the quest for a better meal can leave the world a better place than we found it. MAD is committed to producing and sharing this knowledge and to taking promising ideas from theory to practice.

MAD is a great place to lose yourself for ages on end. Food, food, food, but not all the regular ways food is addressed. Here, there is the breathtaking culture of food, from all over the world, the history of food, the art of food, traditions of food, innovations and artistry of food. Any curiosity you may have about food, you can find satisfaction at MAD. I’ve been trying to catch up, reading at the site for the past month or so, and I’ve barely made a dent. Two articles in particular got my attention in recent days: Turning Trash Into Delicious Things: a Brief Guide by Arielle Johnson, and A People’s History of Carolina Rice, by Michael Twitty.

The first article grabbed my attention because it addresses the waste of craft brewers, and that particular waste happens in my household, as Rick is a home brewer:

On an artisanal-industrial scale, spent grains—the malted barley that is steeped in water to make beer—is a major source of waste for craft brewers, with (roughly) 8 kilos of leftover barley for every 50 liters of finished beer. It can be used as animal fodder, but you can go beyond that, since it also presents creative flavor opportunities.

That waste, it turns out, can be used to make koji, which in turn can be used to make a form of miso. Click on over to the article for details, and recipes! The article on Carolina rice was eye-opening, and details the history of this rice from 3500 B.C.E. to 2013. There’s personal history in this overview of one food:

1770s: My great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother is captured in a war in Sierra Leone and brought to Charleston, without a doubt to grow and mill rice on a Lowcountry plantation. She is a member of the Mende people, who would later lead the Amistad slave ship revolt in 1839.


1835: My great-great-great grandmother, Hettie Esther Haynes, is born and is later sold out of South Carolina, away from her mother Nora, into the cotton country of Alabama during the largest forced migration in American history—the domestic slave trade. Thousands of Gullah-Geechee will know this fate as rice cultivation faces competition from other countries and slaveholders are forced to reduce the number of bondspeople.

Now I’m going to read about The Carbon Footprint of Eating Out, A War Zone Cuisine, and Culture of the Kitchen: Cooks Weigh In.

Have a wondrous wander through the fields of MAD, it’s a journey you won’t regret.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    Looks like an interesting site.

    About the word for food: Mad or mat in Swedish is AFAIK cognate to the English word meat. Meat is kött in Swedish. Fod on the other hand is Swedish for animal fodder. Germanic language speakers can’t seem agree what should be eaten and by who. 8-)

  2. rq says

    Yep, I read that, and was all “Eat all the invaders!” :D Now I have to go out and research some invaders ’round here.

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