NPR on New Earth MRE

Elizabeth Barclay interviewed Tattfoo Tan about his MD/NY project, New Earth MRE for NPR’s The Salt blog

Tan, who was born in Malaysia and moved to New York in 2000, calls himself a “social sculpture artist” who collaborates with the public around ecology, food and urban agriculture issues. He has studied permaculture and composting, and since 2010, he has been raising egg-laying hens in his backyard.

As Tan started plotting how to design food for climate emergencies, he spotted a surplus in the food system: ugly vegetables too misshapen or mottled for farmers to sell. He rescued the vegetables from a local market, and began to dehydrate them in a dehydrator and experiment with recipes. Then he vacuum-sealed them so they would last for up to a year.

“Dedrydrating food is actually an old technology, developed before we had refrigeration,” says Tan. “I’m using a contemporary version of it, because once again we might need it in case of emergency.”

His concoctions, which he calls New Earth – Meals Ready to Eat, include dehydrated bits of potato, coconut milk and oregano, which, with a little hot water, can be reconstituted into a flavorful version of mashed potatoes. Another is the apple sauce and prosciutto, with dried apple and ham. (He wasn’t offering samples when The Salt visited his studio.)

Visit The Salt to keep reading Barclay’s profile, and stick around for the DIY tips in the comments.



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