ZeBig Chill: A Zebra Investigates Freeze-Dried Fruit

ZeBot & ZeBig Chill Snowman in Snow with White Frameby ZeBot Zebra

One thing zebras know is that when we don’t know something we want to know, it’s time to start asking lots of questions.

Case in point: the other day, I overheard some scientific humans discussing “freeze-drying” as a good way to preserve fresh fruit. Supposedly, when you freeze-dry fruit, it will keep its great taste and color for years and years!

Frosty Life Around the Fruit Bowl

Well, I’m a huge fan of fruit, so that sounded totally cool to me (pun totally intended)! But how the heck would a zebra go about freeze-drying?

My zebra buddies and I decided to get some frosty advice from our coolest friends: the SnowDudes and the Penguin Brothers. They said they were pretty sure they’d seen a polar bear freezing-drying his own food, so how hard could it be?

Apples, Polar Bear Style

For the rest of this super-cool story (including amazing food science, a chilled-out video & easy recipe for homemade honey-vanilla frozen yogurt), click here to be transported to ZeBot’s Kitchen!

ZeFrozen Yogurt Close-Up

ZeHunger Challenge

ZeBot's Hunger Challengeby ZeBot Zebra

Zebras love challenges (including learning to cook and write without the benefit of opposable thumbs). And we’re always hungry for new things—new foods, new friends, new ideas.

So when I heard about the Hunger Challenge, I knew I wanted to give it a try—but in a ZeZillion years, I could never have imagined how powerfully it would help me learn about the world around me.

The Hunger Challenge is a five-day journey initiated by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, whose executive director Paul Ash describes it as a special way to “become an advocate for the hungry.”

ZeBot Lentils

How do you do it? Well, it’s pretty simple, but not easy.

All you need to do is live on a food stamp budget ($4.50 per person/zebra per day) that’s supplemented by a list of fresh seasonal foods and staples that are available at the local food pantry.

By asking people (and zebras) to participate in the challenge, the Food Bank is hoping to create a perspective of understanding and empathy.

“We can read articles and digest statistics,” Paul says, “but until hunger is a visitor at your table, it’s difficult to wrap your head around the complexity of the problem.”

I wanted to wrap my head and heart and stripes around the challenges: I know that 1 in 4 local residents go hungry every day. And in other parts of the country and the world, the problem is even bigger.

Read more of ZeBot’s story — and find Deborah Madison’s Caramelized Tofu recipe here!

Cooking Up ZePerfect Mardi Gras

ZeBot New Orleans Mardi Gras

If there’s one thing zebras love, it’s a celebration!

And when it’s Mardi Gras, which is all about local traditions, food, family and friends–well, that makes us so happy that our stripes start to turn colors.

Purple, green and gold, to be exact.

In New Orleans, Mardi Gras celebrations are the most brilliantly colorful parties of the year.

In fact, you’ll see the signature purple, green and gold just about everywhere you look.

Why purple, green and gold? Well, each color has a special meaning: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

These became the celebration’s official colors back in 1872, when the first Mardi Gras parade brightened the streets of New Orleans.

“But what IS Mardi Gras?”  you may ask.

Great question! To find out, come visit me in my kitchen — right here!

ZeBot's Mardi Gras ZeSearch

ZeMystery of ZeShoe Pastry

ZeBot and the Shoe Pastries

When my friend Holly told me she was writing a book about Shoe Pastry, I was totally intrigued.

“What kind of shoes would make the best pastry?” I wondered. “And wouldn’t putting shoes in your mouth instead of wearing them on your feet (or in my case, hooves) make you kind of—well, sick?”

ZeBot & His Bowl of Shoes

Since I am a zebra who is supposed to know at least a little about human food by now, I didn’t want to ask those questions right away. After all, Holly Herrick is a famous cookbook author. Instead, I had a great idea!

I have another friend named Holly, who happens to be a super-smart Golden Retriever—and spends a lot of time in the kitchen. I asked her about Shoe Pastry.

Holly with DooF Cap

Holly the Golden Retriever said she’d never tried it, but she’d eaten lots of shoes (including some pretty expensive ones) and they were very tasty.

Still, I wasn’t sure—it just didn’t seem like you could (or even should) turn a shoe into a pastry. So I had an even better idea: I asked Holly the Famous Cookbook Author if I could interview her about shoe pastry. That way, it would make sense to ask lots of questions (even really silly ones)—so that’s what I did!

ZeBot & ZoeBot with Broccoli Choux Pastries

Guess what? It turns out I had the ingredients all wrong! You’ll find the right ones in the video below — and Holly Herrick’s awesome interview & recipe here!

ZePossibilities of Pumpkins

by ZeBot

ZeBot's Pumpkin Patch Buddies

I just made ZeGreatest discovery! You know those orange spheres that are piling up in farmers’ markets and grocery stores? They’re pumpkins! Okay, you probably already knew this, but pumpkins are totally new to me. (Give me a break: I’m a zebra!)

I always figure the best way to find out about something you never knew existed is to do a little detective work. My favorite farmers, food historians and librarians were happy to help out. I even asked a couple of dogs, since if they like something, you KNOW it’s going to be cool.

I found out all sorts of amazing things — and YOU can find them here!

My buddies Spot & Rover give pumpkins a BIG paws up!

My buddies Spot & Rover give pumpkins a BIG paws up!

Explore Planet DOOF!

Planet DooF Team with Y & Z

By Y-SpaceAlien & ZeBot

Exploration comes naturally to me and my ultra-curious zebra buddy, ZeBot. Case in point: we traveled a million, billion, trillion miles across the galaxies to get to Planet Earth.

“Why?” you ask. And I say: “Hey, that’s my name—don’t wear it out!”

Seriously, though, my name actually is Y!

Okay, let’s try that question again: “Why would you guys travel all that way?”

Well, the name of our home planet will give you a clue: there is no such thing as food on Planet DOOF.

If you’re wondering how we get our energy, I’ve got one word for you: Gloop. It’s a petroleum-like substance that’s ingestible, but has no taste, smell, texture, traditions, stories or anything at all that humans would associate with food.

As you can imagine, Gloop is just NOT interesting. And poolging (sort of like what humans call “eating”) takes about a nanosecond. So you can see why we’d be so excited to find out about FOOD!

Y and Z in the GastroPod - Planet DooF

At the moment, ZeBot and I are busy learning everything we can about Planet Earth food by traveling all over the world in our GastroPod, which is a really cool kitchen-rigged time-and-space vehicle that can journey anywhere (and to any time) faster than the speed of light.

While ZeBot and I are space-and-time traveling, some of our fellow DOOFians have arrived on Earth for a super-ultra-mega-important mission: to learn all about Planet Earth food from the very best teachers of all: Planet Earth kids!

So how are Zorp and Carl going to learn all this stuff? The way DOOFians learn everything: by playing games! The name of this intergalactically great game is Planet DOOF—and it’s totally out of this world!!!!!

SusanBAnthony2

Here’s how it works:

Zorp and Carl, two exploration experts from Planet DOOF, have discovered that earthlings are very unique because the foods they eat aren’t found anywhere else in the entire galaxy! Of course, this totally intrigues the DOOFians, so they travel to Planet Earth to explore this mysterious stuff called “food”. On their journey, they encounter a refrigerator and a curious boy who offers to help them build a sandwich from the best and healthiest ingredients they can find. And that’s how it all begins!

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 9.41.21 AM

Planet DOOF is the very first computer game to challenge Planet Earth’s fast-food advertising with characters and scenarios that are as crazy and fun as the ones that sell cheese puffs and sugar-packed cereals on TV. The game was created with huge input from kids—and it will be distributed FREE OF CHARGE to over 200,000 children in 2013-2014!!!

Planet-DOOF-Event

By now, Zebot and I are hoping that you’re as excited as we are about Planet DOOF—and that you’ll be up for celebrating the game launch at the star-studded Terrestrial Gastronomy event this Sunday, September 8th at the Planet DOOF Earth Embassy (440 Brannan Street in San Francisco).

In addition to the game launch, this awesome family event will feature great food from Chez Panisse alum Alan Tangren and a kid-moderated school lunch discussion among food experts Shakirah Simley (Bi-Rite), Jessica Skylar (Revolution Foods) and Esperanza Pallana (Oakland Food Policy Council).

Tickets are $25 for adults (discount code ZORP), $10 for teens (discount code CARL) and FREE for kids 12 and under at planetdoof.eventbrite.com.

3-2-1…BLAST OFF!!!!

ZeBot Planet Doof Logo