By Our Dream’s Writer’s Desk
Lettttt’s be honest — cooking has gotten boring in the quar. If this shelter in place (and our immigrant grandparents) have taught us anything, it’s that the millennial ‘I don’t know how to cook’ isn’t cute anymore. Hell… even for those of us who do know how to cook, after day *who knows*, of the revolving door of tried-and-true recipes, things get stale real quick. Here are a few companies that have us excited to answer the daily and belaboured “what’s for dinner?” question.
FOR THE GROCERY LIST:
Why order takeout when Om Som has already done half the work for you?
Om Som’s ready-to-use starters are packed with specialty sauces, aromatics, seasonings, citruses, and oils that form the foundation of a variety of Asian dishes.
In Vietnamese ‘Om Sòm’ means noisy, rambunctious, and riotous. That speaks our language. Founded by two insanely accomplished first-generation Vietnamese-American sisters with refugee parents, we were touched by their story, their values, and the fact that the baby photos on their “meet us” page feature the exact same bowl cut that we spent most of our childhoods rocking.
Did we mention the stunningly beautiful branding and packaging design?
“As daughters of refugees, we started Omsom as a celebration of the multitudes within Asian cultures,” explains co-founder Kim Pham. “Walking down most ‘ethnic’ aisles in mainstream grocery stores — which frankly shouldn’t even exist — feels like stepping back in time — old-school products that feel compromised in flavor, outdated in brand, and rooted in stereotypical design. We want to start making this category feel representative of the changing DNA of this country, and reflect the depth and nuance in Asian recipes, tastes, and traditions.”
The Southeast Asian line of starter packs starts at $12. What is a starter you ask? It’s a pantry shortcut that packs all the sauces, aromatics, and seasonings that you need for a specific Asian dish. With sisig, larb, and lemongrass, your next week indoors may actually have some flavor to keep you company.
Founded by Hawa Hassan, a native of Mogadishu who escaped civil war to live in a Kenyan U.N. refugee camp before moving to Seattle. This line of locally sourced, gluten-free, and vegan chili pepper sauces are inspired by heirloom recipes cooked for her by her mom (“basbaas” comes from a Somali term for chili pepper).
Great with chutneys and sauces hailing from Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine, Basbaas is hand-crafted in small batches, and bottled and sourced in Stuyvesant Falls, Hudson Valley.
Flavors available include the tangy, spicy Coconut Cilantro Chutney, and the smoky, mild Tamarind Date Sauce. Perfect to marinate your protein, mix into a salad dressing, or top on a breakfast, dinner, or lunch bowl (trust us – bowls are your friend in 2020) for a beautiful shakeup of your tired old routine.
WHAT TO COOK WITH:
ONE STOP SHOP COOKWARE BY OUR PLACE
No, we didn’t launch a cookware line. While Our Place is not affiliated with OUR DREAM or OUR ACADEMY, we love where their head is at and support everything they’re bringing to the table (pun both intended, and executed, perfectly). Our Place was founded by Shiza Shahid who previously co-founded the Malala Fund — it’s a beautifully designed modern line of cookware for the multiethnic American kitchen. The six-piece set comes with a modular lid that lets the steam out when you want and locks when you don’t, a steamer basket, nesting spatula for the messy-prone cooks in all of us, and a heavy-gauge cast aluminum core that allow for easy heat distribution.
We love Our Place because they wear their values on their sleeve: supporting ethical labor, using responsible and sustainable materials, and storytelling to ‘bring people from disparate edges of our world closer together’.
Our Place also shares our home of Los Angeles, and like a good neighbor, they support their local community by partnering with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council to improve access to good quality food in South LA. Check out Hank’s Mini Market so see what their partners are up to.
CANNABIS PRODUCTS TO ORDER FOR DELIVERY (OR BRAVE COVID TO FIND IN A DISPENSARY)
*Products available in California*
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS WITH POTLI
Potli is a modern, female co-founded cannabis (shout out Christine Yi and Felicity Chen) edibles company that seeks to bring the maker out of all of us by enhancing high quality and easy-to-integrate ingredients with the health benefits of cannabis and hemp. In an industry dominated by confectioneries like chocolate and gummies, Potli makes both hemp and cannabis-infused honey, olive oil, chili oil, apple cider vinegar, and sriracha, and is quickly expanding its pantry on a quest to normalize and ritualize cannabis in our daily lives.
We love that Potli carries both CBD and THC varieties, so you can adjust accordingly depending on the kind of night you’re planning on having. We also love that you can order directly from their site without needing to leave the house.
Try the Potli’s honey in tea for a great cozy evening in, or their infused olive oil or sriracha on your eggs for a little wake-and-bake before the wave of back-to-back Zoom calls crashing.
We interviewed Potli cofounder Christine Yi for our How I Got Here (HIGH) Series. You can learn more about her journey here.
CANN = OUR NEW DRINK WITH DINNER
Cann is making a refreshing splash on the cannabis beverage market with their lightly dosed 2:1 (4mg THC + 2mg CBD) social tonics. Each Cann has only 35 calories, contains natural flavors, and is lightly sweetened. They’re also gluten-free and non-GMO, which is a nice plus.
To cap it all off, one Cann has been dosed so that it could substitute a beer or glass of wine, so say goodbye to hangovers.
We love these because they facilitate a great social(ly distant) experience, especially in a time when time ‘togetherness’ is so rare – we may as well enjoy it to the fullest.
Also, if we’re being honest with each other here, which we are, ‘cause that’s what we do here at Our Dream — we are not youths anymore… and if this doesn’t relate to you, then you did not take our age gate seriously and should probably be off enjoying what little childhood you have left. Anyways the point is, post-alcohol-bingeing-hangovers and body aches are neither cute nor are they productive, so yes… we are pro Cann.
Insider tip: Cann’s founders are LGBTQ+ and share a genuine passion for supporting the community. You can pick up a variety of case sizes (4, 6, and 24) and flavors on their website (THC products are available in California and Nevada).
SONDER’S NEW SPACE CRYSTALS ARE THE ULTIMATE DESSERT
Popular vape brand Sonder, owned and operated by LGBTQ+ founders Faun Chapin, M. Paradise, and Thomas Giordonello, has a new product in rotation, and it’s just the kind of innovative product the industry (and we collectively) needed. Get this, they’re called “space crystals” and are a major throwback to anyone who grew up in the ‘80s and/or ’90s and loved a mouthful of pop rocks. The only difference is that each pack of these contains 10mg of THC, making them perfect for a blend of childhood nostalgia and adult enjoyment.
This isn’t exactly a pantry staple, but we’d consider it dessert… not that rules apply during 2020 nor are we about to enforce dietary sequential norms… we’re also not not suggesting you sprinkle these little Space Crystals on your ice cream to spice up your next Ben & Jerry’s scoop. That was indeed a double negative. Don’t you go thinking we just let a typo slip like that.
Point is, if you’re able to try these without a fat grin spreading across your face, you’ve quarantined too long and need to meet other humans for a socially-distanced walk immediately.
*These are companies and products we love and respect in the cannabis and food space. OUR DREAM does not receive any compensation for this content.
**The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or nutrition advice.