The power of deliciousness

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The power of deliciousness refers to the way food and beverages evoke a strong sense of pleasure and satisfaction when consumed. It is a subjective and sensory experience that combines various factors, such as taste, aroma, texture and presentation, to create a pleasurable sensation for the person enjoying the food. For example, eating something delicious can evoke feelings of joy, contentment or even nostalgia. Delicious food is also rooted in culture; different traditions have their own flavors and practices of making food, with dishes connected to celebrations or medicinal properties. The power of deliciousness has the ability to bring people together, create memorable experiences and enhance our enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures.

Ultimately, the power of deliciousness lies in its ability to stimulate our senses and create a pleasurable experience that goes beyond simple nourishment. It adds richness and enjoyment to our lives, making food and beverages an integral part of our culture, social interactions and personal well-being.

Sustainable food systems graduate students enjoying tortillas they made at Hayden Flour Mills with ancient grains.

What does deliciousness have to do with sustainability?

Promoting sustainable food systems through behavior change 

The power of deliciousness can be harnessed to drive consumption of sustainably produced foods. By highlighting and emphasizing delicious flavors of sustainably grown and ethically sourced ingredients, people are more likely to choose these options over less sustainable alternatives. This, in turn, supports sustainable farming practices, reduces environmental impact and promotes biodiversity.

Reducing food waste

Educating people on how to use all parts of a vegetable, or all parts of an animal from nose to tail, reduces food waste. Rather than discarding food parts that have not played a role on the plate, chefs and others are advising on how to maximize use of food through delicious creations. For example, Chef Dan Barber froths the leftover water in the canned garbanzo beans to accompany salad – delicious and beautiful! 

Sustainable sourcing and ingredients

The power of deliciousness can be aligned with sustainability by promoting the use of locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients. Choosing ingredients that are grown or produced sustainably can support local farmers, reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and ensure the long-term health of ecosystems.

Education and awareness

The power of deliciousness can be leveraged to educate and raise awareness about sustainable food practices. By showcasing how delicious and satisfying sustainable food choices can be, people may be more motivated to learn about and adopt sustainable behaviors such as reducing single-use plastics, supporting fair trade practices or choosing seafood from sustainable fisheries.

Curbing hunger through cooking

The power of deliciousness and learning how to cook go hand-in-hand with empowering people to have more food agency. Food agency is one’s ability to procure and prepare food within one’s social, physical and economic environment. Cooking is a powerful tool that enables people to know food better, learn how to source it, navigate how to be frugal with few resources and understand what is considered healthy.

How does the Swette Center prioritize the power of deliciousness?

Cooking together: From the garden at Apollo Residential Assisted Living

Fundamentally cross-disciplinary, this research report brings together ethics of care research, culinary arts, storytelling, rhetoric, and aging studies to pilot our methodology with the residents and caregivers of a residential assisted living facility in Glendale, AZ. We explored cooking and using the kitchen as a central space for relational dementia care. Two goals shaped our plan: (1) exploring the benefits of multisensory exploration for dementia patients, and (2) reconnecting food preparation with the landscape’s story by using edible foods from the garden.

Certificate course for chefs

In 2020, the Swette Center partnered with Compass Group and Google Food to train over 200 chefs on the connection between sustainability, nutrition, food choices and planetary health. The virtual learning series was named RePlant Your Menu and it focused on teaching chefs how to create more plant-forward menus.

Community engagement

The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems welcomed world-renowned chef and author, Dan Barber, to ASU for a discussion about the commodification of taste in 2019. Dan described his latest culinary innovations, then he and Kathleen Merrigan identified policy initiatives to support joyful food. Following the presentation and audience Q&A, participants attended a reception to carry on informal discussion.

Research in the works

The Swette Center is conducting research on food insecurity in the College of Global Futures to understand the challenges students face in accessing food resources. The research also assesses some of the useful resources for students, from access to the Pitchfork Pantry, to cooking classes, to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. 

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