Welcome to this blog, everyone. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m Shruthi Baskaran, a lifelong foodie and recent farmie. I’ve been thinking about writing a food blog forever.
You see, I love everything about food – sourcing, cooking, eating, you name it and I’m excited about it. I read books on the anthropology of food, and drive to buy fresh kale from the farm. I have been studying consumer behavior around food choices for a few years and have a degree from Stanford to boot. In other words, I am your quintessential “foodie”
Why build a blog, then?
I identify as more than just a “foodie” – I’m more of a “farmie”. Over the course of many dinner parties, I’d always get into conversations about food. What eggs do I buy? How did I have a restaurant recommendation for everything? How did I know where the food came from, and most importantly, why did I care? These conversations often ended with friends telling me they’d love to have a ‘Shruthi on their shoulder’, to share bite-sized snippets, when they needed it, that could help them make better food choices.
The seed was planted, but it wasn’t until I met my boyfriend that it took root. We’re polar opposites in every way imaginable, so it was love at first sight … until I started nitpicking how little thought he gave to his food choices. I’m an Indian-born, lifelong vegetarian who lives to eat, and would rather give up my left arm than buy something unsustainable. He is a true-blood Nigerian who thinks of food as fuel and considers a meal without meat or an astonishing amount of peppers an affront to his existence. He cares about eating healthy, but not enough to break the convenience habit.
“If it’s on a supermarket shelf, its safe, Shruthi – and it’s cheap, what else do I need?” Psht.
Of course there are other things to know. But at heart of that question is the choice paralysis that is the American food system. You see, where I grew up, a milkman brought a cow to our house, we boiled fresh whole milk and used it up the same day. He grew up in a city where you could walk to the shores and pick up the literal ‘catch of the day’ or to the neighborhood butcher to buy every part of a cow. No choice paralysis. No waste. But we now live in a world where supermarkets have 25 types of milk and four aisles of packaged meat. Yet, many of us are squeamish to even watch meat being butchered and use price as the only conclusive source of decision-making.
Each grocery store trip over the last two years essentially became an “AMA” about specific food items. And along the way, we ended up here. This blog was a brainchild to share what I shared with him with everyone else who was curious about the food we eat. And I hope it will help fight the cognitive dissonance that often accompanies a grocery store visit, and take our foodie up one notch, so we can all be farmies as well. So, welcome, farmie.
In another life, I’m a management consultant, and have previously worked for the UN, for the World Food Programme, in multiple roles. I primarily focus on food & agricultural systems, with an emphasis on markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. I have two graduate degrees from Stanford University (MS-MBA) with a focus on the intersection of energy and food systems, and hope to continue the good work for a long, long time.