Welcome to this blog, everyone. I'm so glad you're here!
I'm Shruthi! I was born and raised in India, and have since lived in, worked in, or traveled to over 60 countries through the course of my professional career. I love everything about food – sourcing it, cooking it, eating it, you name it and I’m excited about it. I read books on the anthropology of food, and drive hours to buy fresh kale sometimes. In other words, I am your quintessential “foodie”
The story behind Urban Farmie
There are a million amazing food blogs out there, so I'm sure you're wondering what's different about Urban Farmie. So, I wanted to share more about why I’m doing this.
Millenials don’t cook, apparently. In 2018, a survey by Takeout found only 50% of us could roast a chicken! I've been vegetarian all my life, but even I could roast a chicken for my boyfriend. In fact, when I was at Stanford, I surveyed ~200 people about their food values.
What I found was this: for many people, cooking was something aspirational, not something they did on a day-to-day basis.
With entire industries built to convince us that cooking is difficult, it's not hard to see why many think so. My friends have told me that they find it hard to match the convenience of ordering diverse meals, and even harder to cook seasonally, even if they knew the environmental impact of not doing so. That's where this blog comes in.
This blog is not just about recipes
There are recipes, yes. Okay maybe lots of recipes (more on that below). But my goal is to show you that cooking at home doesn't have to be a chore (even for time-constrained millennials like myself). And, I want to get you excited about cooking, but in a way that's global, seasonal, and sustainable. The core of this blog is structured around four sections that will help you learn how to cook - ingredients, techniques, flavors and origin stories.
I often compare cooking to Mario Kart. You become a master by learning a series of tricks. Similarly, I hope to help you learn a few tips and tricks that you can immediately incorporate into your daily cooking routine so you can start cooking with more confidence. I also hope to share simple tips so you can buy more sustainable products, when it works for you or at least, know the trade-offs you're making otherwise.
I conceptualized this blog as a ‘Shruthi on your shoulder’, to share bite-sized snippets, when you need it, so you can make food choices that are better for you, better for the planet, and better for your wallet!
The recipes I share are healthy-ish and vegetarian (mostly vegan) and can be enjoyed by everyone
As I mentioned, my partner is a raging carnivore, so often, my decision to cook something is half-driven by whether he'll eat it. This, in turn, has given me a good sense of recipes that people can enjoy regardless of dietary differences. So, my recipes are not just for vegan or vegetarian readers.
My recipes also don't conform to any specific diet (e.g. Paleo, Keto, etc.) They're meant to be nourishing, well-balanced, and most importantly, not boring. I will also try my best to include variations and substitutions whenever possible (e.g. gluten-free options, lactose-free options and such). But, I know as well as anyone that it's hard to stick to healthy eating when the options are not fun. That's where the global side kicks in.
My recipes draw from experiences travelling to, living and working in 60+ countries!
I grew up in India, moved to the US when I was seventeen. I've since lived in the North East, the South, and now live in the Pacific North West US. I've also lived in Italy, and several parts of Africa including Kenya, Morocco, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe (working for the UN). I've also traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (and even been to Antarctica, but not much to eat there, welp!)
My partner is Nigerian. My best friend is Asian (and has patiently seen me eat cereal for dinner while writing a blog post about seasonal ingredients more times than I care to admit).
These rich experiences have helped me identify and accumulate a palette that draws on various cultures to make sure the food I make is never boring. And I hope to pass that along to all of you.
My recipes will focus on two main themes - easy weeknight dinners and fun, social meals
Over the years, I've found that these are the types of meals that I've found myself searching for, and enjoy cooking. This also means that there will be few dessert recipes or cocktails and such on this blog. My weeknight recipes are also often meant to serve two people as written. But you can scale it within the recipe card or leave me a comment anytime.
Finally: this blog is a work-in-progress!
I write what I know, and what I think you'll want to know about. I have a degree in food systems, and I'd like to think I’m a good home chef, but I'm also human. So I will probably make mistakes. But when there are mistakes, I promise to correct them publicly, soon, and often. I don't have perfect content on all the things I mentioned, but I'm working on getting there. Be patient with me, or better yet, tell me what you want to hear, what you like, and what you don't like. I'll make sure to listen.
In another life, I'm a management consultant, and have previously worked for the UN, for the World Food Programme, in multiple roles and have dabbled with impact investing in the same space.
Most of my work is primarily focused on food and agricultural systems, with an emphasis on markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. I have published peer reviewed journal articles and co-authored some terrific content on these topics in my day job - something I'm super proud of!
In terms of educational background, I have two graduate degrees from Stanford University (MS-MBA) with a focus on energy and food systems, and hope to continue the good work for a long, long time.
You can read more about my professional work on my LinkedIn Page. However, please do note that any views expressed on this blog are mine alone (and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer).
I have previously given a keynote at Stanford University, focused on the average consumer's role in the food movement. You can find that here.
I've also been featured in several publications and podcasts. Select features below, but media kit can be made available on request.