“Play with your food.” - Two Tumbleweeds
You're sitting at home, staring into the fridge, hoping inspiration will jump out at you for an amazing dinner. You look at your same ol' ingredients and think “Why isn't there something to just tell me what to shop for and what to make?” It turns out that two sisters from the Midwestern states have set out to solve that problem for you.
Two Tumbleweeds is a small company in Sonoma County, California started by sisters Liz and Sarah Downey. When they finally found themselves in the same place, they decided to make it their mission to make cooking fun instead of laborious. And thus, Foodie Dice were born. This brilliant kitchen tool is a set of 9 laser-cut birchwood dice, each of which have a different food item or cooking technique engraved on all of the 6 sides. The set includes 5 primary dice, one each for Protein, Grain/Carb, Herb, Cooking Method, and Bonus Ingredient, plus 4 seasonal vegetable dice. The protein die has been updated to be vegetarian/vegan friendly, offering a meat and a vegetarian option on each side. They have also added 3 Seasonal Dinner Booster Dice: Spices, Wild Card, and Dessert, to add even more options! The idea is that with any one of the 186,000 possible rolls, you will have a new-to-you combination of ingredients that will inspire you to make a creative meal that breaks you out of your usual repertoire. They make every meal like the mystery box episode of Master Chef. Who knows what ingredients you'll be challenged with?
“When you start with whole, seasonal ingredients, cooking doesn't have to be complicated, or take a lot of time.” - Two Tumbleweeds
The Downey sisters wanted the design to be something that you would want to proudly keep in your kitchen. They also wanted everything they sourced to come from the USA, including labour, which is why their products are all produced sweat-shop free in their native country. They give users two minimally styled options to store their dice: in a small, white cotton pouch or a clear glass jar. The jars are topped with a large cork lid, keeping the colors neutral and able to match any kitchen décor. The jars are an environmentally conscious twist on traditional packaging. To get their jars, Two Tumbleweeds partners with an organization called Refresh Glass based in Phoenix, AZ.
Refresh Glass ascribes to the Conscious Capitalism movement, which focuses on combining the compassion of a charity with the earning purpose of a business, supporting for-profit businesses that give back. That mentality is how their 10 Million Bottle Rescue Mission came to be. With the goal to prevent 10 million wine bottles from reaching landfills, they work with local hotels, restaurants, and other community partners to collect bottles to be salvaged and re-purposed.. Through their own unique recycling process, they create beautiful, useful products, such as kitchen glasses and LED candle holders, all from recycled wine bottles. So far, they have given new life to nearly 650,000 wine bottles. According to the stat on their website that recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to power a 100 watt light bulb for 6 hours, that is almost 3,900,000 hours of light! That is over 440 years!
Two Tumbleweeds contributes to this 10 million bottle goal as a wholesale purchaser of their clear 12oz glasses used to house their dice. This connection with Refresh Glass makes their product much more meaningful, and much less impactfull on our planet. Not to mention beautiful! Their dice are a lot more elegantly displayed than your favourite cookbook, which is probably wrought with ratty, food splattered pages. They are definetly something you will want to display on your kitchen shelf.
We love their focus on seasonality. Eating seasonally makes it easier to source your fresh veggies from local farms, cutting down on the fossil fuels and the higher demand on resources necessary to grow food out of season. This is a much more sustainable way to plan your meals. Here on Salt Spring, we are incredibly lucky to have an extensive agricultural community from which we can purchase tasty, locally grown vegetables. This option allows everyone to connect more to their food and be aware of the impact our eating has on our land and other natural resources.
Photos: Roland Persson Styling: Linda Lundgren
Recently, Two Tumbleweeds expanded their product line to include Mixology Dice as well. The basic concept is the same, except this time you end up with a fresh new beverage. The only thing more impressive than offering your guests a delicious home cooked meal, is having an original drink to go with it. This set includes 8 dice that give options for different building blocks of traditional drinks: Spirit, Sugar/Liqueur, Citrus, Fruit, Herb, Spice, Bitters. To provide the right kind of flavours in a drink, you need to be able to balance your ingredients. These dice are formulated by basing the ingredients and amounts needed on a handful of common drink types that Mixology is established around: Cocktail, Sour, Fizz, Punch, Flip, Swizzle, and Rickey. Each of these drinks requires a different combination of ingredients to qualify in that category of drink. The dice are numbered so you know which dice to roll to make your own variation of each kind of drink. Sound a little complicated for a new learner? Don't worry, they provide a handy instruction sheet to make sure you're not just serving up a variety of swamp waters with different garnishes. For example, to make your own interpretation of a Fizz, you roll 3 of the dice, follow the ratios, and then add in the traditional base required, in this case club soda and egg white. You can also just roll all the dice at once to try some of the over 15 million combos they present, although unless you have some previous mixologist experience, this option is taken at your own risk.
So whether it is a meal, a drink, or both that you need to glean inspiration for, Two Tumbleweeds has got you covered. And summer is such a great time to try new things! So many great ingredients are fresh and ready for picking. The steps are pretty simple: visit us in store or online to get stocked with your new favourite kitchen tools, then just roll, combine, and devour. C'mon, it's time to shake it up.