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Archive | March, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Word Search

Fun Fact: St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. It is also a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Hard

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What Are Americans Snacking On?

What Are Americans Snacking On?Americans love to snack! It’s seems like a lifetime ago that snacks were reserved as ‘special treats’. Not anymore, a study conducted by the Hartman Group found that Americans are consuming, on average, 2.3 snacks per day. I set out to find when Americans snack, what they consume when they snack, why they snack, and if this snacking is a trend or here to stay.

When Do Americans Snack?

Food has become part of every occasion in the United States from birthday parties to office meetings, the opportunity to snack is everywhere. According to the study by the Hartman Group:

  • More than 41% of American adults enjoy at least two snacks per day
  • While 24% of them have at least three snacks per day
  • Followed by 17% having only one snack per day
  • Most snacking occurs in the afternoon, evening and late-night hours

Why Do Americans Snack?

According to the Hartman study, 28% of adults snack because they want to enjoy an indulgent treat while 27% snack on impulse. Others snack because they feel stressed or anxious, or simply don’t feel like cooking or preparing a meal. However, additional research has shown that 36% of consumers who snack have healthier eating habits than consumers who do not snack as all.

So, Snacking Is Healthy?

And early research is showing that contrary to conventional wisdom, the more consumers snack, the healthier their eating behaviors are. In today’s fast paced world, consumer’s view snacking as one way to improve healthy eating habits. Consumers identify fruit, yogurt, and nutritional bars as their top picks for healthy snacks. Nutritionists recommend snacks including: edamame, hard boiled eggs, dried nuts and fruits and smoothies.

Is Snacking Here To Stay?

The verdict is in and snacking is here to stay! QSRWeb named ‘snacks’ as one of the top quick service restaurant trends for 2012, while the NRA named “half portions and small portions at low prices” as a top trend for 2013. Healthy snacks can actually help stabilize blood sugar levels, making it easier to curb consumer cravings at meal times.

With snack food brands including, Nabisco, Doritos, and Lays investing millions of dollars a year advertising their brands, snacking will continue to grow. Consumer response to snack foods is positive: snacking, when done in moderation, can help manage their hunger, weight, and energy levels.

One out of every five eating occasions in the United States is a snack, with more than half of all Americans eating 2 snacks per day – make your food choices count! Healthy snacking can lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle!

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Back Burner Recognized in Top Food Blog Infographic

Coupon Audit recently put together an infographic on the top food blogs to follow in 2012 and named the Back Burner #15!  There were many great food blogs listed (like my personal favorite Door to Door Organics) and we are excited to see that our blog stands with some of the greatest food blogs out there!

Back Burner Recognized in Top Food Blog Infographic

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit.

Thanks for the recognition Coupon Audit!

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Foie Gras

Foie GrasMy husband and I, and our two boys, raise 4 chickens (and a 5th that ended up being a rooster). We wanted to share with our boys what it’s like to raise something that you are responsible for, but that also provides for the family. Every day they go out and collect their eggs, feed and water them, and play with them. They also get to enjoy the fruits of their labor with all sorts of egg recipes!

Did You Just Say They Play With The Chickens?

Yes. In fact, each of them has their own personality, but there’s one in-particular that stands out from the rest – her name is Miss Elsie.

Every time anyone walks outside, she runs to the gate that separates her from our deck and patiently waits for her treats (typically leftover veggies, veggie peelings or warm oatmeal). Even when I forget to bring anything out, she convinces me that it’s worth it to go back in as her friends slowly crowd around her waiting for their treats too.

And Elsie’s the only one of the flock that will let you pet her and hold her (which can sometimes be a messy situation, but you learn how to hold them). It’s really been a fun experience for all of us; to the point that I don’t think we could ever eat them (not sure what we’re going to do when they get older though). I seriously couldn’t look at the chicken on my plate and know it’s Miss Elsie – I think my boys would agree with that notion too.

What’s This Foie Gras Thing?

Now, I suppose I should say that I don’t live in Boulder. I actually live up in the mountains where we can raise chickens if we want. It’s a small town, but I like that lifestyle. And I suppose because of this fact, I’ve never heard of Foie Gras. That was, until I received an email on the ban of Foie Gras in California.

I may be a small-town girl, but I’m also a bit of a nerdy-researcher when it comes to new topics. I engulf myself in things until I understand everything about it – the history behind it, why there’s a ban in the first place, what the farmers think, what the restaurants think, etc. Of course everyone is going to have their own opinion (and this story is mine), but I believe that in order to really be able to form an opinion about something, you should be informed on the subject matter beyond one online article. So I researched it.

I read that article that was sent to me, and they mentioned how the ducks are force fed to enlarge their liver to be 6x what a normal liver should be in a healthy duck, and that “ducks and geese experience fear, as well as acute and chronic stress from the multiple daily force-feedings and the pain associated with them. And force-feeding can cause a number of injuries: bruising or perforation of the esophagus; hemorrhaging and inflammation of the neck resulting from the repeated insertion of the pipe into the throat; and asphyxia caused by food improperly forced into the trachea.” (The Humane Society of the United States).

Foie Gras

What Bertrand Hug Says

The article above concluded with a story from a restaurateur that mentioned how upset he was about the ban and that as a child, he saw these birds on his family farm as happy to receive their force fed meal. Of course I had to read that article too.

Bertrand Hug does a great job letting us know how his life on the farm was in France. He mentions many other animals that were raised on the farm: all of them to help feed the family or earn income for them.

This is a pretty typical life on a farm, and for the most part, I grew up the same way. We had cows and goats for milk and cows and goats for meat. We had chickens for eggs and we had chickens for meat. We grew our own vegetable garden, and did our best to live off the land.

Hug goes on to say that yes, there were birds that were force fed, and the money that came from those fatty livers helped bring in “big money.” I was still cringing as I read up this point, but I suppose I can also relate with his recollection of all the ducks running up to be fed – that’s my Elsie. And that the experience of those ducks being force fed is like a bird that swallows a fish whole. Furthermore, he states that all of those birds were far happier than the other ducks that weren’t force fed. I’m not sure on my stance with this though; I don’t think I could ever force feed Elsie just to plump her up.

A Little History Story

Foie Gras

The history of increasing the size of a goose from force feeding dates back to 2498 BC, where the Egyptian monarchy considered geese to be a delicacy, and the animal was often given as a gift. It was during this time that the first records of fattening a goose came to be; however, I should state that there are plenty of sites that say that the Egyptians may have been fattening the birds so that they appeared plump, which of course was for pleasing the gift receiver.

In the second century BC the term Foie Gras came to be known as a food source, also seen as a delicacy. The Greeks and Romans both attribute themselves for discovering this dish, and thus spreading the popularity of the force feeding to bring it to the table around the world.

Today, France considers Fois Gras a cultural gastronomical heritage and is the leading producer and consumer of both forms – duck and geese.

It was in 1974 that the first ban was enforced for force-feeding animals, which occurred in Norway. Other countries that followed suit included Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Last Thoughts

I grew up on a farm and have a family full of hunters, so yes, we all eat meat. But we believe in the ethical treatment of animals. I couldn’t imagine pumping Miss Elsie full of hormones just to make her eggs bigger, just like I couldn’t imagine pumping her full of food just to make her “plump for eating.” The eggs she lays (as well as the other chickens) are small in comparison to store eggs, just like the organic meat that we get from the local organic grocers is small in comparison to shopping at the normal grocers.  And we’re okay with that.

I don’t follow all of my food from farm to plate, but I do try to make a conscience decision to feed my family with food that I at least know a little bit about – whether that be from the food we receive from hunting or because I read the labels on the food at the organic grocers before I buy it.

I also know that when I go out to restaurants I may not be eating food that was humanly raised (odds are that I’m not), but it is also a choice that I’m very aware of and wish I had more options up in my small town to be able to know that the meats were humanely raised.

I wanted to write this blog post about Fois Gras to get your feedback, not to say what my opinions were, but I found that it was harder to do than I thought.  So, I must conclude by saying that if you are a farmer at a Fois Gras farm, or a restaurant owner that serves Fois Gras, I invite you to take a stance and help teach our audience more about Foid Gras and its best practices.

P.S. As one of my co-workers, Molly, read through this, she mentioned that I should post a picture of Elsie.  But the only photo I had at the time was one that was uploaded to Instagram last year, which was when the chickens were much younger, but it’s still cute!  Elsie’s the white chicken on the left looking at the camera.

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Our Heart Feels GREAT!

We don’t brag often, but the time has come! Some amazing partnerships have recently formed and we want to shout our excitement on the Back Burner blog!

Our Heart Feels GREAT!High West Oyster Fest

Tundra has joined hands with the Big Red F Restaurant Group and Jax Fish House Boulder to support the Veterans Expeditions – a Colorado based non-profit that uses wilderness challenges to connect veterans, create community, and raise awareness. Their work supports the reintegration of veterans into society and empowers them to overcome the challenges many face following military service.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 Jax Fish House Boulder will host the First Annual High West Oyster Fest. Picture, if you will, 1,000 folks gathered at The Boulder Theater enjoying live music by local funk-phenomenon Juno What?!, slurping fresh oysters and sipping Odell Emersum Oyster Stout. There will be an Oyster Eating Contest and an Oyster Shucking Competition featuring the fastest shuckers from the finest oyster bars across the globe!

Proceeds from the High West Oyster Fest will go to the Veterans Expeditions. What a fun way to support such an amazing organization! Interested in attending?

Our Heart Feels GREAT!Kitchens are Cooking! Tour

Our next marvelous partnership is with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County. On April 27th and 28th beautiful and unique kitchens throughout Boulder will be featured, many with a culinary cooking theme. There will be demonstrations and cooking ideas — all in beautiful home and loft kitchen settings. Tundra is donating Chef Wear for the event!

All proceeds from the Kitchens are Cooking! Tour will support “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County’s Fitness for Life program – provides low-income children with life skills focused on nutrition and well-being, participation in a variety of recreational activities, and healthy after-school snacks so they can be successful in school and life.

Our Heart Feels GREAT!Story Time Celebration

Our third most recent partnership is with Milk + Bookies™ – a nationwide charitable organization that inspires children to give back, using books as its currency. March 10th  marks the 4th Annual Story Time Celebration which is a family fun day featuring celebrity readers such as Ginnifer Goodwin from ABC TV Series Once Upon a Time, Max Greenfield AKA Schmidt from FOX’s TV Series New Girl and Adam Scott from NBC’s TV Series Parks and Rec.  The event also has story inspired arts and crafts, photo flip books, literary characters, lunch (that’s where Tundra comes in – we donated the disposables!) and delicious milk and cookies!

Children do the giving and a giant bookstore is available for families to pick books, inscribe them with personal messages and then donate them back. Milk + Bookies then gives the books to local school children who simply have no books of their own.

Check out this video to learn more about the Milk + Bookies Story Time Celebration:

Tundra’s 10th value is to “share the gains with our people, our customers and the community” and that is exactly what we intend to do! We are thrilled about our new partnerships and community involvement and can’t wait to see who walks through the door next…

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A Look at Tundra’s History with Co-Founders Michael Lewis & Rob Fenton – Part II

A Look at Tundra’s History with Co Founders Michael Lewis & Rob Fenton   Part IIWith the expansion into the online marketplace came the potential for Tundra to bring business to the national and global fronts, providing large establishments as well as the at-home consumer an avenue to shop equipment and parts from the comfort of a computer. A bare-bones website, constructed and maintained by Michael’s son Ryan Lewis in the early 2000’s, generated a single order on the day the site launched, (“for one cutting board,” Michael laughs) and after a few months the company had carved out a place for itself online.

“The first website was very primitive, very clunky, but it was sort of cutting edge at that time,” Michael jokes. “Then we went on to the second one, and with each one we were able to expand the amount of product we put on. We were able to get deeper into the customer world. We became far savvier with web marketing. I think the rest of that’s history to where [the web] is one of the most significant growth engines in this company today.”

The push into web sales and marketing also added to Tundra’s ability to cater to customers on a different level by providing a convenient, customized shopping experience for larger businesses.

“At that same time we started to get a lot of interest from different groups that we worked with. Restaurant chains. They were interested in utilizing and liked the idea of having their own website,” Rob reflects regarding Tundra’s chain sites. “We were able to create a lot of uniqueness for them. It’s amazing how many people are involved in that and want that. It’s worked out well.”

While technological advances assisted in the company’s growth, it’s a core set of values on which Tundra finds its footing for day-to-day interactions and ethics. Jotted down as Michael left his old company, and unaltered as they were cemented into how business is conducted, the thirteen values are painted on the walls and keep the company focused.

“In fifteen minutes I wrote down the values of what I wanted to take with me from my prior experience and hold on to,” Michael explains. “It was the stuff that was successful or wished to be successful. The things that when we had difficult times held us together. That’s where the thirteen values came from.”

As years progressed and times changed Tundra’s culture continued to blossom, and with more product and sales came more challenges. Adjusting to additional business and providing customer and employee satisfaction may not have always come easy, but working back toward the values that helped form the company proved invaluable.

“That’s the beauty of culture, and values, is that they drift.” Michael says of the Tundra’s strong values. “You know the old saying is ‘to be off the path is to be on the path, because at least you have a path and you know you’re off it,’ and having a core set of values to return to was always a centering point.”

And with that centering point always in mind the business has continued to expand. Bringing high quality parts and equipment to restaurants and cozy kitchens around the world has proven fruitful, and both Rob and Michael see the possibilities for Tundra as endless.

“I think it’s unlimited,” Rob says. “As we go forward, always going back to who we are and what we do and the ability to focus on the customer and take care of them as we have in the past, the future’s bright. There is no limit.”

As Tundra celebrates its 20th anniversary this month orders will continue to ship, customers will continue to browse the showroom, and calls will continue to come in. Those humble beginnings of a three employee effort have grown to a well-oiled 135 person team, with each member contributing to the expansion of ten products to nearly 70,000, and the company’s culture and drive for customer care continues to evolve with no limits in sight.

“It’s been one hell of a ride,” Rob remarks.

Read Part I.

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A Look at Tundra’s History with Co-Founders Michael Lewis & Rob Fenton – Part I

A Look at Tundra’s History with Co Founders Michael Lewis & Rob Fenton   Part IFrom a garage based one-man parts company, to a recognized national supplier of literally everything including the kitchen sink, Tundra Restaurant Supply has grown as a business and evolved as a concept for the past twenty years. This month Tundra’s crossing that anniversary line, and co-founders Michael Lewis and Rob Fenton have been along for the ride since the company’s conception. Keeping business practices and employee relations grounded in a solid “ways not policies” mentality, both men can still be seen laughing with vendors or conversing with co-workers on a daily basis. Michael and Rob recently took a trip down memory lane and reminisced about the early days, what makes Tundra special, how things have changed, and how staying the same where it counts has kept the company strong and unique over the years.

“When I came out here it started very fundamentally,” Michael remembers of his move from New Jersey in 1992, “It literally started in my garage. I came out here with the idea of starting a smaller, regional restaurant dealership that emphasized parts and brought what my prior company did at the wholesale level to the retail level.”

Printing and passing out product fliers, in person, to Boulder, Colorado’s budding restaurant scene in early ’93 helped Michael get familiar with the area and the restaurateurs he’d be doing business with. “Well, we have these in stock and we can get a whole lot more,” was his pitch, and pretty soon it was time to print the first official catalog. This is when Michael and Rob crossed paths.

“It’s kind of an interesting story,” Rob recalls. “Out of hundreds of printers in the Front Range, Michael picks three out of a catalog. I was one of the three. I was working for a printing company, and we were able to win and secure the business.”

Those first few small catalogs solidified the duo’s working relationship and paved the way for Tundra’s future.

“We were comfortable with each other right away. I liked his history, where he came from, what he had done in his past life,” Rob says. “My only statement was ‘I know this is going to work. I believe it will work. I just don’t know how long it’s going to take to get there.’”

The answer was:  not long. With three employees (Michael, Rob, and a fundamental team member named Nancy Hogan) Tundra powered forward, securing space, building a customer base, and working with vendors to acquire product. By mid-1993 the shelves had product on them, the phone was ringing intermittently, and the company was able to purchase and ship orders.

“One of the things that worked well at the start was we had a strong value base,” Michael explains. “We had a high integrity for the customer, the vendors, for product, and we were going to deliver a level of service that we believed was not available.”

At that time we did something really revolutionary. We listened to the customer,” Rob agrees. “I think it was key timing too. Timing was perfect.”

With a value system in place that focused on customer service, having fun, respect, and forward progress, paired with a desire to provide customers with the parts and products they needed, the business began to grow. Restaurant supply had been a niche market up until the early 90’s, and as Tundra expanded, so too did the local restaurant scene. Over twenty years of building and maintaining relationships in and outside the area, Tundra’s product offering has gone from parts to small wares, equipment, disposables, and on to textiles and design all with help from the customer. “That was all customer pool,” Michael says. “It wasn’t necessarily a back room creation or we thought this was what the customer wanted. It was asked, and we were able to deliver.”

Continue on to  Part II.

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Is it a Scoop? Or is it a Disher?

Is it a Scoop? Or is it a Disher?It’s Both!

These portion-controlled kitchen tools are referred to as dishers in the food service industry, but to the rest of the cooking community they are more commonly referred to as ice cream scoops.

Dishers are more commonly used for dishing ice cream, but also work well for scooping cookie dough, creating truffles, portioning-off muffin or cupcake batter, serving a variety of entrée sides and much more. And because they come in a variety of sizes and styles, they have come to be an essential tool in the food service industry for quick, easy, and accurate food prep.

How Do You Choose a Disher?

Dishers measure portions. Traditionally, dishers are sized by the number of scoops per quart, but may also be sized by ounces, the diameter of the bowl, or the number of tablespoons they hold. We’ve created a couple of reference guides to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Standard Duty Color Coded Dishers

  • Standard Duty
  • Stainless Steel Scoop Bowl
  • Color Coded Handles

 

Item No.

Size

Cap. [oz]

Dia. [in]

Handle

85-280 6 4 2/3 3 White
85-281 8 4 2 3/4 Gray
85-282 10 3 3/4 2 5/8 Ivory
85-283 12 3 1/4 2 1/2 Green
85-284 16 2 3/4 2 1/4 Blue
85-285 20 2 2 1/8 Yellow
85-286 24 1 3/4 2 Red
85-287 30 1 1/4 1 7/8 Black
85-288 40 8-Jul 1 5/8 Orchid

 

Heavy Duty Color Codes Dishers

  • Heavy Duty
  • Stainless Steel Scoop Bowl
  • Color Coded Handles

Item No.

Size

Cap. [oz]

Dia. [in]

Handle

85-490 6 5 1/3 3 1/8 White
85-491 8 4 2 13/16 Gray
85-492 10 3 1/4 2 5/8 Ivory
85-493 12 2  2/3 2  7/16 Green
85-494 16 2 2  3/16 Blue
85-495 20 1 5/8 2 Yellow
85-496 24 1 1/3 1 7/8 Red
85-497 30 1 1 3/4 Black
85-498 40 3/4 1  9/16 Orchid

 

Squeeze Type Dishers

  • Squeeze Dishers Are Manufactured For Right & Left Hand Use
  • Stainless Steel Scoop Bowl
  • Heavy Duty Construction

Item No.

Size

Cap. [oz]

Dia. [in]

85-460 6 4 1/2 3
85-461 8 4 2 3/4
85-462 10 3 3/4 2 5/8
85-463 12 3 1/4 2 1/2
85-464 16 2 3/4 2 1/4
85-465 20 2 1/2 2 1/8
85-466 24 1 3/4 2
85-467 30 1 1/4 1 7/8
85-468 40 7/8 1 3/4
85-472 50 5/8 1 1/2
85-469 60 9/16 1  7/16
85-470 70 1/2 1 3/8
85-471 100 3/8 1 1/4

 

Next time you’re whipping up a batch of decadent cupcakes, famous chocolate chip cookies, or serving flavorful ice cream try using a disher – these practical scoops are a sure way to make sure your food presentation is impressive!

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Tundra Restaurant Supply Turns 20!

Tundra Restaurant Supply Turns 20!Back in 1993, Michael Lewis was traveling to Boulder, Colorado from back east and already had a dream about starting a new restaurant supply company.  He was so amped about this new adventure that he scribbled down the mission statement and company values before he even had a name for the company – the company that was later named Tundra Specialties.

Tundra Specialties was born in March of ’93 and started as a parts supplier.  Our first catalog was 10 pages long and only had 245 products listed.  All of our sales efforts were outbound, and Michael signed on Rob Fenton (employee #3 at Tundra) to help him get in front of more people.  Rob would walk from one restaurant to the other letting different restaurant owners and operators know about Tundra and how we were different from competitors – it was all about the customer from the very beginning.  This was the early beginning of Tundra.

Celebrating 20 Years

Today, we’ve grown from a mere 3 employees, to over 135!  Our catalog has grown to include restaurant, food service and plumbing supplies and equipment, and is well over 500 pages.  Our name has changed to Tundra Restaurant Supply and we now proudly sell over 60,000 products!  We have an in-house design firm, are able to accommodate large chain restaurants, and still hold true to our mission statement and values.

To celebrate our 20 years in business, we wanted to thank you – our customers, readers, and loyal fans – for helping us get to where we are today!  Because we truly believe we wouldn’t be where we are without you, we are giving away cash prizes to celebrate!

Again, we thank you for getting us where we are today!

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