The bright Toronto emporium that is home to the world’s most advanced collection of premium luggage is tucked off the revered Mink Mile in Yorkville.
Inside, gleaming rows of Rimowa’s signature, grooved hard cases are at the ready, newly embedded with Bluetooth technology, drawing the eye, igniting wanderlust, hinting at the future of global travel. Some pieces are loud in bright red polycarbonate but weightless at less than five pounds. Others, in matte gunmetal aluminum with monochromatic rivets, evoke nostalgia and romance.
The crown jewel of this futuristic store, though, is more than 30 years old: a battered aluminum suitcase coated with an adventurer’s patina – worn stickers, dents, scrapes from rough abrasions. If the piece had a passport, it would be dog-eared with stamps from missions in Angola, Mozambique, Burma, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and South Sudan. It flew on rescue missions, and survived a missile strike and even a plane crash though the aircraft itself did not. The bag logged more than two million miles before its owner, a Canadian-based pilot, retired the case, empty but full of memories. “It never failed to do its job properly,” he said.
For the coffee lover, these seem like golden times. Home-brewing technology has exploded. Gourmet coffee bars are cropping up in grocery stores and “drive-thru” offerings have expanded well beyond plain old drip to include lattes and a host of java-related libations. Never has it been so easy to come by that much-needed cup – or two or three – of joe.
But while we sip without abandon, a global coffee crisis is percolating.
Crickets, algae, worms, locusts. Finding any of the above inside a food product would normally be grounds for pitching it into the garbage. Not for much longer.
Crickets – in the form of flour – are already being incorporated into protein bars and are even starting to crop up on grocery store shelves; fresh algae has made its debut in a sports drink. Worms are having their moment in the form of 3D-printed cookies. And locusts? Along with grasshoppers, they rank right up there with beef as one of the best protein sources to be had if we could just open our minds – er, mouths – to them.
The country’s top global food experts predict that with the impending population boom, we will have no choice but to come around.
They spit out their broccoli, wrinkle noses at asparagus and lock their lips at the mere prospect of nibbling a Brussels sprout. Some seem to have a radar-like sense for detecting the presence of kale, regardless of how well it has been pulverized with bananas and berries and served up as a smoothie. And say nothing of spinach, a lone leaf capable of producing a dramatic barrage of choking and gags from many a member of the pint-sized crowd.
Picky eaters – specifically, those who seem born harbouring a violent opposition to any and all green vegetables – are well-known to parents everywhere. They can be exhausting, unyielding and un-trickable in this panicked era of eating, in which we are told, again and again, to eat more greens.
That so many children refuse to do so may not actually be their fault – nor that of their parents. It turns out that hatred of vegetables may actually be programmed into your DNA. The question of how to conquer genetic traits that predispose people to eschew vegetables is one of many data points a group of researchers are seeking to answer in the Guelph Family Health Study.
Imagine getting your groceries in a place where shelves are bulging with boxes of macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles and endless bags of chocolate and candy. There’s nary a polished apple or bunch of kale in sight, but there is pasta galore: dried penne, rigatoni, even tinned spaghetti packed in vermillion “tomato” sauce.
This may be the stuff of college food fantasies. But for hungry families that rely on food banks overstocked with processed food, it’s a recipe for failed health.