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From ZA to NY, Brooklyn Biltong

South African-style beef jerky cured in the open air

by Hans Aschim in Food + Drink on 01 August 2014

Beef, Biltong, Brooklyn, Jerky, Snacks, South Africa, Gluten-free, Gourmet Food

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Dried meats are a staple in many diets around the world. From smoked jerky, the trusty American gas station fare, to South America's dried llama and alpaca snack Ch'arki, what was historically born out of a lack of refrigeration for meats is now a beloved snack. As any South African will attest, the natural snack food of the rainbow nation is biltong—a dried meat that is cured in open air (without heat) with vinegar—and is never smoked. Looking for a fix in the NYC area, we came across Brooklyn Biltong. Co-founder Ben van den Heever grew up in the capital city of Pretoria where his grandfather, a renowned butcher and hunter, produced some of the city's most sought-after biltong. "We knew biltong was popular among South Africans in America, but we were driven by the challenge to connect our fellow countrymen with a new food," van den Heeve says. "It was almost sad to think how much they're missing out on this versatile, tasty beef snack."

Biltong is considerably softer and leaner than American style jerky because it is dried in larger pieces then cut. The result is a more steak-like taste that showcases the natural flavor of the meat. Brooklyn Biltong is available in stores around the NYC area as well as online where a four-ounce bag sells for $10.

Image courtesy of Brooklyn Biltong

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Deejo's Ultralight Knives

Made in France, the lightest option starts at just 15 grams or two No. 2 pencils

by Hans Aschim in Design on 01 August 2014

Custom, France, Knives, Lightweight, Outdoor Gear, Paris, Pocket Knives

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From the downright beautiful to the purpose-built, a good knife is an essential part of anyone's kit—whether camping in the bush or getting chores done around the house. France has a knack for producing some of the most celebrated blades, from the iconic Laguiole to sophisticated flatware. A relative newcomer to the French knife game is Paris-based Deejo, founded in 2010 by two friends looking to revisit the concept of the pocket knife. Originally designed for hiking, Deejo's lightweight design has garnered a widespread following for its simple aesthetic and dependable 420-grade stainless steel blade. The hardwood options start at 37 grams, while the mechanical grade plastic comes in at 27 grams. However, for the simplest treatment and lightest weight, check out the naked stainless steel, that starts at just 15 grams—about the weight of two No. 2 pencils.

Deejo knives start at just €19 and are available via Deejo's webstore. For those looking for a more custom experience, design your own knife online, with choice of blade artwork, finish, handle and size.

Images courtesy of Deejo

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Easy Keys Creation Myths: The Story of Beer

A distrubingly wild fictional adventure of animals, revelry and consumption

by David Graver in Culture on 01 August 2014

Beer, Books, Easy Keys, Origin Stories, Mythological Creatures, Indie Fiction

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Easy Keys' new book "The Story of Beer" is a rollicking tale in which readers will find a giant banjo-playing bear clad in white briefs and sporting deer antlers. His name is BEER. Billed as a translation by Aimee Theirot, from an original story told by Beauford "T-Hawk" Arceneaux (neither may be real people), the narration of the book feels as if one were sat in Appalachia in some distant time past, listening to a story from a potty-mouthed man whose mind had melted from isolation and consumption—though in actuality it's a narrator speaking directly to an audience. "Listen up, this story has transformative powers," he beckons. "I told it to a beggar once and he became a banker." There's irreverence, adventure and quite a bit of chaos and creation.

"This is the story of how BEER's parents met and conceived BEER," the narrator continues—and it all begins with a party, the aftermath and a birth. While every character is drinking, this is not about the creation of beer. It's about friendship and the nature of storytelling, love-making and good old-fashioned drinking. The real life authors behind it also produce work in another medium: they're the fun folk rocking NYC-based band Easy Keys, and the subject matter of their music is quite akin to what you'll find in "The Story of Beer." As a work of fiction, the book is baffling and beautiful, but altogether, it's a very entertaining read—complete with an intermission.

"The Story of Beer" is available online for $12. To celebrate the book release, as well as their new album, the band will be performing in NYC on 14 August 2014.

Images by Cool Hunting

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