Staff Picks

The first staff-person I spoke with this month was Rachel Guenthner, who has been working at the Co-op as a Dishwasher for just shy of two years. Without a second of hesitation Rachel chose the Peterson Myzithra cheese for her pick this month. Rachel chose this product because she loves to cook a simple pasta tossed in browned butter and grated Myzithra. She says the Myzithra cheese is a salty sheep cheese that is the key ingredient in her favorite comfort food for good reason. Although the dish seems simple, Rachel says the cheese is complex enough that the pasta just doesn’t need anything else. Her number one recommendation when making this dish is “don’t skimp on the cheese!”

Peterson Cheese is a family-owned and operated company that was founded by George and Chuck Lyden in 1947 in Seattle as an importer of Scandinavian cheeses serving a niche market. According to their website, the company’s imports grew over time to include a much larger variety of European cheeses, so they moved their operation to a warehouse in Auburn, Washington, and also acquired a second warehouse in New Jersey that serves as a storage and cutting distribution facility. Peterson distributes their imported cheeses throughout the Pacific and Inland Northwest, as well as throughout Alaska and Hawaii. Their company values family and prides itself in treating their employees well.

According to Wikipedia, Myzithra is a simple Greek-style cheese that resembles Italian ricotta, although it is much drier. It is often salt-cured and aged to produce a hard cheese. Considered to be a pinnacle of Greek cuisine, it is mainly produced on the island of Crete, although it is popular throughout Greece.

Here is a link to a simple browned butter and Myzithra pasta recipe if you want to give Rachel’s recommendation a try:

The second staff-person I spoke with this month was Max Newland. Max is a Floor Coordinator for the Co-op who just happened to start working at the Co-op right around the same time as Rachel nearly two years ago. For his recommendation this month, Max chose the Halo Top birthday cake flavor ice cream.

Max says he recommends it because it is a light ice cream that is high in protein and still happens to taste excellent, and because you basically can’t go wrong with ice cream. He also mentioned that the Co-op carries all of the available flavors and charges less than the other local stores that carry this product (Max had a lot of intel, leading me to believe he might be quite the fan of this ice cream).

Halo Top was founded in Los Angeles in 2012 by Justin Woolverton and Doug Bouton. Justin started experimenting with making ice cream in his home kitchen as a result of needing to follow a low-glycemic diet. He came up with some successful recipes that people seemed to like, and eventually decided to go into business commercially, manufacturing his ice cream with his friend Doug whom he had met through a local basketball league. Halo Top was developed around the glycemic index, and is sweetened using stevia and erythritol (a fruit sugar derived from pears and grapes). Halo Top is also high in protein, due to the eggs in the recipe. Since it is literally one of the first “light” ice cream options that doesn’t contain a laundry list of chemically-based ingredients, it tastes really good and has exploded in popularity despite being a new product.

During the course of researching this product, I stumbled across a blog post written by a college student who ate nothing but Halo Top for five straight days in an effort to lose weight. In the end she actually lost about a pound, but found that it didn’t take long to start craving something other than ice cream (namely pizza), and she didn’t actually feel that her body was getting the nutrition it needed, as she was fairly dizzy and unable to concentrate. Her conclusion was ultimately that restrictive dieting is a poor choice, and that working on building body confidence whatever one’s shape was a better idea than eating excessive amounts of light ice cream. I guess it is not completely a surprise that even high-protein light ice cream does not a complete diet make.