Our weekly serving of off-the-menu items – a few popular favorites from the week, as well as a few morsels that may have slipped your notice.

Luis Tato/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Climate Change Threatens Our Food System

A new report on climate change from the UN calls for institutional changes in our food system, and suggests turning to indigenous farmers for their valuable agricultural knowledge. The report notes that climate change is putting serious pressure on the global food supply, and will soon begin threatening our ability to feed ourselves. The impacts of climate change are already visible, as fertile land turned-to-desert can no longer support local populations, and increased flooding disrupts agricultural patterns.

A Fungi Factory for the Household

A little-known fact is that used coffee grounds are great for growing mushrooms. Designer Jamie Pybus’ kit for cultivating edible mushrooms, the Fungi Factory, makes it easier for people to start growing fungi at home. The Fungi Factory kit provides the vessels you need for cultivating, storing and processing the mushrooms, relying on the user for the addition of coffee grounds.

Photo by Stella Blackmon for New York Magazine.

The Tristar Strawberry’s Struggle to Survive

Although smaller than its commercial counterparts (the large, red strawberry varieties that you usually see in grocery stores), the Tristar strawberry has become a favorite of chefs and Greenmarket visitors in NYC, thanks to its strong aroma, rich color and perfectly sweet flavor. When the Tristar’s supplier, Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, was faced with a threat to his first-generation plant stock, he struggled to find a new source willing to help him. Grubstreet chronicles Bishop’s fight to keep his Tristar supply alive, and where he’s now growing Greenmarket’s favorite berries.

Artificial Tongue Developed for Tasting Whiskey

Seeking to reduce the trade of counterfeit alcohol, scientists have developed an “artificial tongue” for testing the differences between types of whiskey. The artificial tongue was able to distinguish between brands of whiskey with 99% accuracy, and can also distinguish between whiskies aged in different barrels, or for varying amounts of time.

Photo by Nic Gaunt.

A Celebration of Sweets in a Postmodernist Dessert Laboratory

Located in Hong Kong, dessert laboratory “Eat Darling Eat” pays homage to the art of dessert making with its whimsical design, including bold colors and engaging textures. Although the shop also sells actual desserts, its space is intended to fully immerse customers in the experience of making and eating sweets, as well as remind them of their memories of desserts.