Why the 12 Spoons guide?
Over the years, Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) members have frequently asked us, “Where can I find WAPF-friendly food when traveling?” Many people must eat on the go regularly because of their jobs, and would like to find the best options available to them. And of course, most of us would like to eat out occasionally without having to compromise our principles too drastically.
The 12 Spoons site is designed to help WAPF members find food that is at least acceptable when they are in an area without many options. And it’s also meant to highlight those establishments that are really doing great things. An establishment can earn one “spoon” for each of our twelve criteria they meet. A one-spoon establishment signals a place where a busy traveler will find at least a few acceptable dishes, whereas a twelve-spoon establishment signals a place that’s doing everything right and is worth a special trip.
We hope that as the 12 Spoons site gains traction and food purveyors learn of it, they’ll want to know more about our criteria and how they can earn a higher score. We look forward to a day when there will be a number of high-scoring establishments in every locale, at a variety of price points.
What are the rating criteria?
We evaluate each business based on the following 12 “Yes/No” criteria:
- Serves mostly (i.e., at least more than half of the menu) fresh food, prepared from scratch. Does NOT rely primarily on “kits,” which are prepared/partially prepared foods from commercial food services.
- Offers some locally obtained and/or organically produced food and/or wild-caught seafood.
- Offers some pastured animal foods.
- Offers some dishes made with organ meats (liver/paté, sweetbreads, heart, kidney, brains, etc.).
- Cooks (sautés) at least some food in natural fats such as butter, lard, tallow, duck fat, coconut oil, or olive oil; may also use lard, duck fat, or tallow for frying.
- Makes own bone broths/stocks for use in soups, stews, gravies, and sauces (does NOT use canned broth or powdered soup bases).
- Makes most of its own seasoning mixes (does NOT use flavoring packets or MSG).
- Makes all or some of its own salad dressings using olive oil or cold-pressed sesame oil.
- Offers genuine sourdough bread.
- Offers at least some lacto-fermented beverages (such as kombucha or kvass).
- Offers at least some lacto-fermented condiments.
- Offers at least some desserts made in house with natural sweeteners (e.g., raw honey, maple syrup, molasses, date sugar, etc.).
Who rates the businesses?
Volunteer raters are those WAPF members who are knowledgeable about our dietary principles, recommended farming practices and preparation methods; they will rate establishments in their area and submit these ratings to the 12 Spoons site via a simple web-based form.
How are raters selected?
12 Spoons site moderator/blogger Monica Corrado (a teaching chef and WAPF honorary board member) vets each applicant to ensure they have a good basic understanding of the criteria.
How can I see the ratings?
Use of the 12 Spoons Guide is a free perk with membership in the Weston A. Price Foundation.
- Join WAPF at westonaprice.org/why-join, if you haven’t already.
- Have your WAPF username and password handy (use forgot password link at westonaprice.org if you need to).
- Click the big red “Join” button at the top right of the 12 Spoons site header.
- Create a 12 Spoons username, enter the email address you’d like to associate with your 12 Spoons account, and enter your WAPF username and password (the 12Spoons site will check your WAPF credentials against the WAPF database to make sure you’re a WAPF member).
- Check your email for a link to set your 12 Spoons password.
- Use the password to login and complete your 12 Spoons profile. Now you can start searching for restaurants and commenting on listings!
How can I volunteer to be a rater?
If you are already a WAPF member, first join the 12 Spoons site for free as described above. On the site, familiarize yourself with our 12 criteria. From your Profile page, click “Apply to Become a Rater” to send an email to the site moderator. Once approved, you’ll have access to a short training guide that will have you rating businesses in no time.
Meanwhile, start looking around your neighborhood to decide which establishments to rate. The website has a handy form you can take to any restaurant, carryout, or food truck you visit, to help you take notes and ask questions. You’re also welcome to rate catering services and community supported kitchens (CSKs).
How can I suggest a business be rated?
As of this writing, we don’t have a mechanism for this, because we have members all over the country, and as a new site just starting out we have only a few volunteer raters. If we were to accept suggestions, they might languish for a long time before we had a rater in the area who could check it out. For now, if you’d like to see a business rated, volunteer to be a rater and do it yourself. See above for how you can volunteer.