Expert Interview Series: Sarah Downey of Foodie Dice About Shaking Up Your Cooking Routine

Sarah Downey founded Two Tumbleweeds with her sister Liz to create products that inspire creativity in everyday life, the first of which is Foodie Dice. Sarah sat down with us to tell us the story behind Foodie Dice, and...

Cooking routine

Sarah Downey founded Two Tumbleweeds with her sister Liz to create products that inspire creativity in everyday life, the first of which is Foodie Dice. Sarah sat down with us to tell us the story behind Foodie Dice, and also shared some of the fantastic dishes she has created using this unique "cooking tool."

Okay... what exactly are Foodie Dice?

A fun new way to shake up your cooking routine, Foodie Dice is a set of 9 dice designed to inspire creative, whole-ingredients meals.

Talk about the origin of Foodie Dice. How did you come up with the idea?

The origin of Foodie Dice is a bit of a circuitous story - it sprung out of a previous idea known as an Adventure Box. I had just moved to California to join my sister, Liz, and there were so many things we wanted to do and places we wanted to explore. But whenever we had a free day, we'd look at each other and say "I don't know, what do you want to do?" So we wrote down "adventures" on slips of paper and put them in a box, which we'd then randomly pick from - and off we went!

Meanwhile, we were cooking a lot, but cooking the same things over and over again. So, we applied the Adventure Box idea to food, with compartments for different types of ingredients. Then we had a light bulb moment to use a better randomization method - dice!

Is there only one type of Foodie Dice that you sell?

We have several Foodie Dice sets now - the original Seasonal Dinners set, a booster set to go with it, Asian Bowls, Desserts, Salad Dressings, and Mixology Dice.

Are you and your sister Liz a couple of cooks or food lovers who came up with this innovative idea? Or are you both accomplished innovators/inventors who just happened to create this unique "cooking aid?"

Liz has always cooked a lot, and when I moved to California I started cooking more and learning from her. The idea for Foodie Dice sprung from our own lives when we were getting into cooking ruts. At the same time, we wanted to start a business together, and we were actively brainstorming ideas. Liz had her own business doing design work for clients, but neither of us had ever launched our own product before Foodie Dice.

What kind of feedback and comments have you gotten from people who have purchased Foodie Dice?

Our favorite feedback is from people who use Foodie Dice to cook with their kids; they have fun while learning about food and cooking techniques. A few people have also reached out to tell us they discovered a new favorite food because of the dice - like parsnips!

What are some of your favorite dishes or meals that you have made with the "help" of Foodie Dice?

We've cooked lots of new dishes inspired by Foodie Dice (there are over 186,000 possible combinations, as well as different interpretations for each roll). Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Flank steak over curried sweet potato and parsnip quinoa
  • Grilled chicken with polenta, oregano, and mustard greens with bacon
  • Braised cinnamon-rubbed pork loin with asparagus and smashed potatoes, finished with a pesto drizzle

Okay, nothing in life is absolutely perfect. Do you have a story about a "Foodie Dice fail" that you'd like to share with us?

I rarely use recipes, so most of my cooking fails are a result of bad coordination - some things end up overcooked or get cold while they wait on other things. As far as Foodie Dice rolls, we spent a long time working on how we structured the dice so that most combinations would make sense. That said, the Booster Dice set increases adventurous rolls, which is sometimes good and sometimes not. For example, cinnamon either works or it doesn't. If I roll, say, cinnamon along with cilantro and garlic, I re-roll.

For people who have Foodie Dice, what are some of the key tools and items that they should have on hand in their kitchens?

I'd recommend stocking up on items that keep well - things like rice, polenta, and pasta, as well as dried herbs and spices. I go to the store often for meat and veggies, but having the staples on hand makes life easier.

What kitchen appliance or gadget do you own that you just can't live without?

A meat thermometer makes cooking so much easier and better! I spent a long time undercooking and overcooking meat before I bought a thermometer. Now I never cook meat without it.

Looking for a meat thermometer and other kitchenware? Check out Cilantro's selection today!