Moms would know that it’s hard to find a snack that is nutritious, filling, and free of common allergens. Just ask Tina Diep, founder of Hungry Bird Eats, who finally stopped rummaging through the grocery stores in Brooklyn, New York and made her own super seed crackers to feed her #1 hungry bird, her 2 year-old son Ike.
What is the story behind Hungry Bird Eats?
It all started when I found out Ike was allergic to nuts and soy. It was a challenge finding a snack he could eat – everything was either super processed or filled with preservatives. I couldn’t even give him the bread I bought from the supermarkets! I decided to make Nordic Crisps so he had something to munch on between meals and thought my fellow moms would appreciate having these in their pantry too.
How did you come up with your company name?
When baby birds are hungry, they like to gather around the mother bird for food. The hungry bird reminds of me of son and other little kids. Birds also eat seeds and the main ingredients in my crackers are seeds, which is how “Hungry Bird Eats” came about!
What is your background?
I was born and educated in Denmark and moved to New York to pursue a career as an architect. I later realized that being an architect in the States didn’t satisfy my creative spirit. Instead, I started cooking and made a food blog, DiepLicious, to share my recipes with family and friends.
Where did you learn to make Nordic Crisps?
Crispbread is the cracker version of rye bread, which the Danes ate a lot of since it was highly nutritious and very filling. Danes love to make everything themselves so everyone always had some sort of recipe for making rye bread lying around at home. The recipe I used for making knækbrød, or Danish crispbread crackers, is one that I grew up with.
What ingredients do you use to make them?
All my crisps contain 5 super seeds (Flax, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame, Chia), olive oil, water and sea salt. These seeds are high in antioxidants, minerals, fiber and omega-3. The Rye + Sea Salt Nordic Crisps are made with rye flour, which absorbs a lot of water, making the crisps denser and hearty.
The Multi-Seeds + Oregano Nordic Crisps is gluten-free (though it doesn’t taste like it!) and was made after so many customers requested it. It’s made with brown rice flour, buckwheat, Psyllium Husk and oregano. Psyllium husk is the natural binding agent that replaces the gluten that holds the crackers together. Besides its amazing flavor, oregano is also known for its anti-bacterial effects and loaded with fiber and iron!
What makes your crackers unique of special?
My crackers have the right amount of crisp that kids enjoy and can eat. They contain simple ingredients that moms recognize and feel safe to give their kids. Unlike most savory snacks, they’re made with a blend of coarse sea salt and fine sea salt. With coarse salt, you can get the same salty taste with less salt, which is much healthier for you!
How does artisanal/small batch/handcrafted mean to you? How does it apply to your products?
Artisanal means love and personal touch is put into making these products. Handcrafted means being selective about the ingredients that go in. I make my crisps in small batches because rye flour absorbs a lot of water and have to mixed by hand very quickly. Each dough is rolled and cut by me before baking so the shapes may vary. It’s nice to be small batch because I have a better overview of what I’m making.
What are some creative ways you or you’ve heard customers use your crispbread crackers?
I like to eat them with cheese or as a chip with Tzaziki dip or hummus. Here’s a recipe of a Salmon Salad I like to make and top with my crisps:
Wild Pink Salmon Salad
- 1 can of wild pink salmon
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Kensington Mayonnaise (because it taste good and they use sunflower oil instead of soybean oil)
- 1 teaspoon of minced red onion (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish with a sprig of cilantro (if you want it extra fancy)
Mix the salmon, mayonnaise, red onion, salt and pepper in a small bowl and top it on your crisps. (If you are a cilantro lover like me, I like to chop some in the salad with a slice of avocado!)
What is your proudest moment since launching Hungry Bird Eats?
My proudest moment was when my neighbor, who is also a mom, told me her son wanted to trade in his brownies for more of my crisps!