All the News That's Fit to Eat: Week of November 27

Let's deem this week the Week of Women (actually, let's make that a month, a year, a lifetime!)! While "powerful" men have been falling from grace like dominos recently in light of sexual harassment and assault allegations, countless articles this week have profiled women - not as victims, but as talented, dynamic professionals who have long been sowing the seeds of their success. From a Gastropod podcast that unpacks flawed understandings of women's contributions to nourishing past generations to a New York Times article that delightfully delves into "feminist cheese," these articles offer a glimmer of hope for building food systems that have gender equity at their core. 

PS - I've been fortunate to find groups like Pineapple Collaborative and Cherry Bombe's BombeSquad that are relentlessly dedicated to empowering communities of women in food. Highly recommend you check 'em out and help them put in the work to make this vision for the future of women in food a reality. 


28 Pie Charts That Show Female Representation in FoodEater
"When women only hold 21 percent of head chef roles across the country, chauvinist (and dangerous) behavior can go unchecked. Its pervasiveness reinforces the importance of investing in the talents of women, whether that’s through monetary investment, industry recognition, or simply placing them front and center at events. While the following numbers focus on recognition for women, that is just one factor in making this industry more inclusive and fair. Women should get their due on magazine covers and on panels; they should also feel safe in their places of work."

Women, Food, Power and BooksGastropod
"The stereotype has long been that men hunt and provide, while women just stir the pot. Thankfully, today many women—and men—reject both that biological essentialism and the resulting division of labor. But what can science tell us about the role our earliest female ancestors played in providing food for themselves and their communities? Meanwhile, given the fact that women have been confined to the kitchen for much of recent Western history, how have they used food as a tool of power and protest, escape, and resistance?"

The Culture Is Changing, With Feminist CheeseNew York Times
"At a moment when assault and harassment revelations are creeping across male-dominated industries like so much unwanted mold, independent American cheese making stands as an obvious if undersung exemplar of the ultimate matriarchal workplace." PS - Can I get some of this Amelia Earhart cheese please?

Food Media Is Dominated by Women. So Why Aren’t We Writing About Female Chefs?Esquire
"When it comes to the impact of women in food, there’s a wealth of untapped stories to explore."

Brad Makes Kimchi - It's Alive, Bon Appétit
Can I be best friends with Brad from Bon Appétit? These videos absolutely crack me up. Every episode of "It's Alive" features some sort of fermented food or drink (hence the name) and each one is 200% delightful. 

kalamata olives || planting my roots

Mizuna with Tarragon and Capers

Mizuna is new to me. Fresh tarragon...oddly enough, pretty new to me too. Take the two of them together and you've got a new recipe for me and for you! I first came across mizuna when it arrived in my CSA box last week. I starred at it a bit quizzically because I've been on a bad "veggie identification" streak as of late. I've mistaken Jerusalem artichokes for ginger, watermelon radishes for rutabagas, rutabagas for turnips. Not great. At first I was thinking the mizuna was some sort of arugula. Turns out that wasn't too far off (albeit, still wrong), but arugula does have a slight peppery taste like arugula. Though in comparison, it has a much thicker stem and to steal a phrase from Serious Eats, the leaves are more "frond-like" in appearance.

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

After some more digging, I learned that mizuna is native to Japan and considered a mustard green. It's typically pickled, but I've also found several recipes that call for it tossed in salads. The first time I dipped into my mizuna CSA stash, I simply sautéed it with salt and coconut oil, then tucked it underneath salmon . Inspiration struck as I piled my fork high with sautéed mizuna, plus the dijon and tarragon crusted salmon. In one bite, there were hints of bitter greens, some acidity from the dijon and sweet, anise-y tarragon. They balanced each other in such a wonderfully unexpected way, and thus, a new recipe was born. 

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

Since mizuna struck me as a much lighter - almost feathery - green, I wanted to avoid weighing it down while sautéing with something like dijon. To replicate the brininess and acidity of the mustard, my brain went to capers. It may seem a bit strange to mix the sweet and salty flavors here, as both capers and tarragon have very distinct flavors, but they really do complement each other beautifully in this dish. Pairing with a side of salmon certainly doesn't hurt either!

I'm still learning my way around mizuna, but I like to think that hopefully this first attempt would make Samin Nosrat proud. I could almost hear her voice in my head repeating "Salt Fat Acid Heat" as I tried to pull through those elements. A pinch of kosher salt, a spoonful of coconut oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and hit of capers - sautéed over heat to perfection. Salt, fat, acid and heat. We've got the whole gang here!

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots
mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

Mizuna with Tarragon and Capers

serves 2

what you'll need:
1 bunch mizuna (about 8 oz), roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
kosher salt, to taste
juice from 1/4 - 1/2 of a fresh lemon

what you'll do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in medium frying pan for one minute over medium heat. Add in minced garlic, stirring frequently for about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic. 
  2. Add mizuna to frying pan, stirring frequently to coat greens with garlic and oil. Reduce heat to low and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until greens begin to wilt. 
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in capers and chopped tarragon. Add pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon to taste. Serve immediately. 

All the News That's Fit to Eat: Week of November 20

Keeping this short and sweet since we're all still in holiday mode, but some good reads included in this week's round-up to explore as you make your way through leftovers! 


Native American Chefs Say Their Indigenous Foods are Not a Trend to be Co-optedThe Independent
"Native American chefs, whose foodways the culinary establishment has long neglected, have lately found themselves in high demand by a food media hungry to churn out trend pieces and by food-savvy urbanites eager to try cuisines they view as 'exotic.' First it was Filipino food, then Hawaiian, then Jamaican. Now, recent coverage in food publications is calling Native American food the next big thing. And that's precisely the problem."

Thanksgiving Dinner Is Cheapest in Years, But Are Family Farms Paying the Price?Union of Concerned Scientists
To feed 10 people a Thanksgiving feast of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, the cost this year was about $50. This is the lowest since 2013. This also means that in total, the farms that produced those raw foods made about eight dollars. That’s eight dollars total across all farms, which then must pay workers’ wages and cover operating costs.

In 'Our Syria' Cookbook, Women Share Stories, Safeguard A Scattered CuisineNPR
"As millions of people have fled Syria, they haven't been able to take much with them on their journey. Families often had to abandon the things that reminded them of home. So the recipes that bring them back to the places they left behind are precious. Dina Mousawi and Itab Azzam are the authors of a new cookbook, Our Syria: Recipes From Home. For the book they interviewed Syrian refugees scattered around Europe and the Middle East. The book gathers their stories, along with the recipes that remind them of home."

An Ingredient Yotam Ottolenghi Can't Do WithoutThe New York Times
An oldie but goodie, this is an ode to tahini. I wholeheartedly agree with Ottolenghi, "Rare is a dish not improved with a drizzle of tahini." 

roasted potatoes || planting my roots

All the News That's Fit to Eat: Week of November 13

This week, I couldn't shake a story, "Searching for the Aleppo Sandwich" from my head because it was poignantly reflected on just that - a sandwich. But, it begged the question - when is a sandwich much more than a sandwich? At what point can food become a symbol of humanity itself and its resilience? That opened the floodgates to me reading all about the history and meaning of other foods and culinary traditions from the Middle East, which what led me to stumble upon the other articles included here. In the spirit of next week's celebration of tradition, family and food, these felt like fitting articles.


Searching For The Aleppo Sandwich Pt. 1Sporkful
"These days Aleppo is the symbol of the devastation of the Syrian Civil War. But before that, Aleppo was Syria's food capital -- known for its diverse mix of Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and European food cultures."

Why the Art of Hospitality Means the World to the Middle EastFood52
"Hospitality is a bedrock of cultures and countries across the Middle East, and it manifests in ways that would likely take Americans by surprise. While there are many ways people show it (more on that later), perhaps the grandest expression of Middle Eastern hospitality is—surprise!—through food."

Iraqi Shorbat Addas / Borders Are Not RealAdd a Little Lemon
"What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country that is waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?… What if this is our nation’s great transition?” – Valarie Kaur"

Spice RoutesThe New Yorker (This is from 2007, but it is so good and fitting with these other articles)
"The first thing one woman would ask another was: What recipes do you have? They exchanged recipes, and sometimes argued about recipes. Was the kibbeh better in Aleppo or Damascus? Were the pastries better in Alexandria or Cairo? Claudia Roden had no interest in cooking then, but it was clear to her that families like hers, who had left their lives behind in the Middle East, had managed to carry one thing to the West with them—and that was the taste of the food they ate at home."

And we are coming up on Thanksgiving, after all, so...

Four good-for-you foods that are uniquely AmericanThe Washington Post
"Sean Sherman, founder of the Sioux Chef and co-author of the new cookbook The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen [is on a] mission is to educate people about indigenous food — the very essence of local, seasonal and sustainable eating — and to help people see the health benefits, taste and abundance of the food that identifies North America. With that in mind, and with the fall harvest in full swing, I decided to highlight a handful of ingredients that are uniquely American — some of the foods that sustained people on these lands for generations and that are still widely available today."

classic hummus || planting my roots

All the News That's Fit to Eat: Week of Nov 6

The saying goes that people either eat to live or live to eat. What I love about the authors in this week's round-up is that they live to eat...and live even more for the story behind what we eat. If you listen to the podcast version of The Splendid Table article here (and you should!), Francis Lam's musing on fry bread are spectacular and moving. Ruby Tandoh beautifully reflects on how a good memoir can satisfy the mind just as comfort food satisfies the belly. Chef Amanda Cohen's powerful call for parity between female and male chefs (and list of 62 female chefs reporters could feature ASAP) packs a punch. 


Exploring indigenous kitchens of North America with The Sioux ChefThe Splendid Table
"Chef Sean Sherman - who also goes by the name The Sioux Chef - has made a name for himself in the Upper Midwest by sourcing and cooking with ingredients originally used by Native American groups across the region. The result is an eye-opening and healthy take on modern cuisine."

Ruby Tandoh: the meaning of a food memoirThe Guardian
"Food pierces to the heart of identity, forging the stuff that makes the bodies and bones of us. Women’s stories of displacement, family, culture and difference are ways of yanking power away from postcolonial stories about “us” and an alien “them”.

I've Worked in Food for 20 Years. Now You Finally Care About Female Chefs?Esquire
From Chef Amanda Cohen: "For the past two weeks, my Twitter feed and email inbox have been filled to overflowing with food journalists begging me to Come Forward With My Story, demanding that I Make a Statement, encouraging me to Speak Out. Apparently, the rules have changed. Women may not have value as chefs, but as victims we’re finally interesting!"

A new cookbook is donating proceeds to Planned Parenthood, another to the ACLULA Times
"When it comes to addressing social injustice, food is both the message and the medium. From ingredient sourcing and labor practices to school lunch policies and professional kitchen culture, the many working parts of our food system offer entree into understanding a scope of issues affecting vulnerable communities. The food space is also where we find powerful tools for effecting change. A new wave of women working in the food world see the humble cookbook as one such tool."

roasted root vegetables with blue cheese and maple balsamic vinaigrette