Persian food is unlike any other cuisine I’ve had before. It balances unlikely flavor combinations like tart, tangy pomegranate molasses and tannic walnuts. Recipes measure herbs in handfuls, not teaspoons or pinches. It feels opulent, drawing from a pantry filled with ingredients like rose water, cardamom and saffron. The only thing Persian cuisine celebrates more than its sweet, savory and sour stews (yes, all three are excellent at once) is its crunchy, crackly golden rice - tahdig.Read More
I can easily list all the things I’m not. I’m not a chef, nor a food journalist. Beyond Starbucks, I’ve never worked in the restaurant industry, where so many in the food world take pride in their battle scars…er, burns. I’m not a farmer. I’m not a dietitian. I’m a food blogger who hasn’t actually blogged in a year! Although my career is very clearly in the food industry and I take such pride in my job and what I’m learning, I still struggle to articulate my place in the massive, constantly evolving food system. It’s so easy to trick myself into thinking everyone has this very clearly defined “expertise” in their head and I’m the only one who has yet to nail it.Read More
At first, I thought there was no real distinct theme to this week's news round-up. It spans from the childhood malnutrition crisis in Syria to the unraveling crisis of sexual harassment in professional kitchens across the country. But, I spent a lot of my week buried in the latest Global Nutrition Report. This report underscores the importance of identifying the links between our global food system, good nutrition, human rights and more. Through that lens then, an argument could be made for exploring the relationship between global hunger, and the rights and treatment of women within and beyond our food system. Addressing both issues requires thinking about broader systems of justice and equity. A world free of hunger is very much linked to a world where there is gender equality.
On a lighter note, there's also a great episode included here on "the mysteries of olive oil," which inspired me to have my own olive oil taste test. I now regret doing this, as the more expensive olive oil was infinitely more delicious...
Women In The Kitchen Are Not Always A Sexist Cliché, Forbes
"The image of a woman cooking up a delicious meal in the kitchen is a cliché, often a sexist one. But, Pineapple Collaborative wants to transform that image, by creating a network of women who are combining their love of making delicious food with an entrepreneurial spirit."
A Harvey Weinstein Moment for the Restaurant Industry, New Yorker
"The long-term goal should be to get more women into positions of leadership, whether judging restaurants or running them. Those are the kinds of changes that will force a true evolution in kitchen culture, just as they will in other fields where women are underrepresented at the top. But, in the meantime, we have to keep rooting out the existing problems, one at a time, so that more women actually want to be a part of the restaurant industry in the first place."
Green Gold: Our Love Affair with Olive Oil, Gastropod
"In this episode, Gastropod visits two groves—one in the Old World, one in the New—to get to the bottom of olive oil's many mysteries. Listen in this episode as they find out why the ancient Romans rubbed it all over their bodies, and whether the olive oil on our kitchen counters really is what it says on the label."
Child malnutrition in Syria is at an all time high, Food Navigator
Childhood malnutrition in Syria is at its peak since the start of the civil war, with the most dire cases being seen in the youngest of children. This is heartbreaking and preventable.
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 Food, Eater
"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 Books, Gastropod
"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 Cheese, New 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.
Every day, I wake up to a 5:30 a.m. POLITICO morning agriculture news alert, and wind down for the night scrolling through an evening news monitoring report from my colleagues. In between, I'm skimming Twitter, tuning into a food podcast on my walk to work, being heads down in the latest hunger stats - all this is to say, I am drinking from a fire hose when it comes to food news. I need a place to share all the most insightful and thought-provoking articles that come my way, so what better place than Planting My Roots?
At the close of each week, I'll share an installation in a new series - All The New That's Fit to Eat - where I'll link to the best of the best in food media (at least, to me). Tweet me (@liz_stoltz) the ones the stories that speak to you most, and I'll happily share.
From Hurricanes to Protest Movements, Food is a Way In, The New York Times
Kim Severson eloquently reflects on her experience reporting on-the-ground during major events and emphasizes that "every news story has a food angle." In light of the chaos of the world today, sometimes there can be nothing better than a nourishing meal. This made for a powerful, beautiful quick read!
Women Aren’t Ruining Food, Taste
"Why do we get so collectively annoyed by food and drink trends that we associate with women? Because it’s an ugly double standard...In general, the language that’s used against women-centric food trends is coded and gendered."
This Is What You Eat When Everyone Is Struggling For Food, BuzzFeed
"There's poverty. Then there's life in Niger, where insurgencies inside and outside its borders are forcing people to forage for food to make up for what international aid can't cover."
Hot Joy's Food Is Almost as Bad as Its Cultural Cluelessness, The Dallas Observer
Heed this advice to avoid the ugly cultural cluster that the owners of the now-closed Hot Joy restaurant found themselves embroiled in: "A useful rule is if you are playing in the domain of moderate to upscale food, then regionalize it...Visit that region at least three times. Immerse yourself. Be curious and humble. Talk to people from there. Cook with people from there. Mostly women. Perhaps take a partner who knows this stuff. Learn the language if you can. Learn the rules in terms of combinations, contrasts, techniques (as you did with French and Italian and Japanese cuisines). Then break the rules. Make interesting food.”
Food Access Advocates Walk The Long Walk ... To The Nearest Grocery Store, NPR
In my own hometown of DC, a 2016 study reported that most (70%) of our supermarkets were packed into our wealthiest neighborhoods. 150,000 residents in poorer areas of the District are served by just three stores. This staggering fact was brought to life during DC Greens' recent Grocery Walk, in which participants walked two miles - the distance far too many in DC have to walk each week for groceries. "I think one of the most powerful impacts of an action like the Grocery Walk is that it silences the myth that poor people don't want healthy food," said Lauren Shweder Biel, executive director of DC Greens.