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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Good Food News-Native Lands In Native Hands

In Good Food News: I found an article from Civil Eats about a quarter-acre of land in Oakland, California that is about to return to Native hands, bringing a sense of place and healing to the Ohlone people.

For thousands of years, the Ohlone lived in the area between the San Francisco Bay and the Monterey Bay. When the Spanish missionaries arrived in the 1700s, they brought smallpox and other deadly diseases with them and enslaved and murdered Native communities.

A lot of the hardship in today’s Native communities is tied to their lack of land, say Corrina Gould and Johnela LaRose, founders of the Sogorea Tè Land Trust, which was started in 2012, specifically as a way to return Ohlone land, so that they and others in the Native American community can grow food and have land for ceremonial practices

“It’s important for all human beings to have a connection to the land,” says Gould. With this in mind, she and LaRose are “working on creating places of healing and a space that young people can be on, so they’re not covered in concrete all the time.”

A very green way to bring native people back to their lands.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sea Captains and Wizards

Brian James O'Connell is a Los Angeles-based actor and teacher who travels the world performing comedy and making films. What I love about this guy is that he enjoys weird and exotic food but at the end of the day BOC still loves Bojangles biscuit.

We got along like gangbusters in “Sea Captains and Wizards”, episode 29 of the Something About Food? podcast.

Brian James O’Connell is a working actor, writer, director, filmmaker and teacher in Los Angeles. He is a co-founder of the The Pack Theater and currently teaches in their Core Improv and Digital Programs. Brian is the Creator and Executive Producer of WPCK, the Executive Producer of The Deconstruction, Creator and Executive Producer of Big Yellow Taxi, the Executive Producer and Founder of Long Hard Tuesdays, the Executive Producer and Founder of The Lady Invitational and Executive Producer of Genre Night! at The Pack Theater.

You can find him here as well:

Dr. God:

Yep, those are the famous Bojangles biscuits!

Here is where else you can hear him rhapsodize about his love for them:

On iTunes:
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On Stitcher:
On PlayerFM:
On iHeartRadio: 

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sum It Up Sunday-Personally, Food

Why we love the food we love is very much a combination of nature and nurture. There is no one thing that will tell us what we like to eat and cook, but rather many influences, some from before we are even born!

When we are taking that nine month holiday in our mother's womb, what she eats during that time sets a course for us. The more varied her diet, the more apt the child will be to try a varied diet later in life. Her hormonal fluctuations might throw a major wrench in the works because what she wants to eat then may change drastically from what she was eating before that baby was just a twinkle in her eye.

Once you are out in the great big world, nurture kicks in as the family will then guide you, for better or for worse. One of my favorite questions to ask guests on the podcast is "When you were growing up, who did the cooking at home?" If one or both of your parents cooked, you are often more apt to cook yourself and to generally enjoy eating.

Not always, though. I have a friend who's mother would come home from work and cook for the family as a duty rather than as something pleasurable. Flash-forward to my friend as an adult- I would cook for her and she just couldn't enjoy the meal because she felt guilty. We found that going out together to eat worked best for us, because she wouldn't feel the guilt and I would feel that sense of community eating around a table with someone that my family instilled in me.

Food is so personal. On the nature side of things, some DNA tells folks that cilantro tastes like soap or that beets taste like dirt. For me, squash is repellent after not wanting to finish a serving of it when very young and throwing up because I was so upset from fighting about it with my mom. To this day just the thought of squash makes my jaw tighten (as it is right now as I type this...ugh...). So, again, a negative nurture influence.

I find the connections we have to food and how it connects us to one another fascinating. It doesn't just fuel our bodies, it fuels our lives and more often than not our relationships with one another.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Good Food News-Más Fresco

Here is a fresh take on a food stamps program from NPR. The story is about an effort called "Más Fresco", or "More Fresh" in English, to rewards food stamp beneficiaries for buying more fresh produce. Research has shown that affordability is an obstacle to healthier eating for people in lower income brackets.

The University of California, San Diego is administering Más Fresco and studying its results with a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has funded similar efforts in other states, including Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New Mexico. The dollars invested in those states have been aimed at inducing food stamp recipients to buy more produce at farmers markets or at mobile markets that visit low-income neighborhoods.

The goal of the four-year program is to improve diets and overall health by making fresh produce more affordable. "We know food insecurity and, unfortunately, chronic disease go hand in hand," says Joe Prickitt, a UCSD dietitian who is senior director of Más Fresco.

An inspiring and healthy way to combat food insecurity.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jam to Uli's Beet

Talking to Uli Nasibova about the flavors and passion she puts in as the creator of her own gelateria is almost as good as eating her gelato.

She is a delightful showcase of exploration, invention and making a way for herself in America on her own terms. A truly flavorful chat in “Jam to Uli's Beet”, Episode 28 on Something About Food?

Uli Nasibova is originally from Baku, Azerbaijan. She moved to the U.S. to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO, where she double-majored in French Literature and Mathematical Economics. She worked in the world of finance for eight years and living in downtown LA,  a rapidly changing neighborhood where she saw that the community needed a frozen dessert café, badly.  She draws inspiration for her inventive flavors from the city the cuisines it represents –from ube jam filled pastries in Historic Filipinotown to black sesame buns in San Gabriel Valley, to that soul-cleansing thom kha gai soup at Jitlada in Thai Town. Uli opened the doors of Gelateria Uli in Downtown  Los Angeles in April of 2014.  Their second location, on West 3rd Street in the Beverly Grove district, opened on August 31, 2017.

Get the scoop here!

On iTunes:
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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sum It Up Sunday-That Ain't Vegan

Oh pastries, how I do adore you. Especially you pain au chocolat. I see you there. Looking all buttery and chocolate filled. How am I to escape your allure? What is it that draws me to you?

Maybe it was the time our mother took to bake cakes, cookies, pies and other assorted baked goods for us when we were young, that sweet, perceptible manifestation of her love for us, following in the very capable flour-coated hands of her mother who could whip up a Napoleon while rarely looking at the recipe.

Perhaps it was getting the bakery next door to me to make brioche dough that I would then wrap around batons of chocolate (after reading about it being the favorite afternoon snack of Parisian school children in a Bon Appetit story when I was the executive chef in a small restaurant in my hometown).

It could have been when I was working at the cooking school in Boulder CO and when the last day of the pastry intensive day would roll around, I would miraculously show up to ask my friend Carol, the instructor, if she wanted me to take the malformed pastries off her hands.

And maybe it was finding delicious pastries all around the world, from New Zealand to Iceland.

Ultimately it is most definitely all of the above. I am well aware that none of them are vegan. And that none of them are cholesterol free, which is why I eat a mostly vegan diet, for my health.

Treating myself isn't the worst thing in the world to do. I balance it out with fruits, veg, whole grains, and plant-based meals 98% of the time.

When I think about the time and skill it takes to make one of these beauties, I relish that and indulge. One of the biggest things I've learned is that you can't kick yourself for treating yourself. I give myself love by eating right AND by taking down an "Oh Mon Dieux" in Montreal.

I hope we can all give ourselves a break, some slack. Let go of the rigid and be more fluid in our self-care. Get out there, Oh Hungry Hordes, and go do you.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

WZOZ Interviews Something About Food?

I've known my pal Leslie Ann for eons. We grew up together, were on sports teams together, members of her family dated members of my family. You know, we know each other.
She's been doing her thing as a radio DJ in Oneonta NY since forever as well. She interviewed me on WZOZ and I got to chat about where food has taken me from growing up in Gilbertsville, NY.