This year Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, took me entirely by surprise, as we were unpacking our boxes (yes! our container has finally arrived!) and putting things in place. Last week I wrote about baking with no equipment; well, by now my stuff was finally here and the least I could do was bake a honey cake, if nothing else. Honey is a traditional Rosh Hashanah food, symbolizing a sweet entrance into the new year.Read More
On a culinary front, this post could also be called: What you do when you’re sick of waiting for your container to arrive from the other side of the world, you’ve been living in an empty house for 8 weeks, you really want to bake something for your kids (and maybe yourself too) on the last lazy Saturday afternoon of the summer, but you have no kitchen utensils to work with.Read More
Jacko is a farmer. He lives and farms in a village at the foothills of the Montseny mountain called Arbúcies, about an hour north of Barcelona. Jacko is a permaculturist avant la lettre; but he doesn’t like to call himself that. He has been practicing farming in this way long before the term permaculture because popular, but he also makes a point to draw a line between himself and a movement, which he casually scoffs as trendy. Jacko is a man of firm values and opinions. He just farms. I like that.
Sorry for the long silence here. In case you hadn’t noticed from my recent Instagram posts, we have moved back to Barcelona. It’s been exactly three weeks now, enough time to realize how freakin’ intense the past seven months have been, trying to live in two places at once. Coordinating the many moving parts of a whole family’s move across the world left me depleted, but landing in one place has renewed my energy and enthusiasm.Read More
Although sobremesa truly means the time we spend at the table after we've finished eating, I believe the spirit of sobremesa can be enjoyed throughout the meal, and even during its preparation. Sobremesa is time spent in conversation and lingering, communal bonding time. In fact, I like to think that the aperitivo, another favorite pass-time in Spain, is also part of sobremesa.
Lately, especially in the afternoons when blood sugar levels tend to drop, I have been craving sweet. I'm generally not big on sweet; a small piece of very dark chocolate usually does the trick, and I will always go for a savory treat over a sweet one. But these days, maybe because winter is seeping into spring (today, as I write, is the first day of spring and it's grey and rainy in the Bay Area), or because I'm still trying to get my energy back after recovering from the worst flu of my life, I have been drinking sugary beverages like chai tea lattes and kombucha on a daily basis, and craving baked goods (which, when you can't have gluten, is not all that easy).Read More
"You are what you eat" is the popular contemporary version of Jean Antelme Brillat-Savarin's famous dictum from The Physiology of Taste (1825). In fact, almost two centuries ago, the author's words were more like "tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you are".Read More
Sometimes it's not easy to penetrate into the local culture of a foreign place, either because it's just too foreign, or because, like Barcelona, the tourism industry is so overbearing that many neighborhoods in the city are designed entirely to cater to the tourists who crave the familiar (Starbucks), or a stereotypical version of local color.Read More
Visiting Japan had been my lifelong dream; throughout my 30s, I envisioned the trip to Japan happening to celebrate my landmark 40th birthday. Not only did that not happen, but 3 months after I turned 40 we moved to the US, i.e. in the opposite direction. My sweet family, to make it up to me, simulated a trip to Japan on the day of my 40th birthday in Barcelona: they decorated the house with Japanese paper props, made a Japanese dinner, and even sat me in a chair and made me close my eyes and pretend I was on an airplane headed straight to Kyoto.Read More
I recently got back from a 5-week trip to Spain. It was an intense time, spent teaching (mostly here but also here), doing research (for this and this) and, in between, squeezing in as much time as possible with my dear friends in Spain.
As soon as I landed in Barcelona, it felt like home. And yet when I returned to the Bay area a few weeks ago, I was so happy to be home! It's funny how that works; once you have lived a long time in different places, home is a moveable feast, and yet you can never truly go home again. These thoughts were on my mind all the time as I walked the streets of Barcelona, streets I know so well and yet, there have been changes (both external and internal ones) in the 3 years I've been gone.Read More
I am about to leave for Barcelona, to teach the second yearly round of the Mediterranean Food & Culture program for University of California EAP.
The upcoming weeks will be quite busy; the followers of Desayuno con guisantes, the company I ran when I lived in Spain, want to hear from me as well -and learn about some of my California cuisine tricks. I have been invited, while in Barcelona, to teach a series of hands-on cooking classes and nutrition talks for Obbio and Still Cooking. It's a good thing I absolutely love what I do!Read More
Our unpredictable human lives don't play out like a neat, well-composed work of fiction. Though we may attempt to read events as good or bad for us, the path will teach us otherwise, as things just don't stop twisting and turning. Awareness and acceptance of the transitional nature of everything around and within us is the only way to make peace with our place in the world.Read More
A few days ago I was fortunate enough to attend a session of Edible Education 101 at UC Berkeley guest starring Alice Waters and The Kitchen Sisters. No matter how long I live in the Bay Area, I hope I always live it as a newcomer, and take advantage of the many exciting events this place has to offer, without just settling into the fact that famous people I am interested in happen to be local, around and about.Read More
Although I personally -unfortunately- can't eat wheat, it is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet. The gluten-free craze forgets that wheat is a traditional, even sacred food in many cultures, eaten for millennia.Read More
Totally unexpected. After 6 months living in the Bay Area, lately I find myself day-dreaming less about the sunny Mediterranean bustling streets of my Barcelona, but more about the hilly green landscape of the Basque Country.Read More