The Southern Foodways Alliance commissioned me to write a tribute to beloved Southern Chef Edna Lewis for the Women at Work Symposium at the University of Mississippi in Oxford this past fall. Over several months I got to know her through her recipes and stories about growing up on a farm in Freetown, Virginia. Her recipe for carmel cake was a revelation and a dream. Detra Payne brought Miss Lewis to life at the conference in Mississippi. It was a real homecoming. See the video of the performance at the link below.
My friend Elizabeth Andoh lives in Japan where she writes books, teaches classes and documents her love of food and cooking. Last year we made a connection in Japan for a nano second. We had brief, but quality time together at the TedX Austin conference a few months ago. At her invitation I took the Megabus to Austin. The conference theme was FEAR<Less. Elizabeth made a thoughtful and powerful presentation you can see on YouTube if you click on the link below. To my delight, she posted a response to my pickle post. This morning after a trip to the Farmer’s Market, I used her technique to prepare Moroccan Style Pickles modified from a recipe on the Bon Appetit website (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/05/pickled_carrots_moroccan_style).
From all that fresh produce I created the evening dinner menu: beets for roasting, sauteed beet greens, edible flowers with arugula salad and mint for tea.
The Way We Cook: Portraits of Home Cooks Around the World (James Oseland) is a gorgeous glossy coffee table book filled with photos of people preparing and enjoying food. You can almost hear the crackle of the crunchy fried pork chops, smell the delicious aromas of the spices used and feel the joy you see on the faces of the cooks and the people they feed. Sitting in my sunny yellow kitchen, this book is a passport to pleasure.
The same day I checked out The Way We Cook from my local library, a friend in Japan sent me a package of my favorite flavor: YUZU! Yuzu powder with sesame seed and Yuzu paste added to rice, noodle dishes or soup makes me feel beautiful inside. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit. The flavor of the juice is tart and tastes like a lemon crossed with a mandarin orange. The menu at my house this week will reflect the fusion of the text and the taste of yuzu.