Category Archives: Food

Chef Edna Lewis, photographed by Karl Bissinger

Chef Edna Lewis, photographed by Karl Bissinger

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.

Dinner With Edna Lewis – 20 minute video

Pickles I Adore You




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 (

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. 


From: <andoh@tasteofculture.comDate: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Wish,wish,wish you could come back to Tokyo for the pickle workshop in june!  for now:Next time you want to make a spicy, sweet-and-sour quick-pickle try salting the veggie first, it draws out unwanted bitterness and excess moisture, and makes the veggie more porous and therefore able to absorb other flavors later. You can do all that I describe below inside a heavy-duty resealable bag (instead of traditional Japanese pressure-applying equipment). When the veggie begins to sweat gently begin squeezing. Let the veggie sit in the brine created for at least 10 minutes, better 30 minutes. Drain. Add salt-wilted veggie to freshly made (still warm) sweet-and-sour sauce (1 part vinegar, 1/4 part sugar or other sweetener, pinch salt) in a glass jar. If you have some kombu to add to the vinegar mixture as you heat it up (stirring, to dissolve the sugar) it will taste even better. let your veggie marinate/pickle at room temp for 20-30 minutes to add spiciness add dried chili pepper, or black pepper corns, or sansho pepper corns (but NOT the powder) to the jar… or add some ginger juice (made from freshly grated ginger) then lid tightly and refrigerate. Most veggies (carrots, radishes, cucumbers, eggplants, squashes) will keep for 10 days to 2 weeks… though usually eaten before then!Enjoy! And come back to visit!!!!Best,

Elizabeth Andoh,

A Taste of Culture
Tokyo, JAPAN





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.