Having my own show, at Commonweal, where I had cooked for the Cancer Help Program 20 years ago, was an astounding experience where, in the healing space of Commonweal, my paintings took on a magical life of their own.
Sunny one day, rainy and cold the next. Peaceful, then wildly windy! Warm, then here comes a snowstorm! Spring is so beguiling… and so fickle!
Let’s not forget, we’re in another transition time. Spring is a little bit of a seesaw. So our immune systems can be tricked! We can get colds or leftover remnants of the flu.
It’s been super rainy here in the Bay Area, in fact, super rainy in many parts of the country. And while you may be yearning for those bright, fresh spring greens it isn’t quite time to jump into a big salad yet. But it is a time when you want to perk up and feel a little brighter.
How do you welcome in the green of spring and still successfully juggle all the vagaries of what’s going on outside?
On a recent Sunday, I was in my pantry trying to find baking powder. If you know me, you know I’m not a baker. Soup, yes! Baked goods, not so much. So I have a little bin at the top of my cupboard where I keep less-used things that I have to get on a step stool to reach. I stretched up, got down my little box, pulled out the baking powder… and noticed the expiration date. Embarrassing!
Like most of us, as the new year begins I’ve been doing a lot of musing, reflecting, and considering possibilities. Here’s a question that I’m really enjoying turning over in my mind: How can we make more space?
If you’ve been reading between the lines, you may have noticed that this has been a challenging year for me, something I’ve alluded to, but not shared. I have been riding the rollercoaster, touching some of the scariest parts of life, death, and everything in between. There was no recipe for this year of my life. I learned about resiliency. The power of love. The magic of the unknowable. And now that I’m on the other side, I can share.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Not only because it’s a culinary-centric holiday, but because having a day devoted to putting everything aside (whatever the dynamics!) and giving thanks with family and friends seems the ultimate kind of gratitude. This was the central theme of all my Thanksgivings growing up, when we held hands and my father reflected for a few moments about what really matters in this world. Then we dug into the food and the flood of lively conversation!
On a recent 36-hour business trip I was reminded of how super-concentrated time can become. It’s almost surreal. Getting through security is such a strange and unique challenge, then I flew and landed in a different time zone, followed by a packed day full of intensely focused communication.
Are you already surrounded by people coming down with sniffles and coughs? I'm reposting one of the most potent food as medicine—and delicious!—cures I know. If you've never really taken this superfood seriously before, do it now! It will do you a world of good.
Have you been trying to ward off colds and flu as the season changes? Watching out for trick or treating vampires? Have I got the fix for you!
Wow! Am I ever intrigued with a recent article in the New York Times entitled, Why Following Your Passions Is Good for You (and How to Get Started). This features a 2015 study published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine which found that pursuing your passion both lowers stress and contributes to greater happiness overall. My dears, this is RIGHT up my alley!
It's that season of the year when we need to be especially mindful to stay well hydrated! Good, clean water is needed every day to support our health and wellness in every way. I assure you, this post from the archives will convince you of the need AND provide you with recipes that will do a great and delicious job of hydrating you to a fare-thee-well. :)
Are you snapping up those gorgeous fresh herbs appearing in farmer's markets? Herbs are exceptionally powerful for both health and flavor, so go right ahead! But you won't want to let any go to waste. Here's a useful guide from the archives to help you enjoy every smidge. :)
Vegetables are ALWAYS a good idea, and this post is a good reminder to eat the rainbow! A plate full of color means you are loading up on the important phytonutrients that can do better than anything else on the planet to balance your immune system, reduce inflammation, and make you FEEL better. My advice? Go for it.
In California every spring (and briefly again in the fall) the baby artichokes arrive. It’s a very special moment, a seasonal splendor many of us cooks wait for. Especially those of us who’ve eaten the carciofi simply and elegantly prepared in Tuscany. One of the seven wonders of the culinary world!
I often speak about turning your black and white food world into technicolor; moving from all the tan and beige on the Standard American Diet (SAD) plate to the rainbow-hued plate of the healthy whole foods cook. Over the years we’ve learned that rich color actually signifies the presence of nutrient density. The deeper the purples, blues, and reds for instance, the greater the concentration of antioxidants. The ruby red raspberries, indigo wild blueberries, and purple-black blackberries really are nutritional gems of the plant kingdom.
It's that time of year! Asparagus is on the way. As those of you who have followed my blog or played with my cookbooks already know, I am WILD about asparagus. Are you with me? Do like to eat asparagus in all its guises as long as you can get it while it's truly fresh and seasonal? It's uniquely delicious AND the perfect detoxifier as spring arrives. If you're already in love with this elegant vegetable—or if this will be a new romance—here's a favorite blog post to help you dive right in.
Can I help it if I wear my culinary heart on my sleeve?
Those who know me, especially my farmer buddies at my local market, know that this is the time of year I SWOON over what I call those elegant green long ladies of spring.
You know I’m not pushy, right? Well, here and now I’m climbing up on my soapbox and asking you to read Dr. Dale Bredesen’s new book The End of Alzheimer’s. And why would I ask you to read about a disease we regard with such fear, even horror? Because for the first time, there’s good news about Alzheimer’s disease. There’s hope.
I started drinking chai when I was doing my internship at The Chopra Center for wellbeing because we had to make it every day. There were an almost overwhelming number of spices that went into that chai recipe. OMG! And I was the newbie on the block. So guess who got to make the chai?
As James Hamblin points out in his recent cracker-jack article in The Atlantic, “New Nutrition Study Changes Nothing: Why the science of healthy eating appears confusing—but isn’t,” the term “neophilia” was coined by J. D. Salinger in 1965 to refer to our obsession with novelty. And while a degree of curiosity about what’s new is no doubt healthy, like so many things these days we seem to have taken our obsession too far — certainly with food and nutrition.
As Hamblin shares, editors and publishers aren’t interested in nutrition articles that don’t have sensational headlines, preferring to focus on narratives that upend conventional wisdom. The thought seems to be, if new research doesn’t change or challenge the way readers think about the world, why is a story worth publishing?
One of the challenges of creativity is knowing when you have to shift gears and change. Getting into a groove can be wonderfully productive… but then it can get stale. As a creative chef, author and educator in the food world, I’ve been passionate about food and health for decades, and my focus has been on translating the science to the plate.
The last thing people think of when it’s boiling hot outside is soup! We have this notion that soup is a warm, nourishing hug. So true! But it’s even more. Soup can also be that deliciously chilled, tastebud-thrilling tonic we need in midsummer. It’s like that quick dive into the swimming pool — bracing, flavor-packed, nutrition-full.