Archive | Winter Holidays 2016

Cover Artist J.R.Nelson in Her Own Words

pink-teacup-hi-res

“Pink Teacup,” oil on canvas

I have always loved to paint. I have never had any doubt about my calling. I started as a child and never stopped. The only thing that has ever slowed me down is figuring out how to exist in this era, supporting a family, lapses in judgment, and my personal relationships. In other words, real life. And lots of it.

My style is still, and probably always will be, evolving. I started out (after basic training) as an abstract expressionist on large panels and primed paper, but ran out of interest as well as subject matter. Figurative art came next and remains somewhat to this day. Impressionism has always been my secret fix. I love to see the paint. It really gets me. I like the happy accidents that occur when a little red streak gets pulled into the white brush stroke. When the under painting bleeds through.

My great grandmother and grandmother collected individual teacups and saucers as was customary in the 19th century and passed them to my mother. When she downsized as she aged, she sold hers before I had a chance to request keeping them in our family. I was heartbroken. Then I realized that I could create my own collection.… Read More

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Source Guide Winter 2016

Arts, Education, & Entertainment

BOLD FOOD  Courses in the science of cooking for adventurous home cooks and curated culinary trips all over the planet. boldfoodco.com
CELIA WEDDING  Drawings, prints, and paintings. celiawedding.com
EAST BAY WALDORF SCHOOL  Where Children Thrive. Located 20 minutes from Berkeley at 3800 Clark Rd, El Sobrante. eastbaywaldorf.org
FLAX ART & DESIGN  After 80 years in SF, the flagship store is now at 1501 M.L.K. Jr Way, Oakland. flaxart.com/oakland-store
FOOD CRAFT INSTITUTE  Classroom and hands-on education in traditional food-making techniques and entrepreneurship skills. foodcraftinstitute.org
HELEN KRAYENHOFF  Food and botanical watercolor notecards and calendars. Helenkrayenhoff.com
HIVE-MIND  Gabrielle Myers’s memoir about a summer spent on a Northern California farm. Available on amazon.com.
KITCHEN ON FIRE  The fun cooking school. Located at 1509 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley. kitchenonfire.com
THE LOCAL FOODS WHEEL  Learn more about your foodshed. localfoodswheel.com
MARGO RIVERA-WEISS  Paintings, prints, and cards. margoriveraweiss.com
MARY LAW POTTERY  Holiday Sale Sat & Sun, Nov 26–Dec 18, 10–5 and by appointment. 1421 5th St, Berkeley. 510.524.7546. marylawpottery.com
MRS DALLOWAY’S  Full-service, indie neighborhood bookstore. Wide variety of garden books, cookbooks, and author events. 2904 College Ave, Berkeley. 510.704.8222. mrsdalloways.com
MYRTLE’S LODGE  Gifts for the ice cream enthusiast, retro toys, Fentons logo apparel, and handcrafted toppings and candies.… Read More

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Eating Our Hearts Out

eatyourhearthout_lila-volkas

By Caitlin Morgan  |  Illustrations by Lila Volkas

It was in Cloyne that I learned how to eat.

Cloyne, the rambling, century-old, hotel-turned-co-op. Nearly 150 of us roamed its red-carpeted hallways during our time as students on the UC Berkeley campus. Reggae wafted from the windows down to the courtyard, where college kids were drinking 40s or shooting hoops or practicing handstands, doing the crossword or smoking weed, finishing homework or sunbathing naked. It was weird and it was romantic.

It was dirty, too. Take the dish room. It served as the anteroom to our industrial kitchen with its four six-burner stoves and three long, stainless steel tables. The pot room was separate, smaller and darker, filled with stacks of crusted pots and pans, the kind of place even Cinderella would have balked at. The dish room welcomed you to all of this, to the walk-in freezer, fridge, and pantry. After an hours-long work shift, you might find stacks of clean dishes and cups. Usually, though, it was bins and bins of dirty plates, and we either washed our own or—too lazy—ate off lids from yogurt containers, using old take-out chopsticks that no one had bothered to throw away.

In my parents’ house, which I had recently left, dinner went like this: The night before, all six of us outlined our various schedules: who was picking up whom, when we would all be home.… Read More

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In the Winter Garden

windowRight now, the Bay Area winter may be gently nudging or loudly banging on your door. If you’re a gardener, the transition into the cool season can seem abrupt and disappointing, but with steps taken now, you can boost plant growth and keep your beds productive through the winter months.

1. Mulch for Warmer Roots
One dramatic way to buffer root temperature is with mulch. Laying down straw hay, wood chips, or cocoa hulls two to four inches thick over the garden bed creates an insulating “skin.” Additionally, this helps feed the soil as the force of driving rains help decompose the mulch, breaking it down to finer particles, which help build the fertility of the soil.

2. Make Wind Breaks
If you are buying hay bales for garden mulch, get extras and try stacking them vertically on the windward side of your garden to break the force of the weather. These bales are then available to spread for mulch as needed. Another way to break the winter wind is to build trellises on the north edge of growing areas, where they will not shade out the sunlight from your beds. I repurpose old, broken hand-tool handles as trellises, and use discarded pallets as mini-fences on the northern edges.… Read More

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Paul Canales: Building Community

Robert Edwards (left) watches with Paul Canales preparing a fideuà.

Robert Edwards (left) watches Paul Canales preparing a fideuà.

Building Community in the Kitchen

What I Learned from Chef Paul Canales

By Gabrielle Myers | Photography by Stacy Ventura

 

Paul Canales places duck bones in a “reliquary” sculpture created by local artist Peter St. Lawrence, a co-founder of FM gallery at 483 25th Street in Oakland. The reliquary sits beneath a painting by Sam Strand, who matched Paul’s bold vision as she created much of the restaurant’s interior design.

Paul Canales places duck bones in a “reliquary” sculpture created by local artist Peter St. Lawrence, a co-founder of FM gallery at 483 25th Street in Oakland. The reliquary sits beneath a painting by Sam Strand, who matched Paul’s bold vision as she created much of the restaurant’s interior design.

During the time I worked with Chef Paul Canales in the Oliveto kitchen, I noticed that he never came in with a predetermined idea for the day’s menu. It was all about the ingredients. Rather than demand that they behave as he wanted them to, he allowed each to reflect its true nature on the plate. He wanted the full essence of each item to shine forth in all of its glory as he paired it with companions ripening nearby in the field, whether in the sun and dense heat of summer or the fog shroud of winter.

For Paul, the farmers’ care and attention is present in each dish on the table. At Oliveto, Paul developed relationships with farmers like Laura Trent of Tip Top Produce, Rick and Kristie Knoll of Knoll Farms, Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm, and Joe Schirmer from Dirty Girl, not only because he respected them as farmers, but because he knew that without their investment in the work and sensitive culling in the fields, nothing we might do in the kitchen would make the dish right.… Read More

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East Bay Bookshelf

Mystery and Magic in the Kitchen

Book Reviews by Sam Tillis

Set aside the clean-living and healthy diet books for the moment. It’s time for some magic.

book-illustrations

the-mouse-and-the-moonWe have all heard that the moon is made of cheese, but it took Berkeleyite Anthony Kosky to give us The Mouse and the Moon. The tale features Guinevere, a cheese expert (and mouse), who, on setting out to learn exactly what type of cheese the moon is made of, makes the frightening discovery that the moon is slowly disappearing. Someone, she concludes, must be eating it. She abandons her scientific inquiry in order to handle the more pressing matter of preserving the moon, which she accomplishes by perpetuating the falsehood that the moon is, in fact, only made of boring old rock, and therefore not worth eating at all.

While this is certainly not the first children’s story of mice, moons, and cheese, it is undoubtedly the most illuminating. The conversational tone of the story belies a surprisingly broad survey of world cheese: Over a dozen cheese varieties are name-dropped in the course of the 24-page book, and each is described in further detail (along with a helpful and kid-friendly pronunciation guide) in the back of the book.… Read More

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What’s in Season?

By Barbara Kobsar

Illustration by Carol H. Gould

Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness.

November

Root for roots this season!

Look-alike cousins, turnips and rutabagas thrive during the cooler seasons. Turnips take only 50 to 60 days from planting to produce the familiar globe-shaped white roots with purplish crowns. Rutabagas are generally larger, sweeter, and stonger-flavored than turnips, and need 90 to 120 days to produce their smooth, waxy leaves and yellow-orange roots. More solid than turnips, they also have a longer shelf life.

Considered indispensable in its native Mexico, the jicama finds a niche in many cuisines. Underneath its rather uninviting skin, it has lightly sweet, crisp, white flesh that works both raw and cooked. Mexicans have traditionally enjoyed dipping raw jicama slices in lime juice and sprinkling with chili powder, but the slices are equally good served with guacamole.They also make an excellent substitute for water chestnuts. The crunchy texture is retained even after cooking, so toss jicama into a stew or add it to pan-fried potatoes.
Looking for the season’s best fresh-picked fruit fix? Kiwifruits are packed with juice, flavor, and nutrients under that fuzzy, brown skin.

December

Cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, and celeriac are my favorites for soups, side dishes, and stir-fries this season, but I look to cardoons to add some extra character.… Read More

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Editor’s Mixing Bowl

As this holiday issue was in the works, I could not help but watch in amazement as the little magazine we had planned and then slaved over all these months turned out to be a large table set with an especially luxurious feast. As you will see, our writers and artists traveled far and wide throughout the community in pursuit of the bounty. Their work kept calling to mind three things that can make holidays so fun: shopping, cooking, and celebrating.

spear-aloneOn the front end of that trifecta is the thrill of the hunt. Contributor Gary Handman so aptly illustrates this in his story on making cassoulet. His self-portrait with precious ingredients skewered onto a spear drove it home for me that shopping can be an exciting treasure hunt.

For the kitchen part, our writers brought an inside view of the traditions, techniques, and relationships behind the making of great food at several local restaurants. And since these chefs have been generous with their recipes, we get to take their wisdom into our own kitchens. While testing the recipe from Paul Canales, I had the pleasure of gadding about with my own spear, and once home with the booty, I made a marvelous mess of my kitchen.… Read More

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Warming Winter Foods

Bundle Up & Chow Down

Warming winter dishes from three world cultures

By Anna Mindess

Winters around the Bay do not call for mittens, woolen hats, and snow shovels, but most of us still appreciate an excuse to share comforting soups, stews, and steaming drinks with friends and family around the holidays. For some, it’s about recalling times when we lived in locales where the thermometer plummeted for several months each year, and warming food and drink served a practical purpose. For others, wintertime is associated with specific dishes from our families’ cultural heritage, and eating these foods every year is a delicious way to stay connected.

Green kale with smoked pork is traditionally served at the Kale Festival in Germany. (Photo by Suzanna Mannion)

Green kale with smoked pork is traditionally served at the Kale Festival in Germany. (Photo by Suzanna Mannion)

When the kale gets sweet and the bugs get gone Anja Voth remembers waiting excitedly for the first frost every winter in her northern German town of Hamburg, since it meant the green kale was ready to be harvested and cooked into her region’s hearty winter stews. Her grandmother taught her that frost brings out kale’s sweetness and kills any bugs hiding in its curly leaves.

For the last five years, Voth, co-owner and chef at Berkeley’s Gaumenkitzel (2121 San Pablo Avenue), has been channeling her grandmother’s creative and practical spirit.… Read More

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School Food News

At Berkeley's David Brower Center, an expert panel discussed the new food purchasing policy adopted by the San Francisco and Oakland school districts. Left to right: Commissioner Sandra Lee Fewer of the SF Board of Education; panel moderator and author Anna Lappe; Alexandra Emmott, OUSD farm to school supervisor; Shakirah Simley, community programs manager for Bi-Rite; and Doug Bloch, political director at Teamsters Joint Council 7.

At Berkeley’s David Brower Center, an expert panel discussed the new food purchasing policy adopted by the San Francisco and Oakland school districts. Left to right: Commissioner Sandra Lee Fewer of the SF Board of Education; panel moderator and author Anna Lappe; Alexandra Emmott, OUSD farm to school supervisor; Shakirah Simley, community programs manager for Bi-Rite; and Doug Bloch, political director at Teamsters Joint Council 7. Photo: Rosalyn Lee

 

Oakland Schools Embrace Good Food Plan

Purchasing program bolsters nutrition, sustainability, and local sourcing

by Rachel Trachten

Can public schools influence our nation’s food policy?

They can, and San Francisco schools recently signed on to direct their substantial purchasing power toward healthy, local food. As this magazine was going to press, Oakland was poised to join San Francisco and become the first city in the East Bay to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program. Participation requires food purchases to meet criteria based on five core values—environmental sustainability, worker well-being, health and nutrition, support for local economies, and animal welfare. Transparency is also a priority, meaning that it’s easy to trace produce, meat, and fish back to their origins.

According to Alexa Delwiche, executive director at the Center for Good Food Purchasing, institutions can participate to varying extents, with three levels tied to each core value.… Read More

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