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.
On 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. (I’m here to testify that Paul’s Fideuà is worth every penny and minute spent in its making … but then, I’m a person who loves to cook, so take that with a grain of salt.) The excitement about making good things builds right to the end of this issue with an amazing set of recipes from the community of artisans involved with the Bull Valley Roadhouse. I suggest you tie on your apron and get a good grip on your wooden spoon.
Celebrating is what we enjoy when our work is done, and I’m as ready as anyone for that. But I want to circle back around to the shopping part and ask you, our readers, for a special favor: Please use this issue as a guide to creating and sharing your own memorable holiday experiences. Among our amazing array of great shops and producers in the East Bay are some who choose to advertise in Edible East Bay, and those advertisers make it possible for us to create this magazine. When you visit them, please let them know how much you appreciate their vital contribution to Edible East Bay and to our entire community. When our businesses thrive, we all thrive, and that is a great reason to celebrate.
Cheryl Angelina Koehler
Illustration by Gary Handman. See the story East Bay Cassoulet.