The Sweetness Inside the Oyster

Even during this difficult time, our editors’ experience creating this holiday issue of Edible East Bay has been sweet. Certainly, much of that has to do with all those recipes for pies, candied yams, cookies, truffles, and fruity drinks.

But the true pleasure has been in all the connections we have made with those who have contributed, most of them people based here in our East Bay community, plus a few living thousands of miles away. If there’s one thing so many of us on this earth have learned through this time of pandemic, it’s that the need to stay apart motivates us to be more creative in finding ways to be together, to connect, and to share. When we can’t get up and run off somewhere, there’s more reason to stay still and take the time to listen and be inspired by the important and passionate stories that people have to tell.

In this issue, we hear stories about family, partners, mentors, and friends who cooked, grew food, and nurtured memories that have helped the tellers form their personal food histories and visions for their futures. Mimi Robinson and Tina Wolfe give us sweet recipes from their grandmothers, who inspired them toward launching food businesses. Troy Horton tells how tales from his grandparents, who watched East Oakland become a food desert, stand behind the commitment he now holds toward repairing that damage. Oakland restaurant owner Steven Day spins out a rollicking tale featuring cooks, oyster farmers, Oprah, Robert Mueller, and an official from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office—all people who helped him along a personal path that surprisingly led back to teaching this fall. We also meet people on two coasts working creatively toward zero waste in efforts to rid our world of the pollution caused by plastics. All have been inspired to make their worlds better—and sweeter—both for themselves and those around them.

As the earth tilts our northern hemisphere away from the sun, we enter that time when—in those normal times we now enshrine—we would gather for a few of those long, dark nights to share food, gifts, stories, songs, and good cheer. With those gatherings now deemed too dangerous, it’s easy to drift into a sort of wild darkness unseen in most of our lifetimes, but there are so many ways we can bring cheer to our smaller tables as we reach out and make connections. We hope the stories in this issue offer you much companionship, sweetness, and light.

Cheryl Angelina Koehler
Publisher/Editor

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