Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss

Luisa Weiss had an American dad, an Italian mother, and grew up in Germany and the United States. As she reached adulthood, she began to wonder where in the world she belonged. She explored her heritages through travel and food. Her memoir, My Berlin Kitchen, is an attempt at catharsis through writing and eating. It was our Kitchen Reader pick for January.

Much of Luisa Weiss' story resonated with me. It is hard to be a person who doesn't know where home is. I am not sure my homeless feelings are as consuming as hers, though. I count Canada, the UK, Europe, and Hong Kong among my choices for a place of belonging. And for the most part, I feel happy in all of them. For Weiss, she was overwhelmed not by rootlessness, but the feeling that she had roots in too many places. And these places were impossible to be in all at once.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coconut and Nut Snack Bowl

This simple snack bowl has got me through many sugar cravings. I have found that cinnamon and coconut are both tastes that I find sweet, even when there is no sweetener involved. This lovely little bowl contains almond butter, coconut oil, flaked coconut, and some walnuts, all sprinkled with cinnamon.

It was Sarah Wilson who first put me onto cinnamon and coconut. The added cup of chai tea makes it even better. I have been eating variations of this snack in the afternoons and also as a "dessert"; my main sugar cravings are mid-afternoon and late evening after dinner.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mongolian Beef with Red Pepper and Chinese Cabbage

My parents host a Chinese student in their home in Canada; he moved there to attend high school and learn English for university. This is the second Chinese student they have hosted, and this time food has been an issue. All teenagers are picky eaters, but especially this one who is far from home. In an effort to help him, my mother and I have been getting Chinese cooking hints from Kylie Kwong's book, Simple Chinese Cooking. (It was one of my Christmas presents from my cousin. Cookbooks are my favourite presents!) My mother and I each have a copy and we are exchanging notes about what we try.

This dish took only 35 minutes from start to finish - and that includes 30 minutes of marinading time! Next time I'll also add very thinly sliced carrots; you could use any vegetables. Just slice them thinly and throw them all in together. I reckon my mother's picky eater would love this recipe because of the thick, tasty sauce that seeps down into the rice (or noodles).


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