Aside: Morning Motivation

You know what helps make it easier to get out of a warm, cozy bed in the morning?

Knowing that you baked a pie the previous night.

Just knowing that there is a freshly baked pumpkin pie somewhere in the house (well, in the fridge), waiting for the right moment to join a meal or coffee, is so ENCOURAGING.

(My recipe for a high protein, vegan pumpkin pie here.)

Food: Thanksgiving 2021

As a former food blogger who is always adjusting recipes and planning to write cookbooks, I am usually pretty good about posting what I prepared and enjoyed for the holidays, if only to remind myself later when looking for inspiration! (Yes, I do use my own webpages, including my old recipe collections, while I cook.)

This year, Thanksgiving feasting almost didn’t happen: my parents agreed to come the Sunday before, after I’d already put in my grocery order for the week. My Cousin and his partner are core guests, but my Cousin RSVP’d with a photo of his partner’s positive COVID test, which occurred days before the gathering, requiring them to spend Thanksgiving in quarantine. That was enough of a scare to tempt me to cancel it all.

Luckily, I had more than enough food for a feast, and got to take it relatively easy because my friend M joined at the last moment, and she cooked as well! My parents’ drive to the City was smooth and easy, I got to try some great new-to-me dishes, and everything looked gorgeous and tasted even better! (M has similar dietary preferences, I can completely trust anything she makes, AND she is a fantastic cook!)

This year, the feast included:

  • sides/snacks: green olives, Kalamata olives, marinated bean salad, cherry tomatoes
  • harira soup
  • M’s mushrooms with wild rice
  • M’s kale, apple, and pecan salad
  • mashed potatoes with olive oil and chives
  • spaghetti squash with roasted red peppers, capers, and parsley
  • beverages: almond nog, sparkling water, herb tea
  • desserts: apple-cranberry pie and pumpkin pie (both homemade)

And EVERYTHING was fully vegan and gluten-free.

It was a great meal, a fun afternoon, and a delight.

News: Culinary Kindness in the Age of Pandemic

At a New York relief kitchen, urgency meets empathy as immigrants create thousands of meals a day

At 5:30 a.m. in the kind of godforsaken industrial crevice of Queens where mob bodies are probably buried, Daniel Dorado recently waited in a line of mostly undocumented restaurant workers before the opening of Restaurant Depot, a wholesaler like Costco on steroids available only to the industry.

Feeding people who need food is meaningful social work, and the Migrant Kitchen NYC is doing it in a socially responsible way: producing thousands of meals daily for healthcare workers and people who are ‘food insecure,’ while paying the workers properly (“They pay wages of $20 to $25 an hour in their kitchen, Jaber said, and with the four other kitchens pooled 40 largely undocumented workers from Make The Road, a civil rights group…”), AND ensuring that any gig workers delivering to homebound folks are also fairly compensated (“Migrant Kitchen’s attention to empathy and generosity operates even at the courier level: Its DoorDash deliveries are filed so that the couriers get $35 per trip.”). It’s meaningful work being done in a meaningful way.

They are cooking serious dishes with foodie love:

The containers would soon be packed with sumptuous entrees: citrus garlic salmon with Cuban black beans and coconut herb rice, or moussaka-stuffed zucchini with dirty rice and beans, or mojo chicken with chimichurri and roasted potatoes with grilled shishito peppers.

And the kitchen is nut-free and halal, to look after a wide range of clients with care.

Dorado put it succinctly: “It’s pure New York. Every kitchen I’ve ever worked in this city has been a mini U.N.”