Craving Boston: A New WGBH Food Blog

Craving Boston food blog

Some of you may remember reading about a surprise announcement coming up. Well, here it is! Recently, I’ve become a contributing writer for Craving Boston! A new food blog! I’m so excited! For those of you not from the local area, WGBH is one of our local PBS and NPR media outlets.

I’ve been a WGBH sustaining member for several years and a fan for even longer. Most of my life actually! As a kid, watching Sesame Street on WGBH may have been one of my first ever long-term television watching experiences. So I’ve come full circle.

Craving Boston is a food blog exploring the deep connection between the New England region and its cuisine.

My first article for the food blog, Prison Gardens Grow Food and Skill Sets, came about because I learned about the large vegetable harvest from the garden at Bridgewater State Hospital.

Also, I have been thinking about the issue of incarceration. It’s been in the news a great deal lately. From President Obama being the first president to visit a prison to Pope Francis visiting inmates as well. A Washington Post article quotes the Pope’s words.

This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation.

The New Garden Society provides “therapeutic and vocational horticulture training” to the students as part of the facility’s Horticulture program. The Horticulture Society of New York talks about the benefits of gardening.

Horticultural therapy is an ancient practice that uses plants and gardens as tools in human healing and rehabilitation. Its benefits include stress reduction, mood improvement, alleviation of depression, social growth, physical and mental rehabilitation, wellness, and vocational training.

Since today is Halloween, I am especially reminded of a statement by one of the students. He said that he hadn’t seen a pumpkin in 20 years. I cannot even imagine that.

Seeing pumpkins is a signal for the change in seasons and something that we take for granted this time of year. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most important.

I hope you’ll click over and take a look at the full article. Happy Halloween!

*Updated 12/12/2020* I should have updated this post years ago. Craving Boston no longer exists, but most of the articles that I wrote have moved over to WGBH website. Unfortunately, this original article wasn’t moved over, but I  found it archived on The Wayback Machine.

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Screenshot: WGBH

{You Pick Six} An Interview with Food Blogger: El from Fresh New England

Image of woman holding a madeleine, from website Fresh New EnglandAs a lifelong New Englander and someone with a serious sweet tooth, finding El’s blog was like finding the holy grail.

First, take a look at her Instagram feed. See what I mean? Some of you may have been swept away for more than a few minutes. You’re probably hungry now too!

Her baking skills, photography and love for New England are self-evident. Plus, her writing is not only about food. She always has a takeaway message that will leave you thinking.

I can’t speak highly enough about El. So I’ll let her do the rest of the “talking” and share some thoughts with us for the fifth part of the interview series, You Pick Six.

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What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
It’s more of a snack but it can be eaten any time of the day. Lightly toast a big, thick slice of crusty bread, smear it with soft goat cheese and top with spreadable jam. It tastes best when you use good quality New England made ingredients.

What is a favorite quote?
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
-William Morris

What is a favorite food movie?
Babette’s Feast. It’s a Danish story that portrays the centrality and meaning of food in our lives. It explores the notions of bringing people together over a meal and creating a meal for the sake of the meal. It also has strong themes of selflessness and generosity, which are typically present when we make food for others.

What is a favorite cookbook?
I love Bo Friberg’s Professional Pastry Chef. It’s well-researched and well-written. It addresses the fact that most desserts are made up of core, classic components. If you can master the components, your dessert repertoire is only limited by your imagination.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
That local food isn’t necessarily more expensive than supermarket food. I spent a day visiting and recording prices at supermarket chains, organic farms and regular farms in the Greater Boston area. Do you know what I found? Almost consistently, per pound, the food from local farms – including organic farms- was cheaper than the food from the chain stores. Add that to the fact that local food is more nutritious, saves our beautiful and historic New England landscape, and supports the local economy and it’s easy to see that buying local food is the way to go.

Tell me about what you’re working on now.
As you know, Fresh New England has always been a great place to find information about New England’s culinary treasures. Now there’s a brand new companion site called Fresh New England Eats. The site is beautiful, searchable and has geolocation built in so can find the best local food in New England no matter where you are or what you’re doing. There are already over a thousand businesses listed on the site and we’re just getting started. The food community is really excited about it.

Basically, I’m on a mission to unite the New England food system into a single digital space. We have some of the best local food in the world and it’s time to give it the recognition it deserves.

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Thank you so much for participating El!

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Photo of Lemon Madeleines Dipped in White Chocolate provided by El.

{You Pick Six} An Interview with Writer + Cheese Maker: Korsha Wilson

Food Writer Korsha WilsonHave you ever met a cheese maker? Well, you’re about to! While, she is now a former cheese maker, it’s still quite a unique skill set to bring to the table, especially as a food writer.

Last summer while eating lunch at a Drive the District food blogger event, I met Korsha Wilson. I was fascinated to learn back then that she made cheese for a living and also writes about food.

Some of her older writings were at The Industry Press, where people in the Boston area restaurant industry shared their stories.

As a writer, her repertoire is constantly expanding. She’s written for Eater, New York Times Food, Civil Eats, Food & Wine and more. Follow her on Twitter to find her latest articles.

Let’s learn a little more about this prolific food writer, as Korsha answers six questions for the third part in the interview series, You Pick Six.

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What is a favorite snack?
I’m obsessed with french fries. I get cravings for them on a very regular basis and am constantly seeking out restaurants and bars that make them well. A good french fry (crispy and salty with great potato flavor) is surprisingly hard to find.

What is a favorite food movie?
Eat Drink Man Woman is one of the most underrated food movies in my opinion. It really captures the the beauty of preparing a meal for loved ones. Ratatouille is one of my all-time favorite movies and I think it does the best job of illustrating food’s ability to create connection. Also, there’s a bad ass female chef as one of the central characters and she has the same name as my mom.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
I think a lot of people in this country feel like their love of food isn’t valid if it isn’t ‘fine dining.’ The proliferation of food media has led to the general public having a lot more food knowledge but it has also led to people feeling like food has to include certain ingredients or be cooked a certain way to be ‘good’. The food world is made up of everything that everyone eats. Period. Food belongs to everyone and everyone has a valid palate. I meet a lot of people who are afraid to tell me what they like to eat or cook because they assume that since I went to culinary school and worked in restaurants that all of the food that I eat is high-end or expensive. If you’re using great ingredients and cooking with care, whatever you’re cooking is going to be delicious and it’s worthy of being talked about.

best meal ever Locanda SpinolaWhat is the best meal you ever had and where was it?
That’s tough. I believe that every restaurant experience or every meal you make at home is different depending on your mood and other factors. My most recent favorite meal was at a small restaurant in Genoa, Italy.

After a day of sightseeing, my boyfriend and I had a drink at a local bar and asked the bartender where to have a good dinner. Instead of just giving us his answer, he asked the rest of the bar patrons and the kitchen staff what they thought and they all agreed that we should go to Locanda Spinola, a new restaurant nearby. Long story short, it was amazing. Homemade pastas, simply prepared fresh seafood and local wine. The service was so hospitable and warm! My boyfriend and I stayed after our dinner (and after the restaurant closed) drinking beer with the staff and talking about restaurants in the U.S. and Italy. It was wonderful.

How did food become an important part of your life?
Food was always an important part of family gatherings. I’m lucky to have grown up with great cooks on both sides of my family and I learned early that food is a way to communicate love. That pushed me to go to culinary school and journalism school, work in restaurants and write about food for a living.

Tell me about what you’re working on now.
I am currently working on lots and lots of freelance writing. Haha. Ultimately, I would like to contribute to a more diverse food media landscape and explore different media projects. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

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Thank you so much for participating Korsha!

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Photos provided by Korsha Wilson.

{You Pick Six} An Interview with Writer: Richard Auffrey

Writer Richard AuffreyIf you’re a food blogger or writer in the Boston area, you may have already met Richard Auffrey at a food event around the city.

He is a familiar face that I always enjoy seeing in a crowd. Richard’s blog, The Passionate Foodie, is aptly named, because as a writer, he has a true love for food and drink. He also strives to bring more inclusiveness to the food blogger community and celebrates its diversity.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning more about Richard as he answers questions for the second part in the interview series, You Pick Six.

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What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
I make a simple Teriyaki sauce. Simply add 7 parts Sake, 7 parts Mirin, 7 parts Soy Sauce & 1 part Sugar to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil under a medium heat, stirring constantly until all the sugar dissolves. And that’s it! Once it cools, you can bottle and refrigerate it for future use. If you want, you can also add minced garlic.

What is a favorite dessert?
I love a well made Bread Pudding, though it can’t have raisins. I think it is also a versatile dessert and I’m surprised that no bakery has chosen to specialize in Bread Pudding. Forget all these cupcake shops, give me a Bread Pudding bakery.

What is a favorite quote?
“O what an ugly sight the man who thinks he’s wise and never drinks sake!”
–Otomo no Tabito (c. 662-731)

What is a favorite food movie?
Ratatouille, the animated film about a rat who becomes a chef. Besides being a fun movie, it has so many excellent lines such as “Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savor it.”

What is a favorite childhood food memory?
My mother’s Cinnamon Rolls, especially when they are still hot and fresh out of the oven. They always brought me joy and I saw them as a sign of my mother’s love. And after all these years, my mom still makes those Cinnamon Rolls, with the same recipe, and they immediately bring me back to my childhood and they also still are a sign of her love.

Halloween Nightmare at Fenway Tipsy SenseiTell me about your book.
Halloween Nightmare At Fenway is my third novel in the Tipsy Sensei series, which centers on a Boston-based Sake expert who learns that the supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore are real. In this latest novel, the darkest element of Japan from World War 2 spawns supernatural creatures which now threaten Boston, choosing Fenway Park during the World Series as the site of their primary threat. Nate, the Sake expert, must stop the threat, assisted by an immortal Japanese samurai and a homicide detective, a woman of color. As the novel occurs in Boston, I also mention some of my favorite restaurants. The Tipsy Sensei series is a way for me to share my passion for Sake and to tell a thrilling tale.

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Thank you so much for participating Richard!

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Photos provided by Writer Richard Auffrey.

Boston Public Market: It’s Open!

cider vinegar bottles at Boston Public MarketYesterday, I went on a food blogger tour and got a preview of Boston Public Market. I had the best time!

Today, Boston Public Market is officially open for business! More than 37 vendors are located at this permanent indoor market at the corner of Hanover Street and Congress Street.

It’s actually in the same building with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and is easy to get to by taking the T to Haymarket.

We are very lucky to have this market in Boston. It’s the only one of its kind in the whole country! Here’s a little more information about the market.

The Boston Public Market is a permanent, year-round, self-sustaining market featuring fresh, locally sourced food brought directly to and from the diverse people that make up Massachusetts and New England. At the Boston Public Market, farmers, fishermen, and food producers from Massachusetts and throughout New England offer the public a year-round source of fresh, local food and an opportunity to taste, buy, and understand what our region has to offer. The market houses over 35 vendors selling locally produced items such as farm-fresh produce, meat and poultry, eggs, milk and cheese, fish and shellfish, bread and baked goods, flowers, and an assortment of specialty and prepared foods.

The Boston Public Market is the only locally sourced market of its kind in the United States. Everything sold at the Market is produced or originates in New England. The Market is a civic resource, educating the public about food sources, nutrition, and preparation.