{You Pick Six} An Interview with News Anchor: Maria Stephanos

Interview with WCVB news anchor Maria Stephanos.

Early in 2016, Maria Stephanos joined WCVB as their evening news anchor.

My mom and I were talking about Maria and both mentioned that we love her laugh. It’s contagious and lights you up! We adore her!

Then a few months ago, my mom and I were talking about my interview series.

Out of the blue, she says, “You should ask Maria Stephanos. She really loves food.”

I thought it was a great idea! So I contacted Maria and she agreed. Plus, she said to “give her best” to my mom, which thrilled her to no end!

I’m truly honored that Maria is “here” and sharing a bit more about her love of food. So let’s resume this ongoing series with the 16th interview of You Pick Six.

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What brings you peace every day?
The ocean. I have a very intense job where we are digesting some pretty tough news every day. I find myself driving to the ocean a lot and just walking on the beach or throwing myself into the cold new England waters no matter what time of year it is. It resets me, refuels me and brings me back to life.

What is a favorite childhood food memory?
When we would go out to my father’s garden that was bursting with tomatoes and we would spend hours picking them and eating them. We would bring a salt shaker with us and just sit on the grass and eat the fresh tomatoes we just picked. Nothing like it.

What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
A Greek cookie called Koulourakia. They are my favorite recipe because it ties me back to my Greek heritage and my family. My grandmother taught me how to make and braid them. They aren’t flashy, don’t have a ton of flavor, but every time I make them ( I make them weekly) I think of my roots and my grandmother and they fill me with love.Koulourakia, Greek cookies, cooling on a rack.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
Food is love. To cook it is to provide sustenance for the people you love and to eat is a magical experience that can trigger memories of people or experiences that revolved around food.

What is the best meal you ever had and where was it?
My Aunt Debbie’s house. It doesn’t matter if she’s making keftedes (Greek meatballs) or homemade phyllo. I have never left her table without thinking that is the best meal I’ve ever had.

Tell me about where you grew up.
I grew up in Groveland Massachusetts. At the time, we didn’t even have a traffic light! It was tiny, rural and very beautiful. I thought I would live there forever.

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Thank you so much for participating Maria!

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Photos: Provided by Maria Stephanos.

Breaking Boston Food News: Clover on Federal Street!

Food News about Clover.

While it’s still in the beginning stages, it looks like Clover is coming to the Financial District! 160 Federal Street to be exact.

I noticed building permits a few weeks ago and wondered what would be going there. Breaking food news is one of my favorite things. Then yesterday I noticed that the Clover sign had been put up. According to Clover’s website, back on July 10, 2015, they wrote about Clover #7.

So while we’re still hoping that the Copley site will happen, we’re not expecting it will be Clover #7. The next Clover restaurant will likely be downtown. We just signed a new LOI on a site at Federal St. near South Station. It’s really exciting. Our truck at Dewey Square was our first in Boston, and the first new food truck in Boston. And it’s a beautiful site.

So for all the Clover fans out there, the food news is that you’ll soon have another location to choose from!

Craving Boston: A New WGBH Food Blog

Craving Boston food blog

If you read the full post all the way down to the bottom, 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!

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Screenshot: WGBH

{You Pick Six} An Interview with News Reporter: Susan Tran

News Reporter Susan TranMost of us in the Boston area have probably watched Susan Tran reporting with 7News on WHDH. Now she reports news at NBC10Boston.

She also was the emcee for All Aboard The Arc! this past May and helped spread the word about disability acceptance and inclusion.

But did you know that she’s a serious foodie too? If you follow her on Twitter and Instagram, in addition to the news, you’ll often catch a glimpse of what she’s eating.

Just recently, she was shopping at Boston Public Market for some fresh fish and pastrami. Not only did she share pictures of the food, but she ran into our very own Senator Warren and got a selfie! How cool is that?

So now, let’s turn the tables for the sixth part of the interview series, You Pick Six.

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What is a favorite snack?
I love Cape Cod Chips with Heluva Good dip. I would eat an entire bag of chips if you let me so I only have it on vacation.

What brings you peace every day?
When my husband brings me my first cup of coffee and I get to say good morning to my pup Margaret. Those two moments remind me of what’s good in my life.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by all the good in the world. For every awful person I encounter in the world through work or life there are always dozens more who are kind, thoughtful and generous.

What is a favorite cookbook?
Cook’s Illustrated – Best Recipes.

How did food become an important part of your life?
Food always meant family and friends to me. My parents worked 7 days a week but we always had dinner together. My husband is Italian-Irish-German, food is how he shows his affection. Some of my fondest memories with family and friends have happened around a dinner table.

Tell me about your book.
I wrote a long format story while I was in between jobs to occupy myself. It was good at the time. I tried to get it published but I didn’t have any takers. When I read it now, 6 years later, I think it’s crap and I’m glad nothing ever came of it. Some day I’ll look upon it as a failure I will glean lessons from.

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Thank you so much for participating Susan!

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Photo credit: Trung Dang