About Amanda ∞ Amanda was once asked if she was Ironic. That is, from Iran. She replied that yes, she is Ironic. ∞ Adores Ironic food. Especially ghormeh sabzi. ∞ She will always look at the dessert menu first. ∞ It is quite possible that at the end of an evening out together, you will realize you discussed nothing but food. ∞ Watermelons, cherries, Satsuma mandarins and cilantro are her all-time favorite things to eat. And crème brulee. ∞ Loves Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman and Alice Waters. ∞ Tried going vegan but she was always hungry. Tried going vegetarian but she loves salmon. ∞ Was forced to eat black pudding in a Scottish boarding school and she still bears a grudge about it. ∞ Some of her best friends are raw foodists. (No, really.) ∞ Sugar is her weakness. She’s a recovering addict. ∞ She is one of those nutters who writes Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods/Starbucks/fill-in-the-blank once a week (or more) with suggestions about how to do something better. In fact, she thinks food companies should hire her as a professional suggestion maker. Food companies don’t think so. ∞ Voted most likely to be a pain in everyone’s ass.
Check out some of her writing about health, food, and conscious consuming on CNN.
About Ariel Born and raised on her family’s 250-year-old farm in Western North Carolina, food – from its production, preservation, preparation, and consumption – has been central to Ariel. She is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill where she was the university’s first Food Studies major, as well as co-teacher for the unique food and culture honors seminar, Eats 101. Ariel has also lived and studied in France, where she conducted research for her honors thesis on historical differences and future prospects of organic agricultural policy between the United States and European Union. She works on her family’s farm in the southern Appalachian Mountains and will move to Dijon, France next year to teach English and continue to explore (agri)cultural and political differences across the Atlantic divide. When Ariel’s not thinking about food (a rare occurrence), she enjoys photography, river swimming, keeping cows, speaking French, and being on the farm with her four siblings.
About BakingBar Having been passionate bakers for most of our adult lives, they decided to set up BakingBar in October 2010. Having written hundreds of recipes already, they discovered that most recipes can be improved to make them healthier. Don’t worry, healthy doesn’t mean tasteless, in fact in many cases the difference in taste is not noticeable. They know that baking can be mystifying for many people, believing that this skill is reserved for those who have been taught it professionally, but if you have simple recipes to follow it is possible, it is enjoyable and hugely rewarding, this is where they can help.
One of BakingBar’s main goals is to encourage parents to bake with their children from an early age to develop what they consider to be a life skill. The measuring of ingredients and timing of baking can also help develop children’s thinking. For all of the latest updates you can follow @BakingBar on twitter or join them on www.facebook.com/baking.bar
About Ben Ben grew up surrounded by food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City for about 40 years and some of his most cherished memories from that period of his life are related to food. These aromas, flavors and colors of the food stayed with him even when he moved a couple of thousand miles away to the U.S. He started blogging in 2007 as he started to cooking authentic Mexican food in his American kitchen, and realized that Mexican food is very misunderstood in the U.S. Returning to Mexico in 2010, he has started to share more about the food, scenes, and cultural traditions of what has been cited by UNESCO as a world intangible cultural heritage. Committed to the Slow Food movement in Mexico, check out this talented food writer and photographer on: What’s Cooking, Mexico?
About Carolyng Unknown as the “Undercover Latina”, because if she was known she really wouldn’t be undercover, Carolyng expresses her multicultural heritage through foremost and most importantly food. When she isn’t making Venezuelan arepas, Portuguese bolinhas de bacalhau or good old homemade oatmeal-banana-carrot dog treats for her pup Napoleon, she works on her book about being first generation American and the wonderful culinary experiences that ensue. Paralegal by day and food lover all day, she never misses a moment to indulge, like using her visa points to buy a bright orange KitchenAid Stand Mixer (next on the list is a Vitamix). Fresh pasta anyone? How about hot from the oven pão caseiro? To her recipes are more like guides, adobo is underappreciated and a splash of wine is never enough – yet you can rest assured that whatever comes out of her kitchen
will be delicious, fresh and all her own. She also runs the food blog, First Generation Funk.
About Citadel Moon Citadel Moon is a feisty force, full of ideas and spirit. She will never be wanting for words, which serves her well as an attorney by day, entrepreneur-writer-mom by night. With two little rambunctious boys keeping her busy, she has learned to juggle childhood allergies and healthy cooking with finesse. From a large and close family, cooking and eating together has always been a priority for this dynamic woman.
About Hoi Ning. Hoi Ning is a lover of all things delectable. She will try almost anything once, though twice is pushing it for some things! She is an adventurous lifelong learner, with a penchant for challenging the norm and pushing the envelope. She loves to ask questions, hear stories, and remember details. With food, she is passionate about sweets, especially gourmet ice cream and artisanal chocolates. Her motto is: “Life’s too short” — so she tries to live life with no regrets. That said, the plan is to end up in Paris for every fifth birthday going forward. Her favorite cities are ones that make her feel at home: Paris, Melbourne, Seattle, Philadelphia, Berlin. She likes to stretch and be stretched — mentally, physically, emotionally. And she believes work and play can ultimately be interchangeable.
About Katherine. As soon as Katherine was tall enough, she was peering over the kitchen counter watching her mom make Three Cup Chicken or lotus root soup. She grew up making potstickers, scallion pancakes, and winter solstice dumplings with her entire family; to this day, the kitchen is still the most popular room in her house. If Katherine isn’t lawyering or bouldering, you can find Katherine in her kitchen sleepily wondering why she waited until 11PM to start rising bread dough.
About Lena Although born in England and raised on the US West Coast, Lena’s roots and heritage hail from the Middle East as she is a “tabbouleh” mix of Jordan and Iran, among other countries. Lena recently started to document more closely the culinary traditions from her family background that goes back many generations.
About Leva Leva hails from the Land Down Under (Melbourne, Australia). She is a nutritionist. She’s also kind of vegetarian. Kind of, in that on the day she decided to become vegetarian she ate a huge steak. When people ask Leva nutrition questions she usually buckles and says there’s no right answer, that food and nutrition are part of a complex interplay of science, biology, sociology, and ecology. And that’s not wrong, but it’s a cop out. A cop out she won’t be surrendering to anymore. She’s becoming increasingly passionate about plant-based diets, and food industry practices often offend her. The disparity in food consumption that she has seen between countries inhabiting the same planet boggles her, and the inhumanity with which animals in the food chain are treated makes her wonder about those allowing it. Her driving philosophy is that truth is one and indivisible; that while there are areas in life that are grey, there are many more areas that are clear, if we just choose to see.
About Liz Liz is a scholar and a storyteller. Raised in traditional ways of cooking and caring for the Earth, she is fearless in seeking out ways to give voice to those most underrepresented. From a diverse background herself, she grew up with multiple traditions and foods. Committed to the truth, she is also a lover of delectable snacks from around the globe, reflecting her own multi-perspective on honoring and enjoying the gifts from nature.
About Lys Lys is a wizard in the kitchen and master multi-tasker. An expert manager dedicated to promoting education and awareness, she is as multilingual as she is multi-talented. While she is proven professional, her cooking talents only match her charm and sweetness. Particularly skilled in baking, her variations in cheesecakes are always in demand, not to mention her other specialties, from flourless chocolate for the gluten-allergic to chocolate lace cookies.
About Melissa. Melissa is a food educator focused on incorporating more fresh, delicious, local produce into people’ s diets and working with local non-profits, schools and health centers to create and demonstrate recipes that are fruit- and vegetable-based and simple to prepare. She hopes the merger of her Johnson and Wales culinary degree and master’ s in nutrition education (with some strategies from her elementary ed degree thrown in for her kids’ classes) produces dishes that keep people happy and healthy for years to come – and also satisfies her parents that she’ s been able to utilize at least 3 of her five post-graduate degrees. A lover of learning (um…duh?) she’ ll read (and remember) almost anything you throw down in front of her. Her two favorite topics? Food and men -which she writes about passionately and often. For more of her food and dating adventures, check out the hilarious Love Hurts, Bacon Heals.
About Mila. Mila grew up in a house surrounded by great cooks and bold flavors. For many years, she excelled at baking, but was content to leave most of the savory food preparation in the skilled hands of others. Her brother is a wizard in the kitchen and has since gone on to become a professional chef. Although her love affair with food started early in life, she didn’t realize how much fun cooking with vegetables could be until she started hanging out at the Ithaca farmer’s market and trading recipe secrets with the people who brought food from the farm to the table. Her motto is: “I’ll try anything twice” because once is simply not enough. Her years spent traveling as an International Development analyst began a love affair with “street food,” which has led her to sample exotic flavors from kitchens found in the unlikeliest of places. Her more recent foray into management consulting has only added any analytical bent to her thirst for foodie fun. When she’s not constructing Gantt charts or tweaking Harvey Balls at her day job, she can be found shopping at the farmers market, conducting amateur “comparative analyses” of local food trucks and ethnic eateries, and dreaming up new ways to prepare the simple, rustic foods that she loves.
About Molly. Molly is a wife and mother of three, actively involved in the kids elementary/preschool classrooms. In her former professional life, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer on the island of Ustupu, Kuna Yala, Panama and a Community Services Outreach Specialist with the National Museum of the American Indian, working with the Native Arts Program (now called the Artist Leadership Program). She loves baking, making things, and being outdoors.
About Monkey Somewhat confusingly, Monkey was not born in the Year of the Monkey. It is unclear exactly how or when this moniker came about, but it did. Maybe it’s because she eats a banana every day and finds the cracking of peanut shells almost therapeutic. Or maybe it’s because she has gangly arms and her hair grows like wildfire. Probably it’s just because ZomppaB thinks she’s really clever (but all little sisters know better). Although nowhere near the level of ZomppaPatty’s photographic ability, Monkey does like to use her camera when she’s bored. She also likes to eat (it runs in the family) – bribes of bread or dark chocolate are welcome.
About Neda. Born in a small city in the West Coast of Canada, Neda, whose family left Iran in the early 70′s, spent her childhood surrounded by food and in the kitchen with her grandparents. A family tradition of weekly Friday night dinners continues to this day where traditional Iranian food is prepared perfectly for the 30 immediate family members. As a result, cooking and eating together are an integral part of Neda’s life now as she strives to create new types of dishes that combine traditional Persian recipes with more Western ingredients for her husband and two year old daughter. Before becoming a full time mother, Neda spent her free time teaching first graders for several years.
About Purabi. Purabi is an Indian foodie living in Hong Kong and managing a food blog called Cosmopolitan Currymania. Her endeavour is to spread the taste of Asian cuisine (especially the Indian) to the whole world. She loves to discuss and share those recipes which are still unknown to the rest of the world and which are relatively uncommon in the “famous Indian restaurants.” Indian cuisine has a rich diversity and here on Zomppa, she will bring up interesting insights and tips on fine Indian cooking. Not only that, be prepared for some delectable fusion food and the best of Hong Kong delicacies in her articles!
After doing Masters in Inorganic Chemistry from Delhi University in 2001, she jumped into the field of copyediting for research journals of American Institute of Physics, including other esteemed publishers like Wiley. She was in New Delhi, India, till her marriage in 2004, and after that, she shifted to Mumbai with her husband. Soon she was copyediting research journals for reputed publishing houses. The big break in her career happened in 2006, when she was appointed as the Senior Content Writer and Editor for Economics Times B2B magazine called Times Journal of Food Processing. In a short time, she was promoted to the Project Manager level. But motherhood paved its way into her life and she gave up my career for my little ones. At home, she started researching on food and cooking, the latter being her favourite pastime. Now she has found a new foodie world for myself and she is extremely happy to be a part of this.
She started her food blog Cosmopolitan Currymania in April 2011 and she is satisfied and overwhelmed by the way it is growing on its own pace day by day. It is is listed among the top blogs in Hong Kong now according to Hong Kong Blogs Review! She is excited to promote the taste of Asia to a different level altogether!
About Salma Having grown up in India, Salma spent most of her graduate years in the US eating a solid diet of lentils, veggies, rice, and yogurt that she paid for with the meager salary provided to graduate TAs. This meant she was initially very perplexed about why Americans think eating healthy on a strapped budget is impossible. Continuing discussions with American friends, observing and experiencing American culture, as well as reading about American food systems means that she’s less perplexed though no less determined to keep exploring how individual action and institutional systems generate cultural norms about food. These interests are tied to broader interests in the Environmental Humanities, Salma’s interdisciplinary and professional home where she researches and teaches on topics such as food, film, and the intersections of social justice and environmental sustainability (i.e., just sustainability). In her spare time, Salma continues to enjoy eating Indian staples but has also expanded her diet to include such goodies as husband Dan’s home-baked breads and home-brewed beers.
About Sarah. Sarah was raised in Florida, and educated in New Hampshire. She explored India, South East Asia, Europe, and most of the USA before running out of money and taking on a professional gig in New York City. Banking didn’t suit her, so she signed on as a ship’s cook and sailed across the Pacific. She ended up Down Under, and earned a Masters degree in Wine Marketing in South Australia. She is currently working on marketing and brand strategy for a wine distribution company in Adelaide.
When she’s not thinking about vino, export markets, and sustainable viticulture, Sarah enjoys getting out for a hike with her puppy Mac, catching up with her journal, rock climbing, theater, and an occasional game of tennis.
About Shan Shan doesn’t like to be in front of the camera, but boy does she shine in every way possible. She may not say much, but her photos say it all. This mystery woman cooks and bakes at the Michelin-level, experimenting, creating, and making a lot of people happy. She is also an avid forager and gardener. A world traveler with a sophisticated palate, she has sampled some of the most heralded foods in the world – and recreates them in her home kitchen. A closet clothes designer and decorator, she is passionate about eating well and enjoying the simple things in life.
About Sol Food. Heading up the Sol Food Mobile Farm, read the bios of these four intrepid advocates: Eliza, Dylan, Ellen, and Reid here.
About Tsering Our Tsering is not even fully aware of her true inner strength. Born and raised in exile, she is one of the most grounded and gracious individuals. She will tell you like it is if it is in your own best interest and will drop everything to come to your aid if you need it. She might get frazzled every now and then with her spirited (and delightfully naughty) daughter and a mischievous son, but you would hardly know it. She handles everything with aplomb, always recognizing that life is fluid and transient, and so is stress. A vegetarian herself, this gutsy woman can make the best fried chicken without having to taste it. She makes pesto by hand and rolls out the softest rolls, but would have no idea what the measurements are–they just “happen” to come out perfectly each time.
About Guest Contributors We are fortunate to have a number of guest contributors who offer their insightful perspectives and unique voices to the dialogue.