Fugitive Waves
Episode 59: Weenie Royale: The Impact of the Internment on Japanese American Cooking

Episode 59: Weenie Royale: The Impact of the Internment on Japanese American Cooking

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During World War II, In desolate inland internment camps in the US, like Manzanar, Topaz, and Tule Lake, some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were incarcerated for the duration of the war— their traditional food replaced by US government commodities and war surplus — hotdogs, ketchup, spam, potatoes — erasing the traditional Japanese diet and family table.

Akemi Tamaribuchi, a third generation Japanese American, artist Howard Ikemoto, Berkeley graduate Tami Takahashi, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of “Farewell to Manzanar,” Jimi Yamaichi of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, and George “Sulu” Takei of Star Trek, talk about how the internment forever impacted their lives, their food and their family table.

Fugitive Waves Episode #58 – The Kiosk Strategy

Fugitive Waves Episode #58 – The Kiosk Strategy

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A story from the plazas of Portugal, where small ornate kiosks that served traditional snacks and drinks once graced the city and brought people together. Neglected by time and pushed into abandonment by a dictator’s regime that suppressed public conversation and gathering, this tradition is now being revived, drawing people back to public space.

For more than a century, Lisbon’s public spaces were graced by beautiful Art Nouveau and Moorish-style kiosks — small, ornate structures that provided chairs and shade and served traditional Portuguese snacks and drinks.

These quiosques de refrescos (refreshment kiosks) were the heart of public life in the city. But, under the long dictatorship of Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar, which started in the 1930s, laws actually discouraged public gathering and conversation. Many restaurants closed down and the kiosks ­­fell into disrepair and all but disappeared.

That was, until Catarina Portas, a native of Lisbon, former journalist and entrepreneur stepped in.

“From the 19th to the 20th century, there were some hundred different kiosks in Lisbon. The city was full of them in different colors, different designs,” says Portas. She used to take walks around the city and see these sad, abandoned structures. She said, “I started to think, how could we bring this to our times?”

Portas began hunting down these kiosks — some still in place but boarded up, others in storage. She teamed up with architect João Regal to restore the buildings – not just to their former glory, but to their former place of prominence in Lisbon’s public spaces.

“We went to the city council with amazing photographs of the old kiosks, and we prepared all the old drinks and made them taste the drinks,” Portas says. The pitch worked —­­ Portas is fairly sure it was the drinks that convinced the council members. Their first three kiosks opened in 2009.

The kiosks offer affordable and traditional drinks and snacks, conversation and community – and also employment in a country struggling with the staggering levels of unemployment and a recession gripping much of western Europe.

Read more.

Fugitive Waves Episode #57: War and Peace and Coffee

Fugitive Waves Episode #57: War and Peace and Coffee

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  • Harrison Suarez and Michael Haft of Compass Coffee

“Nobody can soldier without coffee,” a Union calvary man wrote in 1865. Hidden Kitchens looks at three American wars through the lens of coffee: the Civil War, Vietnam and Afghanistan. And an interview with Anastacia Marx de Salcedo author of “Combat Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat.”

The Civil War: War, freedom, slavery, secession, union – these are some of the big themes you might expect to find in the diaries of Civil War soldiers. At least, that’s what Jon Grinspan, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, assumed when he began digging through war journals in the nation’s Civil War archives. “I went looking for the big stories,” Grinspan says. “And all they kept talking about was the coffee they had for breakfast, or the coffee they wanted to have for breakfast.”

The Vietnam War: Coffee may have powered the Union army during the Civil War, but during the Vietnam War, it fueled the GI anti-war movement. In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, as soldiers returning from Vietnam began to question the U.S. role in the war, GI coffeehouses sprung up in military towns outside bases across the country. They became a vital gathering place. Oleo Strut, Fort Hood, TX, Shelter Half, Tacoma, Washington, the Green Machine outside Camp Pendleton, San Diego; Mad Anthony Wayne’s, Waynesville, Mo., outside Fort Leonard, to name a few. As the anti-war movement heated up, these coffeehouses became places where GIs could get legal counseling on issues like going AWOL and obtaining conscientious objector status, and learn about ways to protest the war.

Afghanistan: “The military runs on coffee,” says Harrison Suarez, co-founder of Compass Coffee in Washington DC. “The Marines especially. It’s this ritual.” Suarez and Michael Haft, who started Compass together, first became friends in the Marines over coffee learning how to navigate with a map and compass.

As the war in Afghanistan intensified, both Suarez and Haft deployed there with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. One of their missions was to help develop the local police force and army. The two men tried to bond with their new Afghan partners over coffee, but the Afghans weren’t having it. The Afghan culture is much more about tea. Regardless of what was in the cups, the experience of gathering together over a hot drink and “taking time to develop a rapport with your partners that you are fighting alongside holds the same.”

This story is part of the Hidden Kitchens series “Kimchi Diplomacy: War and Peace and Food.”

Read more about War and Peace and Coffee and get a recipe for “Yankee ‘Instant’ Coffee Syrup” here.

Notes from The Kitchen Sisterhood / Fall 2016

Notes from The Kitchen Sisterhood / Fall 2016

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Dear Friends,

There is so much going on. But really only one thing going on. Vote. Everything else is noise.

Except it’s not. Not at all, but you know what we mean.

Here is some of what else matters to us in the coming months, in our world and your’s.

The Kitchen Sisters
Davia & Nikki


Books we’re reading:

We’re working on a new book calledShow the Girls the Snakes, a mix of stories, how to tell stories and memoir, so we’re reading every memoir we can get our hands on. Any suggestions? Here’s what we’re reading now:

Speak, Memory – Vladimir Nabokov

My Life on the Road – Gloria Steinem

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

And on other fronts:

Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds – Lyndall Gordon

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America – Gilbert King

Dated Emcees – Chinaka Hodge


Events we are going to / hosting / wish we were going to:

Notes From the Field – Master storyteller, Anna Deavere Smith with musician Marcus Shelby. Her new play looks at education, crime, and the Baltimore she left behind. 2econdStageTheatre, New York. (Now playing)

An Evening with Terry Tempest Williams – A Benefit for Point Reyes National Seashore Association, Pt. Reyes, CA. (Oct 22)

Smithsonian Food History Weekend – The Kitchen Sisters talking Hidden Political Kitchens, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. (Oct 27-29)

Letter to a Man – Mikhail Baryshnikov in a staging of Vaslav Nijinsky’s diaries, BAM, New York. (Oct 15-30)

City Arts and Lectures – Joel Coen in conversation with Davia Nelson. One Coen Brother, one Kitchen Sister, San Francisco, CA. (Nov 29)

Kitchen Sisters Interviewing, Recording & Podcasting Workshop, San Francisco (Dec 8) – sign up here.


Films we’re watching:

Moonlight – Saw this remarkable, hypnotic film at the Telluride Film Festival. Barry Jenkins’ haunting story of a boy coming of age in South Florida. The cast includes Mahershala Ali, Trevante Rhodes and Janelle Monáe.

Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) – Situated off Italy’s southern coast, Lampedusa has been the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe. Director Gianfranco Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current, desperate everyday reality. His film is gut-wrenching and stunning.

Command and Control – A collaboration between Robert Kenner (Food, Inc) & Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation). How do you manage weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them?

Cameraperson – Over the past 25 years, Kirsten Johnson has worked as a camera operator or cinematographer on more than 50 documentary films, including Citizenfour, The Invisible War, and Fahrenheit 9/11. Now she’s directed Cameraperson, which she calls a visual “memoir.” It incorporates footage she shot for various documentaries over that quarter century. –Boston Globe

Threads we’re pulling:

Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse – Dosa at Cooper Hewitt in NYC

Works on Paper from Permanent Collection – a new collaboration between Fanny Singer and Mariah Nielson.

Lenny – Feminism, style, health, politics, friendship and everything else from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner.



Podcasts we’re pumping:

Radiotopia Fall Fundraiser – Our mighty podcast collective is having it’s annual Fundraiser. If you love podcasts, and we know you do, Radiotopia is the network to support. 15 podcasts and growing — 99% Invisible, Criminal, Radio Diaries, Love + Radio, Millennial, Mortified, Song Exploder, The Allusionist, The Heart, West Wing Weekly, Theory of Everything, the Memory Palace, Strangers, The Truth and ours, Fugitive Waves.


Music we’re spinning:

Anything/everything by Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan

Ibrahim Maalouf, Lebanese born trumpeter

Hip-hop of old from Jonathan Lethem’s list.

Nintendo themes of old from Michael Chabon’s list.

Angel Olsen

Compared to What – Les McCann & Eddie Harris (listen here)


Projects we’re supporting:

The American Project – Vote
Tuesday, November 8

Can’t Talk, Gotta Run: 10 Women Who Could Flip the Senate
(in case you missed it)

The Edible Schoolyard programs in Berkeley, New York, New Orleans and the Charlottesville Food Justice Network

Rock the Vote

Main graphic: “My Eyes In The Time Of Apparition” by August Natterer, 1913
Photo of Dylan: AP Photo/Pierre Godot
Fugitive Waves #56 – Operation Hummus and More Stories from Israel and Ramallah

Fugitive Waves #56 – Operation Hummus and More Stories from Israel and Ramallah

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS

“They call it ‘The Hummus Wars’ when Lebanon accused the Israeli people of trying to steal hummus and make it their national dish, hummus became a symbol,” Ronit Vered a food journalist with Haaretz, in Tel Aviv tells us. We meet her deep in Shuk HaCarmel an old sprawling street market on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Ronit writes about the history and culture of food in Israel.

Fadi Abboud

Fadi Abboud

Fadi Abboud, born in Lebanon, served as Minister for Tourism there from 2009 to 2014. Mr. Abboud was the man who led Lebanon to break the Guinness World Record by making the largest tub of hummus in the world. At the time Abboud was also Chairman of the Industrialists Association. “A group of us just came from a food exhibition in France. There they were telling us that hummus is an Israeli traditional dish. I mean the world now thinks that Israel invented hummus. I was rather upset you know and I thought the best way to tell the world that the hummus is Lebanese is to break the Guinness Book of Records.”

“We want the whole world to know that hummus and tabouli are Lebanese and by breaking the Guinness Book of World Records the world should remember our cuisine, our culture.” –
Fadi Abboud

At the ceremony, when Guinness awarded Lebanon the prize for it’s 4,532 pound plate of hummus, Fadi announced “We want the whole world to know that hummus and tabouli are Lebanese and by breaking the Guinness Book of World Records the world should remember our cuisine, our culture.”

“It was big issue, all over the news, that hummus was Lebanese. I said, ‘No, hummus for everybody.” That’s Jawdat Ibrahim, owner of Abu Gosh Restaurant in Abu Ghosh village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. “I hold a meeting in the village and I say ‘We are going to break Guinness Book of World Record.’ Not the Israeli government, the people of Abu Ghosh.

Within months this news was broadcast round the world.  “In the town of Abu Ghosh this morning Israel re-took the title for the World’s Largest Hummus Dish weighing four tons and served in a satellite dish.”

“Yes”, said Jawdat, “a satellite dish. It’s a dish, no?  Media, they came here. Over 50 TV channels all over the world. More than Obama visit in the country.”

Ronit Vered has been thinking about these issues for years. She tells us in Israel there is not a strong food tradition, the country has only existed 60 years. There were not specific dishes that were common ground for all the Israelis. So hummus became a common ground. “Palestinians also made hummus a symbol,” says Ronit, “that we didn’t only take their land, we take their food as well and made it ours.”

Counter attack: On Jan. 8, 2010, the Arab Israeli village of Abu Gosh served up this giant satellite dish full of hummus, weighing over 4 tons — about twice as much as the previous record set by Lebanon just months earlier. Alessio Romenzi/AFP/Getty Images

Counter attack: On Jan. 8, 2010, the Arab Israeli village of Abu Gosh served up this giant satellite dish full of hummus, weighing over 4 tons — about twice as much as the previous record set by Lebanon just months earlier.
Alessio Romenzi/AFP/Getty Images

“The hummus is our tradition. Tabouli is our tradition. They take our hummus and they make it their tradition.” So says, Nuha Musleh a Palestinian woman who works as a fixer with international journalists and owns a rug and antique store in Ramallah. After a long line crossing the checkpoint from Jerusalem to the West Bank and Ramallah, Nuha stops her SUV at one of her favorite restaurants so we can taste Palestinian hummus. “Now we are in Ramallah. People run to get hummus when they are in Ramallah. It’s like getting a good pizza in downtown Rome. Or getting a good T-Bone steak in Texas, I imagine.  I haven’t been.”

The restaurant owner leads us into his kitchen, where plates of hummus piled with radishes, pickles and sumac are being made. He begins to tell us what makes his hummus so distinguished. Nuha translates. “What distinguishes any hummus from another is nafs – which is soul in Arabic. Here, they pound it! They don’t use a machine. They use good tahini, sesame seeds crushed, sumac, lemons from Jericho. Olive oil from the Hebron hills.”  He tells us Palestinians don’t mind that Lebanon is proud of its hummus, that Egypt makes hummus. It puts Arabs together.

Fadi Abboud has been studying the history of hummus for some time now.  “The word ‘chickpea’ in Arabic is hummus. So the actual name comes from the Arabic for chickpea.” Fadi told us Lebanon tried to register hummus with the European Union with a protective Designation of Origin in the same way champagne is registered by France, parmesan by the Italians, and the Greeks lay claim to feta cheese. Fadi was asking the EU to ban the use of the word hummus by any other country than Lebanon. The Association of Industrialists called this campaign “Hands Off Our Dishes.”

Ari Ariel, Assistant Professor of Gastronomy at Boston University and author of the article “The Hummus War” has been following the battle for years now. He said part of the problem from the Lebanese perspective was most of the pre-packaged hummus in the world was being sold by Israeli companies.

In the end, the EU did not allow Lebanon to register the word “hummus” for their own.

Ronit Vered has chronicled the arc of Israeli food and cooking for years. It’s as thorny as all issues connecting the Israelis and the Palestinians.In the first two decades of the state the Israeli people didn’t eat really eat local food. They stuck to their old habits the thing that is close to your heart. It’s also a political issue. If I eat Palestinian food in a way I acknowledge that they exist, that there are other people here who have food of their own.”

After years of resisting local food, by the 1950s the Israeli Army started serving hummus in mess halls. Soon the average Israeli came to know hummus as an everyday food. Dafna Hirsch lives in Tel Aviv and is a faculty member at Open University of Israel and author of the article “Hummus is Best When it is Fresh and Made by Arabs.”

Dafna tells us that as these food becomes more familiar to the European settlers, hummus became hip, something young people began to eat. Hummus became appropriated as the food of the new Sabra, the Israeli new man, who is rooted in the land, wears the Kofia and eats hummus and falafel.

“In Israel hummus is considered a masculine dish, says Dafna, “It a kind of masculine ritual to go with a group of men to the hummusiya and eat hummus wiping with these large circular gestures.

Hummus has a natural community because it is not merely a dish but more like a subculture. So says Shooky Galili, a young entrepreneur who lives in Tel Aviv and has a blog about hummus, “I have many people who want to know about out the new places, ‘I’m in Jerusalem, where do I go?’”

Nuha Musleh

Nuha Musleh

Nuha is far from taken with the subculture Shooky and many Israelis are feeding. “Hummus, unfortunately, has become in the category of fast foods. But actually in Arab and all of Palestine hummus is a Friday honorable breakfast. The father wakes up in the morning, makes hummus, makes food. Invites all his daughters and daughters-in laws and sons. It’s a way to get together in the morning of a Friday. When the family wants to throw all their worries and problems away.”

Nuha is driving us back to Jerusalem, back towards the checkpoint. Once again we are in a long wait in a long line of vehicles. I notice the food vendors and rug merchants who have set up makeshift businesses along the crawling route. This is Nuha’s daily route and she’s got it wired.As we approach the checkpoint there’s usually congestion because there’s the refugee camp on left, a village called Qalandia on the right and there’s no man’s land Kufr Aqab. You have 130,000 people using one road. I never think of eating breakfast when I have to go through the checkpoint.  There’s a kabob stand and there’s a ka’ak vendor, the bread with sesame and za’atar. It’s a big business. Because you’re stressed you need something. You could get shot. The checkpoint could close. You could get a gas bomb. Suddenly you’re not a human being. The kitchen of the checkpoint is really crucial to connect people together as human beings.”

Back in a cab in Tel Aviv, I notice the tattoo on my taxi driver, David Varon. “What does your tattoo say?” “No Fear” says David.  “You cannot live in fear in Israel. Some people are afraid to live in a country where there is so much blood and wars and conflict over thousands of years. This conflict is about religion and it will not be over until religion will be over. Hummus and falafel, food is maybe the only thing that gets people to sit together with different thoughts to eat the same food.”

Most of the hummus makers at the old hummusiyats – Lena’s in Jerusalem, Abu Hassam in Tel Aviv, Said in Akko all echoed David’s thoughts. But Dafna Hirsh isn’t buying it. “This kind of approach which says ‘Oh if we eat together peace will come through the stomach. But no. As long as colonization continues, as long as occupation continues then hummus is not going to solve it.  That sentiment echoed at Tony Rami’s Falamanki and Le Professeur in Beirut as well.


Still Jawdat Ibrahim, who grew up in poverty in Abu Ghosh, an Arab living in an Arab village in Israel, came to America in his early 20’s with a quarter in his pocket, won the lottery in 1973 in Chicago and won $23 million dollars and returned to his village in Israel to open the hummus restaurant we are talking in, has a vision. A kitchen vision. We broke the Guinness Book of World Records, but to make hummus is not the issue. To put people together, that is the main thing. People talking about blood and killing and I want to take to different way. People can talk about the Middle East about nice things, not killing and shooting. Hummus. Nobody get hurt with this war.”

Post Script: Currently Beirut is back on top in The Hummus Wars with the 23,042 pounds of hummus they prepared displayed on the world’s largest ceramic plate.

News coverage of the “Hummus Wars” from JPOST – World News


Special Thanks: In Lebanon: Kamal Mouzawak, Fady Abboud, Jihane Chahla, Sami Moussallem, Souk el Tayeb, Tawlet, Andre Abi Awad, Beit Douma, Beit al Qamar, Lara Shabb, Peter and Nathalie Hrechdakian, Jackson Allers, Barbara Massaad, Colette Naufal, Beirut International Film Festival, Le Professeur, Maya Zbib, Tony Ramy, Jihane Khairallah and Hotel Albergo Relais & Chateaux, Myriam Shwayri, Soufra at the Burj al Ba Rajneh refugee camp, Chez Maguy, Marc Codsi, Bachar Mar Khalife. In Ramallah: Nuha Musleh. In Israel: Mishy Harman, Maya Kosover, Shoshi Shmuluvitz, Rachel Fisher, Yochai Maital, Benny Becker and the team at Israel Story, Jawdat Ibrahim, Ronit Vered, Dafna Hirsch, Shooky Galili + Hummus 101, Ben Lang + International Hummus Day, David Varon, Sophie Schor, Oren Rosenfeld, Sami at Abu Hassam, Lina Hummus, David Ben Shabbat, Efrat Shagal & Peace of Cake, Erez Komorofsky, Elisheva Goldberg, Kamel Hashlamon, Ra’anan Alexandowicz, Hummus Abu Shakra, Hummus Askandar, Maya Zinshstein, Naama Shefi & EatWith, David Ben Shabbat, Kobi Tzafrir and Hummus Bar at M Mall in Kfar Vitkin, Rafram Hadad, Manta Ray Restaurant, Michas Hummus. In The US: Ari Ariel, Emily Harris, Yotam Ottolenghi, Margaret Rogalski, Third Coast Audio Festival, Robb Moss, Mark Danner, Tom Luddy, Sandy Tolan, Dore Stein, Johanna Mendelson Forman, Laila el-Haddad, John Lyons.


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from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

for more information visit


  • 1 ¼cups dried chickpeas (250 grams)
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • cup plus 2 tablespoons light tahini paste (270 grams)
  • tablespoons freshly squeezedlemon juice
  • cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt
  • 6 ½ tablespoons ice-cold water (100 milliliters)



  1. Put chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain chickpeas. In a medium saucepan, combine drained chickpeas and baking soda over high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 6 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook at a simmer, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface, from 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  3. Drain chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 cups (600 grams) now. Place chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in ice water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  4. Transfer hummus to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using immediately, refrigerate until needed, up to two days. Remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.

from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Makes 1 large jar, approximately 1.5-2 litres


10 small or 5 large fresh turnips (1kg in total)
3 small beetroot (240g in total)
1 green or red chilli, cut into 1cm slices
3 tender celery stalks, cut into 2cm slices
300ml distilled white vinegar
720ml warm water fine sea salt

from Laila El-Haddad’s The Gaza Kitchen blog


Put through a food grinder or pulse in food processor in batches, starting with chickpeas:

2 cups dry chickpeas, rinsed and soaked in water for 16 hours
1 bunch cilantro (roughly 3/4 cup chopped)
1 bunch dill (roughly 1/2 cup chopped)
1 bunch parsley (roughly 1 cup chopped)
7 garlic cloves
5 hot green chilies, adjust based on personal preference
1 T. each: cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Set aside for 2 hours, then add immediately before frying:

1 tsp baking soda
2 T. roasted sesame seeds

Shape in small patties (dip hands in a little water if necessary to prevent sticking) or use a falafel mold, then fry in hot oil. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with tahina sauce (below), julienne onions sprinkled with 1 tsp sumac, sliced tomatoes, chili paste (filfil mat’hoon) and assorted pickles.

Tahina Sauce:

Blend together until smooth:

2 T. Tahina
1/2 cup water
Juice of two fresh lemons
1 garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp salt

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Humanists & Scholars

Ari Ariel, PhD
Assistant Professor of Gastronomy
Boston University

excerpt from Ari Ariel interview

The Hummus Wars is a conflict that took place on two different fronts. A few years ago, Guinness World Records began traveling back and forth from Israel to Lebanon and the United States to measure the largest dish of hummus in the world. The first Guinness World Record attempt is in May 2008 in Jerusalem, and it’s an 882 pound dish made by a group of chefs sponsored by Sabar, an Israeli food company. A few years later, a group of Lebanese chefs decided they should take the title and made a 4,532 pound dish. Soon after, a group of Israeli chefs in the village of Abu Ghosh made a dish of hummus that was about 9,000 pounds and then finally, in 2010, the student chefs from Al-Kafaat University in Lebanon prepared what is now the current largest dish of hummus which is 23,000 pounds.

This is an interesting place where nationalism enters into this conflict over food; it bothered the Lebanese chefs as an aspect of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Israel-Palestine conflict. They thought of hummus as a traditional Arab food. Israel claiming this world record was a way of Israel stealing hummus from the Arab community. Hummus, the word itself, is the Arabic word for chickpea.

Read more

Dafna Hirsh, PhD
Professor of Sociology
The Open University of Israel

excerpt from Dafna Hirsch interview

In Arab society, hummus is a traditional dish, it’s something that women were producing at home long before it became commercial. Jews became acquainted to it through restaurants and more public institutions. But mostly, hummus entered [Jewish] homes through the industrial version.

We know for sure that in the 19th century, hummus was produced and consumed in Palestine when there was still a very very small Jewish community, mostly of European origins, most of which probably did not consume hummus. When European Jews began to settle in Palestine, the majority would look at Arab food with suspicion, sometimes even disgust. Gradually in the 1950s the food became more familiar to the the European settlers. It becomes kind of hip, something the young people will eat, and it’s appropriated by some of the cultural tone setters as the food of the new Sabra, the new men, the kind of men rooted in the land, who eat hummus and falafel. Then the big breakthrough is in the late 50s when it becomes industrialized and widely consumed.

Read more


For additional academic references, please see the following publications:

Ariel, A. (2012). The Hummus Wars. Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, 12(1), 34-42. doi:10.1525/gfc.2012.12.1.34

Dafna Hirsch and Ofra Tene, “Hummus: The Making of an Israeli Culinary Cult”, Journal of Consumer Culture 13 (2013), 25-45.

Dafna Hirsch, “‘Hummus is Best when it is Fresh and made by Arabs’: The Gourmetization of Hummus in Israel and the Return of the Repressed Arab,” American Ethnologist 38 (2011), 617-630.

Gvion, L. (2012). Beyond Hummus and Falafel: Social and Political Aspects of Palestinian Food in Israel (California Studies in Food and Culture). University of California Press.

beyond hummus

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Bachar Mar-Khalife, Balcoon

Tomber Longtemps, Ibrahim Maalouf

Hummus Metamtem, Nigel Addmore

Fat Mobile, Arthur Oskan

Maeva in Wonderland, Ibrahim Maalouf

Be’Yom Shabbat, The Idan Raichel Project

Basalon Shel Salomon, Hadag Nahash


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The Israeli Story

The idea for “Operation Hummus” came to us when we recently met three young Israeli men who host the Israeli version of This American Life, at an international radio conference in Chicago. As we do with most everyone we meet, we asked what their hidden kitchen was? “What is their Israeli Hidden Kitchen,” we asked?  “Hummus.” they all said.  And they began to tell us about the vibrant traditions, rituals, history and controversies that center around this humble dish of chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and spices.  Their stories set us on the course of this radio documentary. 

We would like to thank Mishy Harman,Ro’ee Gilron, Yochai Maital and entire staff of The Israel Story, who helped us immensely during our time reporting in Israel.


Jawdat Ibrahim, owner of Abu Ghosh Restaurant, with The Israel Story’s Mishy Harman.

To hear more stories from The Israel Story, please visit their website.


International Hummus Day & Hummus Map


The Israel Story’s Shoshi Shmuluvitz and Hummus Day founder Ben Lang


May 13th is International Hummus Day — a day to celebrate the deliciousness of this beloved Middle Eastern spread. The basic ingredients in hummus are simple: cooked or mashed chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic; but it’s history is not. Every country, culture, and religion in the Middle East has a different twist on the recipe, which in turn has created long standing arguments about who makes it best. Both Israelis and Arabs have made a strong claim to being the original creator of hummus, and in recent years a Guinness Book of World Records inspired feud has broken out between Israel and Lebanon, known as the Hummus Wars.

Yet, May 13th is not about who owns hummus, it’s about spreading the love for this dish. Ben Lang, a tech entrepreneur who lives in Israel, created the holiday in 2013 and since then it’s spread internationally. Lang even created a global Hummus Map to help people find the best local hummus. To participate in International Hummus Day you must eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner…or all three. After that you can share your chickpea love in a number of ways: organize or participate in a hummus-related event; document your hummus eating on social media with the hashtag #hummusday; participate on facebook; or add your hummus place to the Hummus Map.

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Ra’anan Alexandrowicz

Ra’anan Alexandrowicz carved name recognition as writer and director of award-winning films such as the full-length feature James’ Journey to Jerusalem(Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2003, Toronto 2003), and the documentaries The Inner Tour (Berlin 2001, Sundance 2001), and Martin (Berlin 1999, New Directors, New Films 1999, MoMA permanent collection). Ra’anan’s critically-acclaimed works have been theatrically-released to international audiences and broadcast worldwide.


In his film The Law in These Parts, Alexandrowicz examines the legal history of Israeli’s occupation of Arab territories through interviews he conducted with a number of judges who were responsible for carrying out the orders of military commanders.


Tony Ramy

Tony Ramy is President of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants in Lebanon.  He is the co-owner and General Manager of Al Sultan Brahim group of restaurants, which started in 1961 in Beirut.


humus 101             hummus day
Humus 101  Hummus Day



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Fugitive Waves #55 – Between Us, Bread and Salt: Lebanese Hidden Kitchens

Fugitive Waves #55 – Between Us, Bread and Salt: Lebanese Hidden Kitchens

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  • Kamal Mouzawak at Tawlet, Beirut. Photo by Roland Ragi.

A road trip through the hidden kitchens of Lebanon, with kitchen activist, Kamal Mouzawak, a man with a vision of re-building and uniting this war-ravaged nation through its traditions, its culture and its food. We visit farmer’s markets, restaurants, and guest houses known as Souk el Tayeb that he and his kitchen community have created.

This story is part of Hidden Kitchens: War and Peace and Food, a series of stories about food and conflict, about the role food plays in helping resolve conflict between nations and communities, or in creating it.

Produced by Samuel Shelton Robinson and The Kitchen Sisters


Kamal Mouzawak with Najwa Azzam in the Chouf Mountains outside Beirut.


Illustration by Salim Azzam of his mother, Najwa preparing Akkoub. See more of Salim’s beautiful illustrations on Instagram: @azzamsalim.


Make Food Not War, one of the battle cries of Souk el Tayeb.


Bread giveaway for Syrian refugees at Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp, Beirut.


Lebanese Home Cooking by Kamal Mouzawak.

Fugitive Waves #54: Walking High Steel

Fugitive Waves #54: Walking High Steel

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Six generations of Mohawk Indian ironworkers, known for their ability to work high steel, have helped shape New York City’s skyline. Hundreds of Mohawks still commute to Manhattan each week from reservations in Canada to work on the city’s skyscrapers and bridges. In September 2001, a new generation returned to the World Trade Center site to dismantle what their elders had helped to build.

Produced by The Kitchen Sisters with Jamie York for the Sonic Memorial Project.

Fugitive Waves #53: Garden Allotments

Fugitive Waves #53: Garden Allotments

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A Hidden Kitchens story about London’s long tradition of urban garden allotments — and the story of Manor Garden Allotments, a 100 year old community, that found itself in the path of London’s 2012 Olympics.

London’s “allotment” gardens are an unusual and vibrant system of community gardens across the entire city. Tended by immigrants, retirees, chefs and fans of fresh food, the allotments make up a kitchen community like no other.

Wedged between buildings, planted in abandoned open spaces and carved into hillsides, these community plots of open space began to be reserved for neighborhood cultivation with the industrialization of England in the 1860s, when rural people poured into the city.

The allotments flourished with Britain’s “Dig for Victory” movement of World War II, an effort to feed the starving population of London during the war. And today, they are exploding with the organic gardening and “good food” movements, and efforts to food self-sufficiency sweeping the country.

For about 20 years, retiree Charlie Gregory has cultivated his plot at Fitzroy Park Allotment in Hampstead Heath, next to hipster artists and an immigrant couple with three Yorkies. There are apple trees, black currant bushes, blueberries, onions and shallots.

“Everybody knows everybody,” Gregory said. “I’m a bachelor myself. I’m 78 now, and I’m keeping on the go. It’s not expensive. For 27 pounds a year, you’ve got the space of land, you know, and this beautiful spot. You want to keep fit and live to a good old age? Get an allotment!”

London chef Oliver Rowe gets almost all his food from farmers and producers working within the radius of the city’s train system. In the kitchen of Konstam at the Prince Albert, his restaurant in Kings Cross, Rowe’s bread is made of wheat that is grown, milled and baked within 20 miles. The walls of his café are lined with jars of Dartford broad beans, sloe gin berries and sweet squash that he canned last year.

John Kelly, former publisher of Prospect magazine, who once had a plot in north London said that allotments started in the 19th century and were sparked by philanthropy and health concerns.

“So as people fled from agrarian poverty into working in factories, land was given to the city in perpetuity for people to cultivate vegetables,” Kelly said. “The allotment boom really happened in 1940s, 1950s.”

“There were most definitely different communities … The Italian guy opposite me who was fixated on growing Tuscan grapes for wine. And the Irish were there really just to dig… There were posh English ladies creating conceptual art, so you’d see these sort of scarecrows in hand-me-down Versace.”

Talking to people, one place kept coming up: Manor Garden Allotments, a small patch of land in the heart of working-class east London. It is more than 100 years old.

“You’d go past rambling old factories, down a little alleyway, behind the bus depot, lots of rubbish everywhere,” said Julie Sumner, a Manor allotment holder and organizer. But anyone opening a gate to see the River Lea, she said, would find a different scene.

Hassan Ali, a Turkish Cypriot who is a retired mechanic, had an allotment at Manor Garden for almost 20 years. “That place, I tell you, is a dream place — like we were living in heaven,” Ali said.

“I always cook every day something. My friend Reggie, 17 years I know him. Every day we together. And he brings something from his garden, and I bring something, and we cook and eat there, me and Reg.”

But in October 2007, Manor Garden Allotments was bulldozed to make way for a path and landscaping for the 2012 Olympic Games. The loss of the Manor Garden Allotments to the Olympics construction came despite protests and calls for preserving the area.

Today, the Manor Garden Allotment community has been split and relocated into two allotments. One is located in Marsh Lane, or the “Swamp” that was supposed to be a temporary home until after the Olympics. And the other new Allotment site opened in January 2016 at Pudding Mill Lane, Stratford in the heart of East London. Despite set backs and disputes, the allotment community continues on.

Throughout London, these garden allotments bridge many religious and cultural divides. With daily rituals of tea and traditional grilling of meats in garden sheds and outdoor kitchens — families come together in ways that defy the divided times in which we live.


Typical allotment sheds before the 2012 Olympic Games in London:



Pudding Mill Lane Allotments after the 2012 Olympics:


Fugitive Waves Episode #51: Hunting & Gathering with Angelo Garro

Fugitive Waves Episode #51: Hunting & Gathering with Angelo Garro

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Sometimes it’s the kitchen that’s hidden, sometimes it’s the food itself. Blacksmith Angelo Garro forges and forages, recreating in wrought iron and in cooking the life he left behind in Sicily. The Kitchen Sisters join Angelo along the coast of Northern California as he follows the seasons, harvesting the wild for his kitchen and his friends.

And a few words from Werner Herzog about Angelo and his Omnivore Salt.

Excerpt from our book, Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes and More from NPR’s Kitchen Sisters:

The Forager: Hunting and Gathering with Angelo Garro

We met Angelo Garro nearly two decades ago. Nikki and I were in the studio working on “Waiting for Joe DiMaggio,” a Kitchen Sisters radio story about the return of Joltin’ Joe at age 83 to his parents’ village in Sicily. We needed help with some Sicilian translation, and a friend told us about a blacksmith from Sicily living in his forge, hidden down an alleyway in San Francisco, who made artisan wrought iron and cured his own olives. He sounded promising.

I called Angelo up out of the blue and asked him to listen to our tapes over the phone. He stopped everything he was doing, translated our recordings and then invited me to the forge that evening for rabbit and polenta. We were in the midst of the mix of “DiMaggio” so I didn’t make it out that night. A few months later my phone rang. “Are you coming for lunch or are you coming for dinner?” It was Angelo. The next day we spent a rainy afternoon eating lunch by candlelight. Everything was handmade by Angelo, the olives, the salami, the prosciutto, the pasta, the sauce, the wine, even the candlesticks.

The next week, after returning from hunting, he called to invite us to a wild boar dinner. A few months later, we went foraging for fennel. That’s when The Kitchen Sisters began following Angelo, as he follows the seasons, harvesting the wild, re-creating in wrought iron and in cooking the life he left behind in Sicily.


forager 03_mushrooming

“Angelo!” Bob yells through the pine trees.

“Shhh. “Don’t make any noise, Bob.” Don’t make any noise. Otherwise the other hunters will be attracted.” The two friends creep through the woods, looking for buried treasure, on a steep stretch of California’s coast. There’s not a soul in sight, but you never know who might be there, lurking, trying to discover your secret spots. Quietly they press on, their boots squish the moist forest floor. Angelo Garro, his eyes peeled for porcini, is searching for supper.

“You have to look at the wet area of the trees, where’s there’s dead stumps, “ Angelo leads in a loud Italian whisper. “They’re hiding in the pine needle carpets here. You have to be focused, use your eyes and your nose. We’re looking for porcini. And where there is a bubble, a little bump, like a ball in the grass, there’s a mushroom. Could be porcini, could be a poison one, so you have to be careful.”

Born in Siracusa, Sicily, the son of a citrus merchant, Angelo grew up in the groves of oranges and lemons that his father exported to fruit sellers in Rome and Milano. “I was born in Sicily, and now I live in San Francisco,” says Angelo. “In Sicily, I could tell by the smell, what time of the year it was —orange season, oranges, persimmon season, then olive season. People used to pick olives and bring them to town where they would crush them to make olive oil. The smells permeated the town where my grandmother lived.”

Suddenly Angelo is down on his knees, dusting away the debris, beside himself with excitement. “Look! Bob! Bob! Come here!” yells Angelo forgetting to whisper now. “ Wow. It’s huge. Porcini bonanza! Look how beautiful. Smell! In November, two days after the rain and one day after sun are always good days for mushrooming. If we find ten like this, tonight we can cook and make crostini mushrooms.”

Angelo Garro, handsome, animated, compact, Sicilian, looks at the forest floor with x-ray eyes as he forages. He doesn’t just see the big mushroom hidden beneath the pine mulch, he sees the meal he will make when he brings the porcini home to cook, and the look on his friend Bob’s face when he eats porcini crostini back at the Forge.



Angelo Garro lives at the end of an alley in an industrial part of San Francisco, in an invented space that is his wrought-iron studio and his kitchen and his private, personal restaurant. But that is only the physical truth. His spirit lives in a much larger space, informed by an ancient link between food and heart.

“My place — how can I describe my place?” Angelo surveys the enormous welding tools, Italian olive picking baskets, branches of ripe grapefruit, the scanner and ipod, hunting catalogues, hand wrought metal grapevines, that fill the cavernous workshop he calls Renaissance Forge.

“This used to be a blacksmith shop and a stable in the 1890’s, where all the gold diggers and cowboys used to bring the horses to put shoes and fix their carriages. I do architectural wrought iron work which adorns beautiful homes. I forge elements for balconies, gates, staircases. And over here I built a little kitchen off in the corner of the shop, So here, right in the forge, while the metal is warming, before I beat it up, I can just start a recipe. If I feel inspired, I don’t have to go far.”

He taps a mallet lightly on a hot piece of bronze he is shaping on his anvil. “Listen to this one.” A sweet metallic note rings out and mingles with the sound of the Puccini aria and the slam and pump of the hydraulic hammer that fill the forge. “ Listen, it’s like a soprano, like music. Each place on the metal has a different sound, you know. When iron was discovered in Europe,” Angelo muses, “it became weapons. But they also made beautiful gates, which is good. If I was born back then, I would make gates not weapons”

“Hey, Xavier!” Angelo calls out to a large beaming Frenchman who walks in without knocking. “This is my friend Xavier,” Angelo says. “He just went dove hunting, and tonight we’re cooking wild dove and polenta. His wife and kids are coming, and some other friends too. Would you like to stay?”

Angelo met Xavier Carbonnet, an art dealer from France on Ocean Beach at sunset, when the striped bass were running. Somehow the California coastline wasn’t big enough for both of them. The Italian and the Frenchman began their friendship arguing about how and where to fish. Several hours and several bass later the two went back to the forge to cook the catch. Twenty years later they are still arguing, about how to hunt duck, how to cook dove, who should be President, whether Xavier’s elk meatballs need more salt. “More salt? All you Sicilians know is salt. I want to taste elk, not salt,” says Xavier.

Xavier heads back through the forge to the walk in meat locker/wine cellar Angelo recently built and adds the doves to the forager’s bounty: huge

wild-boar prosciutti, three barrels of homemade pinot noir, three baskets of olives curing in salt, a big beaker of homemade grappa.

“Angelo goes with the seasons,” says Xavier. “If he has hunted a boar, there will be sausage making and there will be prosciutto making. In the spring it’s fennel, in the fall it’s wine, in the middle of November, turkey hunting. In the rain, it’s ducks. If you come on a day like today, you don’t know what you’re going to see, you don’t know what you’re going to smell, what you’re going to eat. He’s either working metal or cooking something.

“Angelo, what are you cooking today’? Xavier bellows from the fridge.

Angelo, his eyes shielded by welder’s goggles, is pulling molten metal out of the 2000-degree kiln creating the graceful curves of a bronze balcony. Lost in a 17th century moment, the idea of a late breakfast, brings him back.

“I can make you Sicilian poached eggs.”

“Angelo is the center of gravity for people from just about every class, every job, plumbers, filmmakers, artists, women from every country flock here. I’ve seen the most eclectic group of people coming through the forge for dinners and lunches. I don’t think I would drive within five miles of here without stopping by.

Angelo moves with grace and precision around his industrial kitchen, pouring balsamic vinegar into a pan of boiling water on the stove, “I had a hangover one day and I made two eggs and accidentally put some vinegar into the water. You know, like you fight fire with fire, the same thing. You put vinegar to fight the wine. Most of the great science over the centuries is by accident, the people put the two and two together.”

Xavier is starting a sauce for the doves as Angelo poaches. “The forge is like the old country,” Xavier continues. “It’s like a piece of Italy or Old Europe, frozen in time in the middle of San Francisco. It’s just a very mysterious place. It’s a metal smith forge. It has just about everything from crab nets to bow and arrows, photographs of his children, family and friends, old machinery and tools. And there’s a fig tree in the middle of it with fruit on it and a jasmine, and the center of the forge is open to the sky, with no roof.”

“This kitchen is in keeping with the Italian tradition,” interrupts Angelo. “They always have a little kitchen outside in south of Italy, an open kitchen because it’s so hot you have to be outside under the big mulberry, shade trees. So I try to recreate in this little spot here in San Francisco in a 15×12 kitchen where I do traditional Italian food.”

He twists oregano off a dry twig, filling the air with scent. “This is imported from Sicily. Every time I use some it makes me feel homesick. My grandmother used to tell me, “Angeluzzu, vai vai prendere origano…. go pick some oregano, we’ll dry it. I’ll give you some ice cream.“

Angelo scoops out four perfect poached eggs, lays them on toast, drizzles Italian olive oil on top, and sprinkles them with oregano.

“Xavier, stop talking and eat,” he demands, “while it’s hot, subito.”


“Angelo got one!” The crowd cheers.

“Angelo, can I fish with you?”

Angelo Garro is surrounded by his apostles, fisherman, just like in the bible. Most of them are under ten, the next generation of foragers swarming, around him on the slippery rocks near Stinson Beach above San Francisco.

This is their second annual April eeling expedition and Angelo is showing them the ropes, how to bait the bamboo poke pole with squid, find the monkey faced prickle backed eels that lurk out of sight in the cracks and how not get knocked down by a wave. Another dozen adults, who have already learned these lessons from Angelo, are scattered in the shallows, stabbing the crevices, in search of tonight’s feast.

Angelo started his eeling tradition on his birtday, a dozen years back. He and his friends gathered eels under the Golden Gate Bridge by day and grilled them on the beach by night. One year, someone brought along Alice Waters, the legendary founder of Chez Panisse, who has a love and appreciation for all things wild and foraged. Alice recognized a kindred spirit and she and Angelo have been friends and kitchen collaborators ever since.

“Angelo is sort of the Pied Piper of this group of people in San Francisco, gathering them together and taking them out into nature, to places we never thought to go to,” says Alice, negotiating the slimy boulders as she heads down to the tide pools with her poke pole. “We feel connected because of that. These trips, whether it’s out foraging in the hillsides for wild mushrooms or coming down here to the ocean and fishing for eels or picking grapes, harvesting olives and then curing the olives at his house, or wild boar hunting…well, I haven’t gone on a wild boar hunt. There’s always something, every season. I can’t separate spring from the fennel cakes, fall from the wild mushrooms. His seven fish dinner at Christmas time is one of our big celebrations. It’s Sicilian, but now it’s become adopted and it’s our tradition as well.”

“Whoa, that’s a beautiful hole right here.” Angelo yells exuberantly from a rock nearby. “ If I were an eel I would live there. You know, you can’t have the seven fish dinner at Christmas without eel. It’s almost like turkey for Americans on Thanksgiving.”

Peggy Knickerbocker, a cook and a food writer, wades in to her waist. Peggy was one of the first people Angelo met when he moved to San Francisco twenty years ago. She figures Angelo’s eeling and foraging is the search for much more than food. “Angelo has this theory that when people do these things communally, like when you get together to peel the skins off of the eels, or sit around sorting olives, you can figure out all your psychological problems. In Sicily, he says, there’s no need to go to the psychologists. In the preparation of food, it’s kind of a meditation, and when you work with a group of friends and talk, it is not only relaxing, but it brings you together as a family of friends.”

“Uh oh,” Angelo yells. “There’s another eel coming, I can feel it nibbling! You have to concentrate.” He laughs and nabs another one from its hidden hole. “ I’m concentrating on the eel and the spiral pasta with baked eels in a fish stock sauce with parsley bread crumbs garlic and a few spoons of tomato sauce for coloring that I will cook for everybody tonight!”


It’s November, and Angelo is driving home from Sonoma where he’s been helping some friends harvest and press their olives to make oil. The light is fading and the excruciating Italian love songs of Adriano Celetano fill the Extera as Angelo navigates the back roads. Even Angelo, Italian to the bone, can’t bear this much tragedy. “I’m going to try to find some opera,” he says changing the music, “it’s more cheerful.”

Suddenly, he hits the brakes and pulls over abruptly. “There’s a fennel. We’re going to pick some fennel so that I can flavor my olives that are curing in the forge. Plus, the car will smell good all the way to San Francisco.” In moments, he’s out of the car, wielding a pocketknife and cutting the dry branches that line the fence along side a cow pasture.

“I pick fennel all over San Francisco in empty parking lots, in driveways, below the freeways. Urban foraging. I try to go the reclusive places, off the beaten tracks, you drive around, see a beautiful spot, maybe it’s somebody’s backyard, and I knock on the door and ask ‘Can I pick your fennel?’ Fresh wild fennel, finnochio selvaggio, like in the hills in Sicily. My grandmother gathered wild fennel every spring to make polpete di finocchio, fennel patties, little fried cakes with wild fennel, breadcrumbs and parmigianno. So when I saw fennel in California I thought, wow, that’s just like in Sicily and I started to make it almost immediately.”

When he was growing up in Sicily Angelo never cooked, he ate what his mother and grandmother cooked for him. “In Sicily men, if they go in the kitchen, they are teased. They say you are a huomo in sottana, ‘a man with a skirt.’ The women–they just cast you away. ‘Get out of here. This is not your place.’ But, as an adult, after I moved away when I came home from Switzerland and Canada to visit I spent a lot of time with my mother in the kitchen as she prepared the meals. And when I was away, I would call back for recipes and cook from the memory of smell and taste trying to replicate what I left behind.”

Duck Hunting

Davia ready for duck hunting.

Davia ready for duck hunting.


“Today, it is January and we are here in Colusa to hunt ducks. “ Angelo proclaims. “Day” is stretching it a bit; it’s actually two hours till dawn in a cold wet duck blind in northern California’s central valley. Xavier, Angelo, and their 16-year-old hunting protégé Cody are bermed into the duck blind for the last day of the season. “After that, we put everything to rest.”

The men are proud of this blind. Cody’s dad, a welder, customized the thing. It’s a metal box, like a small dumpster, buried three quarters into a flooded rice paddy. Four stools inside sit in about 6 inches of mucky water, with spent shells and casings floating about. Twigs and branches have been made into a kind of canopy to camouflage the container from the thousands of ducks that pass overhead on their way to Mexico for the winter. Xavier has brought a thermos of the most perfect espresso, and the hunters take shots between rounds.

“We are in rice ponds, they harvested the rice a few months ago and then they flood these ponds and we put a few hundred plastic decoys in the water. You have the decoys spread around to make the ducks think there are birds on the ground feeding. You’re trying to trick them, fool them, intercept them.”

They are not alone on this forage. Angelo figures there are 2,000 hunters buried chest deep in the valley. Angelo is blowing the homemade wooden duck callers that hang around his neck. ‘ Kurkurk, kurkurk’ That’s a coot.” He is smiling now. He raises a different wooden whistle to his mouth and quacks. ‘Eh eh eh.’ That’s a mallard green head calling the female.” Angelo runs through his duck call repertoire — puddle ducks, diving ducks, pintails, widgeons, cinnamon teals. His little concert has set of a volley of shots from hunters throughout the marsh.

“It’s very nice to know birds, to know what surrounds where you live. How many people know the names of birds? So many people don’t know the plant species or the bird species.” Angelo’s reverie is interrupted by Xavier’s watch.

“Goose, goose, overhead!” The men unload about nine rounds, but the geese are long gone. “We scared them away. That poor goose. He’s got stories to tell.”

“We never shoot at the leader of the pack,” says Xavier. “Out of respect. This is the mother of those birds, the one that is knowledgeable, that can get the flock all the way to Mexico.”

Xavier turns to Angelo, the cold water sloshes under their waders, the early morning light peeks silver through the high clouds. “Angelo, why do we do what we do?”

“I think because we are a prehistoric people,” says Angelo. We haven’t shaken out the instinct of hunting like Homo sapiens, you know? It’s a very distant memory, in flavor, in smell in something you feel familiar with. I can’t quite explain myself what makes me hunt or kill an animals you know, it’s something I grew up with. I am a duck hunter, but also I am a nature lover, and I don’t see anything contradictory to love nature and love ducks, and hunt some of them and make this incredible dinner for my friends.”

As Angelo talks, scattered gunshots pepper the dawn. “ I think about death. I mean, death is part of life. To have a good heart, you have to be able to feel everything, death, crying, happiness.”

“Birds coming!! Xavier alerts the others. The men raise their guns. Several rounds later, Angelo has bagged a mallard. You can see a recipe rolling around his brain before the bird even hits the water.

“When I was a little boy in Sicily,” remembers Angelo, “there was a movie theater near my grandfather’s and I would go watch John Wayne westerns with the cowboys and Indians. I always thought, I want to go to America, and live like the Indians. And here I am. I have the passion of hunting, of foraging, the passion for opera, for my work, for the people I love. I have the passion of cooking, pickling, curing salamis, sausage, wine in the fall. This is my life. I do this with my friends. It is to my heart.”



Angelo Garro’s Wild Fennel Cakes (A Springtime Specialty)

Angelo Garro shares his grandmother Sebastiana’s recipe for wild fennel patties. You won’t find fennel, the beautiful furry green that covers coastal California in your produce section. It’s too fragile and delicate for mass harvesting, but for a few months each year you can forage for it. Angelo calls this “fenneling”. Somehow with Angelo, most all his nouns somehow become verbs. After fenneling, it’s time for mushrooming, then eeling. Come fennel season, Angelo gathers a group of friends and heads to a hillside or roadside or a freeway underpass in to for a fenneling foray. For Angelo’s many friends, the first fennel patties of the season are a beloved rite of spring.
Fennel hearts are the bright green, furry piece that is in the center of the stalk of fennel. When you’re gathering fennel, pick only the young fronds and lay them in a paper bag horizontally—all the tops should be pointing in the same direction. Keep them together in your hands as you wash them gently in a bucket of water.
Angelo almost always plays opera as he cooks, so you might consider cranking up the Puccini as you attempt this dish.

Makes approximately 20 to 30 fennel cakes

1 1/2 pounds of wild fennel fronds
3 eggs
1 cup high-quality hand grated Parmesan cheese such as Reggiano
1 cup coarsely ground breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread ground up in a food processor or blender)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Peanut oil

Make sure to wash fronds very well. Lay the stalks on the cutting board and chop finely.
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and parboil the fronds for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste to make sure they are tender. Drain and let the fronds dry in their in own steam—you can stir a little with a wooden spoon to help the cooling process. When the fronds are cold, place in a bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the chopped fennel with the eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes. Form into patties. Heat cast iron or non-sticking frying pan with a very little bit of olive oil cut with a very small amount of peanut oil. Fry fennel cakes on both sides until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Drain again on a paper towel. The patties are best served warm to the friends you went fenneling with.

Sicilian Poached Eggs

Like most Italians, Angelo doesn’t usually have more than cappuccino and a little crostini (toast) in the morning, but when he does eat breakfast, he might poach his eggs Sicilian style—topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of fragrant oregano.

Serves 2

2 cups of water
Approximately 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
2 eggs
Two slices bread
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Pinch fresh or dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil

In a shallow saucepan bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Using great care, break your eggs into the boiling water. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the bread. When done, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain off any liquid (the yolk should be soft and the egg white should be solid.) Place the eggs over toast and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, a dash of vinegar and season with a pinch of oregano.

Angelo’s Porcini Pasta

Angelo forages for porcini mushrooms but you can also buy porcinis in season at a farmer’s market or good food store. To clean mushrooms, carefully brush and wipe them. Don’t put them in water as they will absorb it like a sponge. When cooking this pasta dish, Angelo makes his own homemade fresh linguine, but dried pasta works as well.

Serves 4

8 Porcini mushrooms (1-2 per person)
Approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Italian parsley, minced
1 pound of fresh or dried linguini or fettuccini

Regianno Parmesano Cheese

Using a damp cloth or a brush, clean porcini mushrooms. Slice porcini mushrooms vertically into pieces 1/8 -inches thick.

Heat the olive oil over high heat in a cast iron pan. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. (Keep the pan hot) Season mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste. Add the clove of sliced garlic and sauté 2 to 3 minutes more. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a dash of salt and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and divide pasta among four plates. Add sautéed porcinis to your pasta and sprinkle parsley on top with an additional drizzle of olive oil. Serve with good Parmesan, but not too much.

Fugitive Waves #51 – Harvest on Big Rice Lake

Fugitive Waves #51 – Harvest on Big Rice Lake

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Each fall, the Ojibwe tribes of northern Minnesota harvest wild rice by hand. It’s a long process that begins with families in canoes venturing into the tall grasses, where rice is poled and gently brushed with knockers into the bed of the canoe. We journey to White Earth Reservation, out onto Big Rice Lake in a canoe, to see how one tribe is supporting itself and changing the diet of its people through community kitchen projects. And we talk with the founder of White Earth Land Recovery Project, Winona LaDuke, about the land, her fight to save wild rice, GMOs, her family, philosophy, and her candidacy for vice president of the United States on the Green Party ticket with Ralph Nader.