Prompt Uncomfortable Conversations: A Call to Action for Asian Americans

I’ve been quiet the last few days so I could do some serious introspection about my own privilege & internalized racism. I’ve been thinking a lot about what to contribute that is additive to the conversation, not just taking up space; that holds me accountable to action, and is not just performative. First, us Asian Americans need to show up for our black sisters & brothers. We need to donate to organizations helping the victims acquire justice, sign petitions, call legislators, educate ourselves with works by black writers, protest, and send money to support black activists. But that is not all. We also need to ACTIVELY DISMANTLE racism from within our own spheres of influence. We need to a

Pantry Engineering Pt. 5: Spices #2

Back by popular demand — another set of 12 spices organized into Top, Middle and Base notes! If you would like to learn more about the descriptors and metrics I use for each category, please head over to my last post about this topic. If you have any particular requests on spices I haven’t covered, feel free to comment below. I do want to reiterate these are my own personal classifications, and you are very much entitled to put a spice in a different category than how I have them listed. These posts are meant to be educational so you can find your own best ways to develop flavor in the kitchen, not a strict constructionist guide! I’d also like to extol the virtues of 2 of my favorite spices

Reimagining Foodservice Businesses As Nonprofits

When I first said Studio ATAO was going to be a nonprofit, people told me I was crazy & this idea didn’t make any sense. The most common question was, “But why can’t it be a for-profit entity that just does good?” For me, removing the goal of profit from the equation wasn't just semantics, but a huge shift in our business strategy & operations. I wanted to be able to take on projects I believed in but knew wouldn’t return money; to pay my foodservice staff wages I believe are proper, not what others had determined are “fair”. Fundamentally, I didn’t want any part in the for-profit goal of “maximizing value for shareholders”, so I removed ownership from the equation altogether. This isn’t to

Food Texture Basics

For some reason, analysis & discussion on food texture isn't as popular in mainstream food media as smell & flavor. When @CookingwithJulie suggested I post about textures, I realized I didn't even know where to start. As a result, I became obsessed with learning about why & how we experience food texture, and it is *fascinating*. Did you know the field of research dedicated to food texture is called food rheology (and our own perceptions of food rheology, psychorheology)? Reading up on the science of texture has greatly improved my own ability to dissect & explain the textural attributes I sense in food. Since most of the literature is by/for food scientists, I'm sharing a guide I put togeth

Bitterness: An Appreciation Post

Bitterness is a critical component of building intensity and complexity of flavor, but I find in the States we often shy away from using bitterness to accentuate our food and instead focus on tired adages like “fat is flavor” (no, fat is fat). Today’s post is a tribute to bitterness and a short guide on different ways you can play with different styles, levels and textures of bitterness. Why is bitter an important part of flavor? To start, our taste buds are extremely attuned to the taste of bitterness, especially the back of our mouths — scientists theorize this evolved as our last chance to detect potentially poisonous foods (as almost all toxic plants are bitter). But more interestingly,

Weird Combinations | Goldfish Crackers & Banana

Weird Combinations for this week is BANANA & GOLDFISH CRACKERS. I munched across this combination by complete accident — back when my husband Matt and I lived in SF, I would often swing by his office for free snacks (#startuplife). One particular day there were no more snack plates, only shallow bowls, so when I helped myself to the usual suspects (goldfish, pretzels, banana chips, M&M’s), the goldfish and bananas happened to come together in a bite that led me to this mini dessert. The Dish: Classic Goldfish crackers pulverized with milk, sugar & butter, made into thin waffle cones. "Banana flambé" ice cream of rum-flamed bananas infused into an eggless base. Tastes Like: Caramelized mac &

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