Creative cooking in Troy, New York with locally-sourced ingredients
Sunday, October 7, 2012
You know you're cooked when you get that little tickle in your throat. Too late for the echinacea, too late for the Vitamin C. You just gotta stock up on the tea & cough drops and hope your schedule allows for a day or more resting at home. Mine didn't this time around. I had a 3-day retreat that I'd planned for my department in Albany, New York and a big party at home that Saturday night--neither of which I could cancel. Unfortunate, because in my experience, if you try to work through sickness with medication (my preferred coping meds are a steady stream of DayQuil and NyQuil), you're just staving off symptoms and your cold lasts longer. And that is, indeed, what happened.
What made this cold a tiny bit more bearable was the fresh ginger I picked up at the Albany food co-op. I'd never seen it before, and the co-op workers told me they wouldn't have it for long. I bought enough to do three things: make some ginger-tofu stir fry, stick one of the little root ends in water to see if it would grow, and cut little slivers into throat-coat tea all week. Delicious.
I was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn in New York, and lived there until my parents moved me away to suburban Pennsylvania to get me away from the evils of the city. I spent the next few decades working my way back here. I earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the beautiful little town of Indiana, PA, which used to be a coal mining town. Indiana's about an hour and a half away from Pittsburgh, PA. I've never lived in a more beautiful place in the fall.
I moved to Buffalo to do a master's program in American Studies, with a concentration in Women's Studies. I started out studying labor organizing, and was doing an oral history project on the wives of coal miners and the ways in which they supported their miner-husbands and their communities during labor disputes. I switched my focus half-way in, and completed my master's thesis on women and violence and called it: Women as Survivors: Violence, Resistence, and Rebellion.
I moved to Philadelphia to be close to my best friend and took a job as the coordinator of social services for women who experienced domestic violence in South Philadelphia. It was a time when victim's services agencies were flourishing, and ours was one of the first.
I heard a report on NPR one morning as I was driving into the city from Glenside (along the beautiful Lincoln/Kelly Drive) that would change the course of my career. It was about the underground needle exchange program in Philly, Prevention Point Philadelphia, and one of the founders said that people interested in volunteering could come to an ACT UP meeting. I went, and fell in love with the idea. I couldn't think of a better way to do something positive than actually putting clean syringes into the hands of drug users to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. For the next few years, I immersed myself in the needle exchange, eventually quitting my job with victim's services so that I could devote myself full-time to getting funding for a drop-in center modeled on one I'd visited on the Lower East Side.
After hearing too many drug users tell me that they'd been arrested for carrying syringes, even though syringe exchange was legal at the time in the city, I decided to go to law school. I moved back to Buffalo, and finished my law degree there in 1998.
After sixteen years in Brooklyn as an activist, an agitator, a litigator, a researcher, policy analyst and then assistant legislative director to the New York Civil Liberties Union, I moved to Troy, New York.
My focus in the kitchen is on preparing tasty homemade meals from locally-sourced ingredients. In the spring of 2010, I married a wonderful man who was a professional chef for 20 years, which really made me step up my game. My goal with this blog is to record my thoughts about healthy local eating, celebrating with food, and how I struggle, like all of us, to live a life of both joy and integrity.