Home Cookin’ 6: Ava George Stewart

By Alan Lake (Jazzfood)

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There’s no lunch in the Carolinas – just dinner at mid-day and supper in the evening. And for breakfast on New Year’s Day, a menu of shrimp and rice and vegetables mostly grown on a small outer island off the coast. Welcome to the holidays, Carolina style. In keeping with the season, a feast is in order. And for that, Ava George Stewart has got you covered.

Sporting an enormous smile you can feel and an infectious, vivacious laugh, Ava’s a criminal lawyer who got her Master Gardener’s certification while in and out of court defending bad guys all day long – seamlessly balancing hard science with true crime. She’s a multifaceted person with home cooking in her soul. Living in Chicago with a part of her heart in the South, Ava embodies the spirit of the holidays: sharing.

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An Introduction to Burmese Cuisine

By Onur Usmen (turkob)

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Sule Pagoda, Yangon

Myanmar, a country rich in history and tradition, is located at the intersection of India, China, and Thailand. It is famous for its many beautiful pagodas and a unique cuisine that reflects its location, with influences from both the Far East and the Indian subcontinent.

It’s also considered one of the most diverse countries in Asia, in large part because its physical position between such powerful countries has encouraged border migration and culture mixing for over 2,000 years. This means that Burmese cuisine is varied and exciting – but so far, not as widespread here in the U.S. as it should be.
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Alternative Dining in Chicago

By Kim Campbell (Kimchic)

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A handful of creative food venues, designed to throw us out of our comfort zone by highlighting the skill of enterprising new chefs, offering eclectic cuisines, or whisking up anticipation over a new restaurant, help make up the Chicago phenomenon that is alternative dining. 

Pop-up restaurants, supper clubs, underground dining, and Chaos Cooking are among the out-of-the ordinary culinary experiences available to the adventurous Chicago diner. Some of these concepts have been around for decades; some are being reinvented by new chefs to fit modern tastes. They’re doing this by using social media to build hype, by incorporating contemporary concepts (such as using organic and locally-sourced produce), and by adding new twists to older concepts like the potluck. Read More…

Home Cookin’ 5: Cool Yiayia

by Alan Lake (Jazzfood)

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Synglitiki “Tita” Zervos comes to the United States in 1961 imagining she’ll live in the White House or a Hollywood mansion. From her tiny island of Kalymnos off the Southern coast of Greece (population 1,500), it seems possible. Based on American movies, her impression of the United States is all presidents and movie stars. Little does she know what lies ahead: a life full of cooking, family, and later – memories.

Childhood in Greece

As the third daughter in a family of nine, growing up in Greece during World War II is tough, but not as tough as it is for many of Tita’s neighbors. Bombs destroy the house next door to their family bakery. German and Italian soldiers occupying the island conscript her father to bake bread for them. Convincing them he needs helpers for the task at hand, he brings all 46 members of his extended family to work in the bakery. Besides not knowing what it takes to produce said bread, the soldiers don’t really know how many loaves 100 kgs of flour makes, either…let’s just say no one goes hungry.
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