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Photo courtesy of Canva.

An unpopular opinion on the double standard in cultural appropriation and authenticity of food.

I am not a philosopher, sociologist or anthropologist. The other day, I was swimming along the usual social media waters when a Korean content producer I admired commented ‘you need to stop cooking your watered down versions of Asian food. It’s not authentic.’ This caught me by surprise.

Authenticity is subjective and acts as the foundation of the cultural appropriation argument. Today, it’s taboo to challenge any claims of cultural appropriation. Sticking your neck out with a different way of seeing things has consequences — any counter arguments are automatically seen as a defense to capitalism and Western civilization. The concern I have is that we are becoming if not are already so obsessed with identity that we are no longer inclusive, only exclusive and divisive.

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Beef and sweet potato meatballs with almond yogurt sauce, dill and chili oil.

Resetting the eating habits of a persnickety eater without drab diet recipes and monotonous meal prep.

Six months into shelter in place orders and eating our feelings, my partner and I decided to take control of something…our diet. We did some research on various resets, diets and cleanses. I contacted my friends who had previously done one this year. Every single one of them had nothing but good things to say about Whole30. ‘It’s awesome…such a great program’. ‘You’ll love it but beware the sugar crashes, you can do it!’ Sounds intimidating but it has to be healthier than using booze and rich food as a crutch. …

Making the best of a terrible situation, furloughed chefs are spinning up exquisite delivery pop-ups

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A plate of Mount Tam cheese pierogi topped with caramelized onions and cabbage. Photos: Erica Lovelace

It was a cool evening in June. I popped downstairs to the foyer of my apartment building, where a fellow in a face mask and gloves stood carrying a large bag of food in to-go containers. We politely greeted one another, and he replied, “Thanks so much for supporting us!” I peeked over the stairway ledge and saw a woman standing below next to a blue Nissan; she waved enthusiastically at me. On the way back to my apartment, I quickly Venmo’d $20 to an account called @sfchefshuffle.

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At Gizdich Farms in Watsonville, you pick berries and pay at the end by the pound. Masks required in the field of course and dogs are welcomed as long as they stay around the perimeter of the growing space.

A slightly new take on a classic spread using strawberries from Gizdich Farms located in Watsonville. It’s a short drive from San Francisco in Santa Cruz county. Gizdich, a combination farm and small dry goods shop, is busy in June during the peak of strawberry season. Thank you Serious Eats for the inspiration for this recipe.

Couple of helpful hints:

1. When using this recipe, think of this as guidelines, not exact directions. If you have less berries, scale down the recipe in ratios.

2. When you’re picking strawberries and turning them into jam, it’s hard to gauge how much you pick in the field. A good rule of thumb is to start small and then go big next season. We harvested over 10 lbs of strawberries, taking into account waste, we made over 20, 8 oz jars of jam. …

How a weekend in the Mount Shasta Wilderness can mend your soul.

Caveat: This is for car camping, easy-going outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer to backpack or camp alone, this is not the article for you.

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A view of the mountain’s peak from Panther Meadows.

A friend told me a story about getting lost and winding up at a mystical, mountain retreat. Upon arrival, a man told her that she was destined to end up there. She stayed, meditated, and drank from the mountain’s well. The mountain, she said, produced water so coveted that people would drive from all over the country to collect it for its supposed healing powers. I knew I had to go.

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Campsite candid from a recent trip in July 2020 just outside of Oakhurst, CA — a gateway to Yosemite and Sierra National Parks.

Caveat: This is for car camping, easy-going outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer to backpack or camp alone, this is not the article for you.

No one wants to be unprepared when in the middle of nowhere. Use these checklists and guidelines to make sure you eat well and make the most of your time with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Is there anything better than cooking outdoors? I get giddy about the prospect of cooking without consequence of smoke or smells lingering in the kitchen, listening to music and blissfully drinking from a vintage Coleman mug. Sure, I like camping in semi-civilization and not complete rugged wilderness. I have a dog, I like camping with company and I relish in the triumph of feeding people simple but amazing things with primal techniques and electric-free equipment — which is a bit difficult to do 10 miles up a mountain slope. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I want to do that, and I applaud people that do! …

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This tasty treat can be paired with a salad platter or a fresh plate of bun (rice noodles) with the same nuoc mam dressing.

The crispiest, fried Hanoi spring rolls paired with a platter of herbs and greens. Only acceptably served with traditional nuoc mam dipping sauce and ice cold beer.

This version is adapted from Jerry Mai’s cookbook, Street Food Vietnam: Noodles, salads, pho, spring rolls, banh mi.


Rice paper sheets, a widely available brand is Banh Trang

Full container of vegetable or peanut oil for deep-frying

Nuoc mam dipping sauce (recipe below)


1 lbs of ground pork

75 grams of wood ear mushrooms, roughly chopped*

50 grams of cellophane noodles, cut with shears

25 grams of shredded carrots

2–3 cloves of garlic, finely…

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Red beans and rice served with a formed scoop of white rice.

I recently purchased Cool Beans by Joe Yonan. Immediately, I was inspired to make this Louisiana favorite. It’s a great way to stretch a little bit of protein a long way without compromising the flavor. Traditionally served on Monday as a way to use leftovers, the beans were cooked low and slow all day while the laundry was being done. Typically, an all day process back in the day apparently…


Servings, 8

  • 1 pound (450 g) dry kidney beans. See note 1.
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon grease or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3–5 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3–4 stalks celery…

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These are all of the things I keep in my kitchen, not saying you need to have every single item but I guarantee if you were stuck in an apocalypse or just overworked and hungry on a Friday night; you can make something delicious.

Let’s break it down by area of the kitchen to make things a little easier. Note: this isn’t just a list of shelf stable ingredients!

Dry Pantry

  • Pasta — Bucatini, farfalle, rigatoni
  • Canned anchovies — Ortiz, Cento, Bellino
  • Canned tomatoes — Whole in sauce
  • Tomato paste — In tubes not the stupid cans
  • Olive oil — Californian, Italian or…

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Wontons with all of the fixings.

These are a speciality of my grandmother. I adapted them to include some of my favorite toppings used at Sichuan restaurants in the Bay Area.


1 lbs of ground, fatty pork

1 tbsp. Shaoxing cooking wine

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. grated ginger

1–2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. sugar (preferably rock sugar)

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. water

1 package of square wontons, should contain 48–50 individual wrappers

1/4 cup of water in a dish on the side

Additional salt to taste

For the toppings

Fermented black bean chili…


Erica Lovelace Cooks

Hapa Southerner living in San Francisco | North Beach. Documenting recipes, collecting cookbooks, and writing. Marketing by day.

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