Behind the Plate


December 18, 2015

Margaret (@MargaretG) is a NYC-based food lover who raises food, funds, and friends for food and farm businesses. She’s the Founder of Watervine Impact, a network of experienced business service providers that helps social impact health, food and agriculture enterprises grow. Watervine brings resources to help clients gain new customers, enter markets and access funds for growth. Thanks, Margaret, for the good work!

How do you define good food?
Good food is food that is grown, packaged, shipped, prepared and served in ways that are life-giving for people and the planet. Good food is delicious.

Top three herbs/spices, in order of importance?
Cayenne. Basil. Rosemary.

Do you have a favorite food trick?
I buy everything super fresh from the farmers market and cook it as little as possible. I know a lot of farmers and how they grow food, so I know exactly who has the standout ingredients and the unusual, hard-to-find items. My trick is simply to rely on the quality of the ingredients to keep people coming back to my table, because I really don’t know much about how to cook!

Who is your food inspiration?
My brother—a farmer and a teacher.

What is your go-to dinner party dish?
Something raw and rare from the farmers market.

What’s your favorite meal-on-the-go?
My favorite meal-on-the-go is kale salad with a handful of local, fresh ingredients thrown in—sunflower seeds, a hardboiled egg for protein—and lemon juice, salt and a little olive oil as a light dressing. (Rubbed in by hand.)

What was your biggest #foodfail?
My biggest food fail was the split pea soup I tried to prepare for my stepdad’s birthday. I didn’t know you had to soak the peas.




What’s always in your fridge?
Dark leafy greens.

Veggie you never liked when you were young, but now you do?
We were never served fresh vegetables. I still liked them, but didn’t know they could taste better than what we had frozen or in a can until I was in graduate school and started shopping at farmers markets.

Is there any food that you can’t stand?
Pork belly, which is a problem because chefs love to make things with pork belly.

What’s your go-to breakfast?
Miso soup with an egg.

If you were a food, what would you be and why?
A sunflower. I would look like a big happy flower, but actually be able to feed both people and creatures like pollinators and birds with my bounty. I would also have hidden uses, like making oil and fibers.

Most underrated herb?

Favorite cuisine?
Indian—ALL regions. The flavors, spices, and pairings are so developed that I believe the cooks from the Indian continent have found a backdoor to heaven’s kitchen.

Food-related pet peeve?
Misleading marketing on food packaging and in commercials.

Your good food wish?
That everyone can eat well, grow food, and innovate food systems in ways that support people, the planet and abundance for all.

Where do you typically grocery shop?
Farmers markets (several), specialty stores for cheese, pasta, and meats, and local commissaries.

What have you been dying to make recipe-wise, but haven’t yet?
The Green Lasagna from the Silver Palate Cookbook. Also, Osso Buco (and get my family to eat it).

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with? And where?
Sanford Robinson Gifford—my relative and a Hudson Valley Painter. I want to know what he would think of the food and farm revival in the Hudson Valley.

What’s your favorite indulgent treat?
Local dark chocolate.

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