Browsing Tag

food sustainability

Behind the Plate


June 27, 2016


Eva Fowler, Associate Director of Programs & Communications at ReFED, is working hard at making #NoFoodWaste a reality on a national level. ReFED has set the Roadmap for decreasing food waste, and it’s time for all of us to jump on board.

What is ReFED, and how did it come to be?
ReFED is a non-profit collaboration of over 30 different businesses, non-profits, foundations, investors, innovators and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste at scale. It was started by Betsy and Jesse Fink about two years ago, who began to notice how much beautiful, nutritious food was going to waste on their farm. They quickly realized that there was a large gap between the awareness of food waste and action on the issue, so they rallied a dozen other like-minded foundations and decided to invest in developing a strategic roadmap for action.

Tell us about the Roadmap.
ReFED set out to identify the most cost-effective and high impact interventions to reduce waste, understand which stakeholders needed to be around the table, and quantify the financing needed to make it happen. In March of 2016, ReFED launched the first-ever national economic baseline study of U.S. food waste with a clear path for multistakeholder action to reduce waste by 20% over the next decade.

Do you think that food waste is the largest issue currently surrounding our food system?
Yes! We waste 40% of all food we grow here in the U.S. (and globally). It costs us $218 billion—1.3% of our GDP—to grow, process, transport and dispose of this food that is never eaten. Food waste is an absurd and unnecessary reality of our food system highlighting major inefficiency.

While food waste is a costly, highly complex and integrated problem, it has the ability to solve three major issues we face at both at the national and global scale. Food waste reduction helps alleviate hunger by getting food to those in need, it offers economic opportunity by creating new jobs and stimulating new innovative businesses, and helps protect our environment by reducing green house gas emissions and reducing water, land and fertilizer use.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If the future President were to consider food waste solutions, how should they be addressed?
In September, the EPA and USDA announced the first-ever goal to reduce U.S. food waste by 50% over the next 15 years—in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the same target. The new administration should continue to support these two agencies efforts and the businesses, non-profits and others who have also signed onto this important goal. Food waste is unique because it is a bipartisan issue that everyone can get behind. Everyone wants to alleviate hunger, create jobs, and protect our environment, so I am optimistic that the spotlight on this issue will only increase in importance.

What’s one of your first (and most memorable) interactions with food?
My first and most memorable interaction with food was with my great-aunt Josie. She  was a holocaust survivor from Austria so she had the ultimate “food is love” mentality given the hardship and uncertainty she experienced for many decades of her life. She also had purple hair and didn’t know it (I think she meant to dye it black). My mom would actually stomp her feet like an angry bull if we kids ever giggled at the sight of it, especially when it glimmered in the sunshine like a cloud of cotton candy. Anyway, she would make her “Josie cookies”—star shaped butter cookies with chocolate chips and jam, pack them gently in wax paper and Tupperware and present them proudly to us when she came to visit. I learned recently that these cookies are actually linzer tarts, but in my mind, these are uniquely “Josie cookies”.

The Roadmap outlines an $18 billion investment that will result in over $100 billion in value over a decade. What do you think it will take for people to bite the bullet and institute change?
The Roadmap outlines a suite of 27 cost-effective, scalable solutions to divert nearly 13 million tons of food from landfills and farms. To implement them would take an $18 billion investment, just 1/10th of a penny for every pound diverted, that would result in $100 billion in benefits to business, consumers and tax payers, over the next decade. Beyond this $100 billion, implementing the Roadmap is estimated to generate 15,000 new jobs; annually it would increase consumer spending power by $6 billion, business profits by up to $2 billion, double recovered food donations to nonprofits (1.8 billion meals), reduce up to 1.5% of freshwater use (1.6 trillion gallons), and avoid nearly 18 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

We have identified four cross-cutting actions needed to truly institute change:
1) financing from corporate, government and philanthropic sources
2) commonsense policy that makes food donation easier, standardizes food safety regulations and stimulates investment recycling infrastructure
3) business model and technology innovation
4) consumer education to activate a shift in consumer behavior around waste reduction

Date labeling standardization is one of the most cost-effective prevention solutions in the Roadmap. Please tell us a little about date labelling, what currently exists, and what needs to change.
In the absence of federal regulation, it has been up to the states to develop food label laws, and this has resulted in the variety of labeling jargon that leads us to question whether our milk is still good, or if the chicken has taken a turn for the worse. But in general, these dates do not indicate food safety, and instead show the manufacturer’s expectation for how long the food will taste its best. To make things worse, 20 different states prohibit the donation of food past its date label, despite the lack of scientific evidence that this food has become unsafe for consumption. For all of these reasons, food waste advocates are pushing for the national standardization of date labels, calling for labels that explicitly identify whether a date label indicates food quality or if it indicates food safety.

What other food waste prevention tactics should be implemented?
In the Roadmap, prevention solutions were identified as some of the most cost-effective, and surprisingly had the largest net environmental impact—even more than recycling solutions. This is mainly because of the agricultural resources that never went to waste. Many of these tactics include business solutions like trayless dining in cafeterias, spoilage prevention packaging, waste tracking, and imperfect and ugly produce. Another major prevention solution that can be implemented nationally is consumer education campaigns. The AdCouncil, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council just launched a three-year national awareness campaign focused on reducing consumer food waste. Check out their amazing, cry-worthy video and get involved through


Donation is a key food waste recovery tactic. Why is it so hard to donate food?
There are four major barriers to donating food—liability concerns; fragmented regulation; handling, transportation and storage; and financial viability. But while food donation can be challenging, there is some good news. In December 2015 the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act was introduced, making permanent the charitable giving tax incentives for food donation. These benefits that had previously only been accessible to large C corporations, have been expanded to smaller food businesses and farms. Additionally, these deductions were enhanced, meaning businesses can now claim both a portion of the cost of the food and the potential profits. There is now a major opportunity for the federal government to educate businesses and farms so they can benefit from these new tax incentives.

While the majority of food waste occurs before food arrives into our homes, food waste at home is the largest piece of the pie—making up 43% of waste. Beyond using all parts of foods and composting at home, what other food waste recycling methods do you see in our future?
The food waste recycling methods available to you will depend on what organics recycling infrastructure exists in your region. For larger metropolitan areas, we expect to see an increase in centralized composting and anaerobic digestion facilities—especially in the Northeast, Northwest and Midwest regions of the United States, where high landfill disposal fees and high compost and energy market prices will make these facilities more financially attractive. For those who aren’t familiar, anaerobic digestion is allowing microorganisms to break down organic waste without the presence of oxygen, which results in the generation of biogas and digested solids (digestate).

Throughout both urban and suburban centers, a really exciting trend is the increase in decentralized, community-based composting sites. These smaller facilities can be found in community gardens or neighborhood centers, on degraded sites, or even under the Queensboro Bridge right here in New York City! Community composters play a major role by educating and engaging the public around composting, and by providing recycling infrastructure in areas where centralized options either don’t exist, or aren’t available to the public. On Sundays, I take my compost down to my local farmers market. For you New Yorkers, find ways to recycle your food scraps through Grow NYC.

Foodstand is in the midst of our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. What are some #NoFoodWaste practices that you incorporate into your daily life?
I compost in our home using the Bokashi system which basically “pickles” your food scraps—a major plus because it curbs the smell in your kitchen. I also make compound butters and pestos out of the wilting, miscellaneous herbs in my crisper. I sneak spinach into just about every hot dish I make (spinach and greens are normally the first things to die in my fridge). And finally, when I’m out, I always order the “kiddie” sized version of my favorite smoothie and protein shake. My pet peeve is ginormous cups and portion offerings that I know I’ll never eat or drink. Protects the wallet, the waistline and the environment!

How do you define good food?
Good food is food that is made with love, intention and only a few ingredients!

If you could get the general population to change one aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?
One habit I would change is that we should all pipe up at our grocery stores, restaurants, and delis, and refuse the senseless, extra packaging our food is always placed in. I used to get an egg sandwich from my corner deli—they would wrap it in wax paper, then foil, then put it in a plastic container, put the container in a paper bag, then put that in a plastic bag and then hand it to me with a fork and knife. This is so common and so unnecessary. Unless you are stepping out into a torrential rainstorm, tell them to wrap it once, and then toss it in your backpack.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t working on the nation’s leading food waste initiative, I would be a chef!

What’s always in your fridge? What do you use it for?
I always have eggs, lemons, scallions, and fish in the fridge. Eggs because they are a cheap, easy protein for any meal; lemons because I always need to make a fresh vinaigrette; scallions because they last longer than other aromatic herbs; and fish because I belong to a local community supported fishery called Mermaid’s Garden.

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with? And where?
I have many on my list, but I’d do anything to have a dinner party with Ina Garten in her gorgeous Hamptons home. We’d giggle and gossip while we chopped, we’d shoosh good ol’ Jeffrey away from the pots and platters, and then we’d sit down to our gorgeous meal and say in unison “How easy was THAT?!” and then burst into laughter. And then I would faint from too much happiness.

Your good food wish?
My good food wish is that we as Americans start to take better care of our precious food system by staying curious, experimental and bold in our decisions about food.

Behind the Plate


June 13, 2016


Keith Carr, City Harvest‘s Healthy Neighborhoods Manager, takes #NoFoodWaste to a whole new level. Not only does he rescue food that would otherwise go to waste, but he gets it to those who need it most.

Please tell us about City Harvest.
Founded in 1982 here in NYC, we were the world’s first (and NYC’s only) food rescue organization. City Harvest is dedicated to helping feed the nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers facing hunger. This year City Harvest will collect 55 million pounds of excess food that would otherwise go to waste from restaurants, grocers, bakeries, manufacturers, greenmarkets and farms, and deliver it free of charge to 500 community food programs across the city.

Donating food can often be difficult due to policy and legal restrictions. How are you able to rescue so much food?
We follow local and national food safety guidelines to ensure donated food is delivered in a safe condition and our donors are protected from liability under Federal and NY State Good Samaritan Laws. We train all recipient agencies in safe food preparation and handling, and agency kitchens are evaluated for their food safety practices. We have a fleet of 22 refrigerated trucks on the road visiting about 2,000 food donors.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Hearing someone at our Mobile Market say that they’ve lost weight, or their diabetes has improved because they use the recipes we provide. Visiting a bodega or supermarket and hearing a customer express how happy they are with the store since we did one of our “produce makeovers”—that the store has more variety and better quality fruits and vegetables. Taking seniors on a farmers’ market tour and seeing the looks on their faces when they try an heirloom tomato for the first time, and then giving them some Health Bucks to buy some to take home.

We are in the midst of our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. #NoFoodWaste is at the core of your business, but what low waste practices do you use at home?
Well, thanks to the NYC Compost Project I have a compost drop off site on my block. I’ve also started doing things my mom and grandmother taught us—blanching veggies and freezing them, and freezing meat.  I also try to “re-purpose” leftovers and get creative by using them in something else—soups are a great “melting pot.”

How do you define good food?
Good food is fresh. Good food is local. Good food is not processed. Good food should be affordable to everyone!

The work that you do has a tremendous positive impact on our people and our environment. Who/what is your inspiration?
Our dad was a community leader, heavily involved in community and economic development in Hartford, CT, where I’m from. He was also involved in local politics, and in his younger days helped organize migrant farm workers. Our mom was also civically engaged and was always involved in service projects through organizations that she belonged to. So, I guess I can credit the community service gene, honestly.

What’s one of your first (and most memorable) interactions with food?
My grandparents had a farm in Northeastern Connecticut, where I’d spend my summers as a child. We grew everything from collards and swiss chard to heirloom tomatoes, Kentucky Wonder string beans and Silver Queen corn. We hunted and fished as well. My grandmother was pretty much a gourmet cook, so you can imagine meals were special, especially Thanksgiving. I remember one year the table had venison, rabbit, collards, sweet potatoes, turnips and of course, turkey. There was sweet potato and blueberry pie on deck. I had a “moment” as I looked around at the table and realized that everything on the table came from our land and it tasted soooo good.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If the future President were to consider food waste solutions, how should they be addressed?
I could go on and on about the Farm Bill but… Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, has launched a business called Daily Table. It’s basically a grocery store stocked with rescued food, and customers pay what they can. It removes the stigma of the pantry line and adds dignity to the experience while creating jobs for folks in the community and reducing food waste. So, I’d say to the would-be President, “Fund things like this.”

If you could get the general population to change one aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?


What’s always in your fridge?
I love salads so there’s always some baby spinach or spring mix and Annie’s dressing.

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with? And where?
One of my favorite songs is “Dem Belly Full.” It completely defines City Harvest’s work, so I’d say Bob Marley. I imagine we’re in Jamaica, sitting on his porch. Sun is shining, weather is sweet… And we discuss world politics and revolution over ackees and saltfish, or maybe a roasted red snapper with some rice and peas and callaloo. And, some Appleton Estate to wash it down, of course.

What has been the hardest moment of your job?
Seeing supermarkets that we have worked with close and be torn down to make way for real estate development projects.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I love music. I sing, and used to play the bass. I’ve also produced concerts and events. So, I could see myself in the music industry in some aspect—not onstage, but behind the scenes. However I do have a recurring dream that I’m on stage with the Rolling Stones…

What’s your favorite meal?
I love one pot meals, so I’d say Rainbow chard with Italian turkey sausage, garlic, onions and peppers.

What is the Healthy Neighborhoods program?
Our Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative is designed to improve healthy food access and knowledge in five neighborhoods within New York City that have a high rate of diet related disease, high poverty, high population density and low access to healthy food options. We work directly with residents, supermarkets and bodegas, and community stakeholders to relieve food insecurity; build nutritional knowledge at the individual, family, and community level; and increase the access to affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Talk about partnering community gardens and pantries.
Community gardens are an overlooked and underutilized source for free or really low-cost, fresh, local produce. And many of them grow more food than their members can use themselves or give away. So much of what they grow just goes to waste. Some of our partner pantries like the Brooklyn Rescue Mission, NEBHDCo and the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger are growing their own food to supplement what they get from us and other sources. Imagine if community gardens would “adopt” a local pantry and donate to them, or dedicate a couple of growing beds for a pantry. They could feed a lot of folks!

What can we do to help City Harvest?
If you’re a restaurant or other food biz, give our Food Sourcing folks a call. If we can’t pick up your food, we’ll try to connect you to a nearby pantry. As an individual, become a volunteer. We literally could not do what we do without volunteers—from food rescues at a Greenmarket to doing a repack at our Food Rescue Facility, or helping to bag and distribute produce at one of our nine Mobile Market locations. Or helping to facilitate a nutrition ed course or cooking demo, we need you.  And, I know it sounds cliché, but every penny counts so, donate.

Your good food wish?
I wish everyone had access to good, fresh, affordable food.

Behind the Plate


June 6, 2016


Dana Gunders is a Senior Scientist at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) whose work to rescue food waste has been featured by CNN, NBC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, NPR, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and many more. She is also the author of the Waste Free Kitchen Handbook, the ultimate food waste-reduction tool for the home cook.

Please tell us about your job at the NRDC.
These days, my focus is on reducing the amount of food that goes to waste across the country. I look at it from the highest level and then try to push on levers that could make a difference. So, in the last year, I’ve written a consumer guide with tips on wasting less, launched “Save the Food,” a national public service campaign to raise awareness around food waste, helped craft a bill to standardize food date labels, and testified in Congress as to the importance of policy solutions. I have a great team that’s working on other solutions as well.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If the future President were to consider food waste solutions, how should they be addressed?
Fortunately, the current President has at least set national targets to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. Those are hopefully starting to set our federal agencies on a path to explore what they can do. They are also sparking a larger discussion about what entities outside government can do. A few of the things I’d like to see the Executive Branch pursue are better measurement and data collection, targeted grant set asides for farmers and others who are innovating to reduce food waste, and standardization of food date labels.

How do you define good food?
The kind you feel good about eating both before and after putting it in your mouth.

How did you start working on food waste reduction?
I actually stumbled upon the issue as part of work in the sustainable agriculture space. I kept reading these staggering statistics and thinking to myself, “these can’t be true because if they were, everyone would be talking about it.” From that, I wrote a report that got a lot of press coverage for the topic, and I’ve been all food waste all the time ever since.

Do you think that food waste is the largest issue currently surrounding our food system?
Ooh, hard question. I think there are a lot of big issues related to our food system, and food waste is one of them. Ultimately, if we don’t start wasting less, we’ll need to use even more resources to feed future populations. However, water availability, food insecurity, toxicity of pesticides, use of antibiotics in livestock feed… these all are serious issues as well.


What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The call for reducing food waste has resonated tremendously, and people seem to really care. I’ve loved watching this issue spark so much passion in people.

What’s one of your first food memories?
Grandma’s chicken noodle soup.

If you could get the general population to change one aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?
Cook more.

We are currently promoting our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. What are some #NoFoodWaste practices that you incorporate into your daily life?
I definitely recommend marrying someone who’s willing to eat almost anything. Besides that, I try to keep my fridge relatively empty and shop more frequently. It allows more flexibility and also means fresher food.

What’s always in your fridge? What do you use it for?
Maple syrup. I put it on/in everything.

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with?
Jane Goodall, my forever hero!

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Probably building small, energy-efficient homes with my husband.

What’s your go-to breakfast?
Multigrain hot cereal with cottage cheese (sounds strange, I know).

Your good food wish?
That we all eat alone a little less.

Behind the Plate


June 2, 2016

Photo credit: Paige Green

Anna Lappé is a bestselling author and food educator, focusing on food systems and sustainability. She has started numerous highly acclaimed food sustainability projects, and her latest book was named one of the best environmental books of the year. As one of TIME magazine’s “Eco” Who’s-Who and a mother of two, Anna is a total #ladyboss.

Tell us about how you got your start as a food author and educator?
Becoming a food author and educator was kind of like going into the family business: My mother, Frances Moore Lappé, wrote her 3.5-million copy bestselling book, Diet for a Small Planet, more than 40 years ago when she was 26 and has been a leading voice in addressing the root causes of hunger ever since. I never thought this would be my career, though. In fact, I had graduated from Brown and was getting a masters at Columbia on a path to work in public education and economic development, when I leapt at the chance to help my mom write a sequel to Diet. The process ultimately led to my first book, Hope’s Edge, and a journey around the world with my mother that sparked a lifelong passion for promoting food justice, sustainable food systems and a world where everyone everywhere has access to life-supporting foods.

How do you define good food?
Good food is healthy; it supports local economies; it’s raised in ways that promote environmental sustainability, biodiversity and animal welfare alongside worker well being. Not so coincidentally these are the five values at the heart of the Good Food Purchasing Policy, which I am working to help expand from the city of Los Angeles… to the rest of the country!

We just launched our second #NoFoodWaste campaign. What are some #NoFoodWaste practices that you incorporate into your daily life?
On a weekly basis, I try to make “dinners from the back of the fridge,” incorporating leftovers or wilting produce into some delicious dish. Luckily, there are countless ways to do so: revive old veggies in a pot of risotto; make a fresh stock with old onions; cook a soup with yesterday’s broccoli. The list goes on. In addition, we try as much as possible to cook from whole foods: packaging is one of the biggest forms of “food” waste we can kick out of our home.

Your book Diet For A Hot Planet addresses the climate crisis in relation to our food system. What’s one aspect of our diet that really needs to change?
By “our” if you mean the average American, the one aspect of our diet that could stand to change—and it would be a boon to both our waistline and the environment—is the amount of meat and dairy we consume. Americans consume three times more meat and dairy than the global average, with over half of that coming from red meat. (Check out this white paper from the Culinary Institute of America and their new project called The Protein Flip.) From the environmental impact of industrial meat production to the inhumane treatment of the workers in the industry, there are countless reasons to reduce our consumption. Thankfully, there is a growing market of sustainably produced meat and dairy, so consumers can choose, should they want to, less but better meat.

Who is your food inspiration?
My kids. It’s cliché, I know, but my two daughters are my inspiration: I see how happy and healthy they are eating nutritious and sustainably grown food and so I fight hard every day to ensure they can have access to food that nourishes them and so that our food system brings more of this kind of food to more kids.

Tell us about the Small Planet Fund.
My mother and I started the Fund in 2002 on the heels of our research for Hope’s Edge. We were so inspired by the groups we met on the ground; we wanted to give back—and more than just a book. We ran the Fund as a project of love for years, hosting an annual party at a friend’s loft in SoHo. For the past six years, we’ve received an annual grant from an anonymous donor to support the most exciting change agents we can find. All told, we’ve given away more than $1 million since our very humble beginnings.

What’s the most challenging moment you’ve had?
There are challenges, sure, to the work I do. My colleagues and I are going up against some of the most ruthless and deep-pocketed corporations out there. (Don’t believe me, check out examples of these companies infiltrating grassroots groups, and pounding farmers and non-profits with lawsuits and attacks—and those are just two of many). But I don’t pretend my job is “difficult” in the truest sense of that word: Difficult are the jobs of the Tyson poultry processors who risk injury and death every day on ever-faster processing lines. Difficult are the jobs of farmworkers who toil in the hot sun, who risk sexual assault and harassment to do their work and are rarely fairly compensated. Those jobs, and the more than 20 million other in the U.S. food industry, are truly difficult.

Food issues have barely made it into the race for President. If you could ask the future President to consider a food issue that needs to be addressed, what would it be?
Yes, the candidates—all of them—have been mostly mute when it comes to food. Though I would argue many of the topics that have gotten some attention—energy, climate change, fracking—are also food issues. There are so many issues that need to be addressed, but if I could have them consider one, it would be to promote across the country—in ever municipality and school district—what’s known as the Good Food Purchasing Policy. The Policy, developed by the LA Food Policy Council, and passed there in 2012, allows vendors for government contracts to be evaluated along five core values: nutrition, local economies, animal welfare, the environment and worker well being. This policy has unleashed millions of dollars for the kind of food we all should be eating and farmers should be producing. Embraced nationwide it would spark the food system changes so desperately needed; from getting antibiotics out of meat production, to boosting the wages of food sector workers and more.


You launched your annual Real Food Films contest three years ago. What have you learned from the submissions you have received?
Wow. So much. When we launched the Real Food Films competition three years ago for short videos under four minutes, I was honestly afraid we might just get a handful of entries from hipsters in Brooklyn making odes to their artisanal kombucha. What we’ve received has blown us away: more than 400 films from dozens of countries. 260 Pop-Up Film Fests have been hosted from Denmark to New Zealand and across the United States. We’ve discovered countless stories of farmers and communities bringing to life a food system that’s better for our bodies, producers and the planet. Now, we’ve got a library of more than 70 films online that anyone anywhere can watch and get inspired by—and not one of them is about bespoke kombucha.

What’s one of your first (and most memorable) interactions with food?
Hmmm… that one really makes me think. I’m guessing it would to be the boiled cabbage and rugelah my great-grandmother Hench would make for my brother and me. When we would visit her small apartment in New Jersey, the smell of the cabbage would waft down the hall before we even rung the doorbell and would envelop us along with her huge bear hugs. The smells and the tastes connected me to my family and to our great-grandparents who had made their way from the eastern borders of Poland across the continents and the ocean to Ellis Island.

You have a project called Food MythBusters—what are your favorite three myths that you’ve busted?
My favorite big myths pushed by farm chemical giants like Syngenta, agribusiness companies like Cargill and junk food peddlers like Pepsi include: “We need industrial agriculture to feed the world.” “Organic food is no better for you than chemically grown food.” “Junk food marketing to kids is harmless free speech.” We launched Food MythBusters to fight back against these myths.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I would be a singer in a rock band. I can’t carry a tune or remember lyrics to songs, so it would not be very successful.

What was your biggest #foodfail?
When I moved to California after 17 years in New York City, I finally had a kitchen and dining room big enough to host family holidays—and we’ve hosted Christmas dinner ever since. There have been a few mishaps. One such #foodfail: I was making my favorite apple pie and just about to throw the apples tossed with cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar onto the awaiting pastry dough, when I sneakily grabbed a slice to enjoy. Luckily, it turns out: the bulk sugar I had pulled from my pantry was actually bulk salt and the entire bowl of apples was ruined. A few phone calls later and a sister saved the day: dessert was on its way and the apple pie was never missed.

What’s always in your fridge? How do you use it?
Sriracha. On everything.

What’s your favorite meal-on-the-go?
Nuts. No recipe required.

Favorite new recipe?
My favorite new recipe is the soba noodle soup from Mark Bittman’s new (wonderful) cookbook, The Kitchen Matrix. When my kids took the first sip, they both looked up wide-eyed and happy. The little one said: “Mom… I love you.”