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It was the first day of 4th grade at a new school…I was pretty nervous for the lunch hour, as that was going to be my chance to make some friends. A crucial moment in my very bare-bones social life as a 9-year-old. My Barbie lunchbox had notoriously been packed with less-than-desirable kid foods…a variety of items that didn’t go far in the food-trading economy of an elementary school. Everyone else had Oreo mini-packs and Dunkaroos…I had Snackwell’s Devil’s Food Cake cookies which I am fairly sure are made of black sand from Hawaii. Everyone else had Lunchables and those tiny bags of Doritos…and there I was, trying to trade my leaking Thermos of Campbell’s Chunky Soup for something (anything) salty and crunchy, like some cheap door-to-door salesman with a scrunchie. So there I sat, with my potential new friends…and I cracked open that lunchbox. It didn’t get more than halfway open when it hit me and I slammed it shut.

EGG SALAD.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVED egg salad. But when you’re 9, egg salad is social suicide. You will be called FARTGIRL for the rest of the year. My mother, the traitor of all traitors might as well have packed a stink bomb.

So that would mark my first day at Agape Christian School, and the first time I ever ate my lunch sitting on a toilet.

_ _ _

I wanted to do an issue totally devoted to food, mostly because well…I really like it. I mean yes, I appreciate flavor and and trying new things, but the thing I love the most is how food makes us FEEL. Whether it’s a steaming bowl of ramen in a Tokyo alleyway, a dish your mom cooked you when you were home from school sick, or the hangover food that saved your college years…it all stirs something up in us. It’s not about the 4th grade egg salad, it’s about our deep memory recall when it comes to food that’s so special to me.

Lastly, I love food because I personally haven’t found a better way to create community, than sharing a meal. Food is vital to our survival, but the act of eating with others is what creates real sustenance. I hope this month’s newsletter makes you hungry, encourages you to be adventurous, and inspires you to sit down with someone else to be filled up. Let’s eat…I’ll bring the egg salad.
Who says food has to be confined to the kitchen? From mushroom to watermelon to quinoa, the beauty industry is all about harnessing the power of food and infusing it into our products. Feast on a few of my favorites that include yummy culinary ingredients.

Glow Recipe, Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask  |  Origins, Mega-Mushroom Serum  |  Peter Thomas Roth, Cucumber De-Tox Hydra-Gel Eye Patches  |  Fresh, Sugar Punch Tinted Lip Treatment  |  NatureLab Tokyo, Smooth Hair Oil  |  ILIA, Tinted Lip Conditioner

There’s plenty to love about Crazy Rich Asians: the opulent visuals, the kickass cast (all hail Awkwafina), the remarkable significance of a movie with a predominantly Asian cast breaking all kinds of box office records. But the unsung hero of the film? The food. Bon Appetit spoke with the book’s author Kevin Kwan and cast member Jimmy O. Yang about the movie’s crazy good food—and its cultural importance. Definitely worth a mouthwatering read.
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Let’s be real—the best part of traveling is trying new restaurants. To help you dine deliciously no matter where in the country you may go, I enlisted my incredible Instagram community to recommend their favorite hometown eats. Behold, the best bites you can find from coast to coast (plus runners-up, because you’re kidding yourself if you think I could just choose one).
Raoul’s
Lilia 

Duck Duck Goat
Au Cheval

Bestia
Gracias Madre
Kachka
Tusk
Linger
Root Down
Bazaar Mar
La Sandwicherie

Uchiko
Elizabeth Street Cafe

Nopa
Brenda's French Soul Food
Two Urban Licks
The Optimist
Cochon
Bacchanal

Rachel is a food-loving culinary professional who enjoys entertaining, plants, and feeding people good food. She moved to NYC from India 4 years ago to attend culinary school. While working in restaurant kitchens gave her real life experience behind "line,” she found herself searching for different outlets to explore her creativity, so she started studying food photography and styling and soon realised how much she loved it. Since graduating culinary school, Rachel has worked as line cook and private chef; she is currently the test kitchen manager and food editor at The Feed Feed. On her blog, Cook Shala, she shares fun, easy, delicious recipes from her mother's kitchen in India to her own in New York and everything in between.


I had the chance to spend some time in the kitchen with Rachel making my first ever (!!!) curry—check out our Indian-food cooking adventures right here and get to know her below.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR FOOD. WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

I ate a lot of bad food in boarding school! So whenever I came home for vacations I spent time with my mother in the kitchen hovering, trying to help her and mostly just observing in awe because she is such a great cook. I wanted to be able to do the same!

THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HOW INDIAN FOLKS EAT AT HOME. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?

Well, we don't eat naan, butter chicken, and tandoori chicken every day at home. First of all, it takes a lot of time to prepare and second, it's not good for your health. Everyday home-cooked food is simple and balanced. A typical Thali meal consists of carbs in the form of whole wheat rotis and rice, a lightly stir-fried seasonal vegetable, some sort of pickled vegetable, yogurt with salad, and lightly spiced yellow lentils which are easy on your stomach. In summer months, there will be an accompaniment such a savoury buttermilk or mango pulp. We often eat a piece of fruit as dessert after meals.

FOOD AND CULTURE ARE SO INTERTWINED. WHAT DOES THE INTERSECTION OF THOSE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Honestly, as funny as it sounds, living away from my homeland has made me more aware of my culture. I am consciously making an effort to learn more and to talk more about why we do what we do back in India. I told my boyfriend on our second date that I am sometimes going to eat rice with my hands...no really, as in use my fingers to scoop up rice. If that grosses you out, then I don't think this is going to work because it's my culture and I don't want to hide or feel ashamed of something that's a part of me. Vice versa, I have picked up habits from other cultures after moving here and now they are a part of me too. I am a weird mix of so many things!
Don't eat to live, live so that you can eat. Not sure who quoted this but they did so right! My relationship with food has always been about bringing love, joy, and people together.

WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?

Don't eat to live, live so that you can eat. Not sure who quoted this but they did so right! My relationship with food has always been about bringing love, joy, and people together. Feeding people gives me immense happiness. Plus, is there anything better than enjoying a delicious plate of food with someone? I think not!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO COOK AND WHY?

I am going to cheat here and say it's my Chicken Curry Recipe. Seriously, it's so delicious and ridiculously easy to make! Think of this recipe a result of the hundreds of chicken curries I have eaten in my life. Sunday curries from my amazing neighbour aunty to the farm chicken curry cooked in a stone oven by my drunk uncles. You have to make this now!

RAPID FIRE ROUND...

Best advice you ever got: If it ain't broke...don't fix it.

Guilty pleasure or weird obsession: Maggi (Indian instant ramen noodles)

Favorite food in NYC: Soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai

Social account to follow: @annstreetstudio

Dream dinner party guest: Ryan Reynolds

Project or product you want to plug: Brown Girl Magazine

CHINAE ALEXANDER
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Editorial Director: Liz Deadrick
Copyright © 2018 Chinae Alexander, All rights reserved.

27 W 24th St #10B, New York, NY 10010

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