A Note from the Editor
When I first read Mikki Kendall’s Hot Sauce In Her Bag, I was amazed by the language, but also the intent. Her essay explores the cultural heritage and significance of Beyoncé’s lyric, "I got hot sauce in my bag. Swag." I learned then that food writing is so much more than reviewing delicious meals. It’s connection, it’s understanding, it’s searching. And food has always been so important to me; more than just nourishment, food is a language. It’s a culture, it’s a community. It’s home. As a kid, I’d watch my grandmother peel fruit in the kitchen and anticipate the sweetness, I’d make big Sunday breakfasts with my dad in our kitchen using a giant stand mixer for waffles, I’d come up with dinner ideas for my mom and watch in wonder as she whipped them up easily, like mac and cheese with a roux. Now I like to come up with recipes and flavor combinations to explore, and I like to host dinner parties where I can share the food and be a part of the conversation.
My hope for this magazine is to share the stories that connect us together. I have eight amazing writers I’d like to introduce to you, as well as a spotlight on a little restaurant in Southern California that feels like home to me, though I’m not Italian and haven’t yet visited Italy. We’ll explore childhood lunches, picky eaters, best meals in France, all memories deeply rooted in dishes. There are two long essays, an interview, and a series of flash fiction or flash nonfiction—glimpses into memories or dreams of kitchens.
Thank you to all who have submitted to the magazine and to those of you who are now reading.
Marina, Founder and Editor-In-Chief
At the Home of My Friend Jean
By Michael Alexander Regalado Becerra
Have you ever seen that Disney film Ratatouille? Basically, it’s the heartwarming tale of a rat who becomes the best chef in Paris and the plot is sort of an allegory on how contemporary French culture is basically garbage but that every so often some unbelievable talent crawls out from the third-world to incite fervor in an otherwise stagnant community. In effect, the film and its not-so-subtle geopolitical commentary anticipated how rather than instilling a sense of altruism in its inhabitants, urbanization in France has led to isolation and jingoism largely due to nationalistic rhetoric and policies put in place by Emmanuel Macron I’m just kidding I have no idea if any of those words that you just read made sense in the order with which I wrote them.
Bettina: An interview with Rachel Greenspan
When you walk inside Montecito’s corner Pizzeria, Bettina, you will immediately feel a sense of home. The decor is reminiscent of an Italian grandmother’s living room, colorful, cozy, with vintage flair, and Rachel, co-owner and co-founder of the restaurant, stands smiling, greeting you as you walk into the space. Bettina is inviting, and is warm, and it offers a taste of what your grandmother might be cooking up in her kitchen.
The Best Medicine
By Megan Fitzgerald
“Dad stop making those comments! And I have a right to an opinion. I’m twenty-two, I’m in grad school, and I live in a major city. I know a thing—”
“Megan! I need help in the kitchen!” My mother’s cry from the kitchen scatters heated emotions between my Father and me. I look at him, he looks at me. Josh Groban’s voice fills the temporary silence: “I’ll be home for Christmas…”
By Myrna L. Aguilar
Tuna – a fish canned and consumed by humans in a sandwich or salad. Tuna – the temporary nickname my best friend gave me in elementary school.
By Harini Rajagopalan
I remember watching my mother cook. I remember how she glided through the kitchen, almost instinctively grabbing spices from our cabinets.
By Annabelle Larsen
Before you left for Vietnam I proffered up a wax-paper Archie’s comic strip tucked inside my bubblegum wrapper that smelled like pink dust. Is it funny? You asked.
The Kitchen Window
By Julia Klatt Singer
Ours looked out upon the apple tree I loved to climb, and near it, the birdfeeder my father had built specially to feed the birds and not the squirrels. He mounted it on a post, making sure it was just far enough away from the tree so that no squirrel, no matter how wily, could make the jump to it.
By Elena Miranda
My Chilean grandfather, Tata Wayo as we called him, made the best sandwiches. I’ve never been a sandwich fan, but there was something about the way he put the ingredients together.
Portrait of a Grandmother
By Marina Crouse
The first image that comes to mind when I picture my grandmother is the memory of her standing by her kitchen sink peeling peaches.