Anna Mindess

My passion is exploring the connection between food and culture. I write regularly for Oakland and Alameda Magazines and Berkeleyside's NOSH. My blog, East Bay Ethnic Eats, gives me an excuse to track down the only Bay Area baker making fresh filo dough or learn to stuff a dried eggplant with help from a Turkish immigrant. Culture is the thread that ties together my several careers. As a sign language interpreter, educator and author, my study of Deaf culture has taken me around the world, where I fell madly in love with seed-strewn Danish bread, attacked platters of French shellfish with a small arsenal of tools and sampled a Japanese breakfast so fresh it wiggled. I'm also an epicurean concierge for Edible Excursions Japan town tours (that I lead in either English or ASL). And when I conduct in-depth cultural trainings for foreign workers being transferred to the Bay Area, I am sure to discuss the delights of doggie bags and the mystery of American restaurants serving ice water in the dead of winter. I can be found tweeting @EBEthniceats

Food Speaks in Many Tongues

Porridge Head! Sweetie-Pie. Adaptable Tomato. Every language uses descriptive food phrases as insults, endearments, warnings and advice. Here is a smorgasbord of food metaphors and idioms in 17 languages including French, ASL, Danish, Chinese, German, Spanish, Turkish, Hebrew, Italian and Arabic.

Just Say Yes to Marcus Samuelsson’s Memoir, “Yes, Chef”

Marcus Samuelsson, the award-winning chef and cookbook author who seems to be everywhere at once--including NPR’s Fresh Air, The Today Show and the New York Times’ Best Seller List--spent two days last week in the Bay Area, being fêted at Camino and Jardinière, and reading from his new memoir, "Yes, Chef," at Book Passage and Google. Bay Area Bites caught up with Samuelsson at Jardinière for an interview...Fried Yardbird (chicken) recipe included!

Film “Soul Food Junkies” Examines African American Cuisine and Culture

Soul Food Junkies, a new film by Byron Hurt which will be featured on KQED's Independent Lens series, had its West Coast premiere in Oakland. Soul Food is both a beloved part of African American culture and a leading cause behind the epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and other health issues. The film details the historical and social influences on soul food and efforts by many to change the eating habits of a whole generation.

Hands-On Food Adventures in Kyoto

Kyoto is known for its refined cuisine. Besides dining out, I want to take a hands-on approach to sampling its delicacies.With the help of Kyoto Free Guides to translate, I take classes in pickle, soba and sweet making and finally a five course cooking class in a home kitchen.

S+S Gastro Grub Plays Molecular Masquerade

Foods that trick the eye and please the palate appeal to caterers Simone Fung and Sebastian Mendieta of S+S Gastro Grub. Their inventive dishes, which often use the techniques of molecular gastronomy, sous vide cooking and spherification, surprise and delight diners at pop ups, underground dinners and fundraisers around the Bay. They also do a succulent roast pork on their mobile pig roaster.