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

Persian New Year Welcomes Spring with Symbolic Traditions and Treats

Persian New Year (Norooz or Nowruz) is a 3000 year old celebration, observed around the world on the first day of Spring. Its many traditions include a table of 7 foods that start with "S" in Farsi, and jumping over bonfires. Monier Attar of Zands Market is busily preparing everything her Persian patrons will need for the holiday, from a creamy pudding of sprouted wheat to flower-shaped chickpea flour cookies.

Eat with Your Hands for a Sensuous, Intimate, Mindful Meal

Eating with the hands is more than just a way to maneuver food to the mouth. It embodies cultural values including, a sensuous connection to the food, the feeling of sharing and community, practicality avoiding waste, even prolonging a delicious meal by enjoying the lingering aroma of it on the fingers. Many cultures, such as Indian, Arab and African have dined this way for thousands of years. In a video-clip, the writer receives a hands-on lesson in eating with the hands -- Moroccan style.

We’ll Always Have (Tea Time in) Paris

When in Paris, indulge in afternoon tea. The writer and her daughter discover funky, vintage, classic and elegant tea salons: La Fourmi Ailée, MILK, Musee Jacquemart-André and the king of them all, Thé Mariage Frères.

Feed Your Inner Scandinavian at Nordic House

Berkeley's Nordic House offers Danes, Swedes and Norwegians many tastes of home. Holiday foods hold a special place in Scandinavian hearts and Nordic House carries glogg, aeblskiver and rice pudding mixes plus Swedish brined hams, Norwegian pork ribs and Danish pork with crispy skin.

Deaf-Owned Mozzeria Shows Signs of Great Pizza Coming to the Mission

Mozzeria, a new deaf-owned Italian restaurant, will bring wood fired pizza to the Mission. Owners Melody and Russell Stein have imported a 5000-pound Stefano Ferrara oven from Napoli and will serve pizza, pasta and small plates in their cozy new eatery -- where both deaf and hearing patrons can dine comfortably in a mix of vintage and modern styles.

Ten Ethnic Cooking Classes Around the Bay Area

Want to learn to whip up a fiery Ethiopian stew, sublime Italian greens, lively Russian piroshki or zesty Malaysian noodles? A cornucopia of ethnic cooking classes are waiting for you in kitchens sprinkled all over the Bay Area. Here's a round-up of ten local ethnic cooking classes rich with flavor and tradition.