Thy Tran

Thy Tran writes literary nonfiction about food, the rituals of the kitchen, and the many ways eating and cooking both connect and separate communities around the world. She co-authored the award-winning guide, Kitchen Companion, and her work has appeared in numerous other books, including Asia in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Cultural Travel Guide and Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Fine Cooking and Saveur. A recipient of a literary grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Thy is currently working on a collection of essays about how food changes in families across time and place. Though trained as a professional chef, she works on cookbooks by day, then creates literary chapbooks by night. An old letterpress and two cabinets of wood and lead type occupy a corner of her writing studio, for she is as committed to the art and craft of bookmaking as she is to the power of words themselves. In addition to writing, editing, teaching and printing, Thy remains active in local food justice and global food sovereignty movements. Visit her website,, to learn more about her culinary adventures.

HOC Farmers Market Faces Uncertain Future

(Photo by trp0.) There’s been a lot of buzz lately in San Francisco about planting gardens at Civic Center and bringing in a special farmers market for Slow Food Nation’s big Labor Day blowout. No surprise that the farmers market just across the street, the one that’s been a neighborhood fixture for the past 26 … Continue reading HOC Farmers Market Faces Uncertain Future →

BassPro Shops: Shop, Hunt, & Eat Local

I make it back to the Midwest two, maybe three times a year. Since I gave up my home address in Independence, Missouri, twenty years ago, I’ve seen the area’s fields and grasslands transformed into bustling Walmarts and Home Depots. The surrounding green has turned into asphalt as steadily and relentlessly as the graying of … Continue reading BassPro Shops: Shop, Hunt, & Eat Local →

Taste of New Orleans

One needs many lifetimes to enjoy all that the Crescent City has to offer. Alas, I only have ten days and one stomach. That hasn’t stopped me from trying, though. Here are just a few of the highlights from the past week…. If you’re here during the winter and if someone you know owns an … Continue reading Taste of New Orleans →

Calas: Creole Rice Fritters

You know you’re in a food town when the postcard racks stock recipe cards to mail back to your friends. It’s been a long, hot, humid and delicious weekend in New Orleans. Pacing has been key, of course, from judging just how many blocks a human can walk under intense sun to learning how many … Continue reading Calas: Creole Rice Fritters →

The Last Course: CCA Leaves Polk Street

The CCA’s Carême Room served its last grand buffet this past Friday. Anyone who has recently driven by that familiar corner of Polk and Turk, with its clumps of white-clad culinary students smoking on the sidewalk, would have suspected as much, what with that huge sign advertising “Building for Lease.” With only 300 students enrolled … Continue reading The Last Course: CCA Leaves Polk Street →

Thyme Shortbread

Refreshing smoothies one day…hot tea the next. It’s San Francisco, after all, so sundresses and icy drinks enjoy but brief moments of glory. As much as I reveled in salads last week, I’m baking this week to keep our kitchen warm. All that exuberant sunshine encouraged my little pot of thyme to bolt and bloom. … Continue reading Thyme Shortbread →

Smoothies: Youth-Powered Sweetness

Teaching kids to eat and drink healthfully requires much more than admonitions. After carting away the vending machines and abolishing the Big Gulps, we can’t leave the kids empty-handed. Rachelle Boucher from Generation Chefs is working hard to fill the void. From the popular Pizza Smack-Downs at COPIA to her weekly cooking classes (free to … Continue reading Smoothies: Youth-Powered Sweetness →

Food Hacks

Although I couldn’t attend this past weekend’s Maker Faire, with its inaugural section dedicated to food, I did have a chance to learn a few new tricks for the kitchen. It’s not a recent phenomenon for cooks to hack their utensils and ingredients—Homo “Handy Man” habilis figured out that meat on the stick thing, Mongol … Continue reading Food Hacks →

Small Bites: Postcards

Black Tartarian Cherries: “Copyright 1910 – Edward M. Mitchell, San Francisco” In celebration of National Postcard Week, which spans the first week in May in the US and UK, be sure to send out a few notes to your favorite folks. An actual piece of personal mail, let alone hand-written thoughts for someone you know … Continue reading Small Bites: Postcards →

Honey Bees

I’m not sure my neural pathways for good ice cream and the future of agriculture have ever sparked simultaneously before, but a recent posting sure caught my attention. If you happen to know someone who recently received their Ph.D. in entomology, you can point them, too, toward Haagen-Dazs’ recently established fellowship in honey bee biology … Continue reading Honey Bees →

Meat Cookies

Breaking two cardinal rules in my kitchen–versatility and real-world functionality–my favorite new toy is silly, beautiful, and fun. It can only do one thing: make cookies in the shape of an obscure cut of lamb. A while back, while checking out the display cases at the excellent little butcher shop, Avendano’s, my friends spotted a … Continue reading Meat Cookies →

Culinary Laboratory: Cooking by Chemistry

Blueberries and oysters? Chocolate and cauliflower? Blue cheese and rhubarb and pineapple? If taste buds could cringe, then mine were recoiled into a wincing mess when I first learned about these flavor pairings. For those of you who have been eating at El Bulli or The Fat Duck or Alinea, this is all old news. … Continue reading Culinary Laboratory: Cooking by Chemistry →

Corn Art: The Great Tortilla Conspiracy

After successful runs last year at the DeYoung Museum and Galleria de la Raza, The Great Tortilla Conspiracy returns for another fantastic show at SomArts Cultural Center. Self-described as “the world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective,” the father and son team of Rene and Rio Yañez explores a wide swath of themes in their unique … Continue reading Corn Art: The Great Tortilla Conspiracy →

BO-DE-GA: Food Choices at the Corner Store

Bodega: The Bronx Laughs are few and far between for anyone who works in that tough corner of the food world where food security, public health, and urban development issues intersect. Fortunately, the dynamic duo of Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam have been making short, sharp, and extremely funny documentaries about shopping and eating in … Continue reading BO-DE-GA: Food Choices at the Corner Store →