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alittlebaker.com @jessicabose @littlebakerjess Jessica is a baker, blogger, and highly caffeinated barista with an affinity for exploring the grand outdoors, growing her own food, and making friends with the dogs of LA.

karolina-wiercigroch.com dine-dash.com dinedashcom Karolina is a Polish food stylist and photographer, currently based in London. She loves beautiful food, culinary travels, sauna and hot yoga.

coutellerie.pl @coutellerie.pl Marianna is an art historian by education, a food lover, chef and photographer by passion. Always thrilled to explore the person and story behind a meal. Born and raised in Warsaw, Poland, she is a traveler hungry for all kinds of local flavors.

beatrixfoods.com @beatrixfoodsmke Melanie Manuel is a vegan chef and owner of Beatrix Foods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

@mmack12 Rochester, NY transplant (soon moving to Boston for a bit!) in love with living a positive life. Can be found obsessing over her dog, sweating it out in a hot yoga class, or eating all the donuts she can find.

myberkeleykitchen.com @myberkeleykitchen Shahla writes, photographs and creates recipes with an allergy-friendly twist for her blog. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her two daughters and husband.

Elli Manoogian-O’Dell is a content creator based in the Pacific Northwest. She pursues storytelling projects that put her in contact with people who grow food, prepare food and eat food. She likes to participate in all three steps of the process.

figandblack.com @figandblack Emily is a biomedical engineer/exercise scientist and research coordinator, but loves writing young adult novels in her free time. Fig + Black - a blog dedicated to the minimalist lifestyle, all-natural vegan meals, mindfulness, design and the built environment, the natural world, and how she's creating her own space within it - is her newest project.

recordsintheden.com @recordsintheden Sharon is an immigration lawyer focusing on creatives and artists, business, and family-based immigration. In her spare time she is also the author of the recipe site Records in the Den. Sharon is from San Francisco, CA and is currently based in Athens, Greece.

serifandscript.co @serifandscript Cara is the editor-in-chief and cofounder of Chickpea. She does hand lettering, photography, and layout design for the magazine as well as for hire. She lives in Rochester, NY with her partner Bob and her three cats.

byellim.com @by.elli.m @by_elli_m

lyudmilazotova.com @lyudmilazotova Originally from Russia, Lyudmila is a freelance photographer living and working in Portland, OR. She is passionate about telling food culture stories through photos and written word.

experiments-in-bliss.com @experiments.in.bliss @exp_in_bliss Melanie is a wellness professional turned world traveler. She married her passions of wellness, ethical lifestyle, and consciousness/spiritual pursuits into a business which she aptly named Experiments In Bliss. She trots the globe sharing wit, wisdom, and inspiration via coaching sessions, tarot readings, and YouTube videos in the hopes of helping others to follow their own bliss.


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CHickpea magazine #24 international


words, photos & recipe by Sharon Brenner

I stepped off the plane into a crisp

untamable spirit, and is absolutely

the

soul.

wind and bright morning sun. From tarmac

I

could

see

the

snow-

topped mountains, their presence so

commanding that they seemed to have

burst from the earth and pierced the blue sky, establishing themselves as

an army of protectors of all that existed below. After a quick stop at the rental car counter, I settled

into the car, turned up the music, and took to the road. As the air

streamed in through the open window, I felt free.

Crete will do that to you. It will

make you free. Its spirit makes it hard not to connect with yourself

deep down, into your forgotten or undiscovered passions, even if you’re not aware that it is happening.

Crete is a wild and magical island with an enduring and palpable spirit.

The Minoans wisely figured this out sometime around 3000 BCE, cultivating their

entirely

civilization,

complete

sophisticated with

highly

developed agricultural and cultural

systems on this sun-filled spot of earth

resting in the southern Aegean Sea. From ancient times to the present, Crete maintains an independent and

beautiful That

in

both

profound

appearance

essence

that

and

Crete

has mastered, whether intentionally or not, is the je ne sais quoi that

makes not only Crete, but Greece as

a whole, one of the more complex, most genuine, sometimes complicated, and

deeply

beautiful

cultures

of

the world. In the West we tend to sidetrack

pure

enjoyment,

rarely

allowing ourselves to engage fully

with life’s pleasures in the ways that Mediterranean cultures tend to do. This is not to say by any means that

Greece is filled with Zorbas roaming carefree, ruled by passion alone. That

mistaken view of the country, that is more recently spoiled by headlines, keeps

one

from

most

valuable

truly

experiencing

what I consider to be one of Greece’s contributions:

the

ability to be genuine and real. This quality of genuineness expressed in

Greek culture, combined with a Zorbaesque sense of ease, infuses daily interactions

with

attention

and

conviction, whether it be small talk over coffee or physical gestures of communication and affection.

Enter Crete.

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CHickpea magazine #24 international


CHickpea magazine #24 international

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Crete is an emblem of this

On

expressing

fashion I had spent the day

soulful, human in

genuine

reality

experience.

contrast

to

way

of

and

the

This

is

puritanical,

insincere, or reserved forms of expression that, for better

or worse, are simply not the Greek way. As

with

spirit

any

culture,

expresses

Greek

itself

through its cuisine. When I started traveling to Greece, it

quickly became apparent that a key marker of its cuisine is

the use of herbs and bitter

wild greens. Whether on the islands or in the mountains,

Greeks use herbs and bitter greens

often

and

diversely.

Boiled and served with olive

oil and lemon, mixed into pies, or cooked with meat, herbs and bitter greens are everywhere.

What I find so beautiful about

in

my

first

trip

typical

‘Greek

to

Crete

Summer’

swimming in the clear waters facing the Libyan sea, basking in

sunshine,

an

utterly

good of

surrounded

company.

mind,

Midday,

relaxed

we

by

traveled

in

state

back

along the winding roads that weave themselves through the

crevices of Crete's mountains

and gorges. We gently pulled

to the side of the road and

took our seats at a taverna. The road was quiet, and under the

shade

of

the

trees

a

small kitten found its place

by the table leg as my friend proceeded

to

engage

in

the

officially unofficial procedure

of ordering the meal, which included

learning

about

the

day’s offerings and engaging in banter with the owner.

this is that it reflects reality

The

of herbs and greens is a very

beautiful enticing dish that

in a very direct way. The use straightforward result of what is universally available and

consumed throughout Greece’s

terrain. They sprout from the earth in their many iterations to

then

be

showcased

and

celebrated in often minimally adulterated

states.

This

symbolic nature and connection

between the spirit of Greece as it reveals itself through

its cuisine, specifically the use of these greens, is the inspiration for the following recipe, which I hope captures your

spirit,

piques

your

curiosity, and transports you to another place entirely.

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lunch

luxuriously,

proceeded

and

soon,

a

I would later learn was called marathopita

was

placed

on

the table. In my memory that first

marathopita

arrived

at the table with a golden halo

shining

around

it.

To

me, marathopita is a beacon of

simplicity,

health,

and

culinary delight; all tenets of Greek cuisine. It’s a medium-

sized, circular-shaped, olive oil

with

pan-fried cooked

dough

fennel

filled

leaves.

The beauty of marathopita is not only its simplicity, but also the fact that, like many Greek dishes, it uses herbs

uncharacteristic of cooking I was previously familiar with. It

was

during

a

subsequent

trip to Crete that I learned the I

marathopita’s

returned

determined herbaceous

identity.

from

to

that

trip

master

this

treasure,

and

engaged in a full-on, CIA-level marathopita Freshly

investigation.

self-minted

as

a

culinary detective I scoured

the depths of Google, testing recipes

I

cobbled

together

from low budget, untranslated YouTube

videos.

confirmation

I

and

sought

criticism

from Greek friends, eventually

developing the recipe below,

which I hold near and dear to

my

heart

because

every

time I make it I feel that absolute

peace

and

serenity

of Crete, Greek culture, and the

simplicity

and

reality

that the greens impart. When I knead the dough, when I watch the greens cook, I think about

Crete and I am filled with a sense of calm. As the pies

are frying in the pan and I’m surrounded

by

the

aroma

of

perfectly cooked marathopita,

I remember those summer days,

rolling up to the taverna with salty

lips

and

a

growling

stomach. When the marathopita is

ready,

cutting

into

the

piping hot pie fills me with pure joy. Something so simple, so

delicious,

so

unassuming

completely transports me to a space and time that is, like Greece, real and genuine.

and greenery in a way that is

CHickpea magazine #24 international


CHickpea magazine #24 international

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Makes 4 Marathopita

GET THIS RECIPE IN THE FULL ISSUE HERE CHickpea magazine #24 international

15


words & recipes by Sharon Brenner

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CHickpea magazine #24 international


When President Trump was elected I was shocked. I watched the TV not believing that it was real. Yet, at the same time, in the months leading up to the election and in the months following, I really wasn’t surprised by the result at all. It’s just the way the world is leaning, but for my demographic category of ‘young-liberal-Californian’, I just always had a sense that this is something you read about that’s happening in another place or time, rather than what you’re actually living. I am an immigration lawyer and I chose this profession for a few reasons. It is a job, it’s intellectual, it’s international, it’s not particularly adversarial, and I can help people. When President Trump instituted his first executive order banning certain migrants and suspending the refugee program, when everyone was rushing to the airports to help, I felt angry and ashamed. I understood from a political standpoint why it was happening but at the same time, I simply cannot understand how one person, let alone a sizeable group of people, could feel that this was humane or even justified. It was so shortsighted, so naïve, and so embarrassing. Living abroad, I was somewhat limited in what I could do that weekend, but when I entered the kitchen during those days I felt the need to do some explosive rage-cooking. I started to think about the flavors of these countries, how their dishes embody their energies, and how I could try to take an active interest in another culture that my elected officials had rejected. I focused on the concept of sauces because sauces and condiments are a window into a nation’s or culture’s cuisine. Something that everyone puts on their rice, or a technique that everyone knows, or a flavor that is nostalgic for everyone from a certain place of the earth. Take Heinz ketchup for example. It is distinctly American and a definitive cultural staple of the American grill meal, which itself is a window into American culture. Fourth of July, summer grilling, baseball games...you’ll find ketchup, you’ll learn about American culture. So what would I find when I peered through those windows into Syria or Iraq? This veganized condiment riff is here to expose a bit of something new and help bridge some of the unfamiliar spaces between.

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Walnut and pomegranate syrup sauce that is typically cooked in chicken but veganized and much modified here. In this way it can be served with roasted vegetables. Makes about 5 cups of sauce 2 cups walnuts, soaked at least 3 hours preferably overnight 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced 1 potato, skinned and roughly cubed 3 generous tbsp olive oil 3/4 cup pomegranate syrup/molasses 1/4 tsp saffron, dissolved in 1 cup water 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth 1 tbsp liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup, etc.) 1 tsp cinnamon salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, sautĂŠ the onions on medium heat in a generous dash of olive oil, until translucent. Meanwhile, discard the water from the soaked walnuts and in a blender or food processor, lightly blend or pulse the walnuts with the vegetable broth. When the onions are translucent, add the blended walnuts and cook on mediumlow heat for about 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the remaining ingredients, and then add them to the cooking onions and walnuts, and stir to combine. Add 1 cup of water or an additional cup of broth. Cook for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender, the liquid has cooked down, and you have a dark brown color. 3. In a blender or food processor, blend the sauce but reserve about 1/2 cup of the sauce in the pot. Once blended, stir in the reserved 1/2 cup of sauce. Serve hot or warm over vegetables.

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Hot pepper and herb sauce, which from my reading seems as though it has a few regional iterations. Add as a condiment to spice up your favorite veggie sandwich. Be mindful of your peppers and don’t burn your finger like I did! 1 bunch cilantro 1 bunch flat leaf parsley 2 garlic cloves, crushed 3-4 hot green peppers that can be consumed raw (depending on availability and region) 1 green bell pepper 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp dried cilantro 1 tsp dried parsley 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar juice of one lemon Blend everything together and enjoy!

CHickpea magazine #24 international


Top grilled zucchini with this creamy sauce, or use as a yogurt-based salad dressing for a Mediterranean salad with lots of herbs and raw summer vegetables. 1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 3 hours, preferably overnight 3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2-3 tsp dry mint, plus more for garnish 1-2 tbsp olive oil juice of one lemon chili flakes, sea salt and sumac to taste and for garnish Blend the cashews, almond milk, 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and dried mint. Taste and adjust as needed with salt, pepper/chili flake, or more garlic as needed.

Pickled mango relish. As I understand it, this condiment is not native to Iraq but it is prevalent there. My Iraqi friend told me that some people also use zucchini for this recipe when mangos aren’t available. Use this condiment to add some zing to your veggie burger, falafel, or any other fried vegetable dish. Makes about 2 cups of amba 2 unripe mangos 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar juice of one lemon 1 generous tsp of dried fenugreek and dried cumin 1 tsp turmeric 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup, etc.) 1 garlic clove, crushed chili flakes and sea salt to taste Roughly slice and chop the mango into large chunks. In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, cook the mango, vinegar, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water until the mango is tender. Then add the remaining ingredients and lower the heat to medium/medium-low. Cook down until it is not watery and reaches a jam-like consistency. Adjust to taste and allow to cool before serving. r

CHickpea magazine #24 international

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CHickpea magazine #24 international


words & photos by Molly Mackenzie

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CHickpea magazine #24 international


This past March I found myself almost

winding and narrow roads - or in March,

was traveling Iceland with my friend

two-way road are a normal occurrence,

driving into Lake Myvatn in Iceland. I for eleven days, and we had reached the point in our trip where we’d be staying the night in Akureyri. We decided to go exploring at night in our little Peugeot

referred

car, to

immediately

which

as

with

Hugo,

we

signs

endearingly

and

were

from

met

Mother

Nature that we should turn around and try again tomorrow. We had gotten used

to it at this point, as the weather in Iceland changes about every 10 feet

or every five minutes. Still, despite several signals, we decided to push on and typed “Lake Myvatn” into our GPS.

If we had done our research, we would’ve

found out Lake Myvatn is known for its greenery, and maybe then we would’ve

turned around. March is a very wet and snowy time in Iceland, so there was no greenery, only snow and ice. As we

were driving, I noticed small bodies of

water popping up on the map all around us. see

The

any

only

water

Everything

was

water and road.

thing in

was,

our

covered

we

didn’t

surroundings. with

snow...

The roads in Iceland are something out

of an intense stunt driver’s course - at least compared to most roads in

the US! When you go off the main road, you’re often met with gravel or mud on

CHickpea magazine #24 international

all of the above. Blind hills on a and you have to put your faith in the fact that other drivers are as cautious

as you are… But that’s another story completely.

I decided to look at our final destination on

the

map,

immediate

zooming

location,

out

and

from

found

our

that

typing “Lake Myvatn” into our GPS was

too literal, and our final destination

was blue - aka the GPS was taking us directly into the lake. We were on an

extremely narrow road, surrounded by water, unsure of where the road ended and

where

the

water

began,

driving

directly toward the lake. By now, I had

driven on the sides of volcanoes and on roads where our Hugo shouldn’t have

gone, so I was feeling pretty confident. With a little blind faith, some deep

breathing, and the new John Mayer album

on repeat, we got back on the main road and avoided driving into a lake.

This is just one of the many times on this trip we were at the mercy of a low-functioning GPS and Mother Nature.

Even for the parts of the trip that were comfortable, when we were surrounded by

other

people

or

in

cities

that

consisted of more than a gas station, there was always this sense of being on alert.

25


The feeling of being out of place

and the sense of what I would

both in its sights and culture.

is one that I have experienced

at

becomes

The feeling of complete isolation

time and time again in my travels

something you want to overcome,

- both voluntary isolation, in

in Europe and one for which there

a space where curiosity drives

choosing a country with a language

is no equivalence for traveling

you

people

barrier, and forced isolation, in

in the US. Traveling in the US is

are saying or how to navigate.

the fact that there just aren’t

like having a security blanket

When we went to Iceland, we had

that many people in Iceland so

or

a

a

taking

a

pause

in

your

first

to

call

figure

rough

unease

out

outline

what

for

each

day

we were completely alone for a

accommodations

reality. You can forget about

and

for

good majority of our trip - was

work, enjoy the sights of your

each night, but what happened

something that I wouldn’t have

destination, and relax for a bit

from

next

traded for anything. Sure, we

among somewhat familiar things.

was a mystery, and left to the

could’ve gone hiking here in the

You’re able to get food similar

mercy of both Mother Nature and

US, saved a bunch of money, and

to what you’re used to, you are

our willingness to explore the

not eaten our cheapest vacation

understood

discomfort

meal at IKEA for $18, but then

and

understand

the

booked one

Airbnb

of

to

the

unknowingness.

locals, and there is no confusion

This was the best decision we

I

in the way the money works. This

made in planning this trip, as

experience

pause in reality allows you to

it allowed us the wiggle room

have nothing to anchor yourself

really enjoy what our American

to

to

to, and what that does for you

culture, whatever that may mean

see the Northern Lights, and to

at a personal level. I was able

to you, has to offer, without

explore abandoned buildings that

to react to situations with my

the monotony of being a part of

provided views unlike any other.

instinct rather than based off

it in the workforce. You are a visitor in your own home, not a stranger in a new land.

find

a

geothermal

pool,

This isn’t to say that it’s easy being in situations where the only things you understand are

Traveling internationally isn’t

the elements that you bring into

a pause in your reality, it's

it - in this case, my friend and

the entrance into a new reality

our music. If I’m being honest,

altogether. You are witnessing

I left Iceland worse for wear.

a

Eleven days of 24/7 contact with

culture

foreign

that

completely so

anyone is tough - then add in the

others.

fact that you can’t communicate

You have tossed your security

with anyone else and need each

blanket out the window, and are

other to figure things out. By

forced

lost

day eleven, I was more stressed

for the entirety of your trip.

than I was before arriving, was

Something as simple as reading

exhausted to the point where I

road signs becomes a task instead

missed my alarms on the day we

of something you process almost

flew home and was an hour late

unconsciously. I was at a loss

returning our rental car, and

for what half of the signs we

had grossly under-researched how

encountered

much Iceland would cost, leading

in

to

is

some

your

own,

places

than

to

adapt

in

or

more

feel

Iceland

meant,

but I didn’t get a ticket so I call that a success. There is beauty in this unknown,

26

to a very large hole of debt.

wouldn’t

have what

been

able

to

it’s

like

to

how my surroundings wanted me to - because I didn’t understand them anyways! My reactions were what I wanted, not what I read on

a

sign

or

billboard

and

decided to want. In traveling abroad, you are able to enter a new reality where your life is completely up to you. You want to be a stick in the mud and make people

cater

to

your

foreign

needs? That’s your decision and that will shape your experience. You want to take each day as it comes and let the country you’re visiting

offer

itself

to

you

as an observer, a visitor with utmost confusion yet intrigue? That’s your decision as well, and who knows, maybe you’ll stumble across the Northern Lights too.

r

Still, Iceland more than lived up to my sky-high expectations,

CHickpea magazine #24 international


CHickpea magazine #24 international

27


By Elli Manoogian-O'Dell A lot of us develop big, gaping

the drama and tediousness of

get back from time abroad – and

weigh on us, but it doesn’t

pits in our stomachs when we it’s not just the empty space where

Mediterranean

dolmas

or French croissants used to

be. Experiencing feelings of

depression after traveling is common. In fact, there is a name for it. Reverse culture shock is similar to the adjustment

period you may experience when

visiting a place for the first time, but it has to do with your

thoughts, feelings and physical reactions to your return home. When

we’re

traveling,

life

can sometimes become simpler. Our focus is on necessities: what will I eat today? Where

will I sleep? Should I really

go to that Hungarian ruin bar alone at 2AM? When we get home,

CHickpea magazine #24 international

everyday

life

can

start

to

have to last long.

In college, I studied abroad twice and spent many weekends

in the pursuit of adventure.

After graduating and entering the workforce, I felt cheated as I worked my way towards a two-week

vacation.

aspects

of

But

then

I realized that a lot of the traveling

that

brought me joy could be found at home. Each travel experience is

unique

and

personal,

and

everyone chooses to travel in a different style. Whether you stay

at

five-star

hotels,

or

use couch surfing websites, I think these tips can help ease the transition home.

29


My best friend in college (and one of my housemates) used to loiter in the doorway to my room on occasion. When this happened, I knew it meant we were going to abandon our current homework and get out of town. We both valued spending time in new places and found that it acted as a reset button on our stress and boredom levels. We soaked in hot springs, hiked up nearby peaks, or gathered around a fire on the beach – whatever made us feel like we were in a new place, having a new experience. Use your weekends wisely and pick out places near you that you haven’t visited.

For some reason, traveling leaves me with a mental flip-book of scenes that took place in far away destinations. One such scene is on a side-walk bench in Zagreb sharing a variety of fruit with a friend that we had just purchased from a small stand. We split apricots between our thumbs and laughed as nectarine juice ran down our chins. Everything we ate from this vendor tasted like it was freshly picked from a garden. There was nothing notable that happened during this snack break, but my taste buds remember. One of the best parts of travel is exploring markets and trying foods that you can’t find at home. Visit your local farmer’s market; look into seasonal foods in your area. You might be surprised what type of foods are produced in your area. For example, I probably should have discovered Marionberries earlier after living in the Pacific Northwest for over 14 years.

One of the best parts of traveling is the lack of possessions weighing you down. When I traveled, I lived out of one suitcase and at times, a backpack. I spent less time thinking about what I was going to wear, because I had one outfit for each occasion. My daytime outfits consisted of a few items, and I had one black dress that I wore almost every night. Having fewer belongings also facilitated sharing amongst my travel companions. This expanded my wardrobe and brought me closer to my new friends. Once I returned home, it was overwhelming to have a closet and a dresser full of clothes. Now, I try to focus on function. Before I buy something, I imagine where and why I would be wearing it. I buy less, and have less in my closet. This makes it easier to focus on the fun that I’ll have wearing the clothes rather than delaying my day with superficial dilemmas. Try giving yourself a suitcase of clothing for each season. Clean up your living spaces and give up items that don’t bring you joy.

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CHickpea magazine #24 international


This one is pretty simple. Who doesn’t like spending time eating? I know we all have busy lives, but I think it’s important to carve out a day or two a week to cook with company. You can try out a new recipe or make a favorite dish with someone you care about (or people you think you could care about after some culinary bonding.) Incorporate food and cooking into your social life: swapping recipes and cooking techniques, while enjoying a meal with new friends, helps foster relationships similar to those formed abroad.

I remember one particular day in Budapest: I left my Airbnb with my travel partner and a backpack. We didn’t return to our room until we were ready to sleep. The entire day was spent on park benches, walking the length of Margaret Island, soaking in a public bath, dining in local cafés, and grabbing a few drinks with friends on an outdoor patio. We had random chats with strangers, witnessed a couple arguing on the street, made new friends and got some exercise. We were able to take in more of the city that day than we experienced of our hometown in any given month. Once you return home, it’s easy to hop between home, work, and school, creating a schedule in which you see the same people every day. Add public outings to your schedule once you return home from a trip. You can take a half-hour walk around town, or spend time reading or working in a park. Alternative forms of transportation also help with this. It’s a lot easier to look at your surroundings gazing out of a bus window, or biking to work.

When nothing is on the schedule, it’s easy to live in the moment. We create impromptu craft projects or discuss everything from the meaning of life to the usefulness of a spork. It's easy to give your full attention to a person or place when you have a couple hours to burn before your train arrives or a few hours to fill before you head off to your hostel bed. This is what yogis, health bloggers, and naturopaths call mindfulness, but I call it mastering the hangout. When I travel, the lack of schedule is liberating, but when I return home, I sometimes plan out my day to the minute. There are a million and one articles out there on mindfulness, but basically: live in the present and stress less about what’s to come. Happy stay-cationing and hometown traveling!

CHickpea magazine #24 international

r

31


words & photos by Jessica Bose “Here, try this. It’s the fruit of love! Eat the pulp and the seeds. ¡Está muy delicioso!” my tour guide told me as he handed me a golden yellow maracuyá (passion fruit). I cut into the fruit to reveal a seed speckled pulp that I slurped down with a spoon. The fruit was sweet, pleasantly tart, and extremely juicy. I wasn’t entirely sure of the legend behind this “fruit of love,” but I definitely did fall in love with maracuyá. This was the first of many locally grown fruits I was offered upon my arrival in Costa Rica.

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CHickpea magazine #24 international

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A few years back, during college, I was skimming through a long list of study abroad trips. Enrolling for a study abroad program was a difficult and intimidating decision, not because I was afraid of airplanes or being away from home, but because I wasn’t sure how I would be able to fully immerse myself into another culture and their cuisine while staying true to veganism. I remember scrolling right past an Italy trip because I feared the threat of cheese and a France trip because I couldn’t bear to explain to everyone why I, a pastry arts student, refused to eat a croissant. Then, I stumbled upon Costa Rica, a Latin American country that takes great pride in their rice, beans, and fresh, tropical produce. The program focused on sustainability and adventure tourism. I would visit a pineapple farm, a coffee plantation,

and participate in a chocolate tour. There would be no cheese wheels, no croissants to hang over my head, and I was certain there would be plenty of fresh, tropical produce to satisfy my cravings. Prior to the trip, I still received a plentiful amount of concerned, raised eyebrows and head tilts followed by a delicately spoken, “but what are you going to eat while you are there?” To which I confidently responded, “rice, beans, and a ton of fruit!” I must admit, I was still a bit worried about how I would translate menus and explain my diet to cooks when I couldn’t even hold a full conversation in the Spanish language. To help with this, I was active in easing my fears by conducting pre-travel research.

I cannot even begin to stress the importance of researching your destination prior to traveling. Educate yourself about the culture, acceptable etiquette, the language, and of course, the food.

Prior to my deparure, I found comfort in learning that ticos (a term for a Costa Rica native) live by the expression, ¡Pura Vida! Pura vida is very similar to hakuna matata (‘it means no worries”). The phrase translates to “simple life” or “pure life.” Ticos believe in a state of eternal optimism surrounded by nature, family, and friends. It’s no wonder this country is said to be one of the happiest in the world.

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I also learned that Costa Rica is one of the most sustainable countries on earth. A significant portion of the country is dedicated to agriculture and food production that benefits the producers, local communities, and the environment. Costa Ricans believe in consuming what they produce, as it’s produced. This means that the fruit on your plate was not imported into the country over a weeklong period, but rather grown just miles away on a family farm. Simply put, Costa Rican food is the freshest food you will ever eat. Before I even thought about looking at my packing checklist, I knew I was headed to a place that would serve both my mind and body well with kindness and open arms.

CHickpea magazine #24 international


CHickpea magazine #24 international

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It’s hard enough finding a vegan dish at a restaurant in the U.S. that doesn’t cater to dietary restrictions, so how would I describe my needs to the Spanish-speaking servers in Costa Rica?

The first few days were tricky. I was often being served food in a cafeteria service style. This meant having to tell the cooks themselves, "no, gracias," to nearly half the items they cooked. I felt rude and self-conscious at every meal. My travel guide assured me that as long as I was polite, the servers would not be upset when I turned down their food. Additionally, he advised that I learn some terms to better communicate why I was not able to eat certain foods.

I turned to my Spanish dictionary for help, and it later became my best friend. I was very quick to learn the phrase, Yo no como carne which translates to, “I don’t eat meat.” When I said this, servers were quick to offer me cheese and eggs, which is when I learned to say, "No, gracias, no lácteos o huevos. Soy vegana." This is a kind way of saying, “no thank you, I don’t eat dairy or eggs. I’m vegan.” To my surprise, servers and cooks were happy to make me something special to suit my dietary needs. Not only that, but I became recognized as la chica vegana a.k.a. “the vegan girl” at many of the regular places I visited. I once had a server so sweet that she saw me and immediately grinned ear to ear as she surprised me by placing half of a giant, perfectly ripe aguacate (avocado) on my plate right next to my usual rice and beans. Not to mention, that was the best aguacate I’ve ever eaten!

I am vegan. Yo soy vegano (male)/vegana (female). I don’t eat meat or fish. Yo no como carne o pescado. Is there meat in this? ¿Hay carne en esto? Is there butter in this? ¿Hay mantequilla en esto? Is there milk in this? ¿Hay leche en esto? Is the rice prepared with water or chicken broth? ¿es el arroz preparado con agua o caldo de pollo? Do you have soy milk? ¿tienes leche de soja? Is there a vegan restaurant nearby? ¿hay un restaurante vegano?


CHickpea magazine #24 international

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READ THE ENT ARTICLE IN T FULL ISSUE H


TIRE THE HERE


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CHickpea magazine #24 international


words & photos by Marianna Medynska It is early dawn when the first fire hits the stovetops of a quiet rāmen-ya in Kyoto. Even though the restaurant doesn’t open until 11:30 AM, the counter is not empty; soon to be filled with customers hungry for ramen, it is now a breakfast table for the Yonekawas, a family of four. The shop is on the ground floor of their house – there’s a washing machine on the way to the toilet, and a tiny staircase behind the counter (if you’re lucky, you can even spot one of the children running up when they’re back from school.) Minoru Yonekawa, the owner, and head chef of Vegan Ramen TowZen (formerly MameZen), greets his customers accordingly – as if he was inviting them into his own home. It is the spirit of omotenashi, a unique kind of hospitality significant for understanding Japanese culture. But aside from being treated with utmost kindness and respect, guests can simply relax and feel comfortable on the homey tatami floors of the restaurant. Minoru Yonekawa’s signature dish was invented almost 20 years ago. He was working as a sous chef in a tofu restaurant in Kyoto, constantly thinking of new menu variations. He got the idea to serve soymilk ramen as a seasonal dish, off the regular menu. He came up with the basic recipe and worked hard on perfecting it. It was a success – so big, that he kept on cooking it for the next four years. In July 2004, the very same ramen moved to a different kitchen; Minoru Yonekawa opened his own restaurant and started serving his soup as a proper main dish.

The menu in TowZen is short. Three basic kinds of ramen, with a choice of noodles, type of soymilk soup and level of spiciness. Additionally, side dishes such as eggplant sushi or yuba (tofu skin) rice bowl are available, as well as healthy homemade ice cream and desserts. The only animal-related thing on the menu are noodles that contain egg, but they are entirely optional. The rest is 100% plantbased, making TowZen a home for World Peace Ramen, as the chef likes to call it. The restaurant is hidden in Shimogamo, a quiet residential area in Kyoto. Despite being a challenge to find, it is visited by many locals and foreigners every day. But Yonekawa does not rest on his laurels. He keeps on learning and improving his skills, trying new additions such as baking soda (which he started using recently to make his soup creamier), chlorella or hemp charcoal. Having climbed the ladder from waiting tables to running his own ramen shop, Minoru Yonekawa knows the struggles of first steps in the restaurant business. In order to help those who decide to take them, he collaborates with young chefs and invites them to cook up their own, limited editions of soymilk ramen. He also supports an aspiring pastry chef from New Zealand by hosting her popup vegan sweets shop in TowZen, every Saturday, Sunday and Monday between 3 PM and 5:30 PM. (Just until she opens her own café one day.) I asked Yonekawa-san to share one of his

CHickpea magazine #24 international

recipes with me, and even though I had my type (aka my favourite thing on the menu), I wanted to leave the choice of dish entirely to him. Thankfully, we were unanimous in our praise for Musashi Ramen, a classic yet flavorful position. The creamy soup with thin noodles is topped with fresh yuba, mushrooms, chopped umeboshi and a pinch of yuzu zest. If you cannot find some of the typically Japanese ingredients listed in the recipe, don’t worry. Substitute silken tofu for yuba and any pickles you can get locally for umeboshi (go for sour ones!). Be creative and bring your own soymilk ramen bowl to life. After all, the -Zen in TowZen is not accidental; and in this school of Buddhism, there is a word chisoku, which literally means ‘to know sufficiency, to be content with what you have’. Taking this approach with him to the kitchen, Minoru Yonekawa believes it is more important to appreciate the meal, with nature’s gifts and human effort that create it, than be meticulous about the details. TowZen. Kyoto-style vegan soymilk ramen Japan, Kyoto-shi, Sakyo-ku, Shimogamo, Higashi Takagi-cho 13-4 Hours: 11:30 – 15:00, 18:00 – 22:00 Tel: 075-703-5731 mamezen.com The restaurant is open every day except New Year’s and Obon (Buddhist festival honouring the spirits of the ancestors).

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GET THIS RECIPE IN THE FULL ISSUE HERE 44

CHickpea magazine #24 international


CHickpea magazine #24 international

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words & recipe by Melanie Manuel At the time when I first met my friends from Syria, everyone I knew felt a little unhinged about the unstable nature of global events in that region—as worries about the economy, travel, and the future deepened. From what I can see now, most people still feel the same way. Despite the fact that I am concerned about the shifts I see going on in the world, I realize that I am fortunate enough, by birth or by fate, to live in a time and place when I have unlimited access to clean water, healthy food, education, and a job.


Sometimes I walk to Lake Michigan with a cappuccino and my dog by my side and think: this moment is privileged. There are people right in my city who don’t have this luxury: the time to walk, the proximity of nature, the five dollars for an overpriced coffee, the pleasure of a companion animal. Even with all the troubles going on in the world and the buzz of anxiety that I and others feel about the state of things, we all have to function—go to work, take care of our homes, even build relationships and create art. Meeting A and E from Syria widened my appreciation for all I have, and helped me to consider challenges that I’ve never had to face before in my life. We met A when he worked at a French bakery near our house. After a few encounters on the street when we passed with a wave and kind words, he approached us. “My wife and I would like to invite you for dinner,” he said. We were flattered that this stranger, whom we’d only seen in passing, wanted to invite us into his home. We sheepishly mentioned that we didn’t eat meat. “No problem,” he replied, ”In my country, there are many vegetable dishes.” At 4:00 on the designated afternoon we entered their apartment, greeted by the smell of lemon and garlic. It only took a beer or two to learn that our new friends were Syrian. For obvious reasons, my interest was piqued. Due to all the news coverage about the war in Syria, the refugee crisis, and the upcoming American presidential election, I was eager to learn about their perspective on these topics. I wondered what brought my new friends to America. Did they flee their country? Were their families safe? What was it like to have a baby when many in your adopted country were automatically suspicious of you, your crime simply one of birth? Their pride in Syrian cooking manifested when we sat down to eat. Plate after plate was heaped on the table, and my first encounter with Syrian food was beyond memorable. Now that we’ve grown close to this family over the past year I realize that

our friendship was built around that table, heaped with food. After that first get-together, we began to frequent our friends’ house. Their daughter played and we sat and drank beer or tea and talked. We began to walk to the lake together and take long Sunday drives in the fall, the movement of the car and the charming sounds of traditional Syrian music lulling their daughter to sleep. Their daughter dressed as a ladybug when we took her trick-or-treating for their first American Halloween. We met their Middle Eastern friends, most of whom are from Iran. We helped them move into a new apartment, piling stacks of boxes into the back of a U-Haul and weaving through the snow. Throughout all of our time together I continued to learn more about Syria, usually during meals. Both of their families live in Damascus, an area less affected by the violence brought on by war, but plagued with inflation, joblessness, and unreliable electricity. Syria was a cosmopolitan place, a place where healthcare was free and the population largely educated. According to our friends, up until recently Syria was welcoming to people from diverse backgrounds. They described the history of Syria—how it has been shaped by centuries of trade due to its location on the Mediterranean Sea. Jewish, Assyrian, Alawite, Turkish, Armenian, Palestinian, Greek, Arab, and Yazidi peoples have all influenced the language, culture, music, and of course the food of Syria. We learned that it is practically a requirement for a mother to teach her daughter how to cook, and that a family’s secret recipes are often closely guarded. Friendships between men and women are common, and nightlife is valued in Syria, when city dwellers gather outside of markets for drinks and conversation until late into the night. Once we stayed so late ourselves that they insisted that we sleep over and forced us to stay in their room while they shared the single bed in their daughter’s bedroom. They told us a story about their sister-in-law,

CHickpea magazine #24 international

who flew from Lebanon to come visit them in America. They had not seen her for three years and were over the moon to show her their new home. They waited at the airport for four hours after her flight arrived and still their sister-in-law did not appear or reply to their texts. They inquired, and the authorities told them she was not admitted to the country even though she had a tourist visa. They asked, they begged, can we at least see her? Can she stay one night in an airport hotel and fly out tomorrow morning? She had just traveled for twenty hours and she was pregnant. They were worried about her health and her baby’s health. No, the authorities said. She was already on a plane back to the Middle East. Later on the phone and in tears, she swore she would never travel to America again. Our friends believe the reason she was not permitted to enter the country was because she was pregnant, and the authorities might have assumed she was trying to have her baby here so he would be an American citizen. However, she and her husband own a business and have another child. Her life is in her home country. Our friends told her how many kind people they’ve met in America; they tried to convince her how welcoming people are and how much they love the landscape in the northern Midwest. It is evident that they believe in the American dream—that someone can come to this country and make a good life. I hope America lives up to its promise. But most of the time we didn’t talk about the war in Syria or the troubles in America. We talked about culture, literature, music, and of course, about food. They taught me how to prepare some dishes Syrians typically make at home, and I’d like to share one of these dishes with you. Although it is paramount for me to do what I can to contribute to awareness of issues in the Middle East, I also think there are times when we need to celebrate a culture in order to keep its traditions alive. What better way than through the ritual of sharing a meal together?

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CHickpea magazine #24 international


Fatteh is a dish often consumed at breakfast (although I love it for dinner too) and because it’s laden with protein, you’ll be full throughout the morning. Feel free to add cooked zucchini or eggplant. Serves 4 Ingredients olive oil for frying 3 pitas, sliced into triangles 2 15 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1-2 cups nondairy yogurt, the thicker the better 2 tbsp tahini 3 tbsp lemon juice 3 cloves minced garlic 1/2 tsp cumin salt 1/3 cup slivered almonds Instructions 1. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry pita triangles in batches, draining them on a paper towel. Dust with salt, if desired (Note- you can also toss pita triangles in olive oil and bake them for a lighter version). 2. Put canned chickpeas in a pot and cover with water. Cook on medium high for 10 minutes, until about half of the water is absorbed and chickpeas are heated through. Drain and salt. This is a secret Middle Eastern trick for buttery, soft chickpeas. 3. While chickpeas are cooking, whisk together yogurt, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, tahini, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mixture should be somewhat thick. Taste and adjust spices to your preference. 4. Fry slivered almonds in remaining olive oil. Drain on a paper towel. 5. wArrange half of the pitas on the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with warm chickpeas, then the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining fried or baked pita triangles. Dust the top with cumin. Serve immediately. r

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24: International  

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