Author Archives: Anna Mindess

About Anna Mindess

A sign language interpreter by day; a food writer by night. Endlessly fascinated by looking at the world through the eyes of different cultures -- and tasting its variety. Anna lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and daughter. Author of READING BETWEEN THE SIGNS and now a freelance writer for KQED's Bay Area Bites, Oakland Magazine and other publications.

Mother & Daughter Realize Big Dreams at Vanessa’s Bistro

As a child and grandchild of immigrants, I notice that in writing about food and culture I am repeatedly drawn to the stories of immigrants, their struggles and triumphs. And every time someone shares their journey with me, I feel I have been given a precious … Continue reading

Posted in Berkeley, Immigrants' stories, Vietnamese food | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

On a Quest to Preserve Traditional Ethiopian Spices

It is hard to overstate the importance of spice blends in Ethiopian dishes. Far from adding a sprinkle of flavor at the end of cooking, they constitute the deep soul of the cuisine, and their creation is considered an art. Fetlework Tefferi of Oakland’s Cafe Colucci is on a quest to preserve and promote traditional spice harvesting in her native Ethiopia. Continue reading

Posted in Ethiopian food, Immigrants' stories | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Handmade Tofu and Mochi Keep Traditions Alive in San Jose’s Japantown

Get it quick before it’s gone! Handmade tofu and mochi sweets in San Jose’s Japantown. Two devoted husband and wife teams have been quietly keeping tradition alive for more than 25 years with the sweetest results. No preservatives, no automation, just loving hands and hard work. Continue reading

Posted in desserts and sweets, food artisans, handmade, Japanese food, Japantown, San Jose | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For Lunar New Year, the Horse Gallops in with Traditional Foods of Tết

The Vietnamese celebration of Lunar New Year, Tet, serves up a range of traditional foods, including thick wedges of sticky rice filled with peppery pork and candied kumquats and nutty cookies. For the Year of the Horse, Son Tran, owner of Oakland’s aptly named Le Cheval Vietnamese restaurant, shared with me the details of these essential holiday dishes and other cultural traditions. Continue reading

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Don’t Poison Your Guests: Tips for Hosts on Food Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities

Eggs, strawberries, wheat, nuts, fish, dairy–seems like everyone is allergic to something. What’s up with that and what’s a host to do? This illustrated guide explains the difference between intolerances and allergies and provides tips for cooking for guests with these conditions (and having them leave sated –and alive.) Continue reading

Posted in Food allergies, Politeness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Chevre with a Cheese Whiz, San Francisco’s Own Milkmaid

Louella Hill, a modern day, milk maid, views cheesemaking as an art form that embraces the microbial world and can’t be rushed. She teaches classes around the San Francisco Bay Area in making goat cheese, brie, feta, ricotta, mascarpone and more. Continue reading

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Gruesome Goodies: Halloween Bentos to Make for your Little Bats and Ghouls

Surprise your child with a Frankenstein sandwich, Vampire bunny egg or Severed sausage “fingers”. Make frighteningly easy Halloween Bentos with these tips and tricks for healthy treats Continue reading

Posted in cute food, Japan, Japanese food | Tagged , , | 3 Comments