Yia Vang has a set of classic stories he loves to tell. He’s just told me the one about the guy who comes up after a Hmong cooking demonstration, cups Vang’s big right hand in both of his, looks up earnestly into Vang’s eyes, and says, “I just love Thai food." “I mean, dude, I just spent an hour telling you how Hmong food isn’t Thai food,” Vang giggles. “You know, I get it that you toured Bangkok last year, but can we listen a little bit?”


She has just answered a question by, in fact, not answering it, and instead deflecting the question to Alan, who adjusts a pair of black, rectangular wire rims and offers a serious, thoughtful response. Let’s not confuse this for what it might look like—a demure kind of deference on Jamie’s part to a male cohort.  Jamie is perfectly in charge of this moment, and, as the rest of the evening will prove, as perfectly comfortable commanding a busy kitchen as raiding a Pinterest board for the perfect shade of water glass.

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Matti Sprague and I appear to be talking about fermentation. We are standing in Jon Wipfli’s well-lighted kitchen, and we are using all the words that you use when you talk about fermentation. We are talking about salting down vegetables, creating anaerobic environments, and encouraging the right kinds of microbial life while discouraging the wrong kinds. 

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Young Joni’s Ann Kim and Adam Gorski on new American food traditions. So there’s Young, and there’s Joni. Two moms. One attentive and skillful Korean family cook: Young. One affectionate and bibulous North Dakota family host: Joni. Right? Okay, so there’s this restaurant: Young Joni. Coming soon. Northeast Minneapolis. 


For this Romanian family from St. Paul, the weekend before Christmas is a holiday unto itself: "Pull on your gloves, boys. It's time to mix some sausage." According to family legend, Eva Lapadat arrived in New York by ship from Beba Veche, Romania, in 1937, with three dollars in the pocket of her housecoat.