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Seasonal food blog of Chef Deborah at Cuvée at The Greenporter Hotel

International Women’s Day: Women of the North Fork-A call to Action

WomenOfTheNorthFork-InternationalWomensDayToday, March 8th, International Women’s Day is being celebrated all over the world and here on the North Fork of Long Island, we have the hard work of many local women to recognize. When considering International Women’s Day, we must also recognize the many women who came before us who made our access to education, the right to vote, to ability hold public office and have a chance to earn as much a as man, more or less, a possibility.  The question is, what do we do with those choices and how do those choices affect our community as a whole? Now, more than ever, women from all walks of life can choose the life they want to lead but it doesn’t mean that the path will be without sacrifices or detours. If you have young daughters who ask where the role models are, you can send them the links below to the examples of women who are innovating and excelling despite the challenges. If you have others asking, where the opportunities are, you can send them the links below that tell the stories behind women who created their own opportunities.

Regardless of your political persuasion, we need to accept the responsibility that comes with the privileges of being born in a developed nation.  Whether it is the responsibility to vote, take a seat on a school board, volunteer for a Village committee, take on interns to mentor them, lead a girl scout troop or assume a role in an environmental or community cause, the only way to secure our futures, and that of our daughters, is to take a seat at the table. If you review the names and the links below, you will see we have many examples of success; from farmers like Karen Rivara, Karen Lee, Carol Sidor and Holly Browder.  We have authors, teachers and community activists like Yvonne Lieblein, Claire Copersino and Lara McNeil.  We have cultivators like Kelly Urbanik Koch and Laura Klahre and so many more great women, but what makes them all similar, is that they have all served their community in one way other another.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing women in my life, starting with my mother and grandmother, Aunts and bosses, friends and collaborators, and also to all the young women who have worked with me throughout my entrepreneurial ventures over many years.  I have learned so much from all of you and could never have accomplished the impossible without your support!  Thank you!

Sincerely,  Deborah Pittorino, SeasonedFork

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International Women’s Day and Women of the North Fork: Yvonne Lieblein, Entrepreneur & Author

imageIt is International Women’s Day is on Tuesday, March 8th and throughout the week we have shared stories about the achievements of women who have influenced our agricultural and maritime community. The series would not be complete without the story of Yvonne Lieblein, Entrepreneur, author, mother and community “composer”. Much like her newly published novel, The Wheelhouse Café, Yvonne’s life is an amalgamation of the nautical spirit of the fishing Village of Greenport, together with the farming values of a girl whose family worked the land and the docks for many generations. She attributes her success to the richness of Greenport’s diversity, the grit of her immigrant ancestors, and land and sea that gave way to her dreams, poetry and prose.

Born and raised in Greenport, Yvonne recounts the hours spending her childhood at Port of Egypt , her family’s fishing station, and her grandfather’s farm overlooking the Long Island Sound; which is now home to Kontokosta Winery. Her anecdotes range from work to play and she revels in the memory of it all. She chronicles what she learned about life through her countless hours of reading books with her best friend to selling Drake’s Cakes and making eclair boxes for worms at the fishing station. From her jobs bussing tables at the Townsend Manor Inn to waiting tables at Bruce’s, she learned how to run her own business and create her brand. It was through jobs like these where she could eavesdrop and gain a kind of insight into the human condition that she would someday share as an author. In addition to promoting her novel, Yvonne now teaches writing workshops, organizing poetry events and participating in community work. She co-founded a chapter of DECA , a national business club at Greenport High School that inspires students in grades 9-12 to learn about business and think about their future professional lives.

Tell us about the journey that led you to your current career? Growing up in Greenport had a huge impact on me both as a writer and as an entrepreneur. It was at Bruce’s Cheese Emporium is where I really learned about the foundation of hospitality and how much I love people. This is where my creative writing began. I always wanted to be a writer, but I knew I had to make a living, so I went to UNC Charlotte for English and philosophy to become a professor; then to graduate school (first San Francisco State and then to Stony Brook University). After graduate school I landed a dream job at an internationally recognized brand that just happened to take me back home, to the Village of Greenport, where I joined the National SCRABBLE Association. Having the opportunity to work there introduced me to a whole other way of serving the public and made me realize I didn’t want to be a professor. After working with the SCRABBLE team for seven years, I started my own marketing/branding agency, Lieblein & Associates. I worked with clients across the country and it was especially fulfilling to help businesses in our community achieve their goals. Many of these companies were agriculture and maritime businesses and my insight and a home-grown North Forker helped me to understand how to position them. However after a few years I realized that I was losing sight of my original goal of leading a creative and philanthropic life so I changed the direction of my business and become a consultant so that I could write my book and work on other creative projects. was.

When considering that we are celebrating International Women’s Day, how do you feel your career choice can inspire other women to improve their lives and their communities? So many people inspired me, that I hope I am able to empower young women and women of all ages. One part is to share the power of words and importance of expression and communication. I definitely like to share my belief in the power of words and the importance of expression and communication.  Also the energy that comes from collaboration and working together with others, strategizing to find a solution. Women know how to get it done, they really do and when they unite for a cause, they are in they are indescribably powerful. Solutions to the big things come from bringing different people together who may not have crossed paths otherwise.

Please share your views on the economic viability of your career choice and how can it be possible for other women to support themselves in the pursuit of their aspirations? The world needs writers, entrepreneurs, creative producers…..there will always be work if you hustle and stay humble.Take your chances! Take jobs that let you get your chops and show world what you can do. Know yourself. No one else can sell your brand or build your dream for you. You have to know yourself.

What advice would you give your younger self? I would have said create more space between the notes. Your life is like a song, and music is music because of the space between the notes. If you didn’t have space between the notes it would just be this cacophony. So be conscious; force yourself to create space. Try to automate things that aren’t as important and make it easy to conserve the energy for creativity. That set’s the stage for the really good stuff to happen.

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Roasted Chicken for the Soul: Ode to Judy Rodgers

I will always remain in awe of culinary pioneers who in the 70s taught Americans to value locally grown food during an era when the word “imported” was synonymous with quality. Chefs like Alice Waters and Judy Rodgers threw cold water on the posh menus of the day laden with boasts of foreign provenance. Their menu selections looked within our own local farmers’ market showcasing the farm stand brocoli from down the street and simple roasted chicken seasoned with herbs grown in pots in the window of their own restaurants. On Monday, December 1st, we lost a great chef and culinary writer, Judy Rodgers, of San Franciscan Cafe Zuni. Many of her recipes have been famous for many decades and were published in her cookbook but the one of the best known is the roasted chicken to which she dedicates three pages in her Cafe Zuni Cookbook.

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Ready for North Fork Fishing? Pan-roasted striped bass

Port of Egypt_Alexandra Lauber

photo by Alexandra Lauber

 A warm Spring like this one gets everyone excited about the summer. I can’t wait to get back on the water this summer.  Some clamming on Hallock’s Bay and later a little fishing for striped bass or fluke, if we are lucky.  I was recently inspired by Martin Garrell’s piece in the Suffolk Times about a cod trip he took to Block Island. I have been dreaming about cod fishing ever since I read Cod: The History of the Fish that changed the world by Mark Kurlansky. Until I can someday find a cod excursion, I am happy to “settle” for the delicate white flesh of the striped bass or fluke right in our back yard.   

  The great thing about the North Fork is that you don’t even need to have a boat to harvest the waters. You can dig for clams at low tide with your feet or with a rake. And there are several beaches where you can see the striped bass jumping out of the water waiting for you to cast your line. Or you can go on an expedition with any number of charters like Libby Koch’s H2O Hospitality. She’ll take you out on her boat, Category One, for a three hour excursion and show you her secret spots that hold the North Fork’s finest mollucks and bivalves.

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The Earth Knows My Name

Memory, Dirt and Reflection

Just the idea of spring teases up desire in the gardener (and the would-be gardener). The onset of local flower shows, the arrival of glossy seed catalogues in the mail, even the sinking of shoes in the sucking mud under a stubble of leftover grass are enough to waken desperate longing to dig, turn earth over, plant things way before the last danger of frost because you can’t wait. Let’s start things growing again, for the love of God!

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The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell

A b-Oysterous Bible of Bivalves

the-big-oyster

Reading a Mark Kurlansky book is like going out for a couple of beers with your favorite professor. You settle in to a comfortable booth with a frothy pint of anticipation. You tingle with the excitement of entering a more intimate relationship with someone you admire. You enjoy the delicious feeling of being an insider, drinking from the font of specialized knowledge in the very subject that entrances you. And you catch a good buzz. If only you could remember it all….

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For You Mom, Finally

By Ruth Reichl
for-you-mom-finally

I read Ruth Reichl’s first memoir, Tender at the Bone, many years ago and it never left me.  Her writing is so vulnerable, so raw, I cried and I cringed through the details of her childhood that in some ways were extremely foreign yet in other ways very familiar.  So when I saw that she had published For You Mom, Finally, I picked it up in the airport book store.

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The New Taste Of Chocolate: A Cultural History of Cacao with Recipes

A Chocolate Extravaganza – no calories, no kidding!

chocolate

Everything I know about chocolate, I learned from Maricel Presilla. Truly. Food writers like me don’t necessarily know everything about the food they are asked to write about, so we rely on the smarts, wisdom, knowledge and research of others. Sometimes — like when I was asked to write a piece for a national magazine on selected indigenous American foods a few years ago – the writer is lucky enough to know where to turn. For my section on chocolate, I knew that Maricel, a cultural anthropologist, a Ph.D. in medieval history, writer, educator, formally trained chef and co-owner of her own award-winning, pan-Latin restaurants, Zafra and Cucharamama in Hoboken, would be the go-to girl. I called her up and sure enough, she had the goods on chocolate. What I didn’t know until we spoke, was that her passion for Theobroma cacao – the tree that is the source of chocolate — is not only intellectual and sensory, but part of her genetic history. As it turns out, Maricel Presilla is the daughter of a cacao producing family in Cuba with chocolate running through her very veins; encountering her is hitting the mother lode of chocolate information. In a conversation – okay, lecture, she is an educator after all – of an hour and a half, which could have gone well into the following year, she took me on a whirlwind tour of cacao history and meaning. Fortunately for every other chocolate lover on earth who can’t just call her up for a chat with the excuse of writing an article, Maricel has also produced an exhaustive and gorgeous book on the topic.

thenewtasteofchocolate2

The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural History of Cacao with Recipes (10 Speed Press 2001) is as sensuous, subtle and intriguing as its subject. In this lushly illustrated, designed and produced volume, she covers it all, from its origins in Latin America, to its discovery and transformation by Europeans, from its social, economic and spiritual significance to her own personal relationship with the magic bean. It is loaded with information, but written and packaged for easy and unhurried enjoyment. You will also learn how to interpret chocolate labels and which form of cacao to buy for which purpose; it has changed the way I look at (and purchase) the chocolate bar. Love chocolate? Love food history? You need this book.

Natalia de Cuba Romero

The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural & Natural History of Cacao with Recipes by Maricel E. Presilla. Ten Speed Press, 2001

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