Friday evening was the first stop along my book tour for Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. Book Soup arranged a special and very early drop shipment of my books to be delivered 3 weeks early. Official sale date isn’t until June 1st. So, Book Soup is where I got to see my new book in person. It’s always super exciting to hold a copy in my hands. And the book looks great. Hard cover, 2 color with beautiful color food inserts taken by Tyler Golden.
Tyler brought me a gift! A large print of my Mandu Dumplings framed. I love it!
I talked about my goals for Ani’s Raw Food Essentials, which is to strip away the misconception of raw or healthy being expensive or time consuming. I hope to make raw food preparations easy and accessible to everyone. I begin with stripped down BASIC recipes, then build up from there to create variations and different, new flavors.
Minah is a fellow Korean American who lives near Pasadena and goes to college in NYC. Check out her book on my lap. It’s dog eared, marked up, and worn. I love this! A sign that Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen has been put to good use. Minah shared with me how my raw recipes feed her, gave her mental clarity and focus, and charged her through school. Bravo!
Belita, to the left in the above photo, is a mother who I had a discussion with about how her little girl gravitates to fresh fruit while her boy reaches for vegetables. It’s natural for kids to love whole, fresh fruits and vegetables. After all, candy colors are inspired by fruit and vegetables. In the center is Tyler Golden, food photographer, and then Minah.
To the right is Kurt, who I discovered works in South Los Angeles (which used to be called South Central LA) with kids. He lives in Venice, all the way West at the ocean, and takes public transit downtown daily to work and back. I’m very impressed! He found his way to Hollywood from downtown via public transit, and luckily got a ride back to the west side from Belita. It’s rare to meet people who don’t drive their own cars here in LA.
I’m now working with Community Services Unlimited in the same neighborhood as Kurt, so we’ll be seeing more of each other this summer through our gardening, cooking classes, and fund raising dinner events for kids and the community in South Los Angeles.
The lovely Thea took these photos for me, and unfortunately, we didn’t get a photo together.
During my silent 10-day Vipassina mediation last October, I had a vision to work with kids in underprivileged neighborhoods teaching them how to garden, grow food, and make healthy food. These neighborhoods lack fresh produce or healthy food options. The only way to save lives is to teach kids about food, real food. Growing our food builds confidence and self reliance. It’s important for kids to understand where their food comes from.
Neelam Sharma is the Executive Director of Community Services Unlimited, Inc. and is largely responsible for the development of CSU’s food justice and youth training programs. She helped create The Healthy School Food Coalition, The LA Food Justice Network, and the California Food Justice Coalition. An inspirational lady…passionate, intelligent, and beautiful.
Neelam and I met at the Expo Center garden, where I first met Dana Clay, the Urban Farm Assistant responsible for this beautiful garden. I found a curry tree for the first time, and the leaves tasted pungent, like curry.
They even had a cherimoya tree! Yum. The last time I saw a cherimoya tree was in Baja. I love cherimoya, and just picked up 3 at the local farmer’s market. Visit CSU’s weekly Farm Stand in front of the Expo Center on Menlo just north of MLK on Thursdays from 3-6pm.
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