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GREEN BLOCKS INITIATIVE: FOOD

FOOD

Wholesome Vietnamese Cooking

A book by Rosette Nguyen

Personal Action 

Nowadays it’s hard to find authentic Vietnamese food that is both delicious and healthy – without artificial and potentially harmful ingredients.  Also rare are good recipes in English for classic dishes such as Sizzling Crepes (Bánh Xèo), Asparagus Crab Soup (Măng Tây Nấu Cua), Pandan Layer Cake (Bánh Da Lợn), Vietnamese Banana Cake (Bánh Chuối Nướng), and Boiled Sweet Rice Cake (Bánh Chưng).  Wouldn’t it also help to understand the nutrition content of such dishes and how they affect our health?  

Rosette Nguyen has written a book, Wholesome Vietnamese Cooking, in which she shows how to prepare such dishes and many other favorites – with real flavors, wholesome ingredients, safe cooking techniques – and explains their effects on health.  She shares a treasure trove of 100+ family recipes that have withstood the test of time – through generations of practice, refinement, and enjoyment.  Most of the recipes are from her native country, Vietnam, and some are popular dishes from other parts of the world such as Pot Stickers from China and Chicken Tikka Masala from India.  In this book she provides clear step-by-step instructions, many color photos, vital nutrition insights, and much more.

Community Event

Wholesome Vietnamese Cooking is scheduled to be released on Amazon this summer, 2021.   Activities to drive awareness, readership, and adoption include but are not limited to posts on social media, live book signings, and Yale alumni events. 

Global Vision

Cooking is an increasingly important life skill for optimizing health and budget.  At the time of this writing, the world is facing the corona virus pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis.  A new, more health-conscious way of living can be the new norm as we move forward.  When we cook at home, we can more safely and economically choose our ingredients, where we get them, and how and when to cook them.  

Not only is cooking a useful skill, but it can also expand our minds while bringing us together.  It can be an immersive way to experience an important aspect of the world’s various cultures and to spend quality time with close ones.   Cooking well helps us to be well and live well.  

SEEDS ARE THE WEALTH OF ANY NATION

by Margot McMahon

Seed Library of harvested seeds in glass jars.

Personal Action  

I wasn’t a seed saver until Spring of 2020 when all leafy green seeds were sold out at the local food coop, the hardware store and the grocery. What, no spinach or kale this year? It’s not that I didn’t think about saving seeds and felt guilty for throwing them out. I just couldn’t give it the band width. My lovely, generous kids called NO MORE! to grocery shopping for us and every trip to the grocery became fear inducing. I didn’t feel old enough to go during senior hours, but also didn’t want the rush after 8:00 am. If it was hard to buy my regular seeds this year, what will next year be like?  I started to save every seed that poured out of my tomato and cucumber slices and slide them onto a paper towel to dry.  A friend said, “use newspaper-the black and white pages are made from soy ink.”

Seed saving from daily cooking became a daily habit that kept growing.  After cutting into a squash I gathered all the seeds and tossed them under fresh compost. -they grew without being dried! The seeds, dripped on newspapers, were allowed to dry in a cool cupboard. After about a week, I funneled the seeds in small glass jelly jars that keeps moisture from penetrating (plastic jars allow water vapor in) and set those in a cool dark cupboard under the stairs. Pods that dried on the vine like the black beans were peeled out of pods and put in larger canning jar for cooking or planting next year. I’m told seeds can last for up to ten years.  A simple seedling nursery was devised a Harry-Potter-like ice room under my back stairs to give my seeds a start in March for planting in May.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xar4vixyzUs
  2. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DtkHSHt0QlA

Community Event