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Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Other Side of Prince Charles, the Need for Aleppo Pepper

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2011 at 7:30 AM

Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

1. Better than watching the royal wedding. Yesterday, Washington Post LIve organized a conference titled "The Future of Food," which brought together some of the most prominent people in the sustainable food movement, including Wendell Berry, Eric Schlosser, and Britain's Prince Charles. All the conference presentations were filmed ― and are currently posted online for you to watch.

2. Persian breads from an unlikely baker.
Berkeleyside interviewed Jeannette Jafarzadeh, the baker at Middle East Market in Berkeley, whose Persian-style herb bread I wrote about in March. Turns out, Jafarzadeh, who owns the market with husband Mehrdad, is Ecuadorian by birth. The story of how she fell in love with Persian cooking ― when she was trapped in Iran for two years ― deserves to be turned into a movie that Julia Roberts will hopefully have no part in.

Aleppo pepper. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN.
  • Jonathan Kauffman.
  • Aleppo pepper.

3. Sourcing Aleppo pepper. Last weekend, after cooking a big dinner party for friends, I exhausted my supply of Aleppo pepper. Six or seven years ago, a friend brought me back a bag of the Turkish Syrian red pepper when she traveled to Istanbul, and I fell in love with its fruity, complex flavor, mild heat, and vivid carmine color.

Rainbow didn't have any in stock, and the stuff I picked up at Haig's in the Richmond tasted faded and flat ― I tasted it once and pitched the bag. I was in Bernal Heights the other day and stopped in at the Spice Hound stall in the 331 Cortland Market. Tammy Tan had one last jar of crushed Aleppo pepper for $6, and it's quite good. Not only have I been sneaking pinches of the stuff, I didn't lose out on the last of asparagus season, when I roast asparagus at least once a week with minced shallots and Aleppo pepper, squirting a little lemon over top when the skillet comes out of the oven.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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