Get Connected

Last night, we made our usual end-of-the-weekend pilgrimage to the Plaza here in Healdsburg, only this time we were joined by dozens of others participating in the Eat-in organized by Slow Food USA in an effort to change school lunch policy. Like a big picnic potluck, tables were filled with bowls of salad, local bread and cheeses, fruit fresh from the trees and vegetables both roasted and straight out of the garden.


I’d known for a while what dish I wanted to bring: Pollo en Jocon. My friend, food writer and cooking instructor Sandra Gutierrez, sent me this recipe so we could bring the tastes and scents of Guatemala, our daughter’s native land, into our own kitchen. Somehow it seemed an appropriate dish to share. I also made it in honor of Ana Maria and Mayra, a Guatemalan mother and daughter who have become as close as family despite being thousands of miles away. Our paths first crossed through Slow Food, and I wanted to bring something from their country so they’d be with us in spirit at the plaza.

One dish. And yet it connected me to Sandra, who was kind enough to share the recipe, and Pedro, the farmer who grew the tomatillos we used. It connected us to our daughter’s birth country and others we love dearly there. It connected us to the people who dug into it at the Eat-in, and even to the hope of a healthier future for our children.

Food is about so much more than just feeding ourselves. This week, be aware of how many ways it connects you.


10 Replies to “Get Connected”

  1. Thanks, guys. She is quite the show-stopper. By the way, Sandra pointed out that Guatemalan food tends not to be as spicy hot as Mexican food; they serve their chiles on the side so everyone can set their own heat. It’s good stuff.

  2. Lia, I love this post; look forward to trying the recipe. I really appreciate how you connect food to community – how everything is connected and local. I’ve had a chance to step back now that I’m retired from the university and really SEE the connections. So proud we’re a part of it.

  3. Lyra, it’s so great to see you here! I’ve been thinking of you, wondering how you’ve been doing with your retirement.

    Yes, it is all connected–and you have been such a big part of it at Davis (I just read the Davis Farmers’ Market was named one of the most popular in America–exciting!). Thanks for giving me a deeper understanding of what those connections mean from an agricultural point of view . . . and I’ll look forward to hearing your new perspectives on those connections here!

  4. Alright, I have some chickens rolling in this weekend from a nearby farm. Gonna have to make this. Will have to get the tomatillos from Bodega La Reyna, though, since the season has passed (and my garden only yielded about a dozen anyway!)

    I think it would be fine to roast the veggies on the grill. it appears they are not peeled after roasting, is that right?

  5. Kurt . . . Correct — they’re just charred and then blammed. You could definitely do them on the grill, or even roast them in the oven. A little different spin on the Mexican technique of charring the vegetables, then pureeing them, and then “frying” the sauce. This one uses that sauce as the base for the stew. Enjoy! (PS — Sandra tells me that Guatemalans serve their meals with chopped chiles on the side, so that people can make it as mild or hot as they like. So you may want to do that as well.)

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