Tastes like Home

Share this post

The slender green stems in west coast TakeHome cases this week are Gai Lan, also known as Chinese Broccoli or Chinese Kale. It is an upstanding green used in many Asian dishes, especially Cantonese ones.

gai lanGai Lan has the slight bitterness and robustness of broccoli rabe or kale. Every culture has their greens that they come home to, be it rabe, rapini, mustard greens, collards, callaloo, dock, jute leaf, or beet leaf. These are all greens that cook quickly, go with everything, and are nourishing. After a hard day when the body or spirit is depleted, we have a natural craving for greens to go with that plate of rice, noodles, or potatoes.

Food cravings have been studied. For immediate gratification, we crave sweets and comfort food that may vary from chocolate, pudding, or melted cheese. Comfort food has been chronicled at length in our comfort-seeking nation. But tastes and smells of desired foods change around the world. One person’s Brie cheese (France) is another person’s Natto (Japan), Daal (India), or Beaver Tail pie (Canada). But for a food that revives us we need greens - everyone likes and needs greens. There may be some scientific olfactory reason for this. “The wonderful feelings of comfort and serenity that the scent of fresh, damp earth and moss invite after the rain is an example of how every day scents can effect our emotional lives, trigger moods or emotional memories,” writes Rachel Herz in her book The Scent of Desire: Discovering our Enigmatic Sense of Smell.

This Gai Lan in this week's west TakeHome case was grown by the farmers at ALBA Organics. ALBA is the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, which provides education and services for small farmers, in Las Lomas (Monterey County).

PREPARATION: Wash and chop, and toss into a stir-fry - add a simple infusion of ginger or oyster sauce, and you have a quick home-cooked meal.

- Heidi Lewis


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent Recipes articles:

Summer muffin recipe
July 18, 2019
Simple summer salad dressing recipes
July 11, 2019
Easy summer pasta recipe
July 4, 2019
How to make stone fruit jams and butters
June 6, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Three easy Waldorf salad recipes
March 14, 2019
Deliciously simple roasted cauliflower with orange zest
February 27, 2019
The FruitGuys’ intro to homemade jams and jellies
February 21, 2019

More recent articles:

Assumptions can harm both recruiters and job seekers
July 16, 2019
Summer fruit varieties and when you’ll be seeing them
July 9, 2019
How to create a dress code that works all year
July 2, 2019
More employers are getting serious about time off
June 27, 2019
Two Easy Recipes for Canning Stone Fruit
June 25, 2019
The health benefits of honeydew melon
June 20, 2019
The delicate flavors of white peaches and nectarines
June 13, 2019
Don’t let plantar fasciitis pain break your stride
June 11, 2019
Listen and learn something new about work life—wherever you are
June 4, 2019
Onions, garlic, and leeks provide many nutritional benefits
May 30, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.