In Heated. More on Medium.

I’m not the first voice to plead that we never go back to normal

A bowl of mashed potatoes with a spoon on it, next to some lemon slices on a marble countertop.
A bowl of mashed potatoes with a spoon on it, next to some lemon slices on a marble countertop.
Photo: Sarah J. Gualtieri via Unsplash

Whether smooth as silk and ribboned with butter, a lumpy volcano erupting with brown gravy, or a glorious mess of skins, garlic, and parsley, you’d think mashed potatoes were the side-dish equivalent of a peace treaty.

Though recipes and cooking methods and what makes for the “best” version may vary, surely everybody can put their differences aside and unite behind the satisfying end result.

Yet it was mashed potatoes that seemed to be the catalyst for my complete meltdown. Mind you, it was the holiday season. I was sitting in the backseat of a Lyft, making my way through downtown…

Food can (and should) shape how you vote

In the nearly two years since Heated launched, we’ve built on Mark Bittman’s lifework by addressing inequality in the food system. We’ve also tried to encourage readers to look at our lives through the lens of food: How we grow food. How we treat food and restaurant workers. How we feed ourselves and each other.

We can always do better — and one way (we hope) we can commit to improvement on a more grand scale is in how we vote which, this year, means voting for Joe Biden. Below we’ve got 22 posts that explore the intersection of power…

Millions of voters in farm country are being ignored by both parties

Overhead drone shot of a farm vehicle harvesting wheat.
Overhead drone shot of a farm vehicle harvesting wheat.
Photo: Ollo/E+/Getty Images

Between 2009 and 2017, while Tom Vilsack was head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 30 percent of Wisconsin’s dairy farms went out of business. So why has he become Joe Biden’s main surrogate in farm country?

Between 2004 and 2016, dairy exports more than quadrupled. That might sound like it’s good for farmers, but if you’re interested in the survival of local dairies — which provide the economic base of some rural communities and are much more inclined to care for the land — it’s exactly the wrong strategy. Exports benefit global agribusinesses and monopoly dairy cooperatives because they…

This is what I learned

A grandma sitting in between two young women. They’re all holding up glasses of red liquid with lemon wedges on the rims.
A grandma sitting in between two young women. They’re all holding up glasses of red liquid with lemon wedges on the rims.
From L–R: the author, Grandmother Sharon from North Carolina, and Iska Lupton. Photos: Iska Lupton

Unsure of what to expect beyond burgers and squelchy macaroni cheese, we set off in our tiny Ford Fiesta, two women with a very specific mission: We were in the U.S. from the U.K. to hunt down grandmothers. More specifically, American grandmothers who can cook.

It’s part of our quest to share stories and recipes of matriarchs in the Grand Dishes cookbook, for which Iska Lupton and I have been traveling the world to uncover the culinary secrets of each nation through its grandmothers’ cooking.

Just before the Covid-19 outbreak, the final leg of our mission culminated in a Great…

The power of voices

Protestors march near the White House on June 7, 2020. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

This is a food site, yet not all of these links have to do with food. I and the Heated team believe that it’s useful and important to use this platform to show support for revolutionary changes around race, equity, fairness, and inclusion, changes that are long overdue.

You’ll find weekly updated links here, as well as — as we’ve said since we started Heated narratives, features, opinions, and reported pieces that reflect our values.

June 8, 2020

An essential read from The New Yorker, an interview with Opal Tometi, a Black Lives Matter co-founder: “We have millions of people who have…

Even if Friday’s Heroes Act were passed, we’d still see a hunger spike. Here’s why.

People who rely on public food assistance and WIC, a supplemental nutrition program for low-income women, infants and children, have been required to personally shop at stores with their benefit cards, thus increasing their risks of contagion. Photo: Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

When Grisel Cardona, a single mother with three young children, tested positive for Covid-19, she feared for more than her life. She feared she would not be able to feed her children.

Cardona, who lives in the Bronx, was forced to leave her job to take care of her children, two of whom are autistic, and receives money for food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Since the start of the pandemic, she has been going to schools for grab-and-go meals and stopping at free, city-provided pantry boxes, but then she became too sick to leave the house.

Kat Taylor and her former-presidential-candidate husband are using their vast resources to address sustainable agriculture

Inspecting soil. Photo: TomKat Ranch via Facebook

Kat Taylor is excited to talk about carbon sequestration and perennial grasses, but one of her favorite topics is the “full assemblage of predators” that now calls TomKat Ranch home. “It’s an indicator of [ecosystem] health all the way down the food chain, because you can’t support mountain lions and bobcats…unless the rest of the world is pretty healthy, too,” she explains.

Taylor knows this because while voters across America watched her husband — billionaire Tom Steyer — run for president on televisions across the country, researchers at the ranch had been tuning into a very different broadcast for some…

Our problems are exacerbated by the crisis

Photo: David Madison via Stone/Getty Images

By Nicholas Freudenberg

Like a blinding spotlight, the COVID-19 pandemic illuminates the resilience and weakness of the nation’s food system. For now, food activists, health professionals, and public officials are appropriately focused on meeting immediate needs and ensuring food access to all Americans. But the current crisis also offers an opportunity to analyze what the pandemic has taught us about our food system and how this and future crises may challenge the United States’ ability to feed its people.

For the last few years, many cities and states have begun to develop long-term food plans, making this the right time…

After a long time away, I am back

Photo: Xvision/Moment/Getty Images

“Damn, I hope no one sees me eating this Christian fried chicken.”

I take a bite. “They’ll start yelling a think piece at me because they think I should know better and have 800 to 1,200 words to prove it.”

Yes, I considered the ramifications. What if I were recognized? Not because I am famous or anything. Or famous-adjacent. Or even the distant kinfolk of famous-adjacent. I write books in a country that elected a reality-star president (thank you for everyone who purchased my book, though).

What I mean is that although I am now a 35-year-old man, I’m still…

Restaurateurs weigh in

Photo: New York City Hospitality Alliance/Instagram

As Super Tuesday approaches, there have been endless (and contradicting) predictions on the electability of the remaining Democratic candidates for president. Heated’s Andrea Strong spoke to a variety of folks working in the restaurant industry to get a sense of which candidates speak to them and what issues they believe are at stake for the restaurant business.

Reem Assil — chef and owner of Reem’s in Northern California — is a former community and labor organizer and child of Syrian and Palestinian immigrants by way of Lebanon.

Which Democratic candidate speaks to you?

I’m rooting for Bernie, but will rally behind either him or Warren, should they win the Democratic ticket. I’m inspired by how Bernie has been able to galvanize people across the country — from rank-and-file workers…


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store