There are many versions of the quote, “To give is the greatest gift of all.” And, fortunately, there are many Americans who live by this motto year-round — perhaps most notably during the holiday season. In Western Pennsylvania, we see the power of giving through farms, restaurants, and patrons in support of each other and organizations, such as the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Recently, the nonprofit has established the Community Table Program, which pairs area restaurants with agencies that serve a prepared meal for those in need. Currently, 75 restaurants, universities, and caterers have signed on! Executive chefs, including Cory Hughes of Six Penn Kitchen and Kevin Hermann of The Porch at Schenley, have partnered with Mercy Behavioral Health Renaissance Center and School 2 Career, respectively. With this comes warmth, fulfillment, and ease for the hungry.
Giving also takes us back to the basics and best practices where we treat what grows from the earth as a gift to us, which is just one reason Mario Batali has published his new book, “America Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers.” He honors his hard-working friends, who produce high-quality food and are defined by pride, in the pages.
We explore the Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition, The Feast of the Seven Fishes, and speak with Butcher and Fishmonger Steven Beachy at Marty’s Market about the importance of sustainable fishery. Have a sweet taste of dessert (or breakfast!) with traditional holiday cookies — we share our tried-and-true favorites, reveal what we’re whipping up this month, and encourage you to discuss your most requested recipe.
Find satisfaction in one of our tastiest trios yet — arugula, lemon, and garlic. It’s a cheerful combination, both bright and comforting. If savory, heat-inducing cocktails are your thing, we’re also talking shrub vinegars. Hear from local bartenders on why it’s the fresh, must-sip beverage and is one way to preserve the produce from your CSA box.
Have you thought about a resolution as we enter a new year? Get the rundown on sleep and the benefits of restful shut-eye. Give that gift to yourself — you deserve it.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Andrea Bosco, Executive Editor