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Aileen Suzara
Oakland
I'm passionate about food, storytelling, and loving our earth.
Interests: food justice, climate justice, ecological nutritrion, culinary history, Filipino foods, island living, agroecology, farming.
Recent Activity
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#GivingTuesday shines a light on organizations that join communities to transform our world. It's kind of like a coordinated day of gift-giving and gratitude sharing with extended, badass family, and a healthy antidote to the media craze of Cyber Monday and holiday shopping. I thought to share some ideas with... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2015 at Kitchen Kwento
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Photo: Jonathon Fong Nutrition in popular media is often framed in one of two ways: as a public health crisis, or as a dizzying array of new diet fads. Harder still, it seems, is hearing about successful ways to return health back to the people. Perhaps just as hard is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2015 at Kitchen Kwento
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Roots and malunggay ukoy, Sama Sama eco-chefs, Do you have an old friend, a beloved friend, that you haven't seen for so long yet still feel utter closeness to? Unspoken conversations wind their way through your head for months. Memories resurface while doing laundry. When the time comes and you... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2015 at Kitchen Kwento
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Social Products PH and heirloom Filipino rice varieties Even now, the scent of rice makes me feel at home. In our Filipino-American household, rice was the staple. While living in Hawai'i and California, we ate Calrose, a variety I later learned was developed in California at UC Davis (hence the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2015 at Kitchen Kwento
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I remember it vividly - I was at an urban farm work party and a young white woman had gathered the group into a closing circle. She explained: "We are going to do the unity clap, a tradition from the United Farmworkers. It's called "isang bagsak." The phase translates into... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2015 at Kitchen Kwento
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Curious kambing. Pescadero, CA. I believe life can give second chances. I'll take mine in the form of two New Years. The first day of 2015 really did feel like an initiation: back on the Big Island, I stood with my feet in the Pacific beside to two wildly wonderful... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Kitchen Kwento
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- Doreen Fernandez, in "Why Sinigang"? Last week marked National Food Day, an event to "bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies." This is a good day, but it is also a stark reminder that I live in a nation that... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at Kitchen Kwento
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I've been away for awhile. Even my mom noticed. She asked me to post an article so she can read something new. The last time I wrote was in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. It was back when this goldenrod squash plant was just a seed, dry and still in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at Kitchen Kwento
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Photo credit: Erik de Castro/Reuters There are no words to comprehend the scale of devastation. Feeling helpless, my housemate and I scanned through the BBC, CNN and Philippines news stations, watching concrete and steel buildings flattened by wind, waters engulfing farmland and roads. We watched the rising toll of the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2013 at Kitchen Kwento
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Sadness is the salt that gives happiness its taste. - Mahmoud Emam Salt happens. It pervades our waters and diet and bodies. It flavors our language: Taken with a grain of salt. Salt of the earth. Worth your salt. Don't spill the salt. Salt brings life to food, heals wounds... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2013 at Kitchen Kwento
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I spent the past weekend up north with Movement Generation's ecological leadership retreat. I am still taking in the depth and breadth of that space, the people, and unexpected places that the gathering awakened (and recreating the delicious recipes...). One afternoon by the freshwater pond, we were asked to reflect... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2013 at Kitchen Kwento
Thanks David! Oh, productivity. In another place and/or time, a role w/food and the land would be everyone's, the way it rarely is now in North America. One reason why the current model of work can feel alienating, to be choosing specialized functions without much integration. Our DNA didn't evolve that way. New waves of folks exploring farming are portrayed as trend followers, naïveté, or echoes of the "back to the land" movement; I think it's an indicator of deeper hunger. While full time farming isn't for everyone...having a place in care of the earth is. What do you think? :)
Toggle Commented May 8, 2013 on On Farming and Saturn's Return at Kitchen Kwento
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All things move in cycles.  All things move in cycles. "So, where is your farm?" I am sometimes asked. "I don't have one," I reply. At times the response is simply, "Oh." Or, "Why don't you get one yet?" Or, especially if the questioning is from relatives, "Then why did... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2013 at Kitchen Kwento
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Getting back to the source. Photo credit: Gigi Miranda I am lucky to have come of age where "local" was a way of life. In Hawai'i, ʻāina is land. Nurturing the land is to mālama ʻāina. I remember those who continued traditional practices - from pounding poi, to gathering limu,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2013 at Kitchen Kwento
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New year's arrived on a ridge in Tagaytay, the Philippines. It shifted into place somewhere between starlight, the smoke of fireworks, dark water, and poppers echoing into the night. My parents, sister and I were like children: we jumped up and down for luck, ran circles holding bags of clanging... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2013 at Kitchen Kwento
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There is a time to simmer, and there is a time to toss it in and turn up the fire. As a college student, I soon realized with dismay that I was not meant to be a biologist. I was more interested in biology's sweeping narratives of evolution, adaptation and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2012 at Kitchen Kwento
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My parents have embraced change their entire lives. They were two young healthcare workers who fell in love, eloped, and faced the unknown of migrating from Manila to New Jersey in the 60's, learned how to disco and perm their hair in the 70's, bought a microwave in the 80's,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2012 at Kitchen Kwento
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(Note: this piece was originally published on October 25 at Hyphen Magazine) Angela Angel at work on "Free Our Seeds: Seeds Are Free." Photo by Robin David. It was 1985: the era of Madonna, the Reagan administration, and the Millenials. It was also the year that the US Patent and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2012 at Kitchen Kwento
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I'm a bit overwhelmed by the profusion of Bay Area Filipino/American History events. In a good way. From the Kodakan exhibit, to Oakland Museum's Dia de los Muertos exhibits, to Joe Bataan crooning at Yoshi's, to a 100-year-chronology and exhibit of Filipino civil rights struggles "We Are America: Resistance and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2012 at Kitchen Kwento
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It's October. Welcome to 425+ years of Filipino American History. While reflecting on our community's legacies and connections to this land, we shed light on just how deeply this story is woven into the story of food and agricultural systems. This is true whether talking about the first Filipinos in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2012 at Kitchen Kwento
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The coconut kabayo (horse). Photo by Heidi Leung Panic. My kabayo was missing. In just one week, I was to lead a workshop on coconut cookery and this tool was essential. Sure, we would cook with canned and frozen coconut milk. Yet I wanted the kabayo to be there as... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2012 at Kitchen Kwento
Aileen Suzara is now following Tammy Donroe
Jun 15, 2012
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He wanted to apple galettes. Our farmstand only offered strawberry, and I told him so. "But I want apple," he insisted. It could have been a light bantering over fruit, in season or not, yet the exchange felt tense. His next words were the ones that got under my skin.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2012 at Kitchen Kwento