Weekend Inspiration: Faye Hess, No-Tech, and a Little Bit of Hippie

Weekend Inspiration: Faye Hess, No-Tech, and a Little Bit of Hippie

Dana Velden
Aug 10, 2008

Faye Hess is my latest kitchen crush. I can't remember exactly what interweb meanderings brought me to her cooking videos this week, but there I was. Within one minute of watching 'Making Gnocchi', I felt that delightful tingle you get when you recognize one of your people. My first clue: the potato peeling confession. Second clue: that fabulous green couch. Third clue: her fresh sage and garlic rap.

What I love most about Faye Hess is her cooking style. A little on the fly, a little scattered and tangental, but also energized and inspired and passionate. This is someone who really means it when she says 'knowing how to make chicken pot pie...can change you.' The problem? There are only four short episodes. Someone please go find her and help her make more.

Faye Delicious on blip.tv and Fayefood, her website

All the no-tech ice cream talk this week has reminded me of other no-tech kitchen favorites: the mortar and pestle, a stack of linen dishtowels, a balloon whisk and a little arm muscle. It's not that these things are superior to a dishwasher or a food processor, it's just that they create a different experience. Something slower, more hands-on and intimate.

Check it out for yourself and make pesto in a mortar and pestle. It will take two, maybe three times longer than a food processor or blender, but who cares! Get lost in the heady smell of garlic and basil and the rhythmic thump thump thumping of the pestle. Reap that satisfied feeling of having worked a little for something worthy. And then share the fruits of your labor with the one you love, preferably over a pasta with some extra parmesan on the side.

Mortar and pestle article and pesto recipe.

The Marin Farmer's Market is mighty upscale, there's no doubt. Witness the $12 wood-fired pizzas, the $8 slivers of (admittedly delicious) aged goat cheese, the $10/dozen pale blue-green chicken eggs.

What saves it for me is that touch of hippie that Marin is also famous for: witness the Jerry Garcia look-alike strumming his guitar in the central square or the pachouli-scented handmade goat's milk soap. Having been born too late to be a hippie and too early to have been raised by one, I suspect I have a somewhat romanticized, nostalgia-for-what-I-never-had relationship with hippie culture. But so what. The hippie factor keeps the Marin factor in check in my view. Besides, there's nothing better than standing in the shade on a hot August afternoon, chewing on your free sample organic peach slice and listening to The Wind Cries Mary.

Also inspiring at the market: early girl dry-farmed tomatoes, an amazing array of breads and well, that $12 wood-fire pizza was out of this world.

(Images: Dana) and ( Fayefood)

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