Wilder Hungers: Gabi. 23. NYC

Header by Rory Midhani

Wilder Hungers_Rory Midhani_640px


Hello Autostraddle! My name is Gabi, and I’m a Florida girl living (and eating) the dream in New York City. I’m an aspiring food writer but until then I will keep eating, cooking, exploring, and telling you all about it! (Sorry in advance about the food porn.)

pho

I may live in New York now, but this has never been, nor will it ever be, my real home. I come from a small town in Central Florida called Winter Haven. It’s one of those cliche everyone-knows-everyone kind of towns, where people wear camouflage like it’s casual and keep pounds of deer meat in their freezers (What, your town’s not like that?) I’m not judging these people, though — I love these people. When I went home to visit last weekend, my father informed me that I’ve become somewhat of a local celebrity. “What the heck did I do?” I asked him. “You live in New York City!” he said.

gabi

So yeah, I guess all I had to do to gain local fame is leave town and stay gone. Not as easy as it sounds. For some reason, my peculiar little town is always sucking people back in. Maybe it’s because of all the pretty lakes. Maybe it’s because it never gets cold. Maybe it’s the new Legoland they recently built smack dab in the middle of the town (doubtful).

Here’s a shot of my backyard in Winter Haven.

Winter Haven, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

And here’s one of my “backyard” in New York.

New York

New York

For me, what I miss the most is my family. I’m the youngest of three girls, and I have seven nieces and nephews who I grew up with as if they were my own siblings. It’s hard not being around them everyday, but I moved here for a reason.

things you can't do in central florida: go pumpkin picking!

things you can’t do in central florida: go pumpkin picking!

My whole life I only had two consistent hobbies: eating and writing. (For a brief period in the mid-nineties, thanks to Harriet the Spy, I also was obsessed with spying on people. Thankfully that didn’t last.) I didn’t actually think about pursuing eating or writing as a career until after I graduated from the University of Miami, when I found myself holding an art history degree for no reason whatsoever. I then decided to apply to culinary school so that I could A) move to New York City and B) be surrounded by my one true love all day long: food.

So, I did it. I got in, I went to New York, I finished cooking school, and I gained the customary 15 extra pounds that comes with enrolling in the French Culinary Institute.

Tarts

some tarts i made while going to culinary school

Life was awesome. In the meantime, I was continuing my food blog that I’d started in college while also inhaling every food publication on the market. I realized eventually that I’d known all along what I was supposed to do: eat food and write about it. I guess my next challenge in life is getting a job that allows me to do just that? Who knows. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime I’ll just keep eating and telling you about it for free!

Korean Buffet

also from school: Korean Buffet

Let me start by saying how stoked I am to be blogging for you. To be honest, I had never heard of Autostraddle before I started dating my girlfriend and she told me about it, nine months ago. To be fair, I hadn’t heard of a lot of things (like twerking or juice fasts) before I moved to New York. I quickly submitted a recipe for poke to the Get Baked column, and I also wrote a piece about Grilled Cheese Day! Now that I’m an avid reader, I don’t know how I ever lived without this place. I really can’t think of any other site where I can learn about gender neutral pronouns and how to make a cake from meat and mashed potatoes ALL in the same DAY. I mean that sincerely! My interests are fickle, and there’s always something on this all-encompassing site that strikes my fancy.

So this leads me to ponder what I can offer all of you in terms of reading pleasure. I have three consistent passions in my life: condiments, collecting shawls, and Golden Girls marathons. I’m not the funniest girl out there, nor am I the coolest (read the sentence before this one if you forgot why). But if there’s one thing I feel qualified to talk about, it’s food.

The name of this column, Wilder Hungers, is from the foreward of The Gastronomical Me by the incredible M.F.K. Fisher, whom I obviously love. (Drop everything you’re doing and go read How to Cook a Wolf  if you haven’t already.) In the foreward, Fisher explains why she’s compelled to write about food, and how the simple act of cooking and sitting down to eat with people you care about overlaps all of our basic needs: food, security and love.

I tell about myself, and how I ate bread on a lasting hillside, or drank red wine in a room now blown to bits, and it happens without my willing it that I am telling to about the people with me then, and their other deeper needs for love and happiness.

There is food in the bowl, and more often than not, because of what honesty I have, there is nourishment in the heart, to feed the wilder, more insistent hungers. We must eat. If, in the face of that dread fact, we can find other nourishment, and tolerance and compassion for it, we’ll be no less full of human dignity.

Not a day goes by that I don’t put an excessive amount of thought into what I feel like eating. More than eating, I love to feed others, which is why I’ve decided to kick off my Autostraddle blogging career with a recipe!

Dinner Party

Dinner Party

I had a dinner party at my new apartment the other night. By ‘dinner party’ I mean my girlfriend and my cousin came over. I decided to try to make one of my favorite foods of all time, scallion pancakes! I was wary. I order them from Seamless at least twice a week, and my favorite Chinese restaurants never disappoint. When they’re soggy, I love them. When they’re flakey, I love them even more. Would my own version stand up to these delicious little triangles of oily goodness? The answer is no, but I still thought they were really good.

Dinner Party

New Apartment

where the eating happens

where the eating happens

more new apartment

more new apartment

Let’s make scallion pancakes!

Whatcha need:

2 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 cup boiling water
2 cups finely chopped scallions (I cut off the white part and the gnarly top bits and used the rest!)
Canola oil
Salt

Directions:

1. Measure 2 cups of flour in a bowl and slowly mix in 1 cup of boiling water until a dough forms. I used a food processor and it came together rather quickly, but I see no reason why you couldn’t just do it by hand.

2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes. You want to make sure the dough isn’t sticky. If it is, just sprinkle a little more flour on the surface while you’re kneading.

3. Roll the dough into a ball and put it in a bowl with a moist (ew hate that word) towel over it and let it rest for 30 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at at a time, roll out the dough into a thin oval. Brush the dough with some sesame oil and sprinkle some salt and a good handful of the scallions over the top.

5. Starting with the long end, roll the dough in a jelly roll fashion. Scallions are going to try and fall out. It’s fine. Just tuck them back in and pinch the dough appropriately. Once you’ve done that, coil the dough like a snail and tuck the end underneath. Flatten your dough snail with the palm of your hand and roll it out into a flat disk. Don’t have a rolling pin? No problem. I used a wine bottle like the class act that I am.

6. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook each pancake for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.Cut them into wedges and serve (with some soy sauce or whatever dipping sauce you like). MUNCH.

scallionpancakes

Thanks for reading! Let me know how your scallion pancakes turn out!

 

Gabriella has written 26 articles for us.

43 Comments

  1. Well, I had to google what scallions are. I didn’t realise there were so many American words I didn’t know. Apparently PLL isn’t teaching me the US vocabulary I actually need in life. Because these look so very tasty and now that I know that scallions are UK spring onions, I will definitely be trying that recipe!

    Also, as someone who is completely obsessive about food – I look forward to more of your writing!

  2. Please tell me everything you learned at the French Culinary Institute so I can become the chubby, gay Julia Child I’ve always been destined to be!!!

    Welcome to the team, Gabi! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us/fall in love with you (Don’t worry, it happens to me with every contributor, just let it happen….)

  3. I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU WHEN YOU GAVE US THAT POKE RECIPE, MY LOVE GREW DURING THE GRILLED CHEESE POST, AND NOW HERE YOU ARE, A REGULAR FIXTURE IN MY LIFE. GOODNESS GRACIOUS, THE WORLD IS SO GOOD TO ME.

    no but for real, it is so cool to see you writing for us regularly, gabi! welcome, and please keep the pictures and the recipes coming…everything (apartment, nyc, florida, food, you, etc) looks delicious.

    • I was totally obsessed with that movie for most of my tween years. I, unfortunately, was not as good a spy as I wanted to be. I then, in lieu of spying, tried to just eat tomato and mayo sandwhiches.

      This lasted less than a tenth of the time I tried to spy, as I hate uncooked tomatoes.

      I always felt like such a failure.

      • I did the same thing but hated mayonnaise so…..yea. At least my attempt on making a spy belt was more or less successful (journal, pens, yoyo, binoculars, compact mirror so I could see people approach from behind)

  4. That quote from M.F.K. Fisher was kind of my everything. I’m one of those rare natives of NYC. And the older I get, the more I appreciate food from outside places. Obviously, as a New Yorker, I grew up in a culture where we would eat out or order out if the day ended with “y”. So eating at a restaurant was never particularly special. Then I lived outside NYC and realized that not every restaurant is awesome.

    (I will state here: not every restaurant in NYC has the best food ever. However, per capita, NYC has some of the best food ever. EVER.)

    I also have the lovely dilemma of being a compulsive overeater. So while I love discussion of food, and delighting in food, I have to be conscious of how much I am eating for fear that I can fill myself to the point of purging. Or I can have the opposite effect where I won’t eat enough, and I will stop at a shop on the way home for junk food and gorge myself on that.

    Apologies for bringing the negative effect of food into this. Your writing is actually quite delightful and completely non-negative. I look forward to more!

    • Hi Rachel,

      No worries. We’ve all been there. That used to be me ALL THE TIME. It’s so hard to find balance- especially living in New York. I find myself sometimes going out to dinner and then walking home and buying food from a cart because it looks so good.

      Thanks for the compliment! I hope to keep my writing about food non-negative because I don’t ever want my readers (or anyone) to have an unhealthy relationship with food. Food is life! Balance is key 🙂

  5. For anyone interested, my family trick with scallion pancakes is to use ice cold water and make sure to create a ton of flaky layers with vege oil. You can make a huge batch, freeze it raw and pan fry for quick munchies too.

  6. Oh Gabi, this is so wonderful.

    “In the foreward, Fisher explains why she’s compelled to write about food, and how the simple act of cooking and sitting down to eat with people you care about overlaps all of our basic needs: food, security and love.” I am so excited to check out a book by Fisher.

    Over the past year, my partner and I moved onto a 70 acre coffee farm that belonged to her grandfather; allotting us 5 acres to use. (It has much more than coffee-avocadoes, oranges, grapefruit, many types of bananas and plantains, guava, passionfruit, pumpkin etc) We have come to a similar conclusion: Food. Is. Everything. Not only do we want to cook quality food, but we want to grow it and we want to share it by providing it to other people. I should mention we live in Puerto Rico (where my partner is from) who imports about 85-90% of it’s food from the United States… talk about a slew of issues right there.

    OKAY. I am going off an a tangent. My point is… I am really excited to see a writer for Autostraddle who appreciates the importance of food. 🙂

    Can’t wait for further articles and to try all of your recipes!

    • YOUR LIFE IS SO COOL! I’m Puerto Rican too you know 🙂
      My cousin and his wife just left me in NYC to go to Puerto Rico and start a sugar cane farm so they can make some artisanal small batch rum. I’m so jealous of their (and your) lives!
      Next time i’m on la isla I should check out your farm!

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.