With Susan Berkson (center) and Bonnie Dehn (right.)
My interview with Susan Berskon and her co-host Bonnie Dehn on "Fresh and Local" on AM950 The Voice of Minnesota was scheduled to begin at 8 am on Saturday morning, but I woke up at 4:30 am even though it going to make me only fifteen minutes to get there. Such was my anxiety. Thankfully, all of that anxiety was unfounded as they were extremely welcoming and made me feel quite comfortable. "Just like a bunch of friends talking about something they like: food, " Susan said, before going on air. And so it was. After the initial couple minutes of nerves, I could have continued for maybe an hour talking about my approach to cooking, my attempts at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, my journey to Minnesota, my Trinidadian roots, and the farmers' market. Although the broadcast was live, you can still listen to it by clicking here; scroll down on the left, my segments are in parts three and four on October 3rd.
The following day, I was the featured cook at the live cooking show "Sunday Cooks" produced by Sandy Hill in the Farmers' Market. "Sunday Cooks" is an hour long presentation featuring local cooks who create a couple of relatively simple dishes utilizing mostly local and seasonal foods. I opted to make Cumin Potatoes, and Caramelized Apples with Almond Topping.
Once again, my day began in a bundle of nerves, not knowing what to expect, how well my dishes would be received and worried about the rapidly plummeting temperature. But once I met Sandy, all of my worries were allayed. Just like Susan and Bonnie the day before, she assured me that this would be similar to cooking for my friends at home. The format was informal, allowing the audience members to approach the cooking station, look at the prep work and ask questions. There were some questions. About the cumin potatoes: can any type of potato be used (yes), and why use whole cumin as opposed to ground cumin (whole cumin stays fresher for longer but ground cumin can also be used); about the caramelized apples: what apples would be recommended here (any variety) and what is almond powder (simply, ground almonds with a small amounts of sugar mixed in to prevent caking.)
The entire show went by so quickly and smoothly. Sharing my thoughts on food and cooking, and actually cooking for a crowd are the two experiences I am thrilled to have had. Afterwards, I was able to meet and chat with Tou Vang and his wife who are known throughout the market for their garlic and shallots. I learned that the Vangs are exceptionally receptive to the needs of their customers and are happy to try to grow a new vegetable if asked. This is part of the beauty of the market: farmers listen and respond to the needs of the community. And as the days get colder, I am grateful for those farmers who come out in spite of the weather; such is their commitment to what they do. This was the first year that I got to truly appreciate the market; more than that however, I was privileged to meet some of the people that make the market the attraction and Minneapolis establishment that it is.