In her biweekly column, A Shared Tradition, CIA grad and amateur food historian Molly Siegler cruises around the world (and into the depths of her pantry) to explore the versatility of a single food item.
Today: Some people play with leaves outside. Molly prefers to do so in the kitchen.
Photo by Joseph De Leo; styled by Mariya Yufest
Fall is my favorite time of year. The light is sharp and slanted, the breeze is crisp, stirring up just enough trouble. And -- even more than the warm summer months -- everything fall brings seems edible. Maybe that’s because we’re returning en masse to our kitchens, cranking ovens and happily settling in to an afternoon’s worth of prep work. With the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot creating heaps of autumn nostalgia, I figured, why not get in on the game, according to my own rules?
I once did a scientific tasting of all the leaves in my backyard. Steer clear of the fuzzy ones (trust me). But many leaves are edible or can at least be cleaned and used as a cooking vessel. Cooking in leaves is a practice steeped in tradition and offers a wry wink to the harvest season.
Two-bite dolmades grace Mediterranean mezze tables and can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature.
Tamales are found all over Central America and the Caribbean and can be either savory or sweet.
These are just a few of the ways I like to travel by way of edible leaves. What other regionally inspired flavors would you use to make these steamable packages your own? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
Do you love a good food theme as much as I do? Tell me what food items or themes you'd like to see featured in this column and your idea could be the subject of an upcoming post!
Like this post? See Molly's previous topic: Flatbreads.
When she's not dreaming up themed menus and exploring the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, Molly's dishing out other delicious content as the assistant editor for the Whole Foods Market Cooking program.