Edible Queens Year Two
Fall feels like a victory lap a gardener takes after three seasons of increasingly intense work—from enriching the soil and preparing the seeds to the backbreaking tilling, weeding, and watering that every flourishing vegetable patch needs. Come September, it’s pretty much time to savor the embarrassment of riches. Earthy eggplant slices or blistering peppers sizzle on the grill; chopped tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and fresh herbs morph into all sorts of tasty sides.
Yet my thoughts of fall are not really about sitting back and enjoying the harvest. Instead, autumn brings a sense of reflection. Perhaps because it happens to be Edible Queens’s first anniversary or the start of a new school year, or even because I celebrate my own birthday during those months, fall has routinely been the time when I evaluate what I have done so far this year, appreciate where I am today and continue looking forward.
It is with this theme of remembrance that contributor Ian Port deftly tackles Jessica B. Harris’s memoir, titled My Soul Looks Back. The Queens College professor reflects upon her life, the people she has met and the meals she has made (both flops and successes). In Port’s words, “It’s almost as if each chapter is simply a headnote for the recipe that follows.” In reality, it is not enough to say that food is a lens. Food, for me, is that ephemeral tangible that links memory with experience.
That appreciation for the present is captured by Rachel Safko in “A Good Tea Is Hard to Find,” in which Safko hunts NYC for the traditional Chinese tea ceremony called Gong Fu Cha and finds it at Flushing’s Fang Gourmet Tea. Gong Fu Cha is commonly translated into “ceremony,” which Fang’s owner, Pierra Cheung, amusingly notes “isn’t really a ceremony, or performance. From the old days, true Chinese tea is about becoming aware of one’s innermost feelings—it should elevate the spirit.” Trekking to Flushing to experience this is a must for me this fall.
When my vegan sister comes to visit, it’s been just plain hard to find decent vegetarian options, let alone vegan ones. No more. Alicia Kennedy shares five above-average spots she found in “No Animals Were Harmed.” In her words, “In the borough that delivers on everything else [Queens] does indeed feed its vegans—and well.” We've created the ultimate comprehensive guide to vegan eating in Queens, check it out here.
With the days of August numbered, I think about how Edible Queens has managed its first year—and feel comfortable knowing that it’s off to a good start. We have talented writers and photographers contributing to both our print magazine and with original content on the web. We are skillfully building our distribution points and increasing our marketing partners and I am pleased to say that we are becoming more recognized as the food and drink gateway to Queens. EQ couldn’t have gotten here without the help of many people—mainly Abby, Allie, Ed and Olivia, the core first-year EQ team. I appreciate all you each have done to get Edible Queens to this point.
Thanks also to Amanda Celestino, publisher of Edible Bronx (who is also celebrating her one-year anniversary), for many late-night conversations; Lexi Beach, owner of Astoria Bookshop, for being our first advertiser; and Rob MacKay of the Queens Tourism Council for his willingness to lend a hand or share a ramen burger whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Welcome year two!