Always Hungry

Explorations of a culinary industry burnout

Felicia Lee

Felicia Lee
Gainesville, Florida,
December 10
Always welcome--grab a plate and help yourself!
I am a freelance writer and editor. My professional experience has included testing video games, technical writing for the Space Shuttle program, making desserts in a five-star hotel, and teaching theoretical linguistics at a number of major universities. I love writing, I love cooking, and I especially love writing about cooking. Thanks for coming by!

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 7, 2011 5:27PM

Funeral for a Friend: The Last Days of Books, Inc.

  Books Inc.

Books, Inc.  505 NW13th Street, Gainesville, FL. Note the ominous green realtor's sign on the left, which everyone has been pretending not to notice.

There’s a comfortable uniformity to college towns. Visit enough of them and you’ll notice certain distinctive traits:Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 1, 2011 7:44AM

Half-Fast Cooking: Easiest Chinese Meal Ever

 chinese oyster sauce noodles

It’s not fast food. It’s not slow food. It’s... half-fast food! The second in an occasional, sloth-driven  series.

I admit it. I'm a total snob when it comes to Chinese food.

Growing up in  proud Chinese-American family, I used to be both puzzled and annoy… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 21, 2011 9:42PM

Eating (Really) High on the Hog

fried pigs' ears

The expression “high on the hog” originated from the general belief that the choicest cuts of pork came from high on the animal’s anatomy – the back and upper legs. Thus, these cuts were more expensive, and those lucky enough afford them were said to be living (or eati… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 17, 2011 9:50PM

Half-Fast Cooking: Brunch for the Lazy

chocolate-peanut butter-banana fritter

It’s not fast food. It’s not slow food. It’s... half-fast food! The first in an occasional, sloth-driven  series.

Back when I worked in the pastry kitchen of a swank beach resort,  I dreaded Sunday brunch.  The resort’s brunch was a $75-per-person af… Read full post »

Korean tacos 

In grade school, I learned to be a  patriotic American. At the front of every classroom was an American flag, and every morning for nine years (the school went from first through ninth grades), my classmates and I  stood facing it, right hands over our hearts, and solemnly rec… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 21, 2011 7:34AM

On The Wings of (Reflected) Glory

Summer pasta with corn, tomatoes, and bacon

A beginning birder started showing up at my Audubon chapter’s field trips last year. She was friendly, smart, and ferociously curious; and despite starting out barely able to tell a penguin and an ostrich apart, a fantastically good sport in a group dominated by experts. She asked tons… Read full post »

 banoffee pie

I could have been a contender.

I was SUPPOSED to be a contender. I breezed effortlessly through grade school and high school, earning A’s on almost everything I touched. I boasted an impressive array of extracurricular activities, from multiple honors societies to volunteeri… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 11, 2011 4:56PM

Eat Like a Bird!

 northern parula

 (Cross-posted at my birding blog.)

This Northern Parula flew 1,000 miles or more across the Gulf of Mexico – without stopping, eating, or sleeping – before landing in Florida during spring migration. This grueling flight took the tiny bird-- just over 3 1/2 inches lon… Read full post »

 lemon squares and scones

Last fall, Lucy Mercer initiated a project to bring Open Salon food writers – and the products of our kitchens – together in meatspace. As part of Imperial Sugar Company’s  Bake It Forward program, we’d each have a turn to receive a box of home-baked… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 3, 2011 7:12PM

You Really Shouldn't Be Eating This

 yemas de santa teresa

In my family, cholesterol is the source of all the world’s trouble. Boatloads of the fatty stuff course through our collective veins with varying speeds of efficiency.  My parents regularly interrogate my sisters and me about our cholesterol levels and warn of the horrors th… Read full post »


 peregrine falcon

(A slightly different version of this story appears on my birding blog. And yes, this is -- sort of -- about food.)

             Jake still hasn’t returned my call, my mother won’t stop calling, and for some stupid reason I pr… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 20, 2011 9:36PM

Where Are You From? It's Complicated (But the Food Is Great)


Every Asian-American has to deal with The Question:

“So...where are you from?”

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I finally realized why everyone was so baffled by my perfectly truthful one-word answer (“Pittsburgh!”) I’ve grown to dread the… Read full post »

 vegan white lasagne with chard

What do you do when the person you thought you knew better than anyone else suddenly turns into something entirely different? What happens when you discover your most fundamental beliefs about the dearest person in your life turn out to be wrong?  And most importantly, what the he… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 1, 2011 7:51AM

Foodie Tuesday: Dreams of a Drowning Sandwich

 torta ahogada

Is it possible to crave something you’ve never tasted? Could you ever have an irrational, stalker-like obsession with a dish you’ve never encountered but just know you’re destined to love? I have.

 My obsession began several years ago, when I lived in California… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 9, 2011 7:57PM

A Surprise from the Sunshine State: Minorcan Clam Chowder

 minorcan clam chowder

When most people think of a steaming hot bowl of clam chowder, they don’t think of Florida. But they should.

I didn’t think about clam chowder when I moved out here, either. But I did think a lot about how bummed I was to leave behind the culinary… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 27, 2010 12:41AM

New Year's Hot Pot: Party Food for Homebodies

Chinese hotpot

If life were fair or logical at all, I should have been the queen of party girls. I grew up in the Hollywood Hills (yes, those Hollywood Hills), only a stone’s throw from the legendary party district where Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, and Frank Zappa started their careers. On weekends,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 4, 2010 7:36AM

Biscotti, Naughty and Nice


Claude was my first and only – and I’m glad it was him.

He was a raffish blond who resembled a perpetually hung-over cross between Daniel Craig and Julian Assange. He spoke with a nearly incomprehensible French accent, which only added to his mystique. Women flung themselv… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 14, 2010 7:59PM

An (Almost) All-American Thanksgiving


Ungrateful whining is an American child’s birthright. But if you grow up in an immigrant family, you have a whole battery of things to whine about that other kids don’t.

For one, your parents and their friends will insist on infesting every event with dorky, embarrassing… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 31, 2010 9:19PM

Scary Things To Do with Pumpkins

 pumpkin gnocchi

My scariest Halloween involved several confused Dutch semanticists, a screaming French-Canadian dressed like a skeleton, and half a dozen seriously mutilated pumpkins.

I was living and teaching in Vancouver at the time, and attending a Halloween party hosted by a young colleague of mi… Read full post »

OCTOBER 25, 2010 12:06PM

Cheesecake for Dinner!

 blue cheesecake_6962blg

When I made my ill-advised decision to go to cooking school, I chose a certificate program in pastry and baking. This choice was motivated by two factors: first, I’d heard that work in the pastry kitchen was slower paced and less stressful than work on the hot line. (ThisRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 17, 2010 9:13PM

Grossing Out My Inner Child: Savory Apple-Onion Galette


When I was a kid, I had a couple of non-negotiable views about apples. First among these: they were fruit, which meant they didn’t count as dessert unless cooked and sweetened in some way. Apple pies and apple turnovers counted as suitable desserts. Slices of apple and apple piec… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 3, 2010 8:46PM

The Best Time I Never Had: A Life Lesson from Hummus


I dreaded every day of graduate school. I felt awkward and insecure around my brilliant and worldly classmates, and was terrified of my even more brilliant (and all incredibly famous) professors.

I shouldn’t have been. And now, after a decade of teaching in other programs, I rea… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 6:44AM

Their Lox Is Our Gain

 salmon pasta_6031blg

Every family cherishes its food traditions: a secret recipe, an immutable Christmas menu, or a  weakness for the starvation foods of the old country.

My family is no different. Our traditions have been largely shaped by my mother, who has a passion for matzo ball soup… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 22, 2010 9:12AM

Adventures in Flakiness and Sloth: Blitz Puff Pastry

 fruit turnovers_5967blg

Making things makes me happy. Friends and family often give me knitting yarn and cookbooks for my birthday instead of sweaters and dinners out. Nothing is more soul-filling for me than watching some useful – and sometimes tasty – object coming into being in my hands.

But l… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010 12:49PM

Multicultural Baklava in Honor of a Good ‘Hood


A Canadian friend from college liked to say that Canada is more of a salad bowl than a melting pot. I wasn't sure what he meant by this at the time -- but I finally understood years later, when I moved to Vancouver for a teaching position at the… Read full post »