Tattoo Project: Lila

Lila Current occupation: A cheesemonger as well as a line cook and kitchen manager.

What made you decide to get your first tattoo? I'm not sure what made me get my first tattoo. Everyone except my mother has tattoos, and a lot of them at that. So for me it was just a matter of thinking (but not too hard) of the right one. I was 18 and had just gotten back from a year of living in Israel before college. My older brother came with me.

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How many tattoos do you have? 11 (the 11th one being a full back piece)

Any special tattoos or ones that are more memorable? All of my tattoos are special. My first one was definitely the most thought out/planned. But all of them either have a meaning or at least a good story. My favorite one is the most simple: it's my dog's name written across the top of my left hand. I had gone through a bad break-up and had to pass off my dog to my brother while I couch surfed and looked for an apartment. My pup and I had lived together for 7 years at that point and I didn't know when I would see her next. So besides getting much too drunk every night following that break-up, I also got my dog's name tattooed. I went through a lot during that break up but giving her up seemed like the biggest sacrifice.

My favorite meal in 2014: Birthday dinner. March 7th at Roberta's. In addition to knowing much of the staff there, my boyfriend's roommate and good friend is also the GM. It was just the two of us for dinner on a Friday night. They didn't even give us a menu. The plates just kept coming out. And wine. And cocktails. When we asked for the bill they just shook their heads and sent us to the bar for more drinks. It was incredibly generous and fucking delicious. I still dream about that bowl of straciatella and sourdough bread. Even though we went to the bodega and got bags of Haribo gummy colas afterward.

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Scrambled Eggs With Shrimp

Eggs and shrimp I love eggs. I go through a dozen a week. Poached, fried, sunny side up, over easy, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled, omelettes, and steamed (think chawanmushi). One of my favorite dishes to get at Chinese restaurants is the scrambled eggs with shrimp.

When I was still living in Hong Kong (oh.....pre-1985), every time my family got take-outs there would always be scrambled eggs with shrimp. Besides the baked pork chop rice, the scrambled eggs with shrimp was probably my favorite thing to eat. It's a Cantonese classic dish and thankfully I can get some really tasty ones here in NY (and in LA). Ever since I learned how to cook for myself, I've been trying to replicate this dish but I can never get it right (texture and taste wise). My mom said the cooks add MSG to the dish and obviously uses a wok.

Check out my recipe for scrambled eggs with shrimp and peas. I use my mom's method of cooking eggs. Instead of using salt, she adds few squirts of Maggi seasoning and undercooks it so it doesn't dry out.

Serves 1

2 eggs 8 shrimp (Cause it's a lucky number?) Handful of peas (Or no peas if you hate peas) Salt and pepper Maggi seasoning (No Maggi? Try a splash of soy sauce)

Put a frying pan on medium flames and add oil to the pan. When the oil and pan are hot, add in the shrimp. While the pieces of shrimp are frying, crack 2 eggs into a bowl, add few dashes of the maggie seasoning and pepper. Beat and whisk the eggs till none of the egg whites are visible.

When the pieces of shrimp are pink, throw in the peas. Season with salt and pepper. Give the shrimp and peas a good stir and cook for another 30seconds. If the pan is a little dry, add some more oil.

Pour in the egg and let it sit on the pan for a moment. Let the egg set around the edge a bit before stirring it. Stir and turn the egg mixture until it's done but still a little bit runny. You want to leave it runny cause it'll keep cooking itself afterwards. You don't want dry scrambled eggs.

Other variations: My mom usually cooks eggs with just slices of plain onions or whitebait or yellow chives. They are all delicious.

Funny fact: When I was around 7, almost every morning my mom would make scrambled eggs over toast for me for breakfast before going to school. I'm not sure why but I remember hating it. BUT, when she makes it over the weekend, I couldn't get enough of it. Weird.

Tattoo Project: Anthony

Few years ago, I came up with this idea of photographing people that work in the food world (butchers, bartenders, chefs, cooks, busboys, farmers, brewers, people in offices working for food companies... so basically everyone) and their tattoos. I have 2 and planning to get more, so I came up with this idea of exploring the food world using tattoos as the idea. Also I needed to practice my photographing people (and not food) skills. This is also a continuation of my interest in getting to know the people behind the food and the food world. The end product may be a delicious plate of pasta but it took so many people to produce that one plate of pasta. I like to meet those people. Hit me up if you work in the food world and has tattoos. Let's talk!

I still need to give this project a name. If you got some ideas, leave them in the comment. Thanks

Thank you Anthony for kicking this project off.

Anthony

Name: Anthony Reuter

Current occupation: Volunteer Coordinator at Just Food, Board member at Hell's Kitchen Farm Project

What made you decide to work in the food world? Growing up in a family that valued farming, that had a long history of farming, that kept an impressive vegetable garden, and that put up those vegetables for the winter…this was just bound to happen. I was a kid who hated visiting the small Wisconsin dairy farm my dad grew up on and worked on. I thought it was smelly and just no fun. But during my last summer in college in Minnesota, I became a member of the Driftless Organic Farm CSA. I spent the summer learning how to cook seasonally from their newsletter, learning how to put up that harvest for the winter, and learning how my CSA farm made it all happen. In the fall, I traveled to the Growing Food and Justice For All Gathering organized, in part, by Growing Power, to connect this newfound love of sustainable food to a larger picture. At that point, I was hooked. After spending my high school and college years organizing in the queer and trans* youth movement, I realized food was my organizing tool. Food brings people together. And the industrial food system was severing our ties to something so vital to our survival. I felt compelled, but I also felt the most happy when I could talk about food and farming. I’m just a vegetable nerd.

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How many tattoos do you have? Two! But I wish I had more. I have a black and white heart with roots and tree branches on my left arm, and a color tattoo of ramps on my right arm.

What made you decide to get your first tattoo? The heart with roots and tree branches was my first. I got it six months after moving to NYC, sort of as a way to commemorate such a momentous change in my life, moving to NYC and getting more involved in food justice and anti-hunger work. I had also just gotten out of a short but intense relationship and wanted to practice some self-love and remind myself of the importance of rooted, community-based love.

Any special tattoos or ones that are more memorable? Both of mine actually! The ramps tattoo was because I wanted a reminder of spring and the renewal and rebirth that occurs every spring. Ramps are generally the first spring item to show up at farmers markets in NYC, and as a farmer's market manager at the time, I had a strong love for ramps and their importance to spring. I know ramps are also extremely trendy and people go a bit crazy over them because they are foraged and have such a short growing season, but they really are a signal of renewal for me.

Favorite meal of 2014? I took all of Just Food's interns who worked so hard on our annual conference (a food movement conference) to a private dinner at Back Forty West to thank them for all their hard work and commitment to Just Food and the movement. I was so excited to sit around a table with such talented, committed individuals and share a meal created by the great chefs at Back Forty West.

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