from the editor
Photo by Gagewood Photography
On a recent evening, I made a beautiful salad to bring to a birthday party. I could have grabbed a ready-made concoction or, for a little less work, bought pre-washed, pre-cut lettuce and vegetables. But I found such joy in selecting the fresh, organic spring vegetables at the grocery store. At home, I took the time to wash and chop each individually, prepared a delicious dressing, and found a pretty bowl from which to serve it.
Convenience is pervasive, and I find that sometimes it’s not such a great aspect to our lives (it can make us lazy, overweight, and unhealthy). And when we pick up a pre-made meal, we lose the simple bliss of slowing down, being present, and taking part in crafting our own food.
I think it’s important for us to be connected to our kitchens (and not just the microwave). Increasingly, as a society, we are reaching for processed, fast food. Besides the glee that can come with cooking, it’s cheaper than eating out and it can lead to better health and help reduce the incidence of medical problems, such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity. We should take the time to become intimately involved in our nourishment.
This annual Cooks! issue is all about motivating you to get into the kitchen. We’ll introduce you to local “celebrities,” including Reno singer, artist, and philanthropist Catherine Farahi, who cooks from memories of her home country. Gina Lopez Hill, executive director of the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, connects to her Mexican heritage by preparing meals with her family. You’ll meet Eric and Stephanie Lerude, founders of running-event company Race 178. They make time for home-cooked meals shared around the dining table with their two sons. South Lake Tahoe entrepreneurs Jamie and David Orr love preparing multicultural recipes with their two young daughters. Finally, meet Diana and Aaron Hiibel, who created and, for 40 years, have run Animal Ark. You’ll discover how they feed both themselves and the animals at their Reno wildlife sanctuary.
In addition to those stories, you’ll find a fun feature on local cooking clubs. And check out our tips and tricks for making ice cream, cooking with roses, crafting fruit leather, and preparing food for a potluck, to name a few. Also, don’t miss our farmers’ market, farm stand, and community-supported agriculture guides in this issue and on our website, where you can click through 10 years of local stories, recipe videos, and so much more.
With all of these resources and inspiration, there are no more excuses. Get cooking!
About the Cover
Catherine Farahi — singer; pianist; artist; philanthropist; and wife of John Farahi, chief executive officer of Monarch Casino and Resort Inc., the parent company of Reno’s Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno. Photo by Candice Vivien