I’m very lucky to have a mother who’s a gourmet home cook and who has always been more than happy to share her knowledge with me. Toss in a penchant for exploring other cultures, and you get someone who’s fascinated with food! I find fantastic food wherever I go: the batidos (frothy fruit drinks) and casados (“the married man’s lunch”) in Costa Rica are just as tasty as the Currywurst and Dönerkebabs are in Germany.
My dishes are based on three principles: health, affordability, and flair. A big part of that three-pronged focus means choosing whole grains and natural sweeteners over their refined counterparts, and another part includes using plenty of fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices. The best single word I can come up with to describe my eating philosophy is that I’m a qualitarian — I’ll eat anything if it’s high quality. That means I prefer meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals, eggs from pastured hens, wild and sustainable seafood, and organic produce. Since good-quality produce, grains, eggs, and dairy are more affordable than top-notch meat and seafood, I tend to use more of the former. (Unless wild salmon is in season! Lamb is another one of my favorites.) Baking, too, is near to my heart, especially now that I’ve branched out into using unusual flours like teff and sorghum as part of my transition to gluten-free baking and cooking.
Aside from food and writing, my interests include languages, sailing, and dancing — my favorite kind of salsa is the kind you do on the dance floor. Fortunately, I live in metro Detroit, where the salsa scene is one of the best in the country. ¡Eso! (Here is my shameless plug for the Detroit salsa dance scene: if you want to know where to go and what to do, check out www.yasalsa.com.)
I’m also a freelance writer; not surprisingly, most of my articles are about food, health, and travel. Along with writing for magazines like Allrecipes and Eating Well, I’ve also written two cookbooks: Healthier Gluten-Free and The Big Book of Healthy Cooking Oils, both available wherever you like to buy books.
In addition to my culinary endeavors, I created my other company, Poignant Pen, for clients who need professional editing and book coaching assistance. If you’d like to know more about my wordsmithing services, feel free to stop by my Poignant Pen website.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to scour my local farmer’s markets and grocery stores in search of new and unusual ingredients to share with you!
Lisa Howard is the author of Healthier Gluten-Free (Fairwinds Press, June 2014) and The Big Book of Coconut and Other Healthy Oils (Page Street Publishing, Fall 2015).