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
SEPTEMBER 9, 2010 10:51AM

Letter from Gainesville: We Are Not All Crazy


The time has come to state the obvious.  For the past few days, my inbox has been filled with anxious messages from friends and family: the crazy Koran burners are from Gainesville! OMG! What are you going to do? I can't believe Gainesville is so filled with crazy people!

 … Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 5, 2010 10:02PM

One Ton of Manly Labor

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My father grew up in a restaurant. His parents owned the Golden Dragon, a sprawling Chinese eatery in Portland, Oregon that offered egg rolls and grilled-cheese sandwiches on its official menu and bitter melon with black-bean sauce and birds’ nest soup on its unofficial one. He t… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 30, 2010 7:30AM

The Most Exotic Thing I've Ever Eaten

Far-away cultures and folkways intrigue me. But there is one culture in particular that captured my imagination and filled me with fascination and envy. For as long as I’ve known about them, I wondered what it would be like to live among these romantic souls. To breathe in their folkways, so… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 22, 2010 9:28PM

Betrayed by Peaches, and Relishing It

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They say eating peaches straight from the tree is a magical experience. They lied.

The peach trees in my life have been filled with peaches and disappointment in equal measure.  When I was growing up, one of our neighbors was blessed with a runty but prolific peach tree.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 16, 2010 9:59AM

My Worst Job (and Best Pork Chops) Ever

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I once had the worst job ever, and all I got from it was a secret for great pork chops.

 I was just out of college, and working as an au pair for a family living near Lyon, France’s second-largest city. I was a hard-core Francophile, and this… Read full post »


The principles of cooking are a bit like the principles of language: some rules are immutable and others beg to be broken.

 Non-negotiable cooking rules are driven by either common sense (“avoid setting yourself on fire”) or by the physical constraints of ingredients… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 2, 2010 2:51PM

East Meets West: A Pan-Asian Take on “Coffee Cake”

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When most families buy a tub of ice cream or order a birthday cake, they go for chocolate or vanilla. Not us: we always went for coffee.

Coffee was and still is my parents’ favorite flavor for sweets. The birthday cakes they chose for family celebrations were almost… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 25, 2010 7:50AM

Fire and Ice: Shape-Shifting Soup for Sultry Days

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Summer has always been my favorite season. As a child, I loved my mornings by the pool, my lazy popsicle-filled afternoons playing with my Barbies, and those long, late sunsets scented with barbecue smoke. So deep was my love of summer that I sometimes suspect I chose a… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 26, 2010 4:59PM

The Dogs of War


The last Friday of the month meant two things to me back in grade school: air-raid sirens and hot dogs. Both of these things disturbed me.

I never got used to the melancholy wail of those sirens, which were strange box-shaped speakers tucked into odd corners all overRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 21, 2010 11:51AM

Koeksisters: The South African Sweet That Sucks


I was born in Pittsburgh and raised on a steady diet of Brady Bunch reruns, Barbies, and TV dinners, with the occasional ten-course Chinese banquet thrown in. My husband Glenn grew up in Johannesburg with childhood memories of being chased out of a river by a charging hippo and… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 13, 2010 10:03PM

The Fruit Tart of My Nightmares

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Dreams of flying speak to your ambition. If you dream of ghosts, you fear death. But what does it mean if the dream that haunts you and leaves you in a tearful sweat of panic every night is about—fruit tarts?

In The Worst Dream Ever,  I'm… Read full post »


This is a story about French home cooking, and a dish that won't be found in any cookbook.

The story unfolded during my after-college stint as an au pair in charge of four kids in suburban Lyon.  One of my responsibilities was cooking dinner for the kids, who… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 29, 2010 4:45PM

The Burger of a Lifetime

The smell of burning money was making me hungry.

 We'd been at it for three days. Each day was the same: get up, put on those ridiculous white sweat suits, then catch a cab to the funeral home. Then spend the next twelve hours folding strips of gold-flecked paper into… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 23, 2010 8:07AM

The Sacred and the Profane: How To Make Tortillas

Tortillas are sacred in the Zapotec village of San Lucas Quiaviní, Oaxaca. Devotees worship then by ripping them into little pieces and dunking them into soups, slathering them with spicy stews and sauces, wrapping them around little pieces of grilled meat, or otherwise laying waste to them inRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 13, 2010 1:48PM

Why I Hate Peas

   You can't make me eat this!

 I hate peas.

 I hate how their tough, wrinkly skins get stuck in my teeth. I hate how their dry, starchy innards squish out of said skins when I bite down on them. And I hate that grassy, muddy taste that recalls lawn clippings. Yes, I know I'm supposed to/… Read full post »