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On November 7th the people of Ohio decisively shot down contentious Issue 2. However, the lesser-publicized ballot Issue 1 passed with flying colors due in part to the emotional appeals made by celebrity Kelsey Grammer. This ballot issue proposed a type of Marsy’s law that provides many new protections to crime victims that will be written into the state’s constitution.

Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast.

There are lots of implications to the sweeping changes made by Issue 1’s passage and it was contested by the ACLU, the Ohio public defender, and the state prosecuting attorneys’ association. To learn more about the concerns of the legal community, I spoke with Mark Collins a practicing Columbus defense attorney, graduate of Capital Law School, and member of the Board of Governors of the Columbus Bar Association.

What Does Issue 1 Promise?

Issue 1 replaces the previously existing victim notification laws in Ohio.

It amends the Ohio constitution to afford the following guarantees to victims of crimes in the state:

  • The right to be notified about and present at all proceedings
  • The right to the prompt conclusion of the case (for the victim)
  • The right to reasonable protection from the accused
  • The right to be notified about release or escape of the accused
  • The right to refuse an interview or deposition at the request of the accused
  • The right to receive restitution from the individual who committed the criminal offense

That all sounds pretty good in theory, so…

What’s Wrong With Issue 1?

The main concern seems to be the shortsightedness of the law. The full impacts weren’t necessarily taken into consideration before it passed, so there is some confusion among the legal community about how these changes will be implemented once the law goes into effect in mid-January. The potential problems with the law are manifold. First being the idea of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Mr. Collins doesn’t doubt that there are places that could definitely benefit from a Marsy’s law: “ You know it is a good cause. In the states where it evolved and how it evolved, they didn’t have a victim’s bill in place like we did ours. This wasn’t necessary for the state of Ohio.

Not Broken, Don’t fix it

Unlike the laws that let Kelsey Grammer’s father’s killer back out on the streets without notifying the family, Ohio’s notification laws were functioning quite well before this initiative was raised.

Mr. Collins explained: “They sell it as a natural extension of the law that we already have. But it’s not, the law we had prior to this […] it worked. The notification aspect worked. […] Victims could get information 24 hours a day seven days a week.”

Who is the Victim?

Furthermore, the law guarantees lots of new or extended protections to victims without clarifying exactly who qualifies as a victim. Since victims now have rights, it is important to know exactly who the victims are so that each of those people can obtain representation, be appropriately notified, etc. This opens the door quite wide, Mr. Collins explained it to me this way: “ a victim means either a victim or another person who’s been harmed as a proximate result of the action. So that means if the victim is deceased it could be their family members. So again take it to the next level. Does that mean mom and dad each get their own attorney does another relative get an attorney? You know, who are the actual victims in that situation?”

Additionally, Mr. Collins explained that unlike the right to a lawyer, of which you’re informed of when you’re Mirandized as an accused person, there is no funding attached to this legislation to provide representation for the victims: “So now the victims and their families have due process rights. So what that means is A: they have the right to a lawful representative. But the reality is, unless they’re going to provide funding for that, that means that wealthy people or affluent people who are victims can have a lawful representative with them. However if you’re poor or indigent. There’s no provision for you.”

Impact on Discovery

Discovery is the process through which defense attorneys work to uncover potentially exculpatory evidence. Sometimes this requires requesting or subpoenaing information, documents, or other materials from the victim or prosecution team. Under the new law, the victim can refuse to release information to the defense team — thereby inhibiting discovery. And now that the law is in place, they’re theoretically free to take that action– without a judge’s review.  Mr. Collins explains it like this:

“Before this election, if I subpoenaed a victim’s, let’s say phone or computer, and the prosecutor felt it was infringement or invasion of privacy. What would happen is the prosecutor would file a motion to quash the subpoena. We would then have a hearing and the judge would decide what to do. That’s a proper forum to protect my client’s due process rights. Instead, this allows the victim or victim’s lawful representatives to say ‘no’. They’re not going to comply they’re not going to turn stuff over.”

 

Impact on Speedy Trial

Introducing these provisions also has the legal community worried about the defendant’s right to a speedy trial, because the timing impact here is hard to estimate. First, you’re increasing the number of people who are entitled to representation in the case, as we discussed earlier with victim identification. So now there could be many people involved in the process. Additionally, you’re interjecting the victim’s right to a swift resolution of the case… but which right gets priority? The victim’s right to a swift resolution or the defendant’s right to a speedy trial?

Mr. Collins explained this confusing situation with the following scenario:

“They want the victims to be free from unreasonable delay in a prompt conclusion of the case. OK. If you asked a hundred criminal defense attorneys and 100 prosecutors in the state of Ohio what a prompt conclusion of the cases you would get nine million different answers based on the type of case the type of evidence where the witnesses are whether or not it’s you know there’s a DNA testing blood testing. So what this allows is the victim and their lawful representative can object to a continuance. OK. Now the way the law is written is then it gives the victim an appellate right immediately. And what I mean by that is if the judge says no I’m going to continue this, like the defense or the prosecution wants […] and the victim disagrees, they now can go to the appellate court. And then the appellate court has to rule. So what do we do with the criminal case? Are we on hold? Is my defendant’s right to a speedy trial on hold?”

No Actual Recourse and No Funding

As you can see there are lots of interesting scenarios that people in the legal community are worried about. Overall, Mr. Collins understands that the victim’s rights causes are important, but disagrees that Ohio needed new legislation. Besides the lack of funding for the law, the kicker seems to be that there is no actual recourse for the victims if these laws are not adhered to. The state has immunity– if someone forgets to notify the victim, or neglects to inform the victim of the proceedings, or to follow any of these new rules… there’s nothing the victim can do. So the law “has no teeth” as Mr. Collins described it.

Overall, Mr. Collins described his concerns this way “the version that was passed in Ohio interjects the victim’s bill of rights, so to speak, into every process of the criminal justice system in every stage. And what that will do is that will create higher costs. It will create delays in the system and it will create more injustice for those accused than it will help the victim and the victim’s families because again there’s no remedy for the victim’s families.”

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

We’re ready for the holidays. It’s December.  We got past Halloween and Thanksgiving without cranking up the Christmas tunes too early. It is finally appropriate to spread some holiday cheer. Here are some spots to help you get all sparkly this month:

BYOB Holiday Trolley

Every friend you have has already marked themselves “interested” in this event on Facebook… and with good reason. This 4 hour tour has it all. Kick it off at Pint House and then visit the Scioto Mile lights, Statehouse and Capitol Square, the Columbus Zoo Wildlights, and more. Plus. you get to BYOB.

Wild Lights at the Zoo

This is an obvious one, but not to be overlooked. AEP provides power to 3 million twinkling lights adorning the 200 acres throughout the month of December.

Zoo Lights with Family 🎄🐫🎅🏼🦍🎁🐅

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Franklin Park Conservatory Gardens Aglow

The prettiest place in Columbus gets a holiday makeover. “View elegant displays of poinsettias, seasonal foliage and twinkling lights enhanced by sleek and bold mid-century modern design elements.”

Oakland Nursery

Between the Christmas trees on the lot, weekend visits with Santa, horse-drawn sleigh rides around the 10 acre property, and the magically decorated Christmas shop… you’re running out of reasons not to visit the original Oakland Nursery location before Christmas arrives.

Posted by Oakland Nursery on Monday, November 20, 2017

Columbus Commons Holiday Lights + Scioto Mile Holiday Lights

Stop right in the heart of downtown to see 320K LED lights bling out the Columbus Commons or walk along the Scioto Mile to see another  250,000 lights (from Bicentennial Park in the south all the way up to Broad Street).

The Polar Express on COSI’s Giant Screen

Bring the kids out to enjoy The Polar Express in “COSI’s National Geographic Giant Screen Theater with hot chocolate, cookies, and other surprises. Pajamas are welcome!”

Gateway Film Center Holiday Movie Classics

Every year GFC plays classic holiday films– this year they’re doing a Naughty and Nice theme. All your favorites are in the mix, along with some surprises and old-school gems.

Where do you go to get into the Holiday spirit?

Header photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

It is apparently National Cookie Day, which we believe is worth both acknowledging and celebrating. Here are our staff votes for favorite cookies in town:

Acre’s Sweet Corn or Ginger Chew

These cookies are big and soft and packed with flavor. The ginger is a traditional, zingy delight and the sweet corn is a slightly unusual take on your classic soft sugar cookie.

Northstar Cafe’s Peanut Butter

Official state cookies? #startthepetition (via @marrymecincy)

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Everyone knew this place was going to be on here… for sheer size alone, they can’t be rivaled. We especially like the peanut butter one because of the tons of peanuts on top for crunch and salty/sugary topping.

Laughlin’s Bakery Lemon Madeleines

These cookies are decadent and delicate and make you feel like you’re doing something very indulgent by eating them. Not to mention the beautiful packaging and presentation… v fancy.

Pattycake Bakery Iced Cutout or Classic Tollhouse

This dang snow person sure is excited to be a cookie. #cookies #vegan #whatveganseat #pattycakebakery

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Columbus standards. We love the seasonal rotation of iced cutouts that are always decorated so cute, but the Classic Tollhouse chocolate chip is soft and chewy and hard to beat. Plus, it’s all vegan.

Fox in the Snow Raspberry Crumb Bar

Happy Monday friends! Have you tried our raspberry crumb bars yet? 😍❤️

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Not teeeechnically a cookie, but are you really gonna fight us on this? Shortbread base, sticky caramelized raspberry jam and a streusel topping… this is one crumbly confection.

Pistacia Vera’s Macarons

‘Tis the season . . . perfect $21 gift.

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These are classics. Pick a flavor you like best –we’ve been in love with both the caramel and pistachio ones– and you can’t go wrong. Plus they’re ever so pretty.

We’re sure we must have missed at least one Columbus favorite… What cookies do you love?

Header photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

 

I am not a fan of the minimalism trend.  The actual origins at the core of the minimalist movement are different from the minimalism trend (aesthetic and supposed philosophy) that are sweeping the culture right now.  

To be clear: I am totally on board with reducing America’s insane consumerism and unnecessary waste. And I agree that when things are organized and visually simplified I feel more psychologically at ease. But the trending culture that has built up around minimalism bums me out.

One of the main reasons I’m not a fan is because it is not an accessible (or even very realistic) lifestyle goal. If you’re not a young, unattached, well-off person who wants to be unfettered and just travel the world all the time, then the minimalism trend isn’t talking to you. If you have a realistic view of your life and what you’d like it to be– not an Instagram-inspired delusion about perfection and simplicity and freedom and beauty– then you probably also think minimalism is useless. 

Minimalism all looks the same.

This Insta-worthy life you’re crafting, full of stark whites and beiges, raw wood and stainless steel… it looks exactly like everyone else’s. There’s very little individuality to the minimalism trend, which is what makes me so suspicious of it. If minimalism is meant to be a way of life, how can it all look the same? How does sucking all the flavor from your life somehow make it better?

Minimalism criminalises sentimentality.

To become a minimalist, I have to get rid of every worn book I have read and loved and written notes in the margin. I have to  take down all the beautiful photos of my family hanging on the walls and pinned to the bulletin board and stuck to the fridge. I have to throw away the shoebox full of love notes my mama wrote me over the years. Then I’m supposed to replace everything with greige walls and cool, stainless steel racks sparsely covered with 400 thread count sustainably harvested linen sheets and hand-thrown pottery.

Minimalism is not mindfulness.

This is where I think people get confused. There is no moral factor associated with minimalism. Having fewer things does not somehow make you better, humbler, simpler, more pure. That’s bullshit. Spending real time and effort thinking about people outside of yourself and how you can improve yourself and the world for the people around you… that might make you better or more pure. Thinking about how your actions (not your STUFF) affects others (not yourself), is how you improve the world and how you improve your own mental health. That’s mindfulness. I just find the whole premise of the minimalism trend, like many other aspects of trending culture (wtf is with selfies?!) to be incredibly self-centered.

Minimalism is a privilege.

Here’s the big one. Minimalism is a privilege. It is a fad for wealthy people to get on board with and for others to lust after. Step one of minimalism is to clear out all of your stuff and getting rid of things is only easy when you have lots of things to begin with. Then you’re supposed to replace some of your normal things with very high-quality, luxury, or unnecessarily expensive versions of those things. Minimalism is not attainable for many people– I would argue for most people– it is just another picture of perfection that you’re supposed to consume and internalize. In the 90’s it was maximalism you were supposed to lust after– the lifestyles of the rich and famous were full of excess and things.

If you’re looking for the supposed mental benefits of minimalism, I don’t think that getting rid of your extra wine glasses is going to get you there. Try looking inward, to determine why you’re unhappy or unfulfilled. Try mindfulness. If you’re looking to reduce the impact that consumerism has on the world, think about scrutinizing the companies and products you consume. Try learning about sustainability or becoming involved in environmental activism.  

Just remember that there is no one right way to live.  Cheers to whatever you determine is right for you.

Photo by tu tu on Unsplash

Did you know that your Columbus Metropolitan Library system just partnered with a video streaming service to offer you access to more than 26,000 movies? That means that while Netflix is jacking their prices up again, your 100% free CML card is opening up the world of fine film from the comfort of your home.

The service is called Kanopy and it is like Netflix for people who seriously love film– think foreign films, documentaries, indie films, the ones that win awards. The ones that make you think. Plus some of the Blockbusters too. Furthermore, you can access Kanopy from your iPhone, Android, AppleTV, Roku, or Chromecast.

Here are 5 of the thousands of movies available on the service:

The Witness

You may remember learning about Kitty Genovese in your high school psychology class, more specifically about the phenomenon of many people witnessing a crime and assuming that everyone else is doing something about it. This documentary, lead by Kitty’s younger brother, explores the facts behind the mythologized murder and  gets to the bottom of the real story.

Watch the trailer for The Witness

 

Claire in Motion

This film, set in Athens, OH, follows the wife of an OU academic who goes missing in the Hocking Hills region. After police abandon the search, Claire takes it up and starts to uncover clues that make everything fuzzier. (Their son is played by Athens native Zev Haworth, whom I used to babysit.)

Watch the trailer for Claire in Motion

Dogtooth

This is, without a doubt, one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen. Definitely not for the faint of heart. This Greek dark comedy (emphasis on the dark) earned an Oscar Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. A controlling father tells outlandish lies in order to keep his adult children from leaving their family compound. The resulting behavior is as jarring, occasionally comical, and deeply disturbing as you can expect.  (If you liked The Lobster, this is up your alley. )

Watch the trailer for Dogtooth (or maybe don’t)

House on Haunted Hill

This 1959 classic “horror” film is based on the book by Shirley Jackson. An eccentric millionaire invites five people to stay the night in his haunted mansion– whoever makes it through will win $10,000. Starring Vincent Price, the patron saint of horror camp, tons of XL cobwebs, at least one clearly-made-of-wax decapitated head, and all the shrieking ladies you can handle.  

Watch the trailer for  House on Haunted Hill

 

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

A French musical masterpiece presented in dazzling colors as only possible in 1960’s celluloid. Catherine Deneuve works in an umbrella shop where she meets her love. The rest is beautiful, cult, history.

Watch the trailer for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Header photo by Noom Peerapong on Unsplash

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and a bevvy of creative chefs, mixologists, product makers, and other great minds in town, we decided to put together a little list of great recipes you can include in your Holiday feast.

Healthy

Alexis Joseph’s Healthy Green Bean Casserole

If you’re looking to avoid some of the decadence and excess of the most glorious, gluttonous holiday, then Alexis Joseph (a.k.a Hummusapien) has just the festive recipe for you.

 

Cara Mangini’s Turkish Carrot Yogurt Dip

We interviewed Cara recently about her highly acclaimed cookbook and she told us about some of her favorite Thanksgiving recipes— but you’ll have to buy the book to get those. In the meantime, check out this Turkish Carrot Yogurt Dip as a light way to kick off your holiday appetizers.

 Sweet

Taylor Riggs’ Almond Butter Date Thumbprint Cookies

Taylor is a dietician and her recipes focus on balance. This lovely dessert would be perfect with tea after a big dinner and isn’t too bad for you. Almonds and dates are a classic wintry flavor combo.

Jeni Britton Bauer’s Coquito Lady Cake

A great holiday cake recipe from the queen herself… because what goes better with ice cream than cake? Coquito is also known as “Puerto Rican Eggnog.” It is a coconut twist on the holiday classic and Jeni’s cake is covered in a thick layer of Coquito-flavored frosting. 

Boozy

Watershed Distillery’s Copper Fox

This sophisticated gin drink will wow your guests. Serve as a complex aperitif with appetizers.

OYO + ROOT23’s Apple Pickin Cocktail

This is a boozy twist on a classic apple cider. All the perfect Fall flavors made with local syrup and spirits.

Bonus:

Faith Durand, Editor of the culinary world famous site The Kitchn, is located right here in Columbus. Which kind of makes all of these recipes local… right? 

20 Fresh and Colorful Salads for Your Thanksgiving Table

Feature photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

There’s a great old movie called “Teacher’s Pet,” made in 1958, in which Clark Gable plays a hard-nosed newspaper man named James Gannon. He’s in a feud with Doris Day’s character, who is a journalism instructor at a local night school. Gannon thinks going to school for journalism is bogus — the only real way to learn is to sweat it out in the newsroom: 

Teacher’s Pet (1958) Paramount Pictures

“So he’s got more degrees than a thermometer, so he speaks seven languages, so he’s read every book. So what? The important thing is he’s had no experience. He didn’t start at the bottom and work up. That’s the only way you can learn.”

Turns out, there’s lots of people who are starting to agree with Mr. Gannon and this week, National Apprenticeship Week, is dedicated to those kinds of people. I wanted to explore some of the reasons that the apprentice model is having a revival, why it needed a revival at all, and how it is affecting lives right here in Columbus.

I spoke with Beth Gifford, President and CEO of Columbus Works, to get her take on some of these national trends and how her organization is working to change things here. Columbus Works is a non-profit organization providing job training and placement services to area residents living in poverty who desire to advance to economic self-sufficiency through employment. Her insights into the local labor force were incredibly helpful as I started to tackle this question of “why don’t we work with our hands anymore?” 

Changing Attitudes About Work

First it feels important to address a mindset shift that seemed to occur sometime in the past 50 years. Many of our grandfathers worked with their hands. Throughout America’s booming years, there was ample manufacturing– especially in this part of the country. And then somewhere along the line, the idea of working with your hands became somehow less than. There were no shortages of jokes about plumbers or factory workers in sitcoms when I was growing up. It seems that almost everyone united under the premise that a four-year degree in a liberal arts discipline was somehow the pinnacle of education.

Slight hiccup: there’s not tons of practical use for those degrees without further training or even more advanced degrees…

Mike Rowe, the guy from the Dirty Jobs show, talks about this phenomenon all the time:

“I strongly support education in all its forms. I have a college degree, and as I’ve said many times, it’s served me well. But I believe society is making a terrible mistake by promoting college at the expense of all other forms of education. For instance, the surgeon […] will never make it to the hospital to successfully remove my appendix without a functional infrastructure, which depends almost entirely upon an army of skilled tradespeople. And yet, our society clearly values the surgeon far more than mechanic who keeps her car running, or the contractor who put in the roads that allows her to drive to the emergency room.”

America’s College Tuition Crisis

As the quotes above describe, one of the most obvious reasons that people are turning to trades, and one of the most vigorous topics of discussion in the US right now, is the skyrocketing costs of college.

Last year Time magazine looked back through their archives to see how the conversation on college costs had changed over the century they’ve been covering topics of interest to Americans. What they found was that while the costs of tuition have always been of concern to American families, the scale of those costs and increases is at an all-time high. Meaning that proportional to family incomes, the cost of attending college has been inflating exponentially.

While the costs of attending college are rising, the number of students attempting to attend college is also rising  (probably because of that perception that college is the only way to go). But a slimming margin of those people are actually finishing the degrees they set out to achieve. This means rising student loan burdens and declining diplomas. CNBC sites “over 44 million Americans collectively hold more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt and only 54.8 percent of students graduate in six years.”

The Retiring Workforce

Besides the ever-blooming costs of college and the decreasing odds that those who start to pursue degrees will ever finish them… there is the aging workforce handling those skilled trades jobs Mike Rowe talks about.

During America’s booming manufacturing years, it was considered both lucrative and respectable to pursue a career in a skilled trade. Until, for some reason, we all changed our minds about that…  

Beth Giffords says that “for several decades it was not a priority to encourage youth or students to participate in apprenticeship programs. While there were still apprenticeship programs in place, there was little focus on encouraging participation.”

Now we’re in a collective position where the skilled workers are getting old and they’re ready to retire, but there’s almost nobody ready to take over for them. The stats on baby boomers currently holding skilled trade positions, and how few young workers are in line to replace them, are dumbfounding. Research conducted by Adecco says that by 2020 there will be 31 million jobs vacated by retiring baby boomers without skilled workers ready to take over. These are positions like electricians, HVAC techs, plumbers, pipe fitters, construction workers, and machinists.

But combating that paradigm we’ve created about the superiority of “thinking-based” collegiate careers versus labor-based skilled trades isn’t easy. I asked Beth Giffords about what has changed in the new wave of apprentice work, part of it seems to be effectively conveying the value of the training and part of it seems to be adjusting the nature of the work itself:  

Technical schools, educators, and employers are successfully marketing the value proposition of working in the skilled trades to students, their parents, as well as adults in career transition. Companies have enriched jobs in the skilled trades, to include technology and requiring decision making and judgement. This new skilled trade job is attractive to the 21st century worker.”

Earn While You Learn & Apprenticeship in Columbus

This movement towards experience-based learning has many advantages and there are groups right here in town working to train and employ apprentices in many different fields.

Columbus Works helps to bring people out of unemployment and into lucrative positions. And they’re very successful at it. Gifford says that “82% of our working Members retain employment. 10% have been promoted this year.”

We’ve written about Franklinton Rising, which provides training in construction and homebuilding, and the HireLevel Auto group which trains young people to be auto mechanics. Additionally, Columbus State provides incredible two-year degrees and many apprenticeship programs designed to put people to work quickly– sometimes while you’re still in school.

A Tale of Two Degrees

I am the recipient of a Bachelor’s degree in English from the Ohio University Honors Tutorial Program and I have been paying on a mounting pile of student loans for almost a decade now. Recently I refinanced them all into a single, giant payment and will hopefully kill them in the next 5 years, but those payments are staggeringly high and my path to my career was a winding one supplemented with lots of bartending.

My husband had a BFA in Painting and Printmaking that he was using to work at a string of local coffee shops until he decided to attend Columbus State for the Electromechanical Engineering Tech program. He was done in 2 years flat, we were able to pay for all of his schooling out of pocket as he pursued this degree and he started earning money (and credit towards his degree) at Honda during the second year of his program. Now he is employed on Honda’s maintenance team full time and could basically get a job anywhere on earth with his skill set. Plus he makes more money than me. (I’m clearly a convert.)

Beth Gifford talked about the life-changing aspect of the “earn while you learn” model, especially for people who were entirely out of work before pursuing their apprenticeship:

For adults transitioning from unemployment getting involved in an apprenticeship program increases their earning power in a shorter period of time. What may have taken 7-10 years in working their way up, maybe getting on-the-job training opportunities, can be completed in 3 years.

So, what kind of opportunities exist locally for people in skilled trades?

Short answer: tons.

Gifford said that “individuals who have completed a skilled trade apprenticeship program can expect to be in demand by employers all over the city.” Their opportunities can include “industries such as facilities management, building services, construction, healthcare, manufacturing, automotive services, transportation, air transport, and distribution.” Additionally, the “employees with excellent soft skills combined with their skilled trade credential can expect to be courted by multiple employers.”

I don’t know about you, but “courted by multiple employers” sounds to me like a pretty enviable position in 2017 America.

Feature photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Cara Mangini has been chopping vegetables for a long time.

You may know her as the genius behind local staple Little Eater. But Cara has traveled and worked all over the world, including her training as a vegetable butcher at Mario Batali’s Eataly. Now you can add author to her list of accolades… and a pretty good one at that.

Just recently, Southern Living magazine listed her cookbook “The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini”  as number 2 on their list of the 100 best cookbooks of all time.

We asked her some questions about this recent honor and for some pro tips for eating in this zip code.

You’re on there with some serious legends… we’re talking Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Fannie Farmer and Alice Waters. How does it feel to be listed amongst culinary royalty?

I am honored and so grateful! This particular list is really special because so many of the cookbooks are classics and I look up to many of the chefs and authors as my culinary heroes. To be in their company and receive recognition as an all-time best, hopefully will get The Vegetable Butcher into more hands and ultimately, help people celebrate vegetables and cook more intuitively with them every day. That’s my goal always. 

Photo by Rachel Joy Barehl

What do you think your book adds to the cannon of food lit?

I designed The Vegetable Butcher to be the ultimate guide to cooking with vegetables—how to select, store, prep, slice, dice, and masterfully cook vegetables throughout every season. It’s a resource that demystifies produce with my tips, tricks, techniques, and how-to information that somehow no one ever taught you. It’s also a traditional cookbook, with over 150 recipes, that makes vegetables less intimidating, and more exciting and practical for everyday cooking.  I think it gives vegetables well-deserved recognition for flavor and abundance, not sacrifice or obligation. My hope is that my cookbook will prove to be timeless and inspire readers to put vegetables in the center of the plate and most importantly, find the joy and beauty in cooking with seasonal ingredients.

What is your favorite cookbook? Is it on the list?

I could never choose a favorite cookbook! There are so many books on the list that have influenced my cooking and that I admire including, but certainly not limited to The Silver Palate, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, The Art of Simple Food, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The New York Times Cookbook, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, The Victory Garden Cookbook and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Dorie’s Cookies and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home (instant classics) have become more recent favorites.

Why write a cookbook these days when you can have a YouTube cooking channel or a food blog?

There is nothing like a cookbook to have and to hold! Cookbooks, good ones, have been tested thoroughly and designed to teach, inspire, and to get messy and to use. Most people, myself included, find inspiration and culinary education in so many different ways and certainly different media channels, but a thoughtful and well-curated and researched cookbook (the kind you know was a labor of love for the author) will always be my number one.  

Can you talk a little about the difference between inventing food and cooking it for people (like you do at Little Eater) and teaching people to cook your food (like you do in the book)?  Do you prefer one or the other? How do you feel about releasing that level of control over the outcome?

When I was in the recipe-testing phase of writing The Vegetable Butcher I didn’t sleep much! I would test and retest a recipe even if it was the middle of the night. I felt the pressure of getting it exactly right to ensure that my science experiments could be repeated over and over by anyone who picked up the book. At a certain point, I had to recognize that most cooks will make a recipe their own and not follow the recipe exactly… and that’s okay. There are so many different variables in the kitchen. I have had to get comfortable with giving up control. Knowing that I put in the work to write recipes that work gives me some peace of mind.

Cooking for people at a restaurant is equally terrifying to me, but I appreciate being able to control the outcome and the whole experience. I always want people to be happy with the food on their plate whether I taught them how to make it or whether it was a dish I created for them in my restaurants or at home.

Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting Photo from Matthew Benson

Thanksgiving is coming up, what recipe from the book do you recommend for the holiday table?

I have a ton of favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the book. It is the end of harvest season—one of the most exciting times to cook with vegetables. Some of my favorites are Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Parmesan, Celery Root Pot Pie,  Sweet Potato Latkes with Cranberry-Chipotle Jam, Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting, and Spiced Winter Squash Chèvre Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust.

Where do you grocery shop in Columbus (besides Little Eater of course)?

Honestly, I really only shop at Little Eater Produce & Provisions at North Market for local produce, pantry basics and all of my favorite food items from artisan makers in Ohio and beyond. (It’s all the stuff I can’t get anywhere else!)  I buy cheese at the Black Radish at the North Market. I buy Dan the Baker bread at the farmers’ market.  Right now, with our new restaurant opening in Clintonville I am not cooking much (at all) at home so there isn’t a need for a lot of groceries.

Feature photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

One of my most haunting college memories is from a house party with a bunch of hockey players.

I was there with my former roommate– who was dating a hockey player– my cousin, and my very close friend. We had been drinking, as was customary for a Saturday night at OU, and I was admittedly pretty intoxicated.

At some point in the evening I entered the livingroom to see a very, very large hockey player face-down on the ground. It looked like he was passed out. Adrenaline kicked in and I immediately sprung into action. I was afraid he would puke and drown in it, or that he had cracked his head when he dropped, or I don’t even know.. just that he didn’t look right.

I ran over to him and began to try and flip him over to see if he was breathing, to see if he needed medical attention. No one would help me.

I was confused. I kept tugging on his arm and asking for help– this guy was huge. No one budged.

He wasn’t moving at all. I was getting scared and increasingly mad that everyone seemed to be standing in a circle around the edges of the room motionless.

After what felt like several minutes, this dude got up and started laughing. The room filled with garish, carnivalesque laughter.

He was fine. He had been faking it.

I was horrified.

I ran all the way back to my house. I felt so profoundly stupid.

How many of them had been in on it? My friend Nick consoled me as I sobbed on his shoulder, saying he couldn’t tell it was a prank either. My sweet little cousin said “I was one step behind you honey.”

I just kept saying “He looked like a ragdoll. I thought he was dead.

I think often about that night. It has stuck with me for nearly a decade now. That feeling of helplessness and embarrassment stemming from what should have been the right instinct. To run in. To protect. To help a human I thought was in danger. It was a filthy trick that I have never ever forgotten.

Each time a hazing or drinking death comes up in the news– like the recent tragic story of Timothy Piazza at Penn State— I relive the somewhat blurry moments of that hockey party.

As an adult with a child on the way, I again feel helpless when I hear stories like this. With the advent of social media, there is a new level of potential embarrassment and peer pressure layered onto the enormity of young adult social situations. What if someone had taken a video or a Snapchat of that moment in my life and broadcast it to the world? The multiplicitous eyes that could have mocked me or left sneering comments…

But when I think about it now, I’m so glad that the outcome was just me looking like a silly drunk girl. Because the outcome could have been a mother losing a son.

I’m glad I was wrong. I’m glad I looked stupid. I’m glad I was raised to be someone who runs in.

The details of Piazza’s death are stupefying. Not least of which is the fact that it took hours for anyone to call for help. If even one of those boys had the sense to run in, to help, to protect, maybe this story would have turned out differently.

Now the question becomes, in this modern age of swift and relentless judgment, how can we raise kids who are willing to run in?  Even when it means getting laughed at.

I think the answer is manyfold, but we can start with teaching empathy and personal responsibility.

Every time I made a poor decision, my parents would ask me something like “how do you think that made your sister feel?” I was trained to think about how my words and actions impacted other people. This doesn’t mean that I never do careless things, but it does mean that when my actions hurt another person, it bothers me deeply and I am compelled to rectify the situation.

As the oldest child, the heaviness of my role was constantly reinforced. I am responsible for not only my actions, but I am also a guide to the smaller people who look up to me. Sometimes the burden of this responsibility was stifling and overwhelming, but ultimately it made me very prepared for a world where many people are going to need many things from you. I think of myself as a steward of those in my care. If I let them down, I let myself down. When my child makes a decision that hurts another person or sets a bad example, I will ask them to think about the consequences of those actions.

This is how you build an internal compass. A compass that works no matter who is standing around watching, judging, trying to sway it.

The day after that party I called home. I couldn’t get it out of my mind and I was obsessively stewing on it. My mom put my dad on the phone. He asked if I had been drinking, a question I answered truthfully. And then he said he was sorry I had been tricked, that he was proud of my instinct to help and that I did the right thing…. even if I ended up looking like a fool. And I believed him.

It didn’t take the sting of embarrassment away, but it reinforced that compass they had worked so long to calibrate in me.

These aren’t new lessons. They aren’t tied to any specific faith. They are very basic ground rules for operating in a world with other humans. And it is high time they make a comeback.

I come from footballers… “But that’s European football, dear” as Mrs. Doubtfire once said. This whole mess with the Crew has had me a little worked up.

As I drove down 71 south on my way into work Monday morning, at the inevitable slowdown of the curve passing Mapfre stadium, I saw a giant rear-window sticker on a hatchback in front of me. It said #SAVETHECREW and it reminded me of the seriously passionate fans this city has played home to for some 20 years. I am a lightweight comparatively, but a soccer lover nonetheless. And since I moved here I’ve had many a summer and fall evening dressing in black and covertly sipping booze on the walk down North 4th. Hopping the train tracks and crossing the parking lot towards the big lights of the stadium.

Having the pioneering MLS team and stadium in this city is important to me. My husband and I ranked it strangely high on our list of reasons to stay in Columbus (neither of us is from here). And since moving to Columbus I’ve never lived in a neighborhood where I couldn’t hear the announcers from my yard.

This has been a rough couple weeks to be a Hooligan.

Even with a vibrant rally on the steps of City Hall, the fate of the Columbus Crew MLS team doesn’t look bright. While I’m misty-eyed about the news, I can’t imagine what the real, die-hard fans are feeling. So I decided to ask.

Jon Winland is the VP of the Hudson Street Hooligans since their founding in 2006 and GM of Hendoc’s pub the official home pub of the Hooligans. I caught him as he prepped the bar before a recent game to ask him some questions.

Jon and his fellow founders started the club because they “would see other teams come to town with large support.” And the Crew’s cheering section just didn’t feel up to snuff at that time. So they started the Hudson Street Hooligans “to try to get more people out and to make it more interesting.”

The club grew quickly, starting with 10-15 members in their first year and then growing to 1400 paying members at the club’s peak. Mostly Jon says the growth was because they “had a lot of fun and knew how to have a good time.”

What Was it Like at the Beginning?

The short answer seems to be: rowdy. Jon said that it wasn’t what you see now, “everyone is in the Nordecke now, there’s not as much division between the club and the general supporters.” But he also notes that the increased general support is better than just having a small group of rabid fans. The Hooligans didn’t just support their Crew at home either, “we were the ones that started traveling to away games.”

The club popped up around the same time that Chicago and DC were forming their own clubs and before that, Jon says, “there wasn’t that European style of support” but “that style of support was a matter of time.”

The initial Hooligans were definitely less tame than their current Nordecke representation would have you believe. Games were different back then, “You throw things on the field, you could do a lot, they were not as conscious about what we did in the earlier days.”

Why Here?

I said that Columbus seemed like an unlikely place for soccer to succeed, just as a casual intro to another question, but Jon stopped me in my tracks. He was surprised by this. It was as though it had never occurred to him that Columbus was anything but the perfect home for MLS.  “Didn’t surprise me at all” he said. “Central and Northern Ohio have turned out lots of MLS talent and club soccer in Ohio has always been huge.” Plus, “Columbus didn’t have the Jackets at that time, no major league teams.”

What about cities with larger populations from soccer-loving nations, I ask, like the Latino population in Miami… Jon thinks that it is mostly a “misconception from owners that cities with more cultural diversity are better” for soccer teams. His Hooligans are living proof that Columbus is as good a place as any.

What’s Next for the Hooligans?

I opened my call with an apology, noting that it was a hard time to be a fan at Jon’s level. Precourt’s announcement blindsided everyone (including players). By the time we’ve talked through all the kickass memories of starting the club and Jon’s paused at least once to yell to eager patrons that the bar isn’t open yet, we have to get around to the hard topic.

Jon doesn’t beat around the bush: “There is a large soccer population. To take the Crew would be a travesty… displace all those youth programs… it wouldn’t be good.”

I say that the rally was a good sign of large scale support from community members and wonder what is the next best move. He says “Bringing awareness to the public and bringing awareness to the league. Columbus is a staple in the league.” He stresses the historic aspect of the Crew and the “importance Columbus plays in US soccer history” closing with an analogy that hits hard:

“Would NHL move the Detroit Redwings? I don’t think so.Any club that was a founding 4 or 6 of league shouldnt’ be able to move.”

Overall, Jon was very humble about his role in the Hooligans and about the club in general. But when I ask about what the Hooligans have meant to the Crew and to MLS in general, he’s clear about one thing for sure “Creating the soccer movement, we certainly did that. Anybody who watched the MLS the last 20 years… there’s a direct relation to Hooligans as a club. We were out there being boisterous, being loud, doing things.”

All photos courtesy Hudson Street Hooligan's Facebook Page