My ambition in life is to walk comfortably in as many worlds as possible; I've found that food is the thread that connects them.  Food can lead us through history, and bridge differences in culture and class. Following the thread means I explore food in the kitchen and beyond, and to that end, this blog is divided into two projects:

In the Food Desert Project, I attempt to create interesting and relatively healthy recipes using foods that can be purchased at a drugstore or dollar store in an urban food desert.  These recipes use pantry staples and many of them have been so successful that they're in my regular rotation at home. Every other week, I offer a snippet on food policy or other food industry news.

My other project, which I call Sundays with Sparky, chronicles my sometimes amusing attempts to teach my son to cook. While the way to a man's heart may be through his stomach, the way to Sparky's is through engineering, science and other geekery - so while I do try to teach basic cooking skills, I'm not above smooshing some additional education, humor, and the occasional explosion into this project.

Welcome! I look forward to bringing you in to my kitchen.

About the author:

Michele Hays believes that any dish, even one that’s strange to you, communicates the care of the farmer, forager, market and cook who brought it to your plate. At her blog, Quips, Travails and Braised Oxtails, she puts on her explorer hat, rolls up her sleeves (and sometimes the sleeves of innocent bystanders) and shares her adventures in cooking, eating, and understanding our relationship to food.  Read more at our former site, here.

Michele also offers in-home cooking classes and parties for the culinarily challenged in the Chicago North Shore area.