What We've Been Reading

Adventures of a New York food writer abroad


What happens when you put a passionate New York foodie in Israel? A lot, at least if you judge by Katherine Martinelli’s website.  Not so much a documentary of Israeli eating and drinking (though there’s that, too), the site’s more an expression of Martinelli’s global passion for food, a passion she’s had since early years in her family’s Manhattan apartment, watching her father sautée garlic and tomatoes in olive oil.

In the interest of full disclosure (I always wanted to say that) I’ll admit I once had the pleasure of working with Katherine. I’d offer that up as some kind of personal bias towards her work, except no bias is required to justify digging her website. You’ll see pretty immediately, it’s just awesome.

Images courtesy of KatherineMartinelli.com

Case in point: abundance, organized. Martinelli’s site isn’t just a blog, it’s a food terrain, and a well-landscaped one at that. The site contains a blog (if that indicates some of its vastness) but it’s also teeming with recipes, travel stories, professional clips, and—because she never tires—an e-cookbook.  If this seems like a lot to digest (I said it) don’t fear; like I said, the site’s organized, so you can dip in and out without fear of getting lost.  And because Martinelli’s also a skilled photographer, photos are both technically helpful—as in “so that’s what my paneer curds should look like!”—and visually striking. It’s the kind of great photography you half hate, because it makes you very, very hungry.

The blog is updated on a regular basis, so you can catch up with recent recipes like Organic Chia Pudding Parfait, explore how culinary cultural collisions yield Iraqi-Jewish comfort foods like Marak Kubbeh Adom, or just settle in for something warm and classic, like the Potato Leek Soup Martinelli prepared and shared as the (displaced) US representative in the nascent World on a Plate blog project. 

Then there are the prolific “blog hops,” wherein Martinelli uses a post about a recipe like Leek, Potato, and Feta Pancakes to collect scores of other kindred recipes, in this case recipes for fried foods like Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts, Chicken Curry Blintzes—the list goes deliciously on and on. The beauty of the blog hop is it bundles recipes by theme, so if you’re looking to indulge your pizza lust, want to unload pounds of onions creatively, or if you’re just desperately in need a variety of “skinny” recipes to enliven a recent diet, you’ll find the collected culinary genius of the Internet at your fingertips.


But don’t stop there. Travelers and wanderlusters alike should check out Martinelli’s travel writing—she’s nothing if not generous with her experience.  Want to know about some of the best restaurants in Istanbul? What came of a pilgrimage for the best hummus in the holy land? How a New York native would strategize 10 days of eating on a brief visit home? It’s all there, written in the kind of narrative detail, culturally curiosity and mouth-watering attention to food that characterizes the most well-rounded travel writing.  If that’s not enough to establish Martinelli’s authority, check out her TEDx talk on the evolution of the recipe in the Internet age. Beyond the basic fact that you know you’ve made it when you’re presenting at TEDx, the presentation showcases Martinelli’s style—warm, knowledgeable, and unceasingly passionate about food.

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