• Almila Kakinc-Dodd's Pantry •
Almila is the creator of The Thirlby, a blog on wellness, design, and finding the beauty that underpins everyday life. Her approach to wellbeing and her story on how she got there is nothing short of inspiring, from her personal path fighting autoimmune disease to her immigration story. Her upcoming book The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, and Soul will explore these theme and will offer precise, easily attainable advice on meditation, herbal first aid, zero-waste living and delicious grain-free and sugar-free recipes. Look out for its release April 2018!
She shared her ideas of health, family & life with us here through an exploration of her pantry filled with homemade condiments, adaptogens, seasonal vedge & SALT. Let’s peek inside.
- "My food style is a narrative, like my work at The Thirlby & as an Integrative Medicine Practitioner. Our lives are stories that are either uncontrollable facts or fictionally woven into our lives by our beliefs. Health is never merely physical or a diagnosis, so I listen to stories as a whole to identify psychosomatic connections for myself and my clients so as to rewrite ideal versions of health and life.
- I take a similar approach in my kitchen. Every meal I cook, every ingredient I use, every utensil I stir or scoop with, and each plate I share it all over with has a story. This can be a memory or the care that goes into the food from a farmer or company. I’m mindful of the thoughts I have stirring as I prepare a meal. The reason why a mother’s meal tastes better truly is because of the energetics of preparation—it’s love. And that’s my style: cooking with love, in love, for love.
markets & shopping
- Ideally, I source all of our fresh produce from the farmer’s market down the street from my house on Sundays. Again, it’s an experience. I have my egg lady from Pine(!)line Poultry, who has a binder of photos of her hens. Otherwise, we go to our local co-op Common Market, which also works directly with local farmers. For things they don’t carry, like my beloved Pedderson’s Farm no-sugar added pastured bacon or other oddities, we’ll go to Whole Foods or Wegman’s.
- I have autoimmune illness and various allergies. When I was diagnosed with them and Celiac’s Disease, being in the kitchen was frankly not that fun. That’s when I turned to fine dining chefs. I read books by Anthony Bourdain, Dan Barber, Alice Walters, David Chang, Magnus Nilsson, and Francis Mallmann.
- I found my poetic soul-sous chef in Gabrielle Hamilton—can you tell I cheese over her with my Prune cookbook above?! These are all chefs that cook with many ingredients I can’t eat but have taught me to push boundaries of creativity. I can’t eat tomatoes, so I will slow-roast beets & carrots as a replacement. Many fish condiments have additives I must avoid, so I make my own, like Hamilton’s octopus broth instead.
- Hamilton’s work has taught me my biggest inspiration: food should not be wasted. There’s inspiration in what we otherwise consider trash. Make a zucchini top salad (recipe in Prune), save vegetable scraps like onion peels to put in your bone broth, or compost it.
- My most coveted items are in the fridge are condiments. I ferment my own sauerkraut at home for three months. That pink jar pictured above is purple cabbage with fresh ginger, turmeric, and dulse, an Icelandic seaweed.
- I also love preserved lemons, Spanish olive spread by Matiz, Eden’s brown mustard (the only one made without additives or sugars), cultured coconut yoghurt (which I also make myself), and always chermoula. I also always have a huge bottle of apple cider vinegar, which I use in baking and for beauty, to make my weekly hair mask, which I have the recipe for in my upcoming book!
- I also reuse containers, which is why there’s always random jars in there.
- SALT! I love kala namak (Indian black salt)’s flavour of eggs and the texture crushed Maldon salt has as a garnish. I’m a big fan of my friend’s company Mizuba & her collaboration with Jacobson for matcha salt.
- Other items include dulse flakes, Omica Organica’s unprocessed stevia, high quality oils like unrefined coconut oil or California EVOO, and Mediterranean herbs. I get dried herbs from back home in Turkey or from Daphnis & Chloe, which sources from Greece.
- I always have a plethora of chocolate. I only go for bars without refined sugar. I flat out have a collection of Addictive Wellness chocolates, which are co-owned by a woman & are handmade in California. I love Eating Evolved and Guittard’s unsweetened bars with a smear of sprouted almond butter or grass-fed ghee. I make both of those condiments at home. I also have spent a ridiculous amount on shipping to get Pana chocolate from Australia . . . more than once! Food is a luxury, an indulgence, and privilege. I’m grateful I can experience that through chocolate.
- I don’t need to mention how big of a staple adaptogens are in my kitchen. I source them exclusively from Sun Potion and Anima Mundi, which is woman-owned. I also love the entire line of Wooden Spoon Herbs by herbalist Lauren Hayes as well as flower remedies by Alexis Smart. These products symbolise two things that I wholeheartedly believe in: the power of plant intelligence and that of their women creators.
- I also am a huge advocate of preserving, culturing, and dehydrating foods at their seasonal peak. Those Mexican mangoes were dehydrated from when I lived in Texas near the border. I also have dried Turkish figs and cantaloupe, which is like a fruit jerky.
- I love my collection of vintage silverware and serving spoons, brass serveware, a marble mortar & pestle, as well as wooden, steel, and copper utensils as we avoid plastics in our house.
- My top reference is Prune but I also love Gjelina for casual yet fine Venice, CA-inspired meals; Near & Far for meals that bring out flavour through simplicity of ingredients but complexity of culinary history; and I love flipping through Eat in My Kitchen by my publisher and authored by Meike Peters. She recently won the James Beard Award for it and I’m so smitten with her!"
To Sum it Up:
pantry item she can't live without: Smoked Maldon salt
one or two items that are always in her fridge: fermented vegetables and farmer's market bounty
her most trusted kitchen tool: Mortar and pestle, for grinding spices or nuts & seeds
5 adjectives that describe her pantry style: Thoughtful, curated, purposeful, nourishing, and abundant
her all-time favorite market: Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market
Women she pines for: Oh goodness! All farmers, known and unknown to me; relatedly, Lupe Gonzalo of the Coalition of Ommokalee Workers (CIW) and all the other migrant female farm workers; again, Gabrielle Hamilton; Jessamyn Rodriguez for creating a space of solace & empowerment at Hot Bread Kitchen; Nitsa of Sun Potion and the women makers mentioned above. The pioneering female chefs that can’t all possibly fit in here, like Camille Becerra and the likes. And certainly, Ariel Pasternak and Atara Bernstein, for spearheading pineapple. We get to not only support one another as women in food but feed ourselves through the support we give one another. This is so special to me.
Women-made food products she pines for:
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