Larissa Phillips is a food editor and writer, cooking teacher, food activist and a student at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Raised by back-to-the-land suburbanites, she grew up gardening and composting within 50 miles of New York City. Geography be damned, her parents tended bees, chickens and a quarter-acre organic garden in the same Connecticut suburb where Martha Stewart would later make such eccentricities seem enviable - but about a decade earlier.
As a teenager and adult, Larissa gravitated to working in restaurants, where she discovered a passion for communicating to people about food. In college she enjoyed, if that is the word, a prolonged obsession with baking bread, and eventually wound up in Italy, where her world exploded. After two years of studying art, Italian, and food (not necessarily in that order) in Florence, she returned to the United States and, eventually, settled in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, currently 3 and 8.
After becoming a mother, Larissa's food interests took on a new direction. In a city of few gardens and much obesity, she found a calling. Now a food activist, she teaches cooking classes as part of a public after-school program, organizes community meals, wrote a petition demanding the removal of high-fructose corn syrup from school lunches, and with a committee she formed, is trying to make community supported agriculture (CSA) available to her son's public school.
Meanwhile, her personal food obsessions continue, variously, with pie-making … with fish sauce and limes … with the Manhattan Japanese grocery store that sells fresh, seaweed-wrapped rice balls … with grass-fed hamburger meat … with garnet-hued watermelon radishes … with congee and pho … with the little cherry tomatoes that grew wild in her Brooklyn back yard last summer … with all things food-related.
Larissa is currently working on a cookbook with a group of Brooklyn chefs, which will raise money for a rooftop garden in a Brooklyn public school. She welcomes comments and requests from readers. Write to her at FeedingYourFamily@parenthood.com.