Letter from the Editor
The Rainbow Issue
Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky said the power of color lies in its ability to directly influence the human soul.
I consider that assertion on sleepless nights when I stare at a print of Kandinsky’s Improvisation 27 (also called The Garden of Love II) we have hanging on the bedroom wall. Art historians say the mix of dark lines and abstract masses of color shows three iterations of an embracing couple surrounded by serpentine forms in biblical Eden. I see a sliced Golden Jubilee tomato, a purple daikon radish, a green jalapeño pepper, and a pink calla lily with farmers stooped to tend to them in the dark, rich soil. I look at most things and see how they can figure into my dinner plans. In this case, my prism refracts the light to show the rainbow of color that is our local food system, from the color of the food itself to the color of the hands that produce it.
In this issue of edible MAINE, with the artful guidance of our new creative director, Heidi Kirn, we paint a vibrant picture of ingredients, recipes, people, and places that add color to our plates, homes, and lives. We feature a queer flower grower from Monroe who finds joy in being out while farming. We tell the story of a nationally recognized painter who finds inspiration in Maine’s lobstermen and blueberry barrens. We shine a spotlight on a seasoned chef in Kennebunk who values the simplicity of salt and pepper; on a Mexican American woman who serves East LA tacos in South Paris; and on how the Penobscot Nation works to protect traditional foodways as important natural resources.
We tell you about a magnetic spice jar maker in Bethel who attracts customers with a zero-waste proposition; a Maine knitter who mixes fiber arts and wine in Norway; a colorful Maine popsicle company; a Portland artist who block-prints Maine flora and foodscapes on table linens; and myriad ways food and beverage producers back the work OUT Maine does with rural LGBTQIA+ youth.
We’re pleased our publisher took out his pen to tell the tale of colorful cocktails and technology keeping him linked to friends during the pandemic. I write about patiently consuming bright cannabis gumdrops. And we feature recipes from new cookbooks created by local authors and photographers: one demonstrating direct connections between Maine farms and your table, and the other walking you through recipes and techniques for cool summer dishes that don’t require much use of your oven on hot days. Finally, we explore the benefits of grass-fed animal proteins with a contribution from Edible Communities, the parent organization that ties our 100+ regional magazines together nationally around topics of good, sustainable food.
It is my hope that all the colors we present to you in this issue will influence your soul as well as what you choose to eat for dinner.