Articles / Klancy Miller on the Positive Changes in the Food World

Klancy Miller on the Positive Changes in the Food World

Published September 20, 2023

Plus: Smoked okra dip, grinding your own everything, and when to be concerned about PFAS

This Week’s Marksisms

Food with Mark Bittman: Klancy Miller / Jerusha Klemperer

What you’ve come to know as our “traditional” interview is today with the writer and chef Klancy Miller, who is a prime example of a person who takes true joy in lifting up others. Her new book, For the Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food: Interviews, Inspiration, and Recipes, and her magazine on which the book is based, is comprised of interviews and recipes from more than 50 Black women: Adrienne Cheatham, Zoe Adjonyoh, Zella Palmer, Jerrelle Guy, Mashama Bailey. “I wish I’d had more sisterly insights to accompany me on my path,” Klancy writes, and her mission to put a spotlight on and support other Black women in the food world is inspiring. The recipe we featured after our interview with Klancy, Jerrelle Guy’s Baked Smoked Okra Dip, is below.

We also have with us today Jerusha Klemperer, who is the very smart and very warm director of FoodPrint, a nonprofit with the goal of helping people to make food choices that do less harm to the environment, animals, and people (yes, a topic that is near and dear to me). FoodPrint’s podcast, hosted by Jerusha, is What You’re Eating, and last week’s episode was “PFAS: The ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Your Food.”

I talked to Jerusha about these man-made toxins, and I’m almost 100% sure that many of you are going to find the topic fascinating — and if that’s the case, then you can go listen to Jerusha’s full report, which includes interviews with farmers who have been deeply affected by PFAS. We’re going to start with Jerusha — and then stay tuned for Klancy after that.

Follow Food with Mark Bittman on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Overcast | Pocket Casts | Amazon Music

Jerrelle Guy’s Baked Smoked Okra Dip

Makes 5-6 servings


  • 8 medium okra pods

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 small shallot, peeled and diced

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional), preferably Duke’s

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • 1/2 cup shredded whole-milk mozzarella

  • 3/4 cup shredded smoked gouda, divided

  • Paprika for sprinkling

  • Corn tortilla chips or toasted bread for serving


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Have a 16-ounce ramekin or two 8-ounce ramekins at hand.

Trim the tops off the okra and slice them in half lengthwise and then again in half widthwise. Set them aside.

In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pepper flakes, okra, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the okra just begins to soften and weep some of its slime, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise (if using), hot sauce, mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the gouda, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the okra and shallots and transfer the mixture to the ramekin(s). Top with the remaining gouda, a splash of olive oil, and a sprinkling of paprika. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the top is a little crusty. Serve warm with chips or bread.

— Excerpted from the book For the Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food: Interviews, Inspiration, and Recipes by Klancy Miller. Copyright © 2023 by Klancy Miller. Photography © 2023 by Kelly Marshall. From Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

Jerrelle Guy’s Baked Smoked Okra Dip
64KB ∙ PDF file

Grind Your Own

The great chef Evan Hanczor came to Glynwood to cook for an event, and asked whether I had any cornmeal that we could use for dredging clam strips (which we got from Wellfleet Shellfish Company) and maybe to make some corn bread. I did not.

And then I realized that the amazing Mockmill, which I’ve had for nearly two years, and which I use to grind flours for my breads (so far wheat of many types, of course, plus barley, buckwheat, and rye – all wonderful, for different reasons) was not limited to bread flours: In fact, it’ll grind almost anything dried, as long as the oil content isn’t too high. Sesame seeds, for example, don’t work. But chickpeas do, as I found a few days later, when I made a nice socca. And so, of course, does corn, of which I have a few pounds (from Masienda, whose corn is wonderful). So, ten minutes later, I gave Evan a pound of fine-ground cornmeal for the clams and two pounds of some coarser stuff for the cornbread. So cool!

Farmers Markets Unite!

My friend Richard McCarthy is working on an international organization of farmers markets – an idea whose time has come, for sure – and he writes a little about it here.

Talking About … Community Kitchen

There are climate and climate/food conferences all over New York this week (which is the week, for some reason, I chose to go to San Francisco; more about that as it develops), among them a day-long FoodTank conference that ended with a screening of the new Food Inc 2. That morning, Bloomberg’s Deena Shanker interviewed me, mostly about Community Kitchen; you might enjoy watching it. (I start at 2:14:30.)

This Little Froggy Came to Dinner

How to catch (and skin, and cook, and eat) a frog, from Garden and Gun, courtesy of The Browser.

See ya next week!