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Gift Guide: Handmade Soap by DiPalermo Body

By Ashley Bode | December 12, 2013


“Every year around this time, I get asked by fans, friends, restaurant-goers and publications what my go-to gifts are. This year, My team and I have decided to feature a few artisans who are making great products that are perfect for the holidays. Whether it is fancy soap for my mother or a really rad apron for one of my colleagues, or the flight of roof-top honey for the person who is impossible to shop for here are some essentials that could I know I will be giving this year. First up, Jessica Morelli from New York City.”- Marcus


Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 1.40.55 PM What is the name of your company and what do you make?

Jessica Morelli: The name of my company is di Palermo Body.  I make artisan skin care made in small batches using only natural and organic ingredients. At a young age my Nona (grandmother) taught me how to garden, the importance of eating organic food and living a holistic lifestyle. ‘di Palermo’ means of Palermo, which is where she was from so di Palermo Body is in honor of her. How did you get started?

JM: Five years ago I bought a bar of natural soap at a small shop and fell in love.  I didn’t even know people still made soap from scratch.  I immediately was hooked and had to find out how I could make it myself.   Coming from a large Italian family I loved to cook.  I found that making soap was much like cooking, and creating a formula is just like creating a recipe, you just don’t eat the end product.

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 1.41.07 PM : Where do you produce and sell it?

JM: I currently make all the products out of my 5th floor walk-up Manhattan apartment; tight quarters but organization is the key.  Etsy is my main online platform and because of it I’ve been able to sell  all over the world.  I have retailers in LA and Chicago and am hoping to find a few in New York that are a good fit in the coming months. Of all your collection, what is the best for a holiday gift?


JM: Whether you give a bundle of 4 soaps for $25 for your sister, a sugar scrub for someone at the office for $12, or a single bar of soap as a stocking stuffer for only $7,  all of my products are within a price range that is perfect for gifts.  How do you see your audience changing over the past few years? Is there more an interest in artisan products and how do you see that growing?

JM: Over the five years I’ve been making natural products my market has always been people who understand the importance of using natural products for both their skin’s and the environment’s benefit. More and more people are finding the value in handcrafted goods, its nice to see people wanting so support small businesses. Favorites:

Ristretto Sugar Scrub and Soap

This scent, coffee and lemon, is a natural deodorizer and works great in the kitchen eliminating the scents of cooking like garlic, onion or fish.

Conjure Soap

This scent, vanilla and vetiver, has a more masculine appeal to it and a great label. Men like fancy soap too!



How to Make Apple Butter

By Ashley Bode | October 23, 2013

Apple Butter

photo 1
Autumn tends to have some of the best produce. It’s like nature’s last kiss before winter begins and the farmers market sees the influx of root vegetables. The best way to take advantage of autumnal flavors, just like the produce of spring and summer, is to preserve and can what you are able to so you can enjoy them year round. Apple Butter is a great way to save your prize from a day of apple picking. Don’t be afraid to keep the apples with the bruises—they make the butter all the sweeter.
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About Last NightBook Tour

Marcus & Amanda in Conversation

By Ashley Bode | August 10, 2012

PicMonkey Collage

The Rare Books Room downtown at The Strand Bookstore, served as the perfect backdrop to discuss Yes, Chef—the room was nothing short of magical, with a library rich in content, an audience feasting on the words of Marcus and his hostess and a thick summer air that settled over the space causing us all to lean in a little closer. Sitting in front of stacks that included first editions written and signed by Stephen King and volumes of The New Yorker, Marcus spoke candidly about the stories that fill the pages of his memoir and reminded the audience that his world truly is an inspiring one. Read More


Mastering the Macaron

By Ashley Bode | May 24, 2012

Photo: Fabienne D.

Photo: Fabienne D.

Trends come and go in the world of pastries. For awhile, cupcakes ruled the world,  making appearances throughout pop culture and the ovens of single girls everywhere, we can thank Carrie Bradshaw for that. Whoopie Pies moonlighted for a minute and now the French Macaron seems to be the trend for the sugar-induced.

Macarons are actually Italian in origin, dating back to 1533 during the reign of the Medici family. The original macarons were simple almond cookies, with the word sharing its etymology with “macaroni”–both meaning fine dough. It wasn’t until Catherine Medici married Duc d’Orleans who would later become King Henry II of France that these meringue cookies took on status as a French treasure. For a long time macarons stayed simple and didn’t become a sandwiched treat until the 20th century when French pastry became much more sophisticated and whimsical.  Read More


Eating on the Lower East Side

By Ashley Bode | May 24, 2012

Photo: Payton Chung

Photo: Payton Chung

While Harlem has some great advantages, there is a different, yet slightly similar appeal to another neighborhood with an equally rich cultural background; the Lower East Side.

LES does not always have the prettiest streets, the most convenient of bus routes or the glitz and glam of some other neighborhoods, but what it lacks in those departments it makes up for in authenticity, grittiness and character. During the day it is like any other neighborhood; bodegas are on every corner with the community cat taking perch, sandwich shops serve up lunch and boutiques sell the best commodities they have to offer. At night, the neighborhood’s lights attract New Yorkers away from their homes and to the vibrant scene that gives this town the nickname, The City that Never Sleeps.

This is an old neighborhood, one with residents that have never left, stores that have stayed open for decades and a deli that has been in business since 1888. It was once a farm, then a tenement neighborhood, then a working-class Jewish community that now shares the streets with Latinos, Chinese, Bangladeshis, Japanese, Ukranians and countless other immigrants.This was once called Little Germany, Corlears Hook and Crown Point. Now its comprised of the East Village, NoLIta, Chinatown, Alphabet City, Bowery and Little Italy. This is the neighborhood of immigrants, the history of America.

Any history buff would find days worth of exploring in this part of town, the Tenement Museum on Delancey and Orchard offers a wonderful series of walking tours, but truly the best love affair to have with this neighborhood is found in restaurants. There is no other part of the city that showcases such a wide selection of food in a radius of this size. Read More


New York’s Biggest Bread Obsession: The Bagel

By admin | February 28, 2012

Photo: Garrett Ziegler

Photo: Garrett Ziegler

By: Ashley Bode

Some would say that New Yorkers take certain things too seriously.  When in reference to food, this is entirely a good thing. Take the bagel for example; found on nearly every corner, in every street-side coffee stand, in the display case of every deli and behind the counter at a majority of bodegas; this is for sure a breakfast food that this city could not live without. There are annual surveys of the five boroughs to find the best bagel, a hundred or so variations on the original recipe and few bad seeds in the bunch. It is no wonder that the Atkins Diet was not popular in this carb-loving crowd.

Like most great foods, the bagel has a storied past shrouded in legend. Read More


School Lunches Just Got A Whole Lot Healthier

By admin | February 6, 2012

Photo: Bread for the World

Photo: Bread for the World

By: Ashley Bode

Last week, school lunches made great strides toward becoming more healthful. The USDA announced new guidelines for subsidized school lunches, showing the first changes to the program in over 15 years, changes that have become part of The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The Act is a piece of legislation that allows the USDA to improve lunch and breakfast programs for school children through nutrition and a hunger safety net, a first in over 30 years.

Mark Bittman chronicles the pros and cons in his opinion piece for the New York Times, continually providing readers with an educated discussion on the way food systems operate in the US.  He is quick to note that the new rules, which lessen the importance of protein-centric meals and increase fruit and veggie portions, are less than perfect, but also are the biggest step made toward a nutritional based program for children in desperate need. Read More


Kalustyan’s: New York’s Mecca of Spices

By admin | February 1, 2012

Photo:Jazz Guy

Photo: Jazz Guy

By: Ashley Bode

One of the greatest challenges in preparing traditional dishes can be finding the right ingredients; in particular, the right spices. New York City is plentiful in both many nationalities and their corresponding food traditions. Spices are no different.

On Lexington Avenue, between 28th and 29th streets in Little India on the border of Murray Hill,also known as Curry Hill, sits a particular spice-infused institution that that can help. Since 1944, Kalustyan’s has been providing generations of New Yorkers with an array of spices that is hard to match. Originally, the spice shop was home to only Indian spices and groceries, but has since taken the title of an international specialty food and spice shop.

The tiny storefront is misleading, as any visitor will notice. Once inside, it feels as though you’ve stepped into a cave that is hiding the finest of jewels on earth.    Read More


Soul Food Series, Part III: Dooky Chase’s and Creole

By admin | January 11, 2012

Photo: Gwen Harlow

Photo: Gwen Harlow

By: Ashley Bode

There are several restaurants throughout the country that serve as cultural landmarks and sources of inspiration for all restauranteurs.  Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse is the icon for California Cuisine and Farm to Table dining, Daniel and Le Cirque are the cornerstones of the French American culinary adventure and Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans owns the category of Soul food.

Soul food has its roots in the South, so it would be fitting that the center of the movement is located in the heart of the Bayou.  In the 1950s, Leah Chase worked her way into her husband’s family restaurant, Dooky Chase, using her experience working in restaurants situated in the white dominant French Quarter. Read More


Street Food Focus: Banh Mi

By Ashley Bode | January 10, 2012

Photo: Grace

Photo: Gracie

When people hear the phrase Asian Food most are inclined to instantly think of Sushi, General Tsaos Chicken and Jasmine Tea; but there is so much more to the food belonging to the world’s most populated continent.

As New Yorkers we have the privilege of indulging in cuisine from any country, including the countries in Asia. Korea town is known for Korean-style fried chicken, Kim Chi and barbecue. China town offers dumplings of all shapes and sizes, pork buns, corn cakes and bubble tea. Midtown hosts several Japanese restaurants made for the late-night crowd looking for Yakatori feasts of noodles and sake. My personal favorite Asian Food however, is less known, yet still maintains a cult-like following: Banh Mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches. Read More


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Meet the Team

About The Team

Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More


Streetbird Rotisserie
Marcus’ Bermuda
Eatery Social Taqueria
Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Marc Burger