Peninsula Macrobiotic Network Newsletter  
Number 111 April / May 2005 Peninsula Macrobiotic Community

to the
of the
Peninsula Macrobiotic Community
in Palo Alto,

For information on our organization, click on About Us.

green onions
     Some of the people who make the Monday Dinners go.
Some of the people who make the Monday Dinners go: Mango Martin, Chuck Collison, Jane Kos, Gary Alinder, Ken Becker, and Colleen Corey.

Late Breaking News!
If interested in participating in our Comedy Night on May 9, contact Gerard Lum at 650 903-0447. So we can all participate and keep things fresh, please keep your act short and sweet (2-3 minutes would be ideal).

Read the Silicon Valley Metro article (May 4, 2005) about us: Yin-Yang Can Cook.
How do I attend the Gourmet Vegetarian Dinners?
Chef Gary Alinder, since 1987
Every Monday, 6:30 PM
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto
305 North California Avenue
at Bryant
1/4 mile East of Alma
Sit Down or Take-out, $13
Reservations Required:
Call 650 599-3320 by
Monday 9:30 AM.
Open to everyone. Communal seating--new people easily integrate into our friendly group, which includes many singles. Make new friends on Mondays!

Frequently Asked Questions
Coming Events
Monday, April 18
Amy Saltzman, M.D. speaks on Mindfulness in Daily Life: Finding Grace Amidst the Chaos.
Monday, May 9
18th Anniversary Celebration and Comedy Night.
Monday, May 16
Patrick McCarty speaks on Ten Steps to Help You Keep Mentally Sharp and Alert.
When we laugh, natural killer cells which destroy tumors and viruses increase, along with Gamma interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T-cells (important for our immune system) and B-cells (which make disease-fighting antibodies). As well as lowering blood pressure, laughter increases oxygen in the blood, which also encourages healing.
"Science of Laughter" Discovery Health Website
If you don't learn to laugh at troubles, you won't have anything to laugh at when you grow old.
Edward W. Howe
I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
Jack Benny
News and Announcements
On May 11, 1987, Chef Gary Alinder cooked a dinner for a fledgling group called the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community in Menlo Park. That first gig has kept on going--we are approaching 900 Monday Dinners served! To commemorate our years of food, fun, and friendships, our 18th Anniversary Celebration will happen on May 9!

Our celebration will include a special Comedy Night, for fun and to invigorate our health--physical, mental, and emotional. (For information on the real benefits of humor, see aging/ humor_laughter_health.htm). We encourage everyone to participate by delivering one or a series of jokes. If you need material, you can search the internet (enter "jokes" into Google). If desperate, get some one-liners and coaching from aspiring comedian Paul Schmitt.

For those not inclined to comedy, other forms of expression, such as singing, playing an instrument, or dancing, are also fine--some relief from the "comics" may be needed!

The hall is equipped with a sound system with both a microphone and a CD player. It is possible to sing along with your favorite recorded artist, karaoke style.

As the date approaches, organizational details and guidelines will be announced at the dinners and posted on the website. We encourage participation, but to keep things moving along and accommodate all, we may need to limit the length of each act.

Monthly Vegan Potlucks! Sunday, April 17, 6:30 PM, hosted by Deborah Ferrara in Foster City, call 650 570-7027 to let her know you're coming and to get directions. Also on Sunday, May 15, 6:30 PM, hosted by Chuck Olson in Santa Clara, call 408 296-6944. To host a fun potluck in your home, call Diane Wohler at 650 369-1858 or Harold Stephenson at 650 856-1125.

Celebrate Earth Day at Acterra's Decadent Dinner, where heartfelt, high-vibe cuisine awaits you! Since 1994 Chef Laura Stec and her crew have been educating how to have a positive effect on our environment through food choices. Enjoy a locally grown, seasonal-organic, vegetarian, sustainable down-home dinner, highlighting the foods of spring and our local farmers who grew them. Volunteers needed--get in free! Saturday, April 23, 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM, at a home in Palo Alto. Sliding scale: $40-100, $65 includes one ticket and one year membership. RSVP by April 15 to Laura Stec, 650 962-9876 x346,

Apartment to share, master bedroom with view and bath available, must be perfume-free. San Carlos, $690, 650 592-2139.
Cooking and Classes
Late update: Gary's cooking class on May 7 will be rescheduled because the kitchen at the First Baptist Church is not available.  Monday Dinner Chef Gary Alinder will offer two Saturday cooking classes: April 23 (Seitan 101, the secrets of making your own seitan) and May 7 (Eat Your Veggies and Love It!). Classes are held at the First Baptist Church in Palo Alto, 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM, include recipes and lunch, $40/class suggested, $75 for both. Register with Gary at the Monday Dinners, or contact him at or 415 552-5449; early registration advised.

18th Anniversary Celebration
May 9, 2005
Sparkling Punch

Golden Vegetable and
Mushroom Broth with
Orzo and Watercress

Spring Vegetable and
Seitan Ragout with

Long Grain Brown Rice

Savory Three Cabbage Sauté

Mixed Green Salad with
Radishes and Cucumbers

Rich Chocolate Pie with
Tofu Cream

Herbal Teas and Grain Coffee


More Dinner Menus...

Chuck Collison, Assistant Chef of the Monday Dinners, is a personal chef and runs a meal service in Marin. Call 415 258-0528.

James Holloway, frequent Guest Chef at the Monday Dinners, does personal home cooking in Palo Alto, in macrobiotic and classical styles, call 650 852-9182.

Anne Mark teaches two Sunday macrobiotic cooking classes in Palo Alto: April 17 (Grains, Grains, Grains) and May 15 (Macrobiotic Breakfasts), 4 PM - 6:30 PM, $35, $15 deposit required; call Anne at 650 843-0255 to register and for location. She also does takeout meals and life style recommendations.

Cookbook Author Meredith McCarty teaches Saturday cooking classes in Mill Valley: April 9 (Creative Menu Planning with Tempeh) and April 16 (Springtime Gourmet Vegetarian Brunch Party), 10:00 AM-12:30 PM, $50/class or $90/both. She also offers tours of Whole Foods Market and the Farmers Market, and other related activities; call 415 381-1735 or visit

Carolyn Peters is a private chef and caterer for creative healthy cuisine in San Francisco. Call 415 810-3496.
After-Dinner Events
Speakers receive a gratuity from the audience; please show your support and appreciation with a donation ($5-10 suggested).

On April 18, Amy Saltzman, M.D. will speak on Mindfulness in Daily Life: Finding Grace Amidst the Chaos. Life in the Valley can be stressful, and mindfulness an ideal antidote. Over the course of the evening Dr. Saltzman will offer basic mindfulness practices and discuss how they can be used to find grace amidst the chaos of daily life.

What is Mindfulness?
  • Mindfulness is simple: pay attention in the present moment.
  • Mindfulness is profound: the present moment is where our lives unfold, where our tenderness and our strength reside, and where choice is possible.
  • Mindfulness is subtle: it moves into our lives and the world. It can inform our interactions at home, on the freeway, in the supermarket, and at work.
  • Mindfulness is kind: it asks that we cultivate compassion for ourselves and others as we move through life doing the best we can.
Many scientific studies have shown that practicing mindfulness
  • decreases anxiety, depression and anger by 60%
  • decreases physical symptoms by 30%
  • enhances experience, making life more fulfilling and peaceful.
Dr. Amy Saltzman is a holistic physician. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, and a Founding Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine. She served on the Board of the American Holistic Medical Association for eight years, and as medical director of the Health and Healing Clinic, at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, for three years. A member of the Northern California Advisory Committee on Mindfulness, she has taught Mindfulness to a variety of interested individuals and groups including junior high school students, patients, parents, and corporate executives, and has conducted research on the benefits of Mindfulness for patients with chronic pain and chronic illness. She speaks at conferences, offers courses, and provides holistic medicine consultations to individual patients.

On May 16, Macrobiotic Shiatsu Counselor Patrick McCarty will speak on Ten Steps To Help You Keep Mentally Sharp and Alert. Can't remember people's names or what you wanted from the next room? Patrick will share ten easy steps to a keener memory. In addition to special foods that enhance mental clarity there are ten suggestions that will exercise your memory.

Patrick studied at the Kushi Institute in Boston and the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and co-directed the East-West Center for Macrobiotics in Eureka. He has lectured and taught at locations around the world, and readily shares the knowledge and experience from his very active counseling practice.
Tomato Cabbage Onion Miso
  • 1 onion sliced into half moons
  • 1/4-1/3 green head cabbage sliced into 2-inch dices (squares)
  • 3-5 tomatoes (Roma or plums best) blanched and skins removed, diced into 2-inch cubes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp. or to taste aged barley Miso
  • Spring or filtered water
1.  Layer the onion, then cabbage in a pot, pour water to nearly cover the vegetables and bring to a boil over a medium flame.

2.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3.  Add the tomatoes and re-cover the pot.

4.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.

5.  Add a teaspoon or two olive oil and gently stir in.

6.  Add the diluted miso and gently stir in. Re-cover the pot. Simmer for 7-10 minutes.

7.  Some liquid may be cooked off if desired.

8.  Serve hot as a side dish with rice or over noodles.

  • Pre-sauté the onions in olive oil for a richer dish.
  • Omit oil altogether for a lighter dish.
  • Cook a bit longer in colder weather or for a heartier effect.
  • Add cooked white beans such as navy or cannelini to the stew about half way through cooking.
  recipe by Michelle Nemer 
Gary entertaining friends.
Gary entertaining friends Susanne Jensen and Keith Terry with many different types of foods, in his San Francisco apartment.
Community Connection
 Eating Mother's Chicken:
Making Choices in Life
  An Interview with
    Chef Gary Alinder
As chef, Gary Alinder has been the foundation of the Monday Night Dinners for over 17 years. Gary grew up in Minnesota "knee deep in cream cheese." He spent summers working at the Green Giant experimental cannery. In the 1960s, he began to explore macrobiotics, studying with Herman and Cornellia Aihara in California, and cooking in a macrobiotic restaurant in Osaka, Japan. In 1986, he and his partner started macrobiotic dinners for the San Francisco AIDS community.

Although my conversation with Gary covered many topics, I found Gary's perspective on macrobiotics particularly interesting. His years of experience, travels and involvement with the gay community all influenced his point-of-view.

Denise Springer (DS): Did you study the philosophy of macrobiotics? How much was that a part of your experience?

Gary Alinder (GA): It was some. I don't know if it was that big a thing then. I did read some of the stuff that was available at the time, which wasn't very much, actually. But it was the basic-the old stuff. It was stuff by George Ohsawa and the early writing of Michio Kushi. I really had to take it all with a grain of salt because there were things which I thought were questionable. It brought over a very traditional Asian cultural view which had a very rigid sense of gender roles, things that men do and things that women do, and by extension it wasn't very sympathetic to being gay.
DS: How did that shape your experience?

GA: It kept me at a distance. I didn't want to immediately go to Boston and study with these people. [Laughs.] It was good, in a way, because it taught me right away to think for myself and come up with my own version, you might say. And not to be a "true believer." It's dangerous to be too much of a true believer. You always have to use your own common sense. Just because you read it in a book doesn't mean you should do it. [Laughs.]

DS: What is your opinion about how to eat healthfully?

GA: With food, I think people should eat as many different things as they can. I understand that at certain times people need to not eat certain things. That's fine. That's good. But one also shouldn't cling to that. You can get invested in not eating things. And getting invested in not eating - that's kind of a negative place to come from. You know what I mean?

DS: Yes.

GA: I think one should try and eat as many different things as one can and be open-minded. You can eat anything once in a while. Unless you have some overwhelming allergy to it, it's not going to hurt you. People need to relax a little bit about food. Maybe a lot of people are too relaxed about food, but people who tend to come to macrobiotics, sometimes I think they need to relax about food a little bit more. Enjoy it. If you go somewhere and someone feeds you something - if you go to your mother's house for dinner and she feeds you something - eat it and be grateful is my attitude these days. [Laughs.] When I was more macrobiotic, I would go to my mother's house and I never didn't eat chicken at my mother's house. To carry your food needs around and expect everybody in the world to cater to your food needs is very egotistical really.
DS: A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.

GA: It does. It's more a matter of attitude, too. If people understand that you really have a serious need not to eat something or to eat something, they'll be happy to accommodate it. They need to know that you're doing it with a good attitude and not demanding it.

DS: Do you grapple with that at the Monday Night Dinners?

GA: I grapple with it a bit because I know that basically it's just an agreement that everything's vegan and that it's organic as much as possible and we kind of vaguely follow macrobiotic principles but macrobiotic principles can change from time to time, too.

DS: And person to person.

GA: And person to person, exactly, and they should. It's hard to say what macrobiotics is for a large group of people because everybody has slightly different needs. I don't worry too much about that as long as we're vegan and mostly organic. I know that within that certain people have allergies and likes and dislikes...

Chef Gary Alinder
DS: Do you ever get feedback from people about their interpretation of macrobiotic?

GA: Some people will say, "Oh, you really made a macrobiotic meal." And what they're really saying is "You made a Japanese meal." I won't mention any names. [Laughs.] Though I kid some people about it, too.

DS: What of the link between macrobiotic and Japanese?

GA: I grew up with the original teachers of macrobiotics and they taught a Japanese approach. And I like that food, too, actually. I love Japanese food. That's what I learned in the restaurant I worked in in Japan. An ordinary Japanese person could walk into that restaurant and understand what all the food was. They might have been a little surprised by brown rice instead of white rice but other than that, it was all food they were used to. Why shouldn't that be the case here? In a way, you have to adapt to the culture. Food is so cultural that unless you adapt it to the culture-in the Bay Area we eat eclectically. We can dabble in a lot of different things and that's normal.
DS: What interpretation of macrobiotics have you developed?

GA: It's probably the widest possible interpretation one could come up with at this point. [Laughs.]

DS: Because that's how it appears philosophically and healthwise to you? Or because you have to cook for a large group of people?

GA: I used to eat more narrowly and maybe I needed to at one time. Perhaps I did. When you first learn something new, you need to follow the rules so you know what it's all about. But then some years down the road you need to use your own brain and creativity. To me, macrobiotics, now, is you eat what works for you to sustain your health and have a life you want. And whatever that is. I'm not ruling out anything at this point.

DS: And when health fails? What then? Some people effectively say a person hasn't done it correctly. Some people who have never been ill don't really get it.

GA: That's why, I've never liked that, "Oh, you're not doing it right. If you haven't magically become well, it's because you're not doing it right." I've never thought that was a good approach. Well. We all get to make choices about our lives and what we do. And, you know what, we don't have to live forever either.

DS: What do you envision?

GA: We can die. Dying is not defeat. Some people think that if you die, you've lost, it's defeat, you messed up. No! [Laughs.] You died. [Laughs.] Remember back in the '80s there was a bumper sticker, "He who dies with the most toys wins." Well, it's kind of in macrobiotic it used to be, "He or she who lives the longest wins." That was the implied thing, I think. I think that's a little simplistic. [Laughs.]

DS: You've been associated with the macrobiotic world and healthful eating for a long time. How does that affect your perspective?

GA: I'm 60 and I've seen so many people younger than I am die. It's not a surprise that people die. It's hard to get that it's going to happen to me. And it could happen any time. You don't know. And also, as you get older time seems to go faster. Even if I don't die for 20 years, that's not very long. [Laughs.] That goes by pretty fast. [Laughs.] Once you realize how fast it goes, even if it's 20 or 30 years...

DS: It's just around the corner...

GA: It's just around the corner; it really is. That's something to meditate on.

Denise Huajardo Springer is a freelance writer who attends the Monday Dinners with her husband Kim and young son Nathan.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Monday Dinners
Do I need to make a reservation for the Dinner at 6:30 PM?

Yes. If you show up without a dinner reservation, we may not be able to serve you, especially if there is a large crowd.

To reserve, call 650 599-3320 to hear our recorded message and record your reservation. Please make your dinner reservation by Monday morning at 9:30 AM. For our special dinners which may sell out, such as the Anniversary in May or Thanksgiving Theme Dinner in November, early reservations are advised.

Leaving a message is sufficient to make a reservation. You can leave a call back number, but we will call you back only if there is a problem.

To see our menus, click on Current Menu above.
Do you accept credit cards or checks?

No. We do not accept credit cards or checks--bad checks have been a problem for us. Please pay with cash.
Can I make Dinner reservations by email or through your website?

No. Please make reservations by telephone, call 650 599-3320.
If I cannot honor a Dinner reservation that I've made, should I let you know?

Yes. Please call 650 599-3320 to let us know as soon as possible, so we can transfer your reservation to another interested party. Reservations that are not honored increase our costs.
Do I need to make a reservation for the lecture at 8:00 PM, on evenings featuring a lecture?

It is not necessary to make a reservation for the lecture.

Note that we have a pass-the-hat policy for our After-Dinner Events; we suggest a donation of $5-10. All money collected goes to the speaker.

Also note that the suggested donation is separate from the Dinner price. If attending both dinner and lecture, total cost will be $13 (dinner) + $5-10 (suggested donation) = $18-23.
Where does the Dinner take place? Can you provide a map?

The First Baptist Church, 305 North California Avenue at Bryant (click for map), 1/4 mile east of Alma, Palo Alto, CA. There are two buildings on the church grounds, the main church and a smaller building (Fellowship Hall) next to it. We meet in Fellowship Hall.
Where do I park?

There is ample street parking available. The church is in a quiet residential neighborhood; please be considerate of the neighbors and do not block driveways.

The church requests that you do not park in a church parking space alongside Fellowship Hall, even if open spaces are available.
From The Editor
Email Notification of Newsletter: To receive an email notification each time the Newsletter and Dinner Menus are published on this site (every two months), .
Mailing List Policy: To get a printed copy of the Newsletter and Dinner Menus delivered by postal mail, or call the phone number below. To offset the expense of producing the Newsletter and Menus, we suggest a contribution of $10/year or more. The date and amount of your last newsletter contribution appears on your mailing label. Write checks to "Peninsula Macrobiotic Community", and mail to Gerard Lum, 101 E. Middlefield Road #9, Mountain View, CA 94043, 650 903-0447.

We periodically review our mailing list. Those who have not made a recent contribution are subject to removal.

Tax-Deductible Contributions: We welcome and can use additional contributions to the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community, as income from the Dinners does not pay all of our expenses. We are a nonprofit organization, so additional contributions are fully tax-deductible. Send contributions to the address in Mailing List Policy above.

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