The Berkeley Bowl: Dare to Prepare

What on earth does one do with banana flowers? How do you use salsify or Spanish black radishes in your kitchen? What about that weird-looking Indian bitter melon? These are the questions that simmer in my consciousness as I navigate the maze of exotic produce aisles in the famous Berkeley Bowl Market.  For years I had shopped at this market, tantalized by the these fruits and vegetables that I couldn’t even identify.  Back in March 2015 I decided it was time to put an end to my ignorance, and challenged myself to create a recipe for every single exotic fruit and vegetable from the aisles of Berkeley Bowl that I had never dared to prepare… until now. Follow along and see if I’m up to the challenge!

149 thoughts on “The Berkeley Bowl: Dare to Prepare

  1. ksbeth says:

    what a wonderful concept - thanks for reading and following my blog, and i look forward to doing the same with your food adventures - best, beth

  2. Dominique says:


    I really love your concept. Our goal as well is to get people out of their comfort zone and try something new in their kitchen! Excited to see what else you create!

    • Laura McLively says:

      Yes and I LOVE your site! Such great photos too! Looking forward to more, and thanks for stopping by MyBerkeleyBowl!

  3. Lauren says:

    What a great blog! Thanks for checking out Messy Kitchen! I love doing just what you describe in your blog; each week I challenge myself to try some fruit or veg that I’ve never cooked/eaten/seen before. Berkeley Bowl sounds like heaven! Have a WONDERFUL day!

    • Laura McLively says:

      Thanks Lauren, and happy to find another blogger who’s into the same thing! Here’s to a very messy kitchen…

  4. blondieaka says:

    Hi, Thank you for the visit and the follow which in turn has lead me to your blog. I love that you are using vegetables and fruit which were previously unknown to you pretty much like me as I have discovered numerous vegetables,fruits and insects/eggs which I never knew existed let alone ate. Have a lovely day:)

    • Laura McLively says:

      That’s fantastic! What have been your surprising favorites of the new things you have discovered? Have any become staples in your diet that you can’t imagine living without?

  5. frederick anderson says:

    Hi, and thank you for following my blog. If you can solve the following conundrum I will worship you forever: my wife loves every fattening and calorie-rich excuse for food she can find, and yet is slim. My life is one of perpetual diet and self-denial, but I am fat. I do much of the cooking, and no, I’m not a ‘taster’ in more than the essential sense, and I love the culinary arts, yet….

    • Laura McLively says:

      That’s a common conundrum, so I hope you know you are not alone, even if you live with someone who’s the opposite! That’s quite a conundrum to solve in a blog comment, so I’ll start by asking this: do you eat mostly plants?

    • frederick anderson says:

      Hi, and thank you for your response. In answer to your question, no. I’m afraid most vegetables, particularly uncooked, or salad vegetables, disagree with me. However, I am the one who insists upon adding some vegetable content to every meal. Favorites: Kale, cabbages, cauliflower, squash, tomatoes, beetroot, guava, mango. Disturbed by broccoli, left unmoved by melon, destroyed by root vegetables with two exceptions. I show compassion to the humble potato and I am deeply and irrationally in love with beetroot.

      • Laura McLively says:

        Well it sounds like you actually enjoy quite a number of vegetables! Beetroot does seem to provoke an irrational love or hatred in people, so I’m glad to hear you are on the friendly side of the line. While there is no quick fix or perfect meal plan out there for everyone, I’ve definitely seen the most success with my patients who are able to moderate their portion of starch and protein by filling up on a big serving of veggies every meal (and who stick to non-caloric beverages). We need all the food groups, but the simple fact that veggies are lowest in energy but extremely high in nutrition seems to make that equation work. Good luck, Frederick!

  6. Faye Q says:

    Hi Laura! Thanks for following my blog. I love the exotic foods you are cooking with and am definitely looking forward to more posts! Thanks for sharing 🙂 - Faye

  7. photobyjohnbo says:

    Thanks for stopping by and following my travel and photography site! I added your site to my reader app and look forward to checking out your recipes. You may want to check out my son’s blog at as he writes of food and travels. I am going to let him know about your site as well! Thanks again.

  8. Lexa says:

    An absolutely delicious site - both in terms of form and content. I am really going to enjoy reading your posts. I cannot quite believe how beautiful the Romenesco is on your latest blog. Like a fabulous underwater coral. So pretty and awesome colour. Have a lovely day. 😀

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