Get to know us: An Interview

Get to Know the co-creators of Ritual Kitchen - Sierra & Hannae 

                                                                            Beans Lovingly grown at Old House Farm, in Santa Cruz, CA.

                                                                           Beans Lovingly grown at Old House Farm, in Santa Cruz, CA.


What are your kitchen rituals?

Hannae: Every morning first thing I take a few drops of digestive bitters. Sprouting and soaking  grains and beans, Batch cooking a few days at a time, making nut milks, making and packing breakfast and lunch to take with me daily, stocking pantry with dried goods, spices, oils, and vinegars, buying in small amounts so things stay fresh, cleaning the fridge making sure nothing gets wasted - using produce before it's too late- keeping knives sharp and cast iron seasoned. 

Sierra:  Morning always starts with an herbal tonic, herbal tea with daily variety, collecting herbs for different foods, making herbal vinegars and oils, doing “handsy” tasks such as cracking walnuts, de-husking corn, de-stemming herbs, stringing flowers and herbs to dry, dehydrating excess foods, chopping garlic, picking veggies from the garden, soaking beans, cooking meals and…. dancing. Snacks carried with me always, snacks and a knife. Daily broth stirring. Handfuls of sprouts. 


If you were a plant who would you be and why?

H:  Dandelion - I have a particular affinity for bitter flavors and dandelion is bitter in all its forms - resilient and stubborn, radiant and joyful. Dandelion is very determined and will grow through the sidewalks if it has to... like me!! Also, Calendula - I have a strong affinity with this one for so many reasons - supportive healer for sensitive skin, helped me through my excema experience, has grown in every garden I've been a part of. Sunflowers - tall ones.


S: WELL... I can’t choose one. I would definitely be Hibiscus - for the sweetness and bitterness mixed all up in one. I would definitely be aloe vera - for the nutrient dense and soothing nature underneath the tough skin. I would definitely be cinnamon - for it's sweet and sultry spicy nature, with lots of anti-inflammatories thrown in. I would definitely have to be nettles as well, for the seasonality, surprising sting, and so much beauty held within. 


What are some important health events in your life?

H: Disordered eating from a very young age, didnt get sick as a child until I ate dairy, raised on a macrobiotic diet, developed eczema in early 20’s then mrsa which was very traumatic. Serious liver and kidney issues rooted in dehydration and addiction to coffee, alcohol, and sugar - all interlinked. Chronic UTI’s and dehydration. 

S: My health journey shifted when I was young, around 11 years old. I fell into depression which altered my daily life habits, energy, self care, mental ability and drive to be. From that stemmed years and years of chronic fatigue, body pain, organ infections, adrenal fatigue and lung issues. Coming out of that step by step, and slow by slow - daily ritual and self-support has been my biggest ally.

What are some of your favorite memories in the kitchen?

H: Dad baking bread- Mom playing music and dancing while she was cooking- listening to my mom and dad laughing while cooking - the cast iron that my dad cooked in where everything tasted amazing - reading through my parents massive cookbook-library, which included lots of classics and 70’s vegetarian cookbooks - sitting in the kitchen window on summer nights listening to thunderstorms and looking out on the garden. A windowsill full of ripening tomatoes.

S:  I LOVE THIS QUESTION! I have so many sweet memories of kitchens clouded in flour from baking bread - so many good ones, where do I start? Well... my mother, grandmother, aunts, and cousins - all cooking together; a huge meal for everybody. A cultural feast. Everyone’s hands covered in dough and our kitchen smelling of sweet, ripe sauerkraut. Women teaching me how to hand-shape tortillas in outdoor kitchens over open fires. Foraging wild herbs placed in soups cooked over outdoor fires in the valleys of mountains. Pressing together masa around a table with family and friends, filling dough pockets with sauces and love. Meandering in wild spaces with baskets, picking edible flowers and herbs - just as much as I need for the night's meal.

What is your ancestral background?


H: Norwegian on my mothers side - Polish and Italian on my fathers side.

S: Mexican on my father’s side, Slovakian on my mother’s side. Self identity is so interesting - I am a mixed bloodline overflowing with ancestral wisdom. I am the desert, I am the snow, I am the mountains, I am the jungle, I am the ocean. I am a landscape and ecosystem anew. 


What books are you reading now?

H: The Disposessed by Ursula K Le Guin. Citizen Farmers by Daron Joffe. Latin for Gardeners by Lorraine Harrison. The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried. Recently read Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, which I looooved.

S:  Good Wild and Sacred by Gary Snyder. Decolonize Your Diet by Luz Calvo & Catriona Rueda Esquivel. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Always an array of field guides and reference books with pages marked and thumbprints from consistent use.


What is your Zodiac Sign?

H: Sun - Capricorn, Moon - Taurus, Rising - Leo 

S: Taurus, and you pretty much know me!


When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?


H: Marine Biologist! I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau! I was in love with the ocean, and I still am. Also an astronaut, writer and chef. 

S: Biologist! Farmer. Writer. Dancer. 


What is your focus in food/nutrition and how do you work that into your practice?

H: My focus is self care. Healing digestion, gut rebuilding and plant based eating. I work these into my practice by building custom plant-based meal plans and teaching my clients about fermented foods. I facilitate exploration of other lifestyle changes, supportive herbs, habits, and new foods that support digestion and build gut health. I also focus on building natural energy/adrenal health. I help people quit coffee & sugar.

S: I delve deep into the worlds of ancestral foods, nutrition and mental health, women’s health - specifically surrounding infertility/fertility, pregnancy, pre/post natal, breastfeeding, and infants and children. I weave these together in my practice by considering the whole person - ancestry-bloodline, childhood-past, and present.


Why did you co-create Ritual Kitchen?


H:  I love collaborating with highly creative, badass women. I like the idea of building community as well as my skill-set, and working in a team I can do both of those things better than by myself. 

S: I felt a deep need for companionship in this work - collaboration and a huge drive to connect with community.


What are your favorite foods?


H:  Dark Chocolate, dark leafy greens, sprouts and micro greens, sweet potatoes, and other orange vegetables like butternut squash and berries - especially blueberries! Peas, pea shoots. Collard greens. Garlic, ginger, turmeric. Avocado, citrus, and kiwi when they are in season. Everything when it is in season. 

S: Herbs!!! edible flowers!!! fermented foods - yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles of any kind, pickled things. Broths, organ meats (love blood). Corn in all of it's cooked forms. Sprouts! I love food so much. Pine - as an additive to foods, a scent, everything. Nettles. All berries, especially logan berries and blueberries. Cabbage, red russian kale. lemons and limes. Also nachos; yum. Garlic, ginger, herbal syrups. Cactus - nopales.  Passionfruit. Raw Fish, always. Pomegranate juice, beets, raspberries - red foods. Herbal tonics and cocktails. Coconut, Avocados, yes. Mushrooms!