Chatting with Miriyummy: Yaara Di Segni

Meet Yaara Di Segni.  I have.  Yaara is one of my food friends that I actually have met in real life, and she’s become more than a foodie contact on the Internet, she’s become a good friend.  We get together for sushi, we meet up for breakfast, and we actually have conversations that have nothing to do with food.  With my one-track mind (stay out of this, Ju-Boy, I’m talking about food), that is an amazing feat in and of itself, especially that Yaara and I first met online, almost 20 years ago on a wonderful listserv called Foodwine.  Foodwine still exists, and many of the originals are still hanging out in what they call the Cave, but I am long gone, with Yaara as a cherished souvenir.

Yaara and her delicious family: Better Half Paul, Gorgeous Ziv and the Splendid Sivan

Introduce yourself. Who are you, what are you, why are you?

I am Yaara, and Israeli-Italian, or possibly Italian-Israeli, depends on the context, mum of two (stunning, lovely, cute, clever, annoying, sweet, frustrating, loving) kids – Ziv and Sivan, happily living with the most amazing man in the world, Paul; translator, food lover, hyperactive multi-tasker, a control freak and some other stuff too. Why am I? a bit of a happy accident, but better not go into that (feel free to delete this bit…) [Are you kidding?  No way, I want more details, later, in private, over coffee! — Miriyummy]

Where do you live, and why?

I live in Tel Mond, having returned to Israel after 12 years away (1 in the US, 11 in the UK). Why Tel Mond? because when we were looking for a house to buy in Israel, we looked everywhere and Tel Mond just felt right. It’s got it’s share share of problems but it’s truly a great place for kids, the best, really, and now it’s home.

What is your family like?

Well, there’s the family I was born into which is very Italian, mum is from Bologna, she married my dad who is barely civilised because he is from the deep south (Rome). Half my family is in Israel, half is in Italy and that pretty much described what we are like in personality. Dad is the black sheep of the family and I try to live up to his expectations on one hand, and to take as much as I can from my mum who is the most honest and loving person on the planet as well a real intellectual (I’m afraid that gene got lost and I didn’t get it).

My own family is a mixture – as I said, I’m Italian-Israeli, Paul is Jamaican-English and the kids are a total mixture of the best of everything.

What is your relationship with food? Do you like to cook?

I am quite addicted to food, can’t live without it. Well, everyone needs food of course, but I like my food a bit too much, and it shows… Although I don’t go into the kitchen every day (too busy, fortunately Paul steps in, and he is a great cook, that’s wonderful news), I love hosting and adore spending hours in the kitchen. My cooking style is “stream of consciousness cooking” – occasionally I open a cookbook or try to follow a recipe, but I always end up throwing in a bit of this and a bit of that, usually the results are good, judging by the reactions of our guests. Theo ne exception to this is when I cook with the Thermomix (THE LOVE OF MY LIFE in the kitchen), where I try to follow the book a bit more, but I just know it’s a phase that won’t last.

I like cooking new things and will try most things once, but can’t go very crazy at home as I live with the original chicken and potato man.

Both kids are good eaters, all in all, especially Sivan who loves everything, including straight espresso (no sugar, please, like mummy) and beer.

What is your first food-related memory?

Strangely I can only think of two not very nice ones so I’ll stick with the one my mum enjoys telling – when I was 2 years old and she’d have to sneak out for ice cream because I kept stealing hers.

How would you describe yourself in the kitchen? As a host/hostess?

Despite my stream-of-consciousness style of cooking, I am very organised in the kitchen, I keep washing up as I go and can never stand a mess around when I cook. As a hostess, I usually make too many things and too much food and I am not happy unless the guests have stuffed themselves and have trouble getting up.

What is your favorite comfort food and why?

Can I choose two? Pasta with fresh tomato and basil and salad.

Desert island picks, name three foods you could not live without:

Tomatoes, basil, pasta

Is there any food you hate? Why?

Gelatine, tongue, and white pepper. The firt two just freak me out, the latter just tastes horrible to me.

What is your favorite Miriyummy post and why?

Tough choice, I love them all! I guess my favourite ones are the ones with stories about Miriyummy’s parents and the fun journeys with Ju-boy.

Do you have a food-related story you would like to share?

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to work as an interpreter to chef Alfredo in Krav Sakinim. Sitting in the control room, we would occasionally get food sent up from the competing chefs. That’s when I understood what it means when food is made by a chef with a Michelin star. There is food, there is good food and then, on a totally different level – there is that food. Definitely food to live for!

Finally, Paul and I are thinking of starting “Rasta-Pasta” – a Jamaican-Italian catering business, we still have to work out the details, but watch this space!

The Holy Jerusalem Foodstock -- January 1995

Yaara managed to find a picture of a long ago Foodwine meeting we had in Jerusalem in the 90s.  It’s the first time we met in person and we clicked immediately.  But one funny aspect of our relationship — because we had been corresponding for a few years in English, when we met we continued to speak in English, even though Yaara is Israeli and I speak a decent Hebrew.

And you see the guy all the way on the left?  That’s Harry.  Harry was the only single member of our little group, so Yaara invited her friend Sho (all the way on the right) to make up the numbers.  Do you think they got along? Ask their two children…

About Miriyummy

All I want to do is live happily ever after.

Posted on 11 August 2011, in Chatting with Miriyummy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Great interview – nice to meet you, Yaara!


  2. Boy that picture brings back memories…


  3. Thanks Mirj 🙂 The family loved this!

    We have to get together soon, it’s been far too long and we need to catch up. I’ve got a groupon voucher for the Tel Mond Sushi place…. how about it after I get back?


  4. Fun interview – I like the “Rasta-Pasta” – a Jamaican-Italian catering business – hope it works!

    Not sure if I should say this, but I love tongue. We mentioned it yesterday, and my daughter said yuck to it, along with lamb. I love basil, too – especially picked from my garden.


  1. Pingback: Vote for Yaara’s Lasagne! « Miriyummy

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