Award-winning SU earth science professor turns passion for cooking into unique cookbook
Award-winning SU earth science professor turns passion for cooking into unique cookbookOctober 11, 2005Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
When earth science professor Donald I. Siegel is not busy researching hydrology and geochemistry, he’s hard at work pursuing another interest in life-cooking. Siegel teaches hydrology and earth science in The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, and recently received top honors from the National Science Foundation and the Geological Society of America. He has also published his first non-science book, a book of recipes inspired by Chinese and kosher cuisine.
This fall, Gefen Publishing House (Jerusalem-New York) has published “From Lokshen to Lo Mein: The Jewish Love Affair With Chinese Food.” Siegel wrote the cookbook at the request of some Jewish organizations for which he prepares 10-course kosher Chinese dinners and banquets for over 100 people. The sold-out events feature meals that run the gamut from tea-smoked duck to whole steamed fish. Topics covered in the book include: the evolution of Chinese cooking, the Jewish experience in China, the American-Jewish Chinese connection, the Chinese kitchen cabinet and “drop-dead tips” for making Chinese dinners.
Some classic Jewish foods are analogous to Chinese versions-hence the title, “From Lokshen to Lo Mein.” Lokshen are Jewish noodles used in many recipes, similar to the lo mein noodles used in Chinese cooking.
Along with his favorite Chinese kosher recipes, Siegel includes some comments on the connection of Jews and Chinese culture, where to get kosher Chinese ingredients, a few jokes about Jews and Chinese food, a short section on what “kosher” means for those unfamiliar with Jewish dietary laws and digressions on Chinese cooking techniques and products.
“I’ve been interested in cooking all my life-it’s one of my extracurricular passions,” says Siegel.
This fall, Siegel will go on a book tour on behalf of the Jewish Book Network as part of a sabbatical. On the tour, which is sponsored by the Jewish Book Council, Siegel will make stops across the country, including visits in San Antonio, Texas; Irvine, Calif.; the Washington, D.C., area; Detroit, Mich.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and St. Louis, Mo.
Siegel is no stranger to publishing his work; he has co-authored books published by the National Academy of Science Press on topics related to groundwater contamination, national water use, river science, groundwater replenishment and loss, and how to characterize wetlands.
The National Science Foundation recently awarded Siegel and Associate Professor Andria Costello $756,000 for their proposal, “Water Flux and Nitrogen Cycling in the Hyporheic Zones of a Semi-Arid Watershed: Hydrologic and Geomorphic Driving Forces in a Transitional Climate.” This multidisciplinary research, a collaborative effort with Professors Myron Mitchell, Ted Endreny and Laura Lautz at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, will investigate how small debris dams and other natural stream features such as twists and turns of stream channels can potentially be used to clean up excess nutrients contributed to streams in the more arid parts of the United States.Siegel is also the recipient of this year’s O. E. Meinzer Award, presented by the Hydrogeology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA). The award’s namesake, Oscar Edward Meinzer (1876-1948), was the “father of modern groundwater hydrology” who served as chief of the Ground Water Division of the U.S. Geological Survey from 1912 to 1946.
The Meinzer award recognizes authors who have significantly advanced the science of hydrogeology or a related field. Siegel’s cited papers reflect his broad approach to science, and have been published in Geology, Nature, the Journal of Ecology and Quaternary Research. The papers report his observations on how isotope geochemistry can be used to identify the extent to which continental glaciers, tens of thousands of years ago, either “polluted” or diluted water in deep aquifers, and how wetlands ecology is closely tied to the degree with whichgroundwater enters or leaves wetlands, particularly under circumstances of climate warming and drying.
Siegel received the Meinzer Award Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the National Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA). Siegel also serves as a counselor of GSA, and this year was appointed an associate editor of the Hydrogeology Journal.
Siegel also co-organized a week-long National Science Foundation workshop on teaching hydrogeology in the 21st century. The conference was held in Lincoln, Neb., in July, with 90 participants. Information on the results of the meeting can be foundonline.
Siegel’s main areas of research include wetland hydrology and biogeochemistry; nutrient contamination and transport in watersheds with shallow soils; geochemical techniques used to characterize and remediate groundwater contamination and the interface between science and law.
“Lokshen to Lo Mein” is available for $19.95 at http://www.israelbooks.com.