breaking bread

DJ and Poet Mia Moretti Connects Through Cooking

Welcome back to Breaking Bread, Brightland's editorial series that fosters dialogues with creatives, makers and artists who inspire us. Our latest installment features the talented Mia Moretti, a DJ and poet who recently released a new book of poetry titled Low Touch Economy Volume 3. Mia is a masterful curator of taste, whether it's through her song mixing, use of language, or recipe sourcing in her latest book, which features food industry legends such as Ignacio Mattos and Laila Gohar. We had the pleasure of visiting Mia at her beautiful Los Angeles home and spending some time with her over a lovely lemon verbena cake.

DJ and Poet Mia Moretti Connects Through Cooking
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How do you describe what you do?
There's an episode of On Being by Krista Tippett with writer Joy Harjo where Joy says, "Poetry and living they are often the same thing." I think that is all the description you need.

What drew you to the world of poetry? When did you write your first poem?
I have been writing friends for the last 10 years, but it is only the last 3 or 4 years that I started writing my own poems. Before that I wrote with friends, at bars and at parties, sharing lines, making up stories, getting lost in dreams. It was when my heart broke for the first time that I started writing my own poems. I needed to go to a deeper place. Poetry took me there.

Where do you find inspiration for your poetry?
Poetry is a form of journalling for me. I don't find inspiration really. I feel something unsettling inside myself and I need to release it, put it together, like a puzzle.

What was your creative process like when creating Low Touch Economy Volume 3?
At the beginning of the first quarantine I was calling my friends, seeing where they were, how they were living, what they were cooking. I would ask them, what should I do with this -- or that -- or try to make what they were making. It was a way to connect to them. To learn about them and to share with them from far away. To learn about them and to share with them from far away. I love friendship because we learn so much about the world through our friends. I missed that. Cooking was how I survived my loneliness. It was my creative outlet. My poetry.

We have heard so much noise, on social media, on the news headlines that are blasted to us on our phones, on every outlet there is. Sometimes I didn't want to share more words. I just wanted to cook. That is what Volume 3 is, less noise, more nourishment.

What dishes currently nourish you?
My chicken and rice recipe with preserved lemon. This recipe is in my book and it is what I was making the most during quarantine. My mom always sends me bay leaves in her care packages from the Bay Laurel tree at her house, so the dish reminds me of home and also reminds me of Mexico and Cuba and my friend Anna Polonsky who taught my how to make preserved lemons when the lemon trees all over Los Angeles were full of fruit and I wanted to bottle summer forever.

Where do you get cooking inspiration (certain cookbooks, sites, people on Instagram, etc)?
It is all from friends and our friends in the earth. Sometimes I go to the market and just see who speaks to me. Who calls out for an adventure.

What does “living in a golden state” mean to you?
Living in the Golden State really feels like coming home. I grew up in the Bay Area and it is just who I am. California is in my soul, it is in my skin, it is more of an identity for me than anything else I can think of. I wrote a poem about it for my mother's 70th birthday when were took a trip to Green Gulch Farms Zen Center together. It was my first time back in California after living in New York for most of my 20s and 30s, I didn't realize how much the landscape, the pineapple sage, the creeping rosemary, the wild irises were me. The poem is one of the few pieces of poetry in Volume 3, it is titled This Dirt Road.