YOGURT CULTURE by Cheryl Sternman Rule (Eritrea)

Yogurt Culture: A Global Look at How to
Make, Bake, Sip, and Chill the World’s
Creamiest, Healthiest Food
by Cheryl Sternman Rule (Eritrea 1995-97)
Harvest Publisher
352 pages
April 2015
$12.99 (Kindle); $19.18 (Hardback)


Award-winning author Cheryl Sternman Rule (Eritrea 1995-97) began writing professionally for newspapers, magazines, and websites in 2004. She was the voice behind the food blog 5 Second Rule (5secondrule.typepad.com), which won the 2012 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) New Media & Broadcast Award for best culinary blog. Cheryl’s work has also appeared in Cooking Light, Sunset, Body + Soul, Health, Vegetarian Times, the San Jose Mercury News, Edible San Francisco, Culinate.com, The Kitchn, and Serious Eats; and in several books published by the American Heart Association and the EatingWell Media Group. Cheryl also served as a contributing editor at EatingWell Magazine, a daily food news blogger at iVillage, and the Fresh Talk columnist for recipe.com.

A graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Cheryl has worked in a commercial bakery and served as both a professional recipe tester and developer.

Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before transitioning to the culinary field, Cheryl worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

Cheryl lives with her husband and two sons in Northern California.

Cheryl, how did your Peace Corps service inspire what you have written?

My Peace Corps service played a very direct role in “Yogurt Culture”! In fact, an Eritrea anecdote opens the cookbook, as Eritrea was the first place I ever made or ate homemade yogurt. I’ve got an Eritrea-specific recipe in there, too (for a dish called fata) and interviewed an Eritrean for the book’s Eritrea sidebar. (The book includes one- to two-page sidebars about yogurt traditions in 10 different countries.) I even wrote about fata for the popular food website Saveur. My Team Yogurt community is also extremely global in scope. I’m fascinated by cross-cultural culinary traditions and try hard, as a food writer, to bring a global perspective and sensitivity to all the work that I do.

Anything else you’d like to add? When I meet a fellow RPCV, there’s an immediate sense of connection and kinship, regardless of the country of service. And when I meet an Eritrean, and I pull out my broken Tigrinya, it’s like I’m right back in that country I love. You can’t imagine how excited Eritreans are to learn you’ve spent time in their small country.

Since the pandemic hit, Cheryl has taken a full-time job as a marketing writer in tech, and shifted her professional focus away from food. 

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