Natalie Jesionka
Natalie Jesionka

Natalie Jesionka

Title: Contributing Writer

Location: Middlesex, New Jersey

Education: M.S. in Global Affairs, Rutgers University
- B.A. in Journalism, Rutgers University
- Ph.D. in Sociology, The New School

Expertise: Food traditions, diaspora food, first-generation recipes
- Executive director at the PRIZM Project
- Served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand


Natalie Jesionka writes about food and community. Her work has been featured in the Toronto Star and National Post. She founded the PRIZM Project, a global human rights education organization for young women, as an undergraduate at Rutgers University. She's traveled around the world to research and report on human rights issues.
In Poland, foraged mushrooms, notably boletus, are prized for their flavor. Many families in Poland serve this vegetarian mushroom soup on Christmas Eve, but in Natalie Jesionka's family, it's served all winter long. There are many different recipes for this soup, depending on the ingredients that are accessible where the cook lives. The addition of white wine is a nod to Jesionka's great-grandmother, who made her own wine from grapes and added it to her soup. In Poland, this soup is served with square handmade noodles called lazanki, but you can serve it with small pasta like orzo, or with barley.