El Premio Arte y Pico

The sweet, wonderful, witty Michelle at Accidental Scientist has bestowed this blog with the El Premio Arte y Pico award! I’m honored and thrilled, and particularly delighted that readers find such value in the words and pictures here. (Jerry, the photographer/designer/editor/fix-it man, is equally elated. Although, after a contemplative grin, he did ask, “Does this…Continue readingEl Premio Arte y Pico

Naga Chiles in Print

Remember Nagaland? That landscape of hills and chiles? That state in the far northeast of India, where all trails lead up or down… … and villagers enjoy their homebrew any hour of the day. In Nagaland, wealth is measured in giant baskets of rice… … and life is fueled by a daily diet of the…Continue readingNaga Chiles in Print

Holiday Curry Burgers

Summer comes this weekend, at least to our brains if not our skies (thunderstorms passing through New Mexico this week!). Memorial Day weekend—time to reinstate the grill and pull out that warm-weather attitude. I’ll keep this quick and to the point: three easy, zippy recipes for a Southeast Asian-style grilled dinner (with a hint of…Continue readingHoliday Curry Burgers

Burma’s Hunger Pangs

Farming in the Shan State I’m slicing potatoes and plucking rosemary and thinking about a death toll of possibly 100,000 in Burma’s cyclone. I’m 8,500 miles away in New Mexico, and I don’t know what to say—except to say what I feel, from the gut. That’s where these things hit hardest; these storms, be they…Continue readingBurma’s Hunger Pangs

Curry Your Heart Out

It’s 4 a.m. and I can’t sleep. This happens sometimes (and sometimes often) when too much gunk weights down my mind. But at least I am in New Mexico, with all of my belongings in one spot. After six years of accumulated dust and mold, we emptied our Oregon storage unit and brought it all…Continue readingCurry Your Heart Out

Spice Man

Streetside spice vendor outside the Darjeeling zoo In India, you get your spice on the road (in more ways than one). Men stand on the streetside behind aromotic carts covered in sacks of dried spices — cardamom, peppercorns, turmeric, masala, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, golden raisins, Kashmiri saffron. You can sniff it in the air. Pick…Continue readingSpice Man

Pig Stop

The highway out of Nagaland drops for hours as it twists through the mountains. Chilly air turns warmer as we drive down from Kohima to Dimapur. Pineapples appear in rows on the hillsides. A steep, green dropoff borders the edge of pavement. Every now and then, a little restaurant appears. We spot a sign for…Continue readingPig Stop

Tomatoes on Trees

Who knew? I have long known tomatoes and eggplants come from the same Solanaceae family (which also includes potatoes and numerous poisonous plants, such as the little purple flowers that grow in our New Mexico yard). But it wasn’t until I saw the Naga tree tomato (a.k.a. tamarillo) that I saw the connection. These hard,…Continue readingTomatoes on Trees

‘This is Your Dhaba’

  Just like that, the sludge and grime, black pools and diesel air are gone. City ends, country begins and we ride right into it on an un-aircontioned “luxury bus” with Hindi movies playing on a flat screen. The Assam we see through the window is not the India we endured for two weeks previous.…Continue reading‘This is Your Dhaba’

Pahurat

I had these memories of Bangkok: A cramped little passageway behind shops, between homes. Sticky-hot air rich with Indian spices. Little bridges over a murky canal. Sikhs drinking tea. Nepalis watching TV. Tiny restaurants with blue walls. Chapatis. Curry. Dhal. It’s Pahurat, Bangkok’s Little India, established at the end of the 19th century when a…Continue readingPahurat