Framing the Picture

We’ve been back in Southeast Asia for a month now, and I’ve been thinking a lot about framing—how we convey and interpret pieces of the world around us. A couple weeks ago, we visited the Cambodian coast. We hadn’t traveled to Sihanoukville in years, and we’d heard how much has changed. My first memories of […]

Lao Sabai

? I remember the very first trip. It was August, which meant sticky days and a heat that swelled until the skies opened with a gush of rain. The rice paddies sparkled in a light I still can’t adequately describe. Radiant. Brilliant. Electric. Cliché. They were the very definition of green. It was our first […]

Still Living in Action

Mekong River, Vientiane, Laos, the evening we met Lee I haven’t posted here in a long time. Quite a long time—but I’m back to the blog. In the weeks to come, I’ll talk about where I’ve been and why you haven’t seen me, but right now I want to tell you about Lee. I met […]

Joyce’s Peanuts

Juru Joyce is a South Sudanese vendor who sells beans and peanuts at the market in Adjumani town, in northern Uganda. I’ve come to talk with her specifically about those peanuts. As some of you know, I have spent the past couple of weeks in Uganda, on an IWMF fellowship to report on the South […]

Cold Coconut Cheers

Happy New Year to all! We are here in Southeast Asia as the masses celebrate the end of one cycle and the start of a new. In typical dry-season fashion, it’s a scorcher of a month. We spent yesterday playing tourist, tromping about the Angkor temples with 63 million of our fellow peeps. (OK, 63 […]

Lessons & Recipes from a Holiday Kitchen

This year, we decided to spend Thanksgiving at home, alone. Just the two of us. We don’t hate our families, we’re not anti-social. We’ve just had months and months of travels hither and yon, with multiple visits to relatives east and west, and more planned for Christmas. We were tired. Still are. But we had […]

20 Years of Democracy in Cambodia

1998. A man hangs an English-language banner from poles at the Democracy Square protest in Phnom Penh. Thousands of people gathered in front of the National Assembly Building for weeks to protest the outcome of the 1998 national election. The banners were for international observers and news crews, as most Cambodians could not read English. […]

What a Piti

I’m thinking of piti. I’ve been thinking of piti since the air went cold last week and the temperature slipped to single digits. That’s the sort of weather for piti. But that isn’t how I had my first taste of this sheep-and-chickpea stew. It’s a specialty of Sheki, in Azerbaijan’s mountainous north. It’s a rich […]

Cooking with Mayo

Not the creamy eggy emulsified condiment kind of Mayo, but the doctors- and nurses-in-white-uniforms kind—as in Mayo Clinic, that giant of medical care with—in its own words on its own website—physicians from every medical specialty working together, caring for patients, united in a philosophy that says “the needs of the patient come first.” Every patient […]

Lamb Meatballs with Mint & Preserved Lemon

I waited a month, and then patience grew thin. I had to taste those lemons! We were leaving soon, and I couldn’t take off without making one last tajine with a twist of homemade pickled lemon. I opened the jar to a nose-clearing waft. If you’ve smelled preserved lemons, you’ll know what I mean. One […]