Wisdom in the Kitchen

Lumpy, bumpy Kaffir limes I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long time: compile a list of culinary tips I’ve accrued through years of shadowing Asia’s cooks—from the hoity-toity kitchen classrooms of luxury resorts, to the dirt-floor huts of mothers who carry on their ancestors’ recipes.  Take a gander at that list, now […]

Big Soup, Big Love

I post this picture today in honor of Valentine’s Day, my husband and the animated life we have created together. I know he’s missing travel as much as I am right now, so here’s a little reminder. This is about the biggest noodle soup we’ve ever encountered, anywhere. It’s served with a smile at the […]

The Neighborhood Chile Roaster

At night in Colorado, the temperature drops, the wind picks up, and the air smells fresh, like pine. It’s such a lovely scent—and yet, my nose tells me something is missing. This time of year, right now, everything back at home smells of roasted chile. This is Max. Every New Mexican neighborhood has its chile […]

Growth

A baby Naga chile—the world’s hottest—hangs from a plant in a Wisconsin garden on the edge of Pewaukee Lake. And so the Boulder life begins. The week passed in a gust of activity—I’ve been packing, planning, meeting and “orientating.” Picking classes, touring the library. Setting up my new computer and phone. I’ve discovered a treasure […]

Now, About that Jaeow:

If you’ve read my previous post — a 9-day diary of Lao village food — you’ll fully understand the importance of chile in every Lao meal. And you’ll recognize that chile takes the form of jaeow, a paste that’s pounded with mortar and pestle. One morning, I follow Huang and Louen, the two cooks, into […]

A Rural Lao Food Diary

Breakfast, Day 5 Last month, we spent nine days in the field with Jim Harris’s team in rural Phongsali province. We camped at the local dispensary and showered with cold river water, which was piped uphill to the village. The team hired two young women to cook, clean and launder. Our meals were served communally, […]