Misako’s Japanese Kitchen

Misako in her kitchen, Shobu, Japan, 2000 I’ve lost track of Misako. It happens, you know—we’re close to people for a short while, and then we grow apart because of distance, work, family or the natural passage of time. Eleven years ago, I stayed in Misako’s home and I explored Japan through an Oregon Sister […]

Food Miles, Southeast Asian Style

Buses stop at the Nam Ou River in Muang Khua, Laos. Tiny town it is, but it sits on a major trade route linking Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. I’ve been thinking a lot about the journeys my dinners endure. The more I read, the more I learn, the more trouble I have shaking the numbers: […]

The Goodwill Balinese Chicken

Fishing in Bali It’s crazy cold here in Colorado! We’re covered in fresh layers of snow and ice. Schools are closed. And I’m sitting here shivering. So once again my thoughts go tropical. I am fulfilling my promise to post the recipe for that Balinese chicken I mentioned on my Facebook page last week. Garlic, […]

The Fish at the End of the Road

Valu Beach, below Tutuala, East Timor This is not here. This, above, is Valu Beach on the far tip of East Timor. “Here,” for me, right now, is Boulder, Colorado, beneath a fresh dump of snow. I could use a burst of Timorese warmth right now. I’m traveling to East Timor in mind tonight, thanks […]

New Year Peace in a Pot of Peas

Happy New Year, everyone. I wish  peace, health and happiness for all in a brand spanking new 2011. I don’t know about you, but 2010 was one heck of a mixed bag for us. Highs and lows that peaked and plummeted all year long. I’ve written a wrap-up for The Faster Times. It explains what […]

Food Photography: Notes from the Kitchen Studio

A number of readers have commented on the photography here, sometimes with questions about lighting and technique. So we have today a guest post by the photographer himself, my dear husband, Jerry Redfern. As some of you might know, Jerry is a photojournalist with nearly 20 years of experience in an evolving profession—from newsroom darkrooms […]

Season of Thanks & Giving

Shu feeds her daughter, Ngoc Chau, at a dinner with her Hmong co-workers and trainees in Sapa, northern Vietnam. I’m breaking all the rules this week. It’s Thanksgiving, this is a food blog, and I’m not posting a single holiday recipe. Gasp! I know. But the truth is, I’m thinking more about life and less […]

From Chez Panisse to Thailand—and Back

Kyle Cornforth, Thai corn Now in The Faster Times: Kyle Cornforth tells all about her year away from Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard, her forays into Thai farming and cooking, and her deep worries about the future of Thai food. Read the story. Some of Kyle’s students learn that lemongrass helps deter snakes from gardens.

Banning the Cluster Bomb

A farmer in Sepon, Laos, stands in his field, which he cleared of ordnance by himself. He said he found many munitions. The small banana behind him grows in a bomb crater. An international treaty banning the cluster bomb takes effect today. Cluster bombs are large weapons that hold up to several hundred small explosives […]

Woman With Meat (And Other Notes From the Road)

Ya carries her basket of beef along the road between Ban Lung and Ou Chum in Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri province. As some of you know, I’m at work finishing a collection of travel essays to be published next year. In the past few months, I’ve wandered aimlessly (and pointedly) for hours through old notebooks and files […]