Camp Food, Laos

Earlier this spring, we followed a bomb clearance team working high in the mountains near the Lao/Vietnam border. We all camped in tents pitched inside a village schoolhouse that offered shelter from the wind, rain, cold, and critters outside. One rudimentary room with a stellar view served as the camp kitchen. Cooking took place over […]

Dinner by Chance

So it happens like this: you’re wandering the street in a country you just entered in a town where you’ve just arrived, marveling at how this place has grown in the years since you’ve last seen it. You barely recognize a thing. You come to a corner café, and you see the hair, familiar hair. […]

Time to Harvest – Part 1: Ratatouille

Time—it’s fleeing! And I can’t catch it. That’s the way I feel lately. And I’ve been thinking a lot about this, about the way time expands and contracts depending on who we are, where we are and what we’re doing. Our perceptions of time depend on all the factors that define us as individuals. (There’s […]

Freezing Lemongrass for the Winter

We’re leaving. Got a 6 a.m. plane to catch. But unlike so many times before, this time we are taking a vacation—true vacation, no work, 7 days, Hawaii. Bliss. It’s been a painfully long time since we have booked time away with no obligations (that’s the trouble with a career that centers on travel… every […]

Garden Herb Vinegar

In the past seven years, I’ve watched a patch of hard earth turn to rich, fertile soil. It started with just a few plants—parsley, sage, oregano and rosemary. Mint and Egyptian walking onions, too. The rosemary grew, then died. I replaced it. I replaced it again. I added thyme and basil (each year), then a […]

On Gardens Near & Far. And Summer Squash Soup.

A Danu girl sorts through her family’s home-grown tomatoes in Shan State, Myanmar. Hello there. It’s been a while. I apologize for my absence from this space—not that I’ve forgotten it, or you. It’s been on my mind a lot in the last many weeks. But you know how life takes us in multiple directions […]

Portobello Summer Soup

Let’s say you have a couple of leftover portobellos and you really don’t feel like grilling them. You could, instead, make summer soup with garden herbs. You could slice one shallot, a couple of garlic cloves, two carrots, three celery stalks and sauté them with butter in a stock pot. Then—because you open the fridge […]

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 […]

It’s Not Pork

Our friend Rith takes us home to his village, where his auntie cooks soup in a dimly lit kitchen, black from years of use. Little rays of sunlight beam through tiny pinholes in the ceiling. Her thick tamarind cutting board sits on a slat bed, where she chops scallions, basil, culantro and lime. Her pot […]

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 […]