Cooking Lao Food for 40

Fresh, hot chiles THIS is why I love food, communal food: it has the power to turn a gathering of strangers into a collective event. It makes the foreign experience feel less so. It happens every time we travel to Laos, when villagers bring us to their kitchen fires or hand us glasses of Beerlao […]

Introducing: A Farm, a Website, a Recipe for Grilled Padróns

  ACKKK! Confession: every time I look at this site lately, I’m socked with guilt. Guilt, because I see the expansive gaps between my posts. Guilt, because I miss my time with food and words, words and food. We’ve been busy. We’ve had a gazillion things going on in life – as everyone does – […]

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 […]

Lao Jaeow Night (with Deviations)

Maybe you’ve had a night like this: You head to a friend’s with plans to cook. You bring recipes and garlic, chiles and limes, an ungodly heavy mortar and pestle—all stuffed into a pack. And when you walk through her door, you begin to unwind. Wine is poured and music played. Cheese and olives are […]

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 […]

$1.97 Cedar Picket Salmon

So this is what we did: we got ourselves a nice piece of wild-caught salmon, a decent bottle of white, and visions of a perfect fish on cedar. I thought of thyme in the garden and fresh lemons in the fridge. Rock salt from the Cambodian coast. A glug of olive oil. A pat of […]

Grilled Beef Wrapped in Wild Betel

I got a yen for wild betel in Vieng Xay, in a laid-back local market that sold an assortment of lunch pickings—sticky rice, sour bamboo, tangy dollops of jaeow, spicy little meatballs and grilled buffalo (above, middle, left of the balls) that had been mixed with onions and spices, wrapped in betel leaves and grilled […]

Lao Sour

En route to Boualapha recently, we stopped for a light roadside lunch of sour pickled fish (som paa) and sour pickled pork (som muu), both of which had been grilled in banana leaves. Each little packet opened to the most potent pate-like wedges (white fish, pink pork) with a firm consistency and an incredibly sour […]

When the Lights Go Out in Battambang

One night, the lights go out in Battambang, and we are presented with the prospect of candlelight dining. This is a throwback to years past, when generators rumbled through the dark and electricity flickered on and off. We planned a patio dinner anyway; a few flames in the breeze would add ambiance to the meal. […]

Khmer BBQ on the Bayon Walls

We did something the other day that we hadn’t done in ages: we became tourists for a day. Just as the morning sun cast its butter-colored rays across Siem Reap, we caught a tuk-tuk to the temples. With one-day passes in our pockets, we joined the throngs at Angkor (my, how things have changed!). I’ve […]