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 […]

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 […]

Getting to Know My Kitchen Again

We are home, and I am getting to know my kitchen again. I have been away so long, I find myself reaching for the wrong drawer when I want a fork. I can’t find the pots I want. The stove buttons feel foreign, the refrigerator door feels heftier than normal. But now, for a little […]

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 […]

100 Years of Honoring Women

A hilltribe woman named Ya totes a basket of meat along a dirt road through rural northeastern Cambodia. Today marks a century since International Women’s Day began. The day has roots in labor disputes amid global industrialization, and the fights for women’s rights to work, vote, hold office and pursue dreams without discrimination. How far […]

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 […]

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 […]

I Heard a Wok

It’s amazing the way sound becomes embedded in our psyche. I went for a run through the neighborhoods around Chautauqua, here in Boulder, and I heard it: the unmistakable clank of a spatula against a wok. I followed the sound and peeked through a fence to find a little backyard rotunda, obviously an outdoor kitchen […]

Harvest Weekend

I spent Labor Day weekend in the kitchen. I went home to see the husband—as well as the peaches, tomatoes, grapes, eggplants, peppers, arugula, chard and basil. A quick trip, in all respects. I caught a bus, I boarded a plane (cool thing about Colorado: the RTD, which, with my faculty pass, allowed me a […]