Generosity, a Secret to the Burmese Kitchen

When AFAR published my laphet thote article, it ran under the headline, “A Burmese Salad that Says Welcome.” I didn’t write the title. It’s what editors inferred from the story. “Welcome” is spot-on, but love, compassion or kindness would have worked just as well. The Burmese possess magnanimous hearts—this I learned from my students. I’m […]

Sunderban Curry Saves Cyclist from Taliban

This is a story about the best and worst of life, a story that cheers humanity’s goodness yet shames its evil. An Indian cyclist aims to circle the globe, to teach the world about AIDS. He pedals through remote Afghanistan, his 33rd country. The Taliban capture him. They tie him up for 24 days. He […]

Good Root

I have a little secret. I add a pinch of turmeric to soups and stews and pots of almost anything in which the flavor won’t clash. Two nights ago, I sat down with a good book and a bowl of popcorn precisely as I like it: drizzled with butter and sprinkled with a little salt, […]

The Rosi Recipes #5: Num Banh Chok

I’ve lost count of the cookbooks I brought back from Asia this time. I’m fairly certain my weight in books surpassed everything else in my luggage. Among that traveling library was a copy of From Spiders to Water Lilies: Creative Cambodian Cooking with Friends. It’s a beautiful book, which finally presents Khmer cuisine in a […]

Old Coffins, Hot Noodles

Remember, around New Year’s, I mentioned an archaeological mission to see ancient log coffins in northern Thailand? Quite a trip, that was. The article is out in this month’s Archaeology. And while the story covers the history and scientific significance of this rocky terrain up near the Burmese border, it doesn’t say much of the […]

Those Beans I Mentioned….

Pa-O women harvest rice in Shan State, Myanmar The beans we ate with burgers on the 4th of July? Slow-cooked ginger beans. Pintos and Anasazis are what I used, though most any reddish/brownish sort of bean will do. Take your pick, your options are many. The recipe came from Shan State. We’d eaten them years […]

The Rosi Recipes #2: Burmese Mutton Balls

I couldn’t resist. As soon as I read Nan San San Aye’s recipe for an aromatic mutton meatball curry, I knew it would be part of the next Rosi meal. Now, let’s get a couple of things straight. In Burma, “mutton balls” might very well mean goat testicle curry (which a friend recently referred to […]

The Rosi Recipes

We’re home! And we have a new member of the extended family. Meet Rosi, our darling niece. She loves to eat and burp and lots of other things—she’ll fit right into this crowd. Now, anyone out there with a 2-month-old knows the difficulty of the dinner hour. So I’ve decided to cook dinner once a […]

Great New Chiang Mai Restaurant

Meet Grandma Lek (and yes, she is small). She’s the hands and heart behind the food at a fantastic new little Chiang Mai spot called, appropriately, Grandma’s Thai Recipes. There she is above, making one of her specialties, mee krob. Grandma has long cooked for a popular restaurant on one of Chiang Mai’s outer ring […]

Mango Rain and Noodles

We left Siem Reap on a day-trip to interview villagers in the countryside. Ten minutes out of town, a mango rain (the term for early spring dry-season showers) drenched the road and everything turned swampy. Definitely atypical in the typically dry month of March. It poured until nearly lunch—which means we didn’t accomplish much before […]