A Look at Land Rights on World Food Day

Danu tribal family farmers heading to their fields in Shan State, Myanmar It’s World Food Day, an annual celebration marking the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organization, which was founded  in 1945. This year, the day honors family farmers with the theme of “feeding the world, caring for the earth.” The United Nations named […]

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 […]

Bringing the Burmese to Montana

Singing, strumming and dancing at the Burmese farewell party. It’s over, and now I can talk. Perhaps you wondered where I went for the past few weeks. Perhaps I seemed a little aloof. I was—with good reason. Something amazing happened here in Missoula, Montana. Something historic. And we’d planned it for a long, long time. […]

7 Reasons for the Conscientious Cook to Visit Burma

The junta has eyes over an Immigration office. Burma is gearing up for historic elections on Nov. 7. Few people expect change. Many Burmese people hope foreign visitors will experience their country, then return home to tell the world what they saw. I’ve compiled a list of 7 reasons to visit Burma—especially if you aim […]

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 […]

Insects in the Salad

Eretes sticticus larvae, sometimes served with laphet thote Let’s return for a moment to laphet thote. Long before I researched this article, I’d eaten a lot of Burmese pickled tea leaves. The salad has all the salty-spicy-bitter-yumminess I love on a tropical plate. But I didn’t know about the beetles. That is, not until I […]

Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

The latest edition of AFAR is on sale, and inside you will find our feature on the Burmese pickled tea leaf salad known as laphet thote. This is such an exuberant dish with hot, tangy, bitter, salty flavors that tingle every little nook of the mouth. If you’ve never had the opportunity to try laphet […]

Recipes from the Homelands

Woman with greens, Shan State, Myanmar We’ve been away, exploring the high deserts and pine forests of this fascinating state. Camping on lava beds, cycling past blackberries on quiet highways, hiking on canyon slopes filled with ocotillo…. Good trip! Now we’re back in the office on Labor Day. I wanted to direct you toward a […]

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 […]