The James Beard House

February 5, 2014

Asparagus JB

I was a sous-chef at six, at the James Beard House no less. Don’t believe me? That’s because you haven’t met my mother. As one of Mr. Beard’s cooking school graduates, she deployed what she learned from the culinary giant to transform our tiny townhouse kitchen into a battlefield canteen, and conscripted my sister and me as soldiers in her years-long campaign to outperform every dinner and party hostess in Manhattan. While you were watching Gilligan’s Island, I was tearing from peeling onions, or dressing an oven burn. While your parents were prattling to their friends about your precocious choice of kidneys off a French menu, my mother was persuading Oscar, our reluctant Madison Avenue butcher, to order the succulent morsel of lamb that we would wield to floor a visiting London gourmet. No, we didn’t cook him the brain, or some gland. We fed him the fetus.

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COMMENTS10 comments.


January 27, 2014

Did you just eat tongue?

Tacqueria El Bajio

I did, at Taqueria el Bajio on Milpas Street. It’s digesting now.

Why can’t they do tacos like that in New York?

Dunno. I don’t get it. What’s so complicated about a soft corn tortilla, chunks of spongy tongue meat, onions, and cilantro?

I hate cilantro.

So does my mother. It’s genetic, you know.

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COMMENTS5 comments.


January 26, 2014


All 10 of you. Or 110? Whoever you are, thank you for reading.

I migrated myself to the US recently, which went relatively smoothly. Migrating this blog was another matter. Some of you alerted me you received duplicates of old posts. All comments on the most recent post, The James Beard House, disappeared, along with the post itself.

Then the whole site disappeared, and while I saw metaphor in a vanished past, I was bummed, until a technician at GoDaddy who owed me no favors took a deep breath, dove down into the site, and surfaced ninety minutes later with the sunken treasure.

I’ve been holding my own breath, and thank each of you who has encouraged me to keep writing.

Exhale, then post.

Again, thanks for reading…….







COMMENTS3 comments.

Spring of Content

April 22, 2013


This began as a search for content. Not someone else’s. My own.

I was under pressure from the two ladies at the social media agency.  They were my friends’ capable daughters, and when I hired them I naively thought the deal was this: they download my bank of food photos from my restaurants in Bali, add them to the ones they would take, post on a contractually agreed upon schedule in some clever, fan-building way, and, most importantly leave me alone.

“But we have fans now, and they expect something for their enthusiasm,” the ladies explained, a few months into our contract. They pitched a weekly contest that would require little of me, and only a little knowledge of our restaurants by the fans. Please, go ahead. Reward their loyalty with free meals.

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COMMENTS4 comments.

Noodles in Cambodia

December 22, 2012

I didn’t know what to expect when my husband and I recently booked a last-minute trip to Angkor Wat.

I’d done zero research on the place. I can’t even explain to you why I was suddenly so keen to go, given reports I’d gleaned over the years about the intense heat that blazes across the Cambodian plain, and my general aversion to sweating. The cuisine, my stock-and-trade excuse for going just about anywhere, wasn’t the draw either, though it did end up luring me into a kitchen because I seriously cannot help myself.

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RECIPECambodian Curry Noodles


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