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'Herring in a fur coat'
Tasting a Russian party dish
This time of year I look at myself in the mirror and shrink. My face looks like it belongs on the canning shelf with the beans, asparagus, and cukes.
| March 10, 2010
A painting, a letter, upside-down peppers
It all goes into making Vietnamese papaya salad
"While I wait, I beat the peanuts," says Hop Nguyen, a custom clothes designer in her home kitchen in Yarmouth, Maine. She's teaching me how to make green papaya salad from Bac Ninh province in northern Vietnam. She's waiting for the spaghetti-like strips of unripe papaya and carrot to lose their stiffness as they soak in salt water.
| February 10, 2010
Adventures in pot stickers
Exploring new worlds of flavor
My friend from Thailand taught me how to make real pot stickers and pad Thai.
| January 13, 2010
A year-abroad-romance gets really good
The bus had been bumping over potholes through the night in the Andes mountains of Bolivia.
| December 16, 2009
Epic Albanian foodstory
A mother never made it to America, but her chicken pie did.
Portland resident Bill Dilios taught me how to make his favorite dish from Albania, kotopita.
| November 18, 2009
Bulgarian bean soup and spanakopita to the rescue
Last Friday evening, it was like a geyser of anger exploded through the floorboards of my house.
| October 21, 2009
The queen of Cambodian cooking
Her friends call her 'So Peep'
Makara Meng, co-owner of Mittapheap World Market, welcomed me to her relative's suburban house in South Portland for an authentic Cambodian dinner.
| September 23, 2009
In 10 years
From a handful of restaurants to a restaurant town
It wasn't always that Portland was "America's foodiest small town."
| September 16, 2009
Hot exotic adventure tonight!
Shave cabbage, rub pork ribs, peel yuca, and more
Unless you're a vegetarian or fried-pigskin-intolerant, I have an adventure for you. It requires about three hours. It's exotic, but does not require calling the phone numbers on the next few pages. Depending on who you are, it requires little or a lot of bravery. It's called cooking.
| August 26, 2009
A long-ago farm
Exploring the origins of great food
Last week while you were reading here about Portland chef Krista Desjarlais's efforts at Bresca, I was cooking with her mother, Maili Kern, who lives in the West End. She taught me how to make rosolje, an incredible roast beef and root-vegetable salad from Estonia (recipe at immigrantkitchens.blogspot.com ).
| July 29, 2009
Finding a way
Making Nicaraguan gallo pinto
If it weren't for Nicaragua, Jenny Sanchez and her favorite dish, gallo pinto, wouldn't be here. She's a 75-year-old grandmother. She's short, has wavy dark hair, black eyes. She leans over slightly even when she's standing upright and has a stiff, belabored walk. She lives alone in a neighborhood of single-floor apartments.
| July 01, 2009
Spring roll work area
American people under construction
In America, you can make your way through life without cooking. My friend is a Warmer Upper. Her meals are hot dogs and other frozen, jarred, or packaged things you heat up. And yet, she was at my house one afternoon for lessons on how to make fresh spring rolls.
| June 03, 2009
Indian prawn curry breaks all the rules
Cooking Indian food by myself for the first time felt like skydiving; it went against all my instincts.
| May 06, 2009
In search of authenticity
Real German, Real German potato salad
Friederike Munz, a 27-year-old German woman, was going to teach me how to make German potato salad the way she'd learned from her grandmother on a farm in Freiburg, Germany.
| April 08, 2009
Cooking with two Russians
A day of authenticity, gross assumption, and great soup
Yulia Converse welcomed me into her kitchen in Maine to learn from her mother, Alla Zagoruyko, how to make authentic Russian borsht.
| March 11, 2009
Buns, buns, buns
A Dominican fried treat whomps health-nut-ism
The sunshine yellow trim of the La Bodega Latina, a corner store and deli geared toward Spanish-speaking immigrants, peeks out above the eight-foot-high pile of dirty snow along Congress Street.
| February 11, 2009
Let the alligators come to you
And, Portland, they're on the way
I'll be back next month with recipes, know-how, and cultural background on Dominican bollos de yuca, a fried meat-filled snack that's crispy outside and soft inside.
| January 14, 2009
Transcendence through pasta
The artistry of Fabiana De Savino
I've just added to the list of Things Humans Don't Completely Understand.
| December 17, 2008
The borscht I kissed once...
...in an underground hallway — and rediscovered at home
When I was working at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, two housekeepers who didn't speak English but giggled a lot brought in a pot of their family's borscht for the employee meal. In the dark basement hall where the employees ate, I tasted serious family-secret-cooking.
| November 19, 2008
Making Iranian eggplant stew
I went to the Kismet Inn a couple blocks from the water in downtown Bath to learn how to cook the innkeeper’s Iranian eggplant stew.
| October 23, 2008
If you’re not sweating...
...something’s wrong with you
A sculpture on display at Filament Gallery this summer memorialized one of Jamaica’s great cooks. Her likeness is carved out of wood, sanded and polished with butcher’s wax.
| September 24, 2008
The Current Issue
Table of Contents
Where To Follow Me
| March 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Mo Takes His Turn
March 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM
[Q&A] KMFDM's Sascha Konietzko on art, Columbine and having balls
On The Download
| March 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM
See this film series: The Belmont World Film Series @ Studio Cinema in Belmont
Outside The Frame
| March 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM
See this film: This is Spinal Tap [with post-film talk by expert from Acoustical Society of America] @ the Coolidge
March 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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