Culinary History Mystery 6 – Tomato Eggs

Tomato Eggs is a home-cooked Chinese dish that reminds students, travelers, and those living abroad of home. Just a whiff of this cooking and folks will tell tales of sitting in or near the kitchen as a kid as a parent made this dish – and how good it tasted! it is simple, elegant, and savory, and less than 10 – 15 minutes from wok … Read more

The Silk Road Roots of the Age of Exploration

I’ve written a lot about the participation of Asian nations in Silk Road trade, but what I haven’t considered enough is the effect of the Silk Road on Europe.  The Silk Road and its spice trade played important parts in shaping early modern Europe, and it was no less than the price of pepper, cinnamon and cloves in the mid-fifteenth century that forced the Portuguese … Read more

Tales Told by an Old Vessel

This interesting object recently found its way into our home.  It’s a jade vessel dating from China’s Yuan Dynasty.  It appeared on the breakfast table one morning at the end of January.  To be honest, at first I wasn’t so sure about it, but the more I consider it, the more I’m taking a shine to it. We’ve got to clean it up a bit, … Read more

Turkmen Savory Meat and Onion Pie

We had something really wonderful for dinner last night that I had to share with you: a Turkmen Savory Meat and Onion Pie. It is a dish of Tartar origin that is now eaten in different variations across Central Asia and into Southern Russia. Although Turkic in origin, it clearly has influences from mother Persia, because it can best be described as a biryani enclosed … Read more

Shizi, Singh, Gangs Sengemo – A Lion by Any Other Name

Skilled dancers from Xiiang, Persian masks and lion masks. The heads are carved of wood, The tails are woven with thread. Pupils are flecked with gold And teeth capped with silver. They wave fur costumes And flap their ears As if from across the drifting sands Ten thousand miles away… – Bo Juyi, 9th Century   With Chinese New Year, rapidly approaching, a post about … Read more

Hail Mary!

In sorting through my old photographs recently, I was struck by this one and its timeliness – even though I snapped it more than a decade ago. Although completely unposed, the graceful curve of the neck, the adoration of the child by the mother, and the child’s alert but peaceful gaze at the viewer reminded me of dozens of European Renaissance paintings I’ve seen of … Read more

Afghan Cardamom Cookies

Today I’m cooking for a holiday get together with friends we’re having this evening, but wanted to share a delicious recipe with you that is just perfect for this time of year. These Afghan cardamom cookies are spicy and savory, and deliver a blast of cardamom flavor as they melt in your mouth. They are also really simple to make, and take no more than … Read more

Afghanistan Akbar!

From the time of the Persian emperor, Darius the Great in 500 BCE, the Afghan people have, at least from time to time, been engaged in resistance against foreign powers bent on conquering them. Even when outsider tyrants succeeded in bringing down one or more of the most powerful tribes, revolution percolated in the mountains and countryside and fed rebellion against the foreign invaders. An … Read more