Back in Black

I’ve been away. A long time as a wandering, mendicant scholar – or something like that. But now I’m back, and trying to get back to the blog and to the next volume of The Silk Road Gourmet. But good plans always get foiled by real life, so bear with me. While I’ve been away, I’ve found scholarly papers that have new Ancient Mesopotamian recipes … Read more

Kimchi Chigae

I love kimchi. I have several jars of kimchi in my refrigerator at all times. Kimchi of Napa cabbages and Korean radish, cucumber kimchi, and now, thanks to food and travel writer Michael Y. Park – kimchi from North Korea as well. You see, Michael recently returned from a trip to North Korea with a handwritten recipe for North Korean kimchi in hand. He sent … Read more

Indian Curry Through Foreign Eyes #2: Mary Randolph

Next up on our exploration of curries is Mary Randolph’s Curry from her book, The Virginia Housewife, first published in the United Sates in 1824. Although she was well born, Mary and her husband’s fortunes fell in middle age and The Virginia Housewife was written to help lift her family out of poverty. The Virginia Housewife underwent multiple revisions and no less than 19 editions … Read more

Thackeray’s Ode to Curry

Poem to Curry – William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 -1863) Three pounds of veal my darling girl prepares, And chops it nicely into little squares; Five onions next procures the little minx (The biggest are the best, her Samiwel thinks), And Epping butter nearly half a pound, And stews them in a pan until they’re brown’d. What’s next my dexterous little girl will do? She pops … Read more

Name That Silk Road Ingredient 1: Pistachios

I saw these in the market the other day and I couldn’t resist a few handfuls. This is an unusual presentation for them, so I’m wondering if you know which Silk Road Ingredient they are. Hint: They are soft and slightly sweet when eaten or used at this stage. (Contest closed as of 11/1/2012 – 9 AM EST) _____ I’ll leave it up for a … Read more

Culinary History Mystery #5 – A Loaf of Leavened Mesopotamian Bread

Something wonderful and unexpected happened yesterday. After a long day of tromping around historical archaeology sites in St. Mary’s City with the family, I arrived home to find a long-expected, but immediately unanticipated e-mail from a fellow food lover in England. Cid is a purveyor of fine foods and an expert breadmaker. Some time ago, I asked her to help me solve a historical food … Read more

Chef Miles Collins Cooks from The Silk Road

Chef Miles Collins has just cooked and reviewed one of the recipes – Lamb and Rhubarb Stew – from The Silk Road Gourmet Volume One over on his site. Miles is a talented professional chef, and a brilliant photographer who focuses on subjects from life and work in gourmet kitchens to the nature and wildlife of his native Lincolnshire, England. All in all – a … Read more

Food Haiku

My husband thinks I’ve gone completely mad. He’s not saying much, but I can see the look in his eyes when I start to talk about my latest discovery – food haiku. That sort of squinty-eyed attempt to discern if I’m serious or just goofing around. But food haiku is for real. Celebrating food and our experiences with it or how it makes us feel in measured … Read more

Himalayan Hospitality

Food not only nourishes us, but when well prepared, it can bring excitement, pleasure and contentment. When shared, it can bring dining companions together around the table as they enjoy and comment on delicious dishes. I had a wonderful dining experience recently when I shared some great Nepalese food with colleagues from work. On the last night of a week of meetings to discuss an … Read more

A Super Supra

We toasted to the mountains and how they have perseved Georgian culture over the millennia, to our ancestors, to our homelands, the men stood and toasted to the beautiful women in their lives and we all toasted to the future.  Those were amongst the many toasts that we shared over glasses of Pheasant’s Tears last night at Levante’s restaurant in downtown Washington’s Dupont Circle. Our tamada, … Read more

Korean-BBQ Birthday

This year, for the first autumn birthday, we took the family and a guest to a nearby Korean barbeque that has gotten some great reviews.  Honey Pig really is a small slice of South Korea tucked into the DC suburbs.  From its dark and industrial-styled interior to its straightforward, unembellished service and the thumping pop on the sound system it feels like stepping into another … Read more

Silk Road in the News #3: Oldest Share Discovered

A share of stock issued in 1606 by the sea trading firm Dutch East India Company has recently been discovered in the Netherlands. Locked away in forgotten city archives, the share was made out to Pieter Harmensz, from the Dutch East India Company has recently been found in the northwestern city Hoorn. As the Netherlands’ largest trading company in the 17th and 18 centuries, the … Read more

Silk Road Resource #1 – The Yale Silk Road Database

I’ve sometimes wished that I had gone to Yale. I’ve wondered if my life would be different had I studied there? Where might I be standing now if I had applied? Given my natural inclinations for dogged research, I might have become an archivist working with rare books and tablets or I might have become a preparator who restores and studies precious artifacts . . … Read more

The Silk Road and the English Kitchen

A guest post by Chef, Miles Collins: When Laura kindly offered me her pulpit to eulogise the wonders of the Silk Road I knew at once what I should write about-England. I am English and as an Englishman I owe those ancient traders and travellers of the Silk Road a huge debt of gratitude. For as much as Laura’s writings of soups and stews from … Read more

Silk Road Roma

“We always knew the Gypsies were coming when we heard the light tinkling of silver bells coming up the lane. The sound of the bells was delicate and light and fell in rhythm with the trot of the horses pulling the covered wagon. We didn’t know where they came from, there were no Gypsy encampments nearby, but they came to the house two or three … Read more