お元気ですか？(O-genki desu ka?) Vous allez bien? Dje si? Shnoo ahwalak? Wherever I travel, I like to think about linguistic nuances that reveal something about a culture, and sometimes even about human nature. While every place has its own version of “How are you?” and other common greetings, there are some places that add a distinct and interesting twist. In Japan, “O-genki desu ka?” asks not only how you are, but also whether you have good health, energy and spirit. The French likewise often eschew the open-ended “How are you?” for the more to-the-point “Are you well?” Continue reading
An old acquaintance of mine once treated me to a homemade curry dinner. He had lived and worked in rural India and recounted how he learned about spices and herbs from the locals as he traveled from village to village. During monsoon season, he said, there was nothing to do but wait out the rains inside the villagers’ houses, and it was then and there he learned to cook curry. Since his time in India, he continued traveling the world, bringing along stashes of his prized Indian spices everywhere he went.
‘Tis the season to make cookies, and this year, my friend Sarah challenged me to find a natural red food coloring to use in icing for sugar cookies. Did you know that most artificial red food colorings contain crushed beetle-like cochineal bugs? And those that aren’t derived from bugs often contain coal. (Here’s one helpful link in case this interests you, but be warned, there’s a picture of those red crawlies.) Now that doesn’t sound very festive or appetizing, does it? And recent studies found potential links between artificial dyes and hyperactivity and even cancer. That’s enough to turn me off of artificial food coloring, how about you? Continue reading
You don’t have to love fiery food to enjoy curry. Many curries, like Thai yellow curry, are quite mild and tangy. Continue reading