On so-called “hard-boiled” eggs

Phnom Penh; March 27, 2021: Passover begins today and ends on Easter Sunday. So called “hard-boiled” eggs are central to both religious celebrations. All of us have had trouble perfectly boiling eggs at one time or another. Even the experts such as Harold McGee, who writes about the chemistry of food, admits that there is no surefire method to ensure that the shells won’t crack, the yolks don’t turn grayish-green, and the inner membranes...

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Rabbits, revisited

Rabbits, revisited

Our friend Ben is in quarantine after his Home Leave, so I took him some cookies and pasta sauces. He’s lived in Italy, where both coniglio and lepre – rabbit and hare – are consumed with abandon, so one of the sauces was a tomatoey rabbit sauce that he could easily reheat and serve with pasta. I went back through my blog looking for rabbit dishes and found a dozen or more, including this one, which appeared as “Gibelotte” on the blog...

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A French Wine Primer

A French Wine Primer

Phnom Penh; September 29, 2020: A friend who has been living in Italy lamented to me the dearth of good Italian wines here. We have – or had, before the pandemic – an amazing array of good French wines available, but that’s to be understood since France has had a profound influence here since French explorers first entered the country in the 1860s. By 1863, Cambodia had become a protectorate under the tricolor flag. The colonial period,...

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BANANAS and THE EASIEST DESSERT

BANANAS and THE EASIEST DESSERT

August 25, 2020; Phnom Penh: I have begun writing a short food column for the US Embassy weekly newsletter here. It’s mostly reworked blog articles or Facebook posts that I already had on file, but I try to customize it for cooking here in Cambodia’s capital. A shortened version of this post will appear in the newsletter some time in the future — Scott, the editor, already has a cache of them to draw from.  My dear friend Dana...

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Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney

August 6, 2020; Phnom Penh, Cambodia: There over 500 varieties of mangoes. I had had insanely delicious mangoes in the Caribbean, Mexico, Africa, and Sri Lanka before I moved here, but the “off-season mangoes” (svay kraw rdauv) here in Cambodia are perhaps my favorites. Their creamy flesh is not fibrous and they are very sweet, with hints of peach blossoms. If you walk the streets of our neighborhood here, which are lined with many mango...

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Cambodia as Lockdown relaxes

Cambodia as Lockdown relaxes

LOCKDOWN JOURNAL. Phnom Penh, Cambodia; June 11, 2010: I’ve lost count, but we’ve been social distancing for over 12 weeks. For the first 73 days, I posted essays with recipes on Facebook as LOCKDOWN COMFORTS. But the Embassy relaxed our travel restrictions – though still no public transportation or travel outside the country – and so we headed to Siem Reap last week to revisit the Khmer temples without the hordes. We hired a driver –...

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