Ramadan 2023 and the Food of Kings

Ramadan 2023 and the Food of Kings

Hanoi, Vietnam; March 23, 2023: Ramadan Mubarak! If you have ever been to an Egyptian restaurant, you are likely to have seen Mulukhiyah (or Molokhya or Molohiya or various other spellings) on the menu. It may even be called, simply, Green Soup. It is made with the leaves of jute, Corchorus olitorius, and is often described as the Food of Kings. It was once outlawed in Egypt because it was said to be an aphrodisiac. It recalls for me pesto,...

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CHARLESTON TO PHNOM PENH: A Cook’s Journal

CHARLESTON TO PHNOM PENH: A Cook’s Journal

November 18, 2022: My book is being shipped! And the University of South Carolina Press is offering a great deal! Here are some of the advance praise starting with the Foreword by Jessica B. Harris: You are about to make a friend. Meet John Martin Taylor, also known as Hoppin’ John, also known as Bubba to a very select few among whom I number myself. In these pages he invites you to sit with him for a while. If you do, I can guarantee...

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Midcentury Modern

Midcentury Modern

Phnom Penh; August 12, 2022: I was crazy for midcentury design before the Jetsons appeared on television in 1962. My father was on the South Carolina State Development Board and, as such, he traveled all over South America and Europe, luring businesses to the then impoverished state in the 50s and early 60s.             He attended the opening of Brasilia in 1960 and brought home the commemorative demitasse cup...

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Foreign Language Skills

Foreign Language Skills

Phnom Penh, August 9, 2022: I speak some French and Italian. I lived briefly in France and Italy – off and on, between the two countries, 40 years ago. I had studied French in high school and college in the Deep South, but I took the college courses mostly to avoid taking English literature. We read mostly 17th, 18th, and 19th Century writers – Descartes and Molière, Racine, Voltaire, Balzac, and de Maupassant. There was little...

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CHARLESTON TO PHNOM PENH: A Cook’s Journal

CHARLESTON TO PHNOM PENH: A Cook’s Journal

Coming in December! With a foreword by Jessica B Harris. Neither a cookbook (though there are several dozen recipes) nor a memoir, but a collection of essays from 1987 to the present — food articles, yes, but also travel pieces and academic writing, and personal musings about life and death and insomnia and dancing and fishing, family and friends, and my peripatetic life and career on three continents. With photos and drawings as...

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Chocolate Orange Mayonnaise Cake, revisited

Chocolate Orange Mayonnaise Cake, revisited

Phnom Penh; April 21, 2022: I’ve been making a version of this cake for 15 years. As I wrote on my blog in 2008, “I’ve always loved the deep dark richness of cakes made with cocoa and the moist quality of cakes made with oils and mayonnaise instead of butter.” This recipe makes a very moist cake that will keep much longer than cakes made with butter. I’ve also always loved the combination of chocolate and orange. I make a blender...

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