Kimchi Culture

Kimchi Culture

It is the stuff of ancient legend, and even of poetry. Songs are sung of it, odes penned, memories and meals made complete by it. Unless you dine only in fast food restaurants and hotel coffee shops it will be your most enduring gustatory memory of Korea. Kimchi is the great culinary constant of Korean daily life, that sine qua non without which the domestic culture would find itself... Read More

Cairo Bizarre

Cairo Bizarre

CRUISING CAIRO On every other street corner a medieval Arab squats, almost obliviously, on the sidewalk as the late 20th century rushes by. Men both in suits and off-white robes stop their business, set all aside and face Mecca to pray. Most of the city is the color of the desert over which it spreads out: a dusty tan. Brighter, lively color is in the interstices, the nooks and... Read More

Tequila – The Great Montezuma

Tequila – The Great Montezuma

Bernal Diaz, The Conquistador, rode with Cortez from the very start of his conquests. He knew the Generalissimo and his beautiful Mayan interpreter, advisor and mistress:Dona Marina. He knew the near erotic thrill and the soul shaking horror of Cortez’s great enterprise. He knew and admired the man he referred to as “the great Montezuma.” And I think he drank tequila... Read More

Sevilla, Seductress of Andalucia, Spain

Sevilla, Seductress of Andalucia, Spain

It is 9:00 PM and I can sense that the seductress, Sevilla, seductress of Andalucia,is about to rouse herself. Soon clutches of young women, dressed in thin cotton frocks, all of them mirroring the soul of Carmen, gather on street corners in the Barrio Trianna on the right bank of the Rio Guadalquivir. In twos, threes and fours they begin the evening’s “paseo,” a slow promenade... Read More

The Fire of Rajastan Never Dies

The Fire of Rajastan Never Dies

THE FIRE OF RAJASTAN NEVER DIES “Fire is sacred to all the Rajputs, but especially to the desert people,” Prayag Singh said to me. “It burns within us, and never dies.” “Is that why you say you have the hottest chilies in all of India?” I asked jokingly. “Yes,” he said with a straight face. “You will see, perhaps, tonight in... Read More

My Rex Hotel

My Rex Hotel

As a young GI (soldier) stationed in the Mekong delta during the war years, I had always heard magic things about the Rex Hotel. It had a famous roof-top bar and restaurant, as well as a swimming pool. High ranking US military officers stayed there. Foreign journalists from around the world went there to hear the daily military briefing, full of dissembling and hopeless optimism.... Read More

Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

My first meal in Turkey was served with a blush. Landing at Istanbul my buddy Erdem had picked me up and whisked me to the curving harbour, known as “the Golden Horn,” for lunch among the food stalls. We wandered among oh-so-many seductive smells and sounds till we finally surrendered where a young woman, modestly dressed in long sleeves, long skirt and headscarf was working... Read More

New World & Spain

New World & Spain

When we think of Spain it’s always bullfights and guitars, Gypsy dancers, romantic men on horseback, Don Quixote. And the vibrant Spanish cuisine! With its iconic ingredients such as fat sweet tomatoes, vividly red sweet peppers and paprika, thickly brewed hot chocolate, snowy potatoes and creamy avocadoes. Without these and a long list of other foods the Spanish kitchen would... Read More