I like blaming my 30’s for a lot of things: the fine lines appearing under my eyes, the two-day hangovers, and the inability to lose weight the way I did in my 20’s. And while I don’t have too much control over the first problem (let’s be honest, eye cream is just overpriced moisturizer), I can drink less (well, sometimes) and I can definitely make healthier eating choices during the holidays.
The idea of cookie exchanges has made its way to Shanghai, and so has Thanksgiving. For my day job, I’ve had to write listicles about turkey delivery services and where to go for the best cup of hot chocolate in the city. I’m also a food critic on the side, and it’s literally my job to eat fattening food. So I cut corners when I can.
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, boots and scarves are for sale. But now that I live in China, there’s another reason to look forward to the season: persimmons.
Starting a few weeks ago, the fruit began popping up all over the markets—showcased as the prized product by every vendor. They are being sold on street corners, in grocery stores. The woman I kindly refer to as “the fruit lady” behind my apartment complex has been shoving bags full of them into my hands, demanding that I buy them. I tell you, the Chinese have a certain charm.
Rainy weather makes me want to curl up in bed, watch cheesy romantic comedies, and eat a big bowl of something laden with butter—somewhat good for my overworked brain and underworked heart, but not so great for the hips.
Americans are infamous for this. Our idea of comfort food, depending on what state you’re from, consists of macaroni and cheese, lasagna with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese between every layer of doughy noodle, meats simmered for hours in red wine and butter, and casseroles with so much cream it makes your heart stop just looking at the recipe.
Image courtesy of www.zliving.com.
It’s winter. I get it. I should be posting pumpkin soup recipes and ideas for upcoming cookie exchanges. Well, guess what? I’m not. Deal with it.
Lately I’ve had an overwhelming desire to travel. And I’m not talking about a week in the Caribbean or even two weeks in Europe. That’s not gonna cut it. I long for my backpacking days and fantasize about future expeditions: Hiking Machu Picchu, spending a month in an ashram in India, riding a camel through the Sahara. The list goes on.
Everyone’s eaten at Thai restaurants. There are Vietnamese places popping up all over. My old DC neighborhood even had a Malaysian eatery on the corner.
But what the heck is Laotian food?
I wondered the same thing before I visited Laos, the small country bordered by Thailand and Cambodia. And obviously this was the first question I asked once i got there.
The moment I returned to America I started receiving invites to parties and reunion requests. I responded by sending a mass email: “Let me sleep for five days, then the planning can commence.”
Exactly six days later, I had two of my best girlfriends over for dinner. And even though I wanted nothing to do with rice, noodles, or any other kind of Asian fare, I thought it’d be nice to cook some recipes I learned in Thailand.
With only seven weeks left in Korea, I thought I’d want to stuff my face with as much kimchi as possible. And while I’m getting my daily fill of fermented cabbage, all I can think of is American food.
Well, let me clarify. I’m not sitting around daydreaming of Big Macs and french fries. I’m thinking about caesar salads. Enchiladas. Medjool dates. Goat cheese. Greek yogurt drizzled with honey. Hummus with warm pita. I could go on, but I’m writing this at a coffee shop, and I’m drooling. People are starting to stare.