First, a pinch of etymology. The Greeks called lavender nardus after the Syrian city of Naardus, from which comes the word “spikenard.” (More on spikenard in a second.) As for our word, “lavender,” we must once again thank the Latin language for lavare, meaning, “to wash.” A member of the mint family, and cousin to […]Read more "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme … and Lavender"
Purple bougainvillea flowers hung thick and rope-like over the sand-colored walls, their little white hearts nearly pulsating in the blazing noon heat of Rabat, Morocco. The door of The English Bookshop stood half-opened. The stern English proprietor stood behind the counter, his thin pale fingers reaching into scuffed cardboard boxes, filled with the newest shipment of books […]Read more "The Scent of Cinnamon and Chasing Down Humoral Theory"
Cookbooks, if you look closely, contain more than recipes. Even when recipes predominate – in books with no headnotes, contributor names, nothing more than ingredients and methods – you learn a lot about the people who wrote the books. By scrutinizing the text, you develop a sense of what’s important to the authors and the authors’ intended audience. […]Read more "The Gaza Kitchen: A Portrait of Cooking and Culinary Exile"
Penelope Casas, an expert on Spanish cuisine, passed away last week, not too long after the death of yet another one of my favorite food writers, Leslie Land. Now this may seem strange to you, and it does feel odd to me at times, but through the books these writers wrote and the recipes they […]Read more "Cookbooks Tell the Story of Our Lives: Remembering Penelope Casas and The Foods and Wines of Spain"
It’s funny how sights, sounds, and smells trigger memories, isn’t it? Tastes, too. When I photographed a blue moon the other night, a very specific image bubbled up for me.* Perhaps, in a way, you could deem it a Proustian madeleine moment. Although I didn’t really eat anything. Standing there, trying to keep the camera […]Read more "Two Moons and a Ksar"