On the Borderlands

Uniformed men on horseback, lassos at the ready, chase brown and black people stumbling in the surging water of the Rio Grande near Del Rio, Texas. The photographs shock. They call up long-buried images. Of the Ku Klux Klan night riding. Of patrollers chasing runaway slaves. Of Native Americans and the U.S. Cavalry at Wounded … More On the Borderlands

A Kitchen in Exile

Until recently, I really never thought of exile as having anything to do with me. To speak of exile brings up visions of Napoleon Bonaparte languishing on Elba (later St. Helena) or Leonardo da Vinci doodling in the Château du Clos Lucé, near Amboise, France, yearning for his native Italy. Or the sad case today … More A Kitchen in Exile

Hey, Wait a Minute: Glimpsing What’s Really Behind Words like “Ethnic”

NOTE: Today marks SEVEN years since I first started writing this blog. It’s been an interesting journey, with many bends and curves along the way. It’s fascinating to observe the increasing awareness of how language defines so many cultural attitudes and reveals long-held biases. Take a recent article, “Why Everyone Should Stop Calling Immigrant Food ‘Ethnic,’” by Lavanya Ramanathan, a Washington … More Hey, Wait a Minute: Glimpsing What’s Really Behind Words like “Ethnic”

Gleaning the Lessons of Wandering

This summer is different from all other summers. This summer I’m signed up for a weekly basket of local, organic vegetables from the rented land of some starry-eyed young farmers. And this week’s bounty included four cucumbers ranging from Lou Costello plumpness to Bud Abbott skinniness, six carrots resembling the clown-twisted balloons available at all … More Gleaning the Lessons of Wandering