The New York Times, May 19, 2013
Among the towering hotels along Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, it’s been hard to find a restaurant that’s neither a New York import nor an outpost of an international chef’s brand. And until recently, anyone looking for a spot that actually celebrates Florida cuisine would be out of luck.
Enter Florida Cookery, opened in November in the James Royal Palm hotel. Kris Wessel, its chef, has developed dishes inspired by the many influences in the state’s culinary mix — the Caribbean, South America and the American South — and uses local products like blood oranges and wild boar.
But don’t call it fusion. The menu’s eclecticism is homegrown, said Mr. Wessel, a 42-year-old Florida native. Reading his grandmother’s 1940s community cookbook, which gave the restaurant its name, he came upon recipes from Cubans and Brazilians alongside Georgians and Louisianians.
“Back then they were all trying to figure out what to do with mangoes, sapodillas, canistel,” he said. “I looked at doing a Florida statement that way.” >>> continue reading at nytimes.com >>>
The New York Times, May 19, 2013
In 1979, Ken Burns, then a little-known documentary filmmaker, up and left New York City for Walpole, N.H. What first drew him to the small New England town was its cheap rent. “I thought I had just taken a vow of anonymity and poverty, if I was going to be a documentary filmmaker concentrating in American history for PBS,” he said.
What kept him there, long after his first Oscar nomination, was the region’s spectacular natural beauty and cultural history. Inspiration comes from, Mr. Burns said, “the lesser known, authentic places that represent the region’s traditions, its sensibilities.” >>> continue reading at nytimes.com >>>
The New York Times, April 28, 2013
Before Ted Lee and his brother, Matt, became the ambassadors of Southern cooking known as the Lee Bros., they were just those Yankees who moved from New York to Charleston, S.C., as children. Their status as outsiders gave them “a sense of wonder as it relates to the food of Charleston,” Ted said recently.
He still recalls the taste of his first boiled peanut at age 9. “You shell it, and it dribbles down your fingers,” he said. “It was revelatory.”
The new book that he wrote with his brother, “The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen,” conveys that wonder through recipes for conch fritters, fried shrimp and deviled crab, inspired by some of the city’s most beloved restaurants and shops. >>> continue reading at nytimes.com >>>
The New York Times, March 17, 2013
The Seoul of today, said Doryun Chong, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is far different from the one he left in 1992, the year South Korea elected its first civilian leader after three decades of military rule. Instead of student protesters and riot police, the city center now brims with museums, galleries and restaurants. And its transformation is still under way, said Mr. Chong, particularly where art and architecture are concerned: “All of those ‘what do you preserve, and what do you not?’ questions,” as he put it. >>> continue reading at nytimes.com >>>
The New York Times, February 17, 2013
India’s 65,000 kilometers of train tracks embroider the subcontinent, connecting thousands of cities. In 2010, Monisha Rajesh, a London-based journalist, set out to discover the railways, detailing her adventures in her new book, “Around India in 80 Trains.”
The state-run railways and private luxury lines give full view of the country’s people as well as its sights, Ms. Rajesh said. “You could be in first class with ambassadors and politicians in these air-conditioned compartments” she said. “Go down to the other end, you’ll find people sitting on wooden slats.”
“No one is excluded,” she added. “For every price, anyone can travel.” >>> continue reading at nytimes.com >>>
The New York Times, January 27, 2013
Ever since Julia Child taught cooking classes in her Paris kitchen decades ago, many an American living in the city has guided visiting countrymen on the intricacies of French cooking and eating. But not all of them have been as knowledgeable as Ms. Child.
David Lebovitz, an American pastry chef and cookbook author who has lived and led tours in Paris for nearly a decade, can attest to this. “I’ve actually seen tour guides at the market say, ‘This is beef, and the French eat a lot of beef.’ ‘Oh, look, carrots.’ ”
When it comes to food in France, you need to know the professionals from the poseurs. >>> continue reading at nytimes.com >>>
Religion & Politics, January 8, 2013
Port-au-Prince, Haiti — Just days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, Chris Savini, then a mental health worker, heard from his Illinois church about a doctor who was forming a makeshift clinic here. For Savini, the decision to join the mission was easy. “I was called,” he said. “It was undeniable.”
Now a full-time missionary, he shuttles back and forth from the States with his wife, gathering donations from his church, friends, and family for organizations like Mission Une Seule Famille en Jesus Christ, an orphanage in the city’s outskirts where he teaches music. The October evening Savini spoke to me, children and teenagers were lining up for dinner—peanut butter on yucca bread—in the orphanage’s courtyard. They lingered by the kitchen, its generator the only source of electric light in the compound, which included a school and the cinder block skeleton of a half-finished church. The quake damaged an already unreliable electrical grid, and even now only about 25 percent of Haitians have some access to electricity, according to a 2012 World Bank report. Whole swaths of Port-au-Prince sit in darkness. >>> continue reading at religionandpolitics.org >>>