Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Just back, on Saturday night in gusts of wind and rain, from a trip to New York.  The excuse was a conference jointly sponsored by NYU and the James Beard Foundation that focussed on food and China.  The title? Dumplings and Dynasties. 

I gave a talk with slides about the regions Beyond the Great Wall, with intro and questions from Jim Oseland, the well-travelled and engaged-with-the-world editor of Saveur, who is a good friend.  But the stars of the show for me were two academics: Joana Whaley-Cohen who gave the opening talk, setting Chinese food in an historical and cultural context that was fresh and wonderfully clear; and the always-wonderful Sidney Mintz, anthropologist and clear-thinker about food and culture and the politics of both, who gave the closing address.  (In Japan artists who are very very special may be named national treasures; I think Sid Mintz should get that designation.) 

There was time, too to see Ann Bramson, our wonderful editor (at Artisan).  Got her out of the office to MOMA, a treat for us both (the Miro exhibit, and also the Van Gogh by night).

Now, this week, comes the annual Food issue of the New Yorker, with Jane Kramer's profile of us.  We're of course very curious to read it and to see what photos there are etc...  (Our copy hasn't come yet, and I can't wait, but we've heard nice things from people all over.)  The best part about all this was that we got to spend a lot of time with Jane last May, a real pleasure for everyone in the family and for our friends, too.

I'm headed to Thailand tomorrow, and will try to post from there.  We've got some getting ready to do, for the cooking immersion courses we're doing in February in Chiang Mai (see the Chiang Mai page in immersethrough.com for details).  I'm looking forward to warm air on my skin, fresh papaya, and hot sour salty sweet everything!

chowk dee!

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