Saturday, November 1, 2008


We headed out on a flight to San Francisco earlier this week, destination San Mateo, an attractive small town not far south of the airport.  That unbelievable blend of eucalyptus air and clear blue skies and slanting shadows that is California in the fall, was like a tonic.

We were in San Mateo to talk at a cooking class/supper at Draeger's.  The people who came were engaged and interesting, and the people doing the cooking were a delight.  We felt very taken care of.  The menu included Napa and Red Onion Salad; Uighur Lamb Kebabs; Tajik Flatbreads, beautiful, and full of flavor because the dough had been made the day before and had done a long slow rise; Tomato Salsa, with its hint of sesame oil; and Black Rice congee, topped with chopped persommin and ginger, a great idea from Terri, who was in charge of the kitchen.  We did no work, just chatted to people.

In the course of the evening, May, who was in the class but in fact runs the restaurant kitchen at Draegers (the restaurant is called Viognier), talked about the homeless and their food culture.  She contrasted their relatonship to food with that of all of us in the room that evening.  The homeless need to spend a large part of their days figuring out how they can feed themselves, while we work to earn money which we can then go and spend on food.  So there's a huge cultural difference that doesn't get talked about.  We told her that she should consider writing a book...

Now I'm back in Toronto, while Jeff, who flew west from San Fran, is happily in Chiang Mai, in the warmth and last rains of early November.  Lucky guy!

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