What is this quintessence of dust?

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed about my small work by the good people in the ATO of the US Consul General for Hong Kong and Macau. The resultant fine edit is a string of strange non sequitur statements (by yours truly), all ending in the form of a question? Whatdayagonnado! It was very nice being presented and of course the school, students and my team look lovely. 

In the hours of actual footage the idea I was trying to get through was:

I am the result of a deep culinary tradition of the melting pot of America. Brought to love diverse, ethnic home-style cuisine by my heritage, and especially by the wonderful home cooking of my Mother and Grandmothers. That the America I know, love, and am proud of is a place that celebrates diversity, pluralism, and damned good food. Some of the best food in the world comes from my place of birth, and certainly The USA produces many of the worlds finest ingredients.

While I may have become a gypsy – traveling the world, considering it my nation, and its people my brethren – I am still guided by the wondrous bounty, eclectic variety, and warm conviviality that, to me, is American cuisine. In my work here at HKA, and in all past stations, I have tried to share my love for all that I received by accident of birth. To me that is quintessentially what being American is all about. 

Hysterrorism

It is July 3, 2017, I’m inPhoenix, and the vultures are circling.

Three days ago, our first morning in the states, we ventured forth to ride the Phoenix Metro Light Rail from our airbnb to my Parents home. About half way through the journey an SUV careened into the tram, before spinning out, taking down an 8 inch thick lamp pole, and crashing headlong into a wall.  Continue reading

An addendum to Dan Ryan’s 

  We dropped in again today to enjoy the nostalgia, but are again stymied by a poor service mindset. In this case it goes to the head office, though the staff remains about the same as last time…unfriendly, downright grumpy, and technically incompetent.

The headquarters has switched this shop to a limited menu eliminating many of the classics (like all of the sandwiches). It seems (though I have an incomplete survey) that they eliminated lower priced items. Meanwhile their two other Hong Kong shops sell the full menu, so their is no logistic or supply reason for the cut in service, just one of serving themselves over the needs of their customers. Perhaps an avaricious last dash to grab as much cash as possible from the Pacific Place store. One could assume that many coming in this period, are their most loyal fans. Though to be frank we are again sitting in a restaurant nearly devoid of customer on a day where it would have once been overflowing with trade and good cheer. That’s a crying shame.

 

Mostly Vegan

In March of 2015 I learn of, and then mostly adopted, a change to my eating habits that has been relatively easy (for me) and had a relatively positive impact to my size, weight and blood pressure. I became mostly-vegan. “Mostly” in part because of my job, which does require me to eat meat on occasion. Also because I enjoy meat, believe dietary science urges omnivorous nutrition, and don’t subscribe to the “animals are peaceful” philosophy of many vegans. Indeed I believe if the tables were turned the animals, even my beloved dog (to say nothing of our evil cats), would have no hesitation in making a meal of me.

Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving You Turkey!

IMG_8760Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It speaks directly to the kind of chef I have always wanted and tried to be. It is a purely American, purely secular holiday of conviviality. The sharing of warmth and familiarity with loved ones, around a table piled high with good, rustic, homey, and wholesome food. It is the opportunity to assess the bounty of ones life, ones kith an kin, ones larder, ones fortune…and in so doing appreciate all that there is rather than being mindful of what is missing. Continue reading

The scales fell from my eyes. 

I have been fighting a protracted “battle of the bulge” since my late twenties (more on that perhaps elsewhere). In a previous campaign some 18 years ago I bought a then, top of the line body analysis scale from Tanita. It did weight and body fat (probably not accurately but still, data is data). It was steel and something of a tank, no doubt one of the last before materials sciences gave us the modern era of lightweight polymers. It served it’s purpose well enough but is a bit worse for wear and has become obsolete through modern software innovation more than anything else. As a scale it still does a good job. Continue reading

Chef Paul

PaulPrudhommeSigningHolgaACropI have often dismissed the outpouring of regret when a celebrity passes away. In those times I usually like to point out that while the celebrity lived (and died) pretty well, many unfortunates lived and died in horrible circumstance, unnoticed. No less can be said of one of my culinary icon’s, Chef Paul Prudhomme. Having said all of that, I would like to take my moment to eulogize a person that had no small amount of impact on my life (and to be sure, the lives of many).  Continue reading

MRI

SONY DSCI have often lived a rough life, with addiction, homelessness, and a lot of hard jobs in between. I have also treated my body as a regenerating tool, never failing to put it through it’s paces, always pushing it to work harder in my service (after all it only needs last my lifetime). I am medically and genetically fortunate. Even now, obese and aging, my medical results are sterling, my doctors still have a note of surprise when they see my general chemistry and fitness are above my peer group. Continue reading

25 Years, 1 Month, 23 Days

Me, in the late eighties, a degenerate, but then still functioning  meth head.

Me, in the late eighties, a degenerate, but then still functioning meth head cook.

Our names meet, separate, and meet again, but the people going by the names do not remain the same. – Salman Rushdie

If you had met me on January 6, 1990, or indeed nearly any time in the few months before that, you would have met a youthful, slim, handsome, but clearly shifty, degenerate, in the early years of a burgeoning full-time occupation (it started as a hobby) as a methamphetamine addict. If you met me in the few weeks after that I would have been the one wearing a prison jumpsuit. Continue reading