Sunday, December 30, 2012

Trying to remember...

I seemed to have lost my voice and my way in the world. Anyone have any suggestions on how to regain it??

An excerpt from The Asian Quest blog when I had my voice: 

I have my friends and family to thank for pulling me out of my pathetic, privileged, depression and over-introspection of the meaning of MY life while creating space for this new normalcy.  It took seven weeks of an internal quarrel to realize that asking the meaning of MY life was not the right question. It was the egocentric question that we are taught to ask. Pray about. Teach about. Preach about. Read about. Talk about. Slit wrists over, starve over, get high over, binge over. It is a selfish, lonely question. Pulling the camera out of my bag that day and leaving it on the bed gave me nothing to hide behind. Nothing to create a wall. Nothing to make me different. All of the sudden, I could see the whole picture, and although I still didn’t have the answers, somehow I know knew the question to ask was "what is the meaning of life?"  Exclusive turned inclusive. Answers were right in front of my. Every day. Every night. Every moment. Changing the question meant that I could share laughs, and smiles, and love and tenderness with strangers. I became a character in the photos. I became part of the memories and stories. I found new places and talked to travelers from around the world. I got drunk on Chilean wine on the roof of a Swiss hotel in Cambodia while learning and relearning and learning, yet again, how to attempt to say one word in Khmer from the female bartender “សន្តិភាព,” which means peace.  At the market, my green eyes met the soulful brown eyes of the woman selling fish…and she laughed with me. I ate sour beans dipped in msg with the young, pregnant manager of Jed’s Bar. And finally, we could recognize our exotic differences and obvious similarities. And we could laugh at them all. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Coffee, Oh My!

I have a love-hate relationship with Coffee. I write it with a capital "C" because I respect it immensely. While in Yucatan, we eagerly awaited the thick, delicious Mexican delight...knowing deep down that there was a very good possibility we would get instant. Most specially Nescafe.
You have understand that I had just been clean off coffee for the last three months. It was mandated by my doctor after having dizzy spells and numbness and...and...I'm one of those people with quite active metabolisms that don't mix well with Coffee. But when I'm tired and the smell lingers into my nostrils  there are many times that I can't resist the intriguing bean.
Truth - my favorite coffee to date locally is Vermont Coffee Company Dark Roast. Huge shout out to them!
But back to our Mexico adventures...or lack-there-of.
Our first two days we spend at Hotel Oka'an (more to come later). The first day's coffee was watery and bland. I would have preferred to instant coffee. The second day it was slightly stronger, but still quite watery. To me a truly good cup of coffee doesn't need cream or sugar. The coffee at Hotel Oka'an needed both...
And then, at last, we found some of the most delicious coffee I have ever experienced in my life at Hotel Romantico Santo Domingo. 
Thank you Harald!!! You made our vacation in many ways!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Beans

First, I want to thank my mom for cooking and teaching us to cook growing up.
Second, I want to thank my significant other who loves to cook and when I think we have nothing in the house, he can whip up a delicious, healthy dinner in a half hour. He’s a creative genius in the kitchen.
Lastly, I want to thank a good friend of mine that always offers breakfast burritos to me on mornings when we hike.
Food really is quite amazing. And culture around food is fascinating.
Now, I am anything but a foody. When asked the question: Would you rather watch an amazing sunset or eat a delicious meal?” I will always hands-down choose to watch a sunset. This is somewhat fascinating to me since I have a fast metabolism and when I don’t eat I literally stop functioning. Some people very close to me even might say I get nasty and short and illogical. I would have to agree with them (him).
But today, I really want to share the gratitude I have for black beans. Yes, that’s right, that’s what I said. Black beans. The more you eat, the more you toot. Those ones.
Why black beans, you might ask?
We recently got back from a short trip to Yucatan, Mexico, where we ate black beans at almost every meal. Generally they are smashed – served thicker with breakfast, and thinned out for dipping chips for the starter of lunch and dinner. (Yes, there is a story where I had 12 meals in a row with only black beans, eggs and tortillas and had major digestive issues…I was living with a Guatemalan family at the time. That’s another story completely!)
They are delicious, easy, a protein + fiber and a healthy carb.
When I eat black beans at home (rather than in Latin America), I generally eat them for a special weekend breakfast, like I did this morning. Saute onions and garlic, then dump in beans with at least half of their own juices. Cook while stirring and smashing along the way. To add some complexity, I like to add chili powder, paprika, and turmeric. If you want to start with the dried beans, here’s a great recipe from the New York Times.
If you haven’t had some black beans lately, grab a can or a bag and enjoy the delightful legume!