My culinary journey through Asia: Before

Photo of Jennifer HollisI’ll eat anything as long as it’s cooked.

That is the motto of my mother, a woman through whom I was introduced to foods and ingredients that fascinated, perplexed and, many times, frightened my peers. She’s native Thai, and my mother’s meals were unlike any of my friends’ mothers’ meals. In elementary school, I explained to a classmate how to eat sticky rice.

“You eat with your hands?” she asked, later confessing that the table manners she had been taught all 10 years of her life seemed useless at my house.

Yes, eating certain foods with your hands was perfectly acceptable at home. So were the weird ingredients that I still find at Mom’s house. And while I’ve cherished the Thai-American upbringing, my mom’s westernization of her traditional cuisine (and attempts at non-Thai dishes – we’ll get into that later), and my eventual adventurous palette, I realized there’s very little I know about Asian cuisine.

Thus begins my journey into an exploration of Asian food. So join me as I learn about (and attempt to make), as much Asian food as I can.


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