Food

The Cult of Prime Rib

N.B.  I first published this piece in the summer of 1997, in the first issue of my zine Travelling Shoes. The issue was titled “Las Vegas: Carnival of Fools”. It’s hard to credit now, but as recently as 20 years ago, Las Vegas was not a major dining destination. Back then, Joël Robuchon was still some unknown […]

A Curanto in Ancud

The first time I saw the island of Chiloé was from the deck of cruise ship heading out of Puerto Montt and up the Chacao Channel. We’d spent much of the day on a bus, going to Petrohue Falls and around Lake Llanquihue in the shadow of Osorno, the Mount Fuji-like stratovolcano that towers over […]

Cooking Cuscus, But Not the Kind You're Thinking About

I like to read and I like to chase after odd bits of knowledge. For example, when I was in Chiloé, the island off the coast of southern Chile, our guide claimed that curanto, the Chilote version of a pit bake, was brought to the island by ancient Polynesians, to which I replied, ORLY? I […]

Mote con Huesillos on Cerro San Cristobal

Few things are more distressing or funny than watching a fat man labor up a steep hill. And at the end of February of this year, at the height of the Chilean summer, when temperatures in Santiago were in the mid-90s, I was that fat man. I was dragging myself up Cerro San Cristobal, the tall hill with […]

Nixtamalization: Chemistry and Nature in Sweet Hominy

Nixtamalization is the first step in making a tamale, a taco, or hominy. It’s a 3,000-year-old method of removing the pericarp, that thin outer layer, from a kernel of corn. Dried corn is soaked in an alkaline solution, a soup of water and wood ashes, slaked lime, or lye, for a few hours, rinsed in cold water […]

A Bowl of Patasca in the Vega Central

Tuesday nights were taco night in Santiago, a chance for a small group of students to come up to my apartment and watch me eat a prodigious number of chicken tacos, which meant that Tuesday afternoons were spent shopping, a chance for me to wade into the Vega Central and buy a prodigious quantity of […]

Merkén: The Mapuche Spice

Merkén: The Mapuche Spice It’s best to think of colonial Chile, prior to the 19th century, as being on the far side of a distant mountainous moon, isolated and cut off from the rest of the world by the Andes, the Pacific Ocean, and the Atacama Desert. Without the silver mines of Potosi or the […]

Pan Amasado and the Chilean Carb Face

One of the things that most distinguishes the Chileans from their Argentine neighbors and rivals is the centrality of bread in the Chilean diet versus the centrality of beef in the Argentine. Chileans, simply put, are carb loaders extraordinaire, shoveling massive amounts of bread into their shopping bags and mouths every day of the week. […]

Una Hambuguesa Americana

N.B. This piece  appeared in the final issue of my old zine, Travelling Shoes, “Authentic Seville”, first published in the summer of 1999. The last few times I’ve visited Spain, I’ve not eaten a hamburger, operating on the unforgiving principle of “fool me once.” There’s a joke in Whit Stillman’s film Barcelona about the awful­ness of […]

Previous page Next page