Culinary History Mystery 6 – Tomato Eggs

Tomato Eggs is a home-cooked Chinese dish that reminds students, travelers, and those living abroad of home. Just a whiff of this cooking and folks will tell tales of sitting in or near the kitchen as a kid as a parent made this dish – and how good it tasted! it is simple, elegant, and savory, and less than 10 – 15 minutes from wok … Read more

Ramadan Kareem

The time of Ramadan is almost upon us once again. Since so many of the land and maritime routes of the Silk Road ran through predominantly Muslim countries, and since Muslim traders played such an important role in moving the goods and ideas around that led to a globalization of the ancient world, I wanted to take a moment to explain the holiday to non-Muslims … Read more

Africa on the Silk Road

The Dark Continent, the Birthplace of Humanity . . . Africa. All of the lands south and west of the Kingdom of Egypt have for far too long been lumped into one cultural unit by westerners, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Africa is not one mysterious, impenetrable land as the legacy of the nineteenth Century European explorers suggests, it is … Read more

Flowers That Have Changed the World of Food #2: Saffron

“Your lips drop sweetness like honeycomb, my bride, syrup and milk are under your tongue, and your dress had the scent of Lebanon. Your cheeks are an orchard of pomegranates, an orchard full of rare fruits, spikenard and saffron, sweet cane and cinnamon.” What substance was revered by the ancients, was used in Cleopatra’s baths to enhance her beauty and pleasure, was used to treat … Read more

The Jews of the Great Silk Road

In previous posts I’ve extolled the virtues of Arab traders in keeping the engine of global commerce and subsequent cultural exchange alive along the Silk Road. Although the Arabs were indeed an important part of trade along the Silk Road, many other nationalities and ethnicities were as well. There were Chinese, of course, Greeks, especially along the maritime trade routes, Europeans, and Jewish merchants situated … Read more

Flowers that have Changed the World of Food #1: Vanilla Orchids

Monday morning was magical. I woke up in the middle of a snow-covered wood not having realized that it had snowed overnight. I looked out onto the ground, blanketed with a thick covering of pure white powder, and felt just like a kid who had slept with a spoon under her pillow – I didn’t have to go to work today – yeah! One by … Read more

Silk and the Early Silk Road

A recent article in the journal Archaeometry tells of a new discovery of ancient silk in Pakistan’s Indus Valley. The ornaments that contain the fibers have been dated to 2450 – 2000 BC. The really fantastic thing about the find is that analysis of the fibers by electron microscope suggest that the fibers were produced by Antheraea moths indigenous to South Asia. In other words, … Read more

Bangladesh, My Bangladesh!

Those of you who have been reading The Silk Road Gourmet for a while know that Bangladesh has a special place in my heart. I have been there many times and am in love with the country and the people and their endless ingenuity in making the best of their home on a semi-hospitable flood plain. In slightly less than 40 years since independence, the … Read more

Welcoming the Year of the Ox

With a loud drumroll and a crash of cymbals the two enormous lions careened up the marble stairway, and paused to survey the lay of the land before continuing into the courtyard. One golden like the summer sun, the other as black as a new moon night. Both bedecked with mirrors and a single horn in the middle of their foreheads, they looked left and … Read more

Silent Passage

The overcast sky moved quickly over the frozen earth as the end of another year slipped silently away. Films were run, one-by-one the kids played with their new games and toys and we all read lots of books. The past few days have been a delight of relaxing by the multi-colored fire of the decorated tree as our ambitious plans for entertaining and visiting local … Read more