25 Pictures That Will Make You Wish You Were at Texas Monthly BBQ Fest

What If I said that you can have Franklin’s famous fatty brisket without waiting in line for four hours, then get your hands on the juiciest pork ribs of your life from Snow’s without having to wait till Saturday and drive all the way to Lexington, and afterwards try pretty much every exceptionally great BBQ…

State Fair of Texas: if It’s Not Fried, It’s Not Food

On the morning of Texas State Fair I woke up in a creatively decorated Airbnb in Dallas. Two umbrellas hung from the ceiling over the bed, and an art piece featuring a photo of what looked like a dead (or deeply sleeping) woman was set on the table. The art piece was not unlike Gladys…

The Meaning of Life Can Be Found in a Russian Kitchen

When my best friend and I were 15 and lived in our small town of Asbest (remind me to tell you one day about my sweet little town, the largest producer of asbestos in the world) there was literally no place for us to hang out. Don’t judge my use of “literally” here. I mean…

Orange Marmalade That Is Not Easy but Incredibly Rewarding

I tried googling “orange marmalade recipe” a few days ago, and found quite a few links suggesting “easy orange marmalade” and even “marmalade is way easier than it looks”. And you know what I have to say to this? Nothing good in life comes easy and especially not orange marmalade! You make it the easy…

The Time I Made Cookies for Buddhist Monks

The house before dana was a mess. Don’t take me wrong: physically, it was clean and shiny. The floors had been scraped so hard you could almost see your own reflection. The furniture had been moved to create more room. New beautiful tableware replaced everyday plates and cups. The mood, though, was somewhere on the…

Pol Roti, Sri Lankan Coconut Bread that Should Be Your Kitchen Staple

Five hours before a Sri Lankan-inspired dinner I promised to cook for my friends I walked into an Indian grocery store to buy ingredients for the said dinner. Me: I can’t find frozen coconut anywhere… Shop assistant: I am afraid we ran out of it, madam… Me (in the best traditions of Bollywood movies, almost…

My Husband Is Fastidious About Bananas

To write the title I had to look up the word “fastidious”. Other options were “finicky” and “particular”. “Particular” is a word I know and use often, so I threw it out as not sophisticated enough. “Finicky”, on the other hand, I like very much, but mostly because it makes me giggle. In Russian “finick”…

The Time I Tried the Cheapest Michelin-Starred Meal in the World

Every January I sit down with magazines, scissors and glue to make a wish board. Every January for the past three years I glued a picture of a sophisticated dish on a large white plate to represent a meal at Michelin-starred restaurant. As per visualization law, I imagined myself all dressed-up sitting in a fancy…

Breaking Coconuts Like Nobody’s Business

A few months before my big fat Sri Lankan wedding I learned that according to local traditions one of my male family members had to break a coconut during the ceremony. With a huge knife. At the first try. In front of over a hundred people. The closest my Russian relatives have ever come to…

Kitchen Staples: Sri Lankan Edition

I don’t want to sound nosy (which means I will totally sound like it!), but I love peeking into other people’s shopping carts while waiting in line to cashier. Mostly, because in USA people buy a completely different set of products than I do. I’ve been once asked whether I am a vegetarian by a…