Why you should and what you’re missing out on

Photo by Tim-Oliver Metz on Unsplash

A few months ago, I decided to ferment something that most people told me I was fucking crazy to try and ferment. It was pork, and that pork went into one of the best salads I’ve made in my life.

Why it’s time to give up on a term that has lost all meaning

Authentic food, as we understand it, is bullshit.

That was the realization that dawned on me as I continued to stubbornly pound ginger into a Thai curry paste a while back. “Ginger is not a substitute for galangal”, so I’ve been told.

It’s true, ginger isn’t a substitute for galangal, and using it won’t help you understand Thai flavors for what they are, but that doesn’t make it inauthentic, it makes it untraditional —my curry wasn’t a Gaeng Kiaw Wan, but it was still a green curry.

I can rarely get galangal, I’m not Thai, and I don’t even live…

But it’s not the real problem

Note: In an attempt to manage my perfectionism, I’ve written this in one sitting with little to no editing and published it as is. Considerably different from how I normally do things. More on my usual process below.

Perfectionism is a bailout for not being responsible and doing what we know we should do. It’s not my real problem, and it’s not yours. It’s “future-proofing” and what we’re really afraid of is criticism. I say “we’re” because if you’re reading this, you probably have the same problem. We’re in this together, fellow procrastinator.

Back in June of last year, I…

From somebody in the industry

It was already 9:00 PM, and everybody was starving. The food was nowhere near ready. I was doomed. The kitchen was a nightmare, and 15 hungry people waited patiently, and I was still cutting vegetables. I’d bitten off more than I could chew again. Isn’t cooking meant to be fun? I didn’t even have a single plate ready to act as an appetizer and to make it worse, there were chefs among the crowd. I could tell they were roasting me internally. I was roasting myself. What the fuck happened?

It was nearly 10:00 PM before anybody got a decent…

They’ll work for any language

Photo by Diego González on Unsplash

I’ve been speaking Spanish for about four years, and I got fluent in about two. People often compliment me on how well I speak, and they tend to think it’s crazy that an Australian sounds so Colombian. Believe me when I say that I’m not trying to brag but to encourage you. You really can speak fluently in just a couple of years if you work hard and apply a few straightforward principles.

As a language learner who’s also a language teacher, I can confidently say that they work. They helped me learn faster and not lose sight of my…

And a recipe to get you started

I don’t know how you’re feeling right now, but you’d probably feel better if you’d just made some yogurt. Out of all of my kitchen projects, yogurt undoubtedly gives me the most satisfaction. Yogurt and granola is the best breakfast there is. I’ll tell you that while I’m on my second bowl and showing no signs of slowing down. But it has to be thick. The fattier, the better. Greek yogurt can be used in about a million applications, and that’s just what I’ve been finding out lately.

I wasn’t always so keen on yogurt, though. For most of my…

Exploring Thai curry paste in its many forms

The last year or so has had me diving deep into, and trying to comprehend, the seemingly endless world of Thai curry, or gaeng, a part of Thai cuisine that needs some elaboration because it exists so arbitrarily in the mind of most people in the west.

And I was one of those people until I started asking questions.

“What do you mean you can’t substitute ginger for galangal?” I’d ask my chef friends, feeling limited in my options due to hard-to-find ingredients. I’d argue that they’re both rhizomes.

Well, turmeric is also a rhizome, and that’s a fucking terrible…

A plant-based shrimp paste alternative from Northern Thailand

Nothing brings Southeast Asian flavors together quite as well as shrimp paste.

Okay, maybe knowledge, skill, and love for cooking, but mainly shrimp paste…

I used to be vegetarian, and of the few things that spoiled plant-based, Southeast Asian recipes — that is, those that normally aren’t — for me, omitting shrimp paste and fish sauce hit the hardest.

There’s nothing quite like taking all the flavor, fat, and umami out of a dish and half-heartedly replacing it with tofu and a squirt of soy sauce, or if you’re lucky to have some, Miso.

But, Miso can be a little…

Going beyond Pad Thai and the traffic light curries

Photo by Lisheng Chang on Unsplash

Take a moment to think about where you’d find Biryani in Thailand…

You read that right; Biryani — the delicious rice dish with origins among the Muslims of India. For some, the answer is obvious, but for most, obscure.

Today, a few things are hurting the food of Thailand. Vendors are being forced to use inferior ingredients to reduce costs for tourists who expect the food to be cheap, and environmental issues are affecting agriculture in certain areas. …

A look at the condiment’s importance in the Mexican kitchen

Chile con queso feat. salsa de morita

We need to talk about the sauce in Mexico. Displayed front and center at every restaurant and street food stall, and replenished swiftly as if it were a bad omen to let them run dry, sauce reigns supreme in the Mexican kitchen.

Of the many things that encapsulate the heart and soul of Mexico, probably the most profound is its cuisine. And when talking about Mexican cuisine, one mustn’t forget where it comes from: the amalgamation of many races and cultures. The food is, without a doubt, the most reliable proof of that.

Food in Mexico is diverse. Dishes vary…

Alex Heery

Cook and food writer based in Mexico City. Talking food and all its intersections | IG: https://instagram.com/_alexheery

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