Crashing Culinary Borders

Since long before I graduated from Columbia’s School of the Arts in fiction writing in 1988, I have loved to cook, and to travel.

My passions have come together at Cooks Without Borders – a cooking website and blog I launched in January 2016.

At a time when our world needs more openness, more compassion, more cultural understanding, Cooks Without Borders is all about crashing frontiers: state lines, national borders, states of mind. Inspiration for the blog comes from deliciousness I find all around the globe – whether I’m hunting down the greatest lamb barbacoa in Oaxaca, Mexico, reviewing a new Korean cookbook, cooking with friends in Southwest France or learning to make a gorgeous Vietnamese seafood dish from a friend who shows up as a guest cook on the blog.

It was a funny path that took me here. Henry Holt published Greetings from the Golden State, the novel I began writing at Columbia, in 2001 – but not before it was published in France, by Editions Fallois, as Jours Heureux en Californie. After completing my M.F.A., I worked as a freelance journalist for 17 years – 15 of them in New York City – writing and co-writing books about food and wine along the way.

In 2001, with our 4-year-old in tow, my husband and I moved to L.A., my home town, where I was on contract writing a second novel for Holt and writing stories – and traveling – for Travel + Leisure. The Los Angeles Times hired me in 2003, and I fell completely, absolutely and hopeless in love with newspapering. I spent five happy years there – mostly as editor of the paper’s Food section. (That second novel? Alas, it never came to fruition, so consuming was my day job.)

Since 2009, I’ve been a restaurant critic (I know, crazy, right?!) at The Dallas Morning News, where I’m also the founding editor of Palate, the paper’s annual food, wine and travel magazine. I feel super fortunate to have such a wonderful job, and honored to work with colleagues who amaze me every day. I’ve been sharing stories and recipes from Cooks Without Borders with readers on the paper’s website, too.

And I’m thrilled to live in Dallas, which has grown – and is growing – into a remarkably vibrant, energized and exciting city. It has also become a very international city. My husband (who is French) and I have friends here who are Tunisian, British, Mexican, Taiwanese, French, Indian, Spanish, Korean, Canadian and Vietnamese. That’s off the top of my head. Our son, who’s studying Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College, is quadrilingual, if you count Japanese (he has just completed his second year and will study in Tokyo next year).

I can’t wait to visit him there. And maybe I will write that second novel one day. In the meantime, I’ve been working on a recipe for okonomiyaki – a savory Japanese seafood pancake that’s popular in Osaka. It’s a dish with a cult following. And I’ve recently nailed a mind-blowing recipe for vegan miso soup. You’ll find them both soon at Cooks Without Borders. Do come visit – no visa required!

Join me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram