picture of Tunisia

Dangerous Books and Tunisian Eggnog

This is a guest post by my friend Bruce MacDonald of Postcard from the Edge, who graciously contributed this Tunisian street food recipe because he thought it was well-suited for Cooked in Allston. I agree, and I’m very thankful to Bruce.

Dangerous Books and Tunisian Eggnog
By Bruce MacDonald

Can books change your life? Sure, if you’re lucky, or you find them at the right time.

Vagabonding book coverAs an 18-year-old college freshman, I discovered Ed Buryn’s Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa. The book is long out of print – this was 1973, mind you – but you can still find the odd copy on eBay.

To call Vagabonding a guidebook is like calling the Bible the chronicle of a late-Bronze-Age tribe. And it is equally dangerous. Buryn was a Zen Master of backpacking the world. After reading it, I came within an inch of dropping out of school.

Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed. Stay in college, my parents suggested; go abroad for your junior year. I took their advice and reward, and at Christmas during that year abroad – granted a glorious month-long reprieve from Oxford and my literature studies – found myself in Tunis. Continue reading

How to Make Burmese Coconut Noodle Soup


I’ve been thinking a lot about my recent trip to Myanmar lately. It might be that to a South American like me, this Buddhist nation seemed like a different planet. Or perhaps winter is coming and I’m just craving some soup. Whatever the case, I came back from Myanmar determined to make a dish I spent a significant amount of effort trying to learn: coconut noodle soup or, in Burmese, Ohn-Not-kaw-Swe. Continue reading

Frédérique’s Crepes with Ham, Mushrooms, Leeks, and Bechamel Sauce

It’s hard to dislike French food. And it’s even harder to dislike it when a French femme fatale makes it for you.

Frédérique, the French lady in question, likes to play hard to get. I’d been harassing her to teach me some good recipes for a while, but – like the good French woman she is – she was elusive. Mysterious, even. Eventually, my persistence paid off. A few weeks ago she taught me to make what she calls Crêpes au jambon de Paris – crepes with Parisian ham – which I now call, “the best way to seduce anyone.” Continue reading

Authentic Lomo Saltado – Peruvian Stir Fry

I hope you liked the quinoa soup I learned to make on my last trip to Cusco. Now we’re going back to Peru for another great recipe: Lomo Saltado – a stir-fry beef dish shared with me by Edilberto García, Executive Chef of Casa Andina in Puno.

Lomo Saltado is the quintessential Peruvian dish – a great example of the Chinese influence in the country’s rich culinary heritage. It’s cooked in a wok, it has soy sauce, oyster sauce, and it’s served over steamed white rice. Continue reading