Dziekuje Ci

That means “Thank You” in Polish and its pronounced “Jen Coo Ya Chee” and the J in Jen needs a buzzing Zh sound at the end of the J. Say it quickly three or four times and you’ll realize how pleasant it sounds and feels as it comes off the tongue. Before I came here, […]

Justice

On the flight from JFK to Stockholm I watched Clint Eastwood’s movie on Richard Jewell. If you’re not familiar, Jewell was a security guard with Atlanta’s Summer Olympics in 1996. While on duty at Centennial Park, he spotted a suspicious backpack under a bench, brought it to the attention of the police who brought their […]

Food Fighters

One of my life’s great privileges is brewing the morning’s first cup of coffee and bringing it to my lovely wife Amy. And I like starting the day with the process of making that coffee. I prefer the coffee from my friends Riccardo Pereira at Due South and Will Shurtz of Methodical Coffee, and I’m […]

Castles, Kings, Popes, and Dictators

Before I get going, my essays from Poland were written while on a few hours of sleep, a five hour time difference, and tired thumbs on my Android phone. Yes I’ve seen the typos glaring back at me like a snake in our henhouse, daring me to get involved, and I haven’t had the patience […]

Budmo!

“John!” I’d just walked into the WCK kitchen and a vaguely familiar voice called out to me. I turned to my left and in the far corner was New Orleans native and fellow chef David Guas. He owns Bayou Bakery in Washington DC and he’s a good guy. I hadn’t seen him in four or […]

Dances with Onions

I thought I understood the politics of this war, until I chopped onions with our next ambassador to Finland. I thought I spoke decent Spanish, until I worked next to an attorney from Barcelona. I thought I understood hospitality, until I served customers that packed their lives into one carry-on suitcase and walked for ten […]

The Tesco

Sam’s Club, Super Target, Tesco. They’re all the same. The Tesco in Medyka was empty, maybe it was being refurbished or maybe it would move. It’s not important. This Tesco is the first Polish stop for many Ukranians. It’s all tents at the border crossing, a mile away at Tesco there’s cots, a roof, proper […]

Sidewalk to Poland

Border crossings, such as the one on the Ukranian border at Mydeka, Poland, aren’t designed for a mass exodus. This one is a sidewalk, no wider than one found on yours, or my Main Street. This one flows down the gentle slope of Ukranian earth, through the gates then climbs up thirty feet or so […]

Yesterday’s Apples

The apples arrived in 18 wheelers and were unloaded with forklifts. Thousands of pounds of apples. When I arrived I asked how I could help. “Chef that group is cutting yesterday’s apples for applesauce. We bring it to the border and it’s a welcome treat for the Ukranian kids. Would you mind chopping apples?” “Make […]

“Only James Bond gets to Save the World”

That’s what my dad said to me, more than once. He usually responded with that after I complained about some rather large issue such as the war in Vietnam, or the condition of the roads in south Louisiana. And he always followed that up with “but you can save a small part of it.” Meaning […]