James Beard Publication of the Year 2017

Eating Like You’re Home—Away From Home

The strange connection between the food we grow up eating and the new homes we find ourselves in is not uncommon in the world we live in today.

This post originally appeared on March 15, 2018, in Anup Kaphle’s weekly newsletter. Read the archives and subscribe to the newsletter.


Good day, fine people. First, thank you to those who wrote kind notes to wish me good luck and sent suggestions for what you’d like to see on R&K. Some of you reminded me that I forgot to tell you who I am. My apologies. My name is Anup—and I make a mean goat curry.

I don’t know about you, but whenever the weather turns shitty, I’m filled with energy to spend extra-long hours in the kitchen preparing spicy dishes that are certain to set my ears on fire. It also makes me miss home—the home that I left behind. So, I resort to cooking the food that my mother would make on dull, rainy days. This week, I made thick buckwheat pancakes (with green chilies and scallions), with a spicy curry of potatoes and black-eyed peas. I then served myself on a brass plate and ate with my hands. I slept well that night.

This strange connection between the food we grow up eating and the new homes we find ourselves in is not uncommon in the world we live in today. It also features heavily in some of the new cities we have added to R&K city guides, which by the way, I hope, you’ve shared and bookmarked and taken notes from to plan your trips. Today, we launched another set of cities featuring three exceptional destinations: Bordeaux, Bogotá, and Detroit—none I’ve been to, but each one I know now I must. You’ll also want to check out Explore Parts Unknown, where this week we take you to Chicago, which—forgive me, Lord, for I may be about to sin—blows Los Angeles’ taco game out of the water.

Some of the most iconic food in Detroit, the quintessential Midwest, has nothing to do with the region. Even its ties to soul food go back to the beginning of the last century when many black Americans from Alabama migrated north in search of better opportunities. Soon, drawn by Henry Ford’s US$5-a-day wages, immigrants from Europe and the Middle East arrived—and with them, a little slice of the homes they left behind, making the culinary scene in today’s Detroit feel like the United Nations of good food. You can see the same phenomenon halfway across the world, in Amman, which, for centuries, has provided refuge to people fleeing conflict across the Middle East. Here, the Iraqis brought their grilled carp with them, and the Pakistanis, who as migrant workers once cooked and cleaned for those Iraqis, came with their biryani and daal.

If all of this is making you hungry, I don’t blame you. I’m stuck in Brooklyn this weekend, so the solution to my hankering for these scrumptious dishes will involve more cooking. Top of my list: this magical-looking Szechuan goat sausage skewers that Anthony Bourdain ate during his trip to Chicago.

Oh, and happy Nowruz! I’ll leave you all with this beautiful essay by my friend Yeganeh Rezaian, who, like me, is far from home, but her new year is going to taste just like home.

Before I go, I have a favor to ask. If you like what we do at R&K, please help us reach more great readers like yourselves by following us on Facebook. You can be extra nice by hitting “see first” under the “following” tab—this will make sure you’ll never miss a story from us. Why would you want to anyway? And please tell us what you think about our stories by pressing 👍 (or 😡), writing a comment, and sharing them on your (and friends’) timelines.

That’s all for this week. See you on the internets.

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