Someone Else’s Kitchen

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In Nepal I stayed with my friend and old co-worker Diana, as have I pretty have every time I’ve gone to Kathmandu.  Diana is one of those great friends you click with as soon as you meet her – she is hilarious, adventurous, charming, and (most of all) a seriously great friend.  It’s true that traveling for work all the time can make building relationships hard, but it was totally the opposite with Diana.  It made traveling so much more fun knowing that at the end of many long flights, I’d get to explore Kathmandu with her.  I eventually stopped staying in hotels since it was more convenient to stay in her extra bedroom since we’d be hanging out every night.  The best was finally introducing her in person to Evan last month, who I had dated and decided to marry while we were becoming long-distance friends.  Evan may now be an even bigger fan of Diana than myself.

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Needless to say, Diana has housed and fed me countless times, but I had never gotten a chance to do the same as she always had the home court advantage.  This time we stayed in on a Sunday bandh (a political protest where everything shuts down) and I made a fusion Vietnamese dinner for her and her friends.  Cooking in someone else’s kitchen can be tricky, but if you can get to know what is available locally, and have a good go-to dish that requires simple cookware (as mine do since I’m always living out of a suitcase), it can be a great gift. On the menu were rice bowls loaded buffet style with the following:

The meal had tons of pork as Diana is Cuban – hence our shared love of pig parts.  I don’t think I have ever met another person besides Diana outside my family who also grew up snacking on canned vienna sausages on the regular.

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And the dinner of course involved my favorite element – crispy fried shallots and shallot oil.  I made a big batch, which Diana told me she is still using in her scrambled eggs daily.  Fried shallots and good friends – the gifts that keep on giving.

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{The lovely hostess herself}

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