confessions of a life remembered through food, this life according to hungry Lu.
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somewhere on your plate is goat, the last supper–india 2013

“life is a combination of magic and pasta.” -federico fellini

“people who love to eat are always the best people,” –julia child

all of my memories are associated by place. an inevitable truth when your roots are precarious. if my life story was a poem, the refrain would be my dad’s famous words: this is where you will graduate from high school, or, girls, we need to talk to you. only much more eloquently phrased and peppered in Shakespearian language, with the obligatory “-eths” and “thou’s,” “shan’t’s” and elisions.
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illberico pork burger. o..m..g.

more importantly, i would title the poem: chocolate chip cookie kids or tuna mac n’peas Conklin casserole. something ridiculous and obnoxious and obviously incorporating my adoration for food. my memories are evolved around taste & smell, and while traveling (aka desertion) may segregate, nothing unites two beings better than a well cooked meal or homemade dessert.
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i still remember the taste of the mini orange muffins my sisters and i consumed during teatime in bermuda. to such an extent, a life goal has been birthed: recreate the zesty flavor.

bermuda saturday’s tasted like banana ice cream at the beach, creamy vanilla bean squished between two chocolate chip cookies, cocoa muffins from Herrington Hundred’s generously sized, potato skins and sunscreen.

cinnamon and vanilla sprinkled on coffee: that’s how i will forever see london.

baguette’s in paris, loaded with cheese, for park picnics and paying to wash my hands in a bathroom because as my dad screamed YOU HAVE TO TOUCH EVERYTHING, DON’T YOU?

florida is donuts–maple, glazed, and a dozen. kansas is root beer floats, boxed mac’n’cheese, fresca and black cherry. texas is tacos, mini cinnamon buns, strawberry lemonade, and biscuits with butter and jam.

in shanghai, my mom used to purchase nuts from the street vendors, a gamble for any stomach and germophobe, yet totally worth the risk. they smelled like sweet potatoes, but looked like deer poop. served warm and toasty and tasted like the holidays, roughly the size of a quarter.  and this beauty:bellagio breeze

red bean ice dessert from bellagio’s, which i dream of often. it’s pork buns and shanghainese noodles from 1221, so brown and thick, shrimp lettuce wraps and ham subs from WAGAS.

if i could re-eat a meal, it would be the illberico pork burger with white asparagus from a hong kong restaurant called “Flint,” or tuna salad sandwiches from a cafe in Sydney.

i remember when my sister forced food down our throats, it became a game to her to watch us cringe while we gorged on the most ratchet of creations: all airplane food, Australian meatpie’s, japanese sashimi, NSA rhubarb pie (NoSugar Added and dessert are not synonymous, by the way, so stop trying to make sugar-free happen) and an accidental thai burger order.

“eat it! you can’t let that food go to waste,” my older sister instructs, chomping on her chicken fingers from mcdonalds like they were prey, to demonstrate her power.

“NO. The meat is green. that’s not right,” kristi whines. we both laugh and attempt to slyly steal a nugget every-time her gaze is altered. pathetically failing. my stomach flips and i can’t tell if we ordered a vegan patty or if green meat is a thai preparation. begrudgingly, i take a nibble, in hopes of exchanging chew for chicken.

food transports you: favorite cup of coffee–christmas morning, favorite glass of wine: chelsi’s 25th birthday in the Bahamas, best italian meal: new york city date night on E. 63 and 3rd, best pizza: cebu, in the Philippines with my ex-boyfriend, but partially due to starvation, and desperation.

nothing will ever remind me of home the way a from-scratch chocolate chip does, or transcend me to foreign countries, sensual dates, and celebrations, nostalgia. Whoever said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” has obviously never had my homemade fudge, or no bake truffles and pumpkin bread.

psa: to anyone i ever meet, any land i ever travel to, i will remember you always by cuisine.

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Confessions Of: A Coffee Addict

This Life According To Lu, confessions of a coffee addict.
IMG_7093“For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”
                                                              –T.S. Eliot

I have memories of my father peppering his to-go coffee cups with vanilla & cinnamon flakes, sneaking me–his six-year-old daughter–generous sips of the greatest drink invented by man…isn’t that a bold statement considering we also invented beer? (Don’t worry, I attribute the inception of wine to God).

My obsession for coffee was instant; no hesitation or internal questioning, no plaguing doubt, but rather pure love at first sight. I have London, Starbucks, and my good ol’ Dad to attribute my addiction to.

Starbucks in Thailand

Starbucks in Thailand

It’s the word associated to my mornings, capable of forcing me out of bed at the earliest of hours and my favorite aroma; even some of my favorite memories. I love how, in most cities, you can buy coffee at any hour, the way the taste varies in different countries and its availability on every menu.

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Green smoothie & coffee breakfast–California

The way I feel about Keurig machines is similar to the way I feel about ebooks & Kindles. I will always prefer the antiquated pages of typed novel running through my fingers, the smell of fresh paper and the sound a page turning to an electronic book. I love the angry whistle and grinding a regular, cheap Mister Coffee pot makes when brewing my favorite habit, the return of a second, or third, or fourth cup.

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Coffee Shop in Seoul, South Korea

It’s romantic. And the kind of cool I imagine smokers enjoy about cigarette’s–only without the added repercussion of lung cancer. It’s ubiquitous, calorie-less and the culprit behind my five mile runs; the second love of my life after chocolate. I’m a sucker for well-packaged coffee grinds and intricate location mugs and the pairings of bakery goods, for international coffee beans and flavored roasts, and horribly-tasting, yet glorious & limitless diner coffee.

Coffee Art

Coffee Art–The Strand–New York City

“What’s your favorite cup of coffee?”
A beautiful question that only true coffee drinkers can appreciate and understand. An answer that can fully acquaint you with a stranger and provide a connection, a moment of intimacy. A taste that can transport you to another memory.

Petit Cafe--coffee shop in Hong Kong

Petit Cafe–coffee shop in Hong Kong

Mine’s Christmas morning. When it’s actually acceptable to rise before the sun. The coffee pot remains endless. We drink from colorful, Christmasey mugs purchased in Germany at a Weihnacht’s Market. The unwrapping of presents presumes while coffee consumption occurs. And it smells like a hybrid of nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar cookies. It implies family. And a rare moment of absolutely zero stress, pure happiness–the promise of more coffee and a coffee-cake/scrambled eggs & bacon feast to follow.
unnamed-1There’s a coffee lingo, though the truest of coffee-addicts know “trenta” and “black” are the only words you need to know. Iced coffee, cream, sugar, latte’s, ‘iato’s and ‘cinno’s don’t qualify as a legitimate cup of coffee. And even though Starbucks isn’t my favorite, they are universal, and consistent.

It says tea, but those are totally coffee mugs.

It says tea, (so regal & snobby) but those are totally coffee mugs.

Now, some of my favorite moments include sitting with my mom, dad and younger sister with a freshly brewed pot of coffee, awaiting the sun rise and the promise of the day and another cup–chatting and enjoying each other’s company while stalling time–with memories of vanilla and cinnamon sprinkles, as though every sip was the first.

Bottoms up, fellow coffee-lovers, may the grinds be never in your cup! This is life according to Lu, a coffee addict.