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I'm originally from El Paso, Texas in the U.S., but have lived in and traveled to many places in the states and abroad and currently live and teach English in Southern Thailand.
After much financial struggle in the U.S. and working at a dead end job, I finally made the decision to sell everything and come to live and teach in Asia. Things are much different here. I can live much better here in Southeast Asia than I ever did in the states and things are much simpler and less stressful here. I seriously doubt I'll ever return to the states since I don't see the U.S. government ever really making life pleasant and easy for its citizens there.
I live in a tiny, obscure village called Ban Klong Tong Nuea, which when translated from Thai, means "North Tong River Village."
There are about thirty-seven people living here, including myself and there are no other foreigners living within a thirty-five kilometer radius of my home. Most could not survive out here, as most foreigners here express a need to live in a bigger city with all the pubs, stores, malls and girly joints available to them and their need to be around other foreigners.
My small cottage where I live is located in the middle of a large, unkempt and overgrown fruit tree orchard and my privacy is ultimate. I hear no sounds of the world except for the flora and fauna that exist around me. Geographically, I am located approximately 28 kilometers from the Northern Malaysia border.
I love gardening and try my best to keep my little wild orchid garden flourishing, as well as a small vegetable garden, some papaya I planted, and a variety of herbs and pepper plants...many of which I use in my recipes. I also enjoy reading, but good books in English are scarce here.
My introduction to cooking came at the young age of 11, when my childhood friend Diana Servin, asked me if I'd like to study Mexican cooking with her mother. I've never been the same since.
I live alone with my two dogs Puppy and Chok, both Thai ridgeback crosses and my brilliant cat Boo Boo. I found Puppy abandoned at the local Buddhist temple, Chok in the middle of a busy highway about to become roadkill and Boo Boo just walked out of the jungle one afternoon as I was riding my motorcycle to the store, approached me and decided to adopt me. She's sitting in my lap as I type this.
That's me. My life is much, much happier now than when I was living in the states and I compound that happiness with my cooking.
Without a doubt, Chile rellenos is my favorite dish. Years ago, as a kid, I used to go to the local greasy spoon on Fridays (Catholics don't eat meat on Fridays) and get five chile rellenos for $1.25...a quarter a piece. I drool just thinking of them.
There isn't a Mexican dish that I've cooked that someone didn't like. I'm really not a fan of Thai food, so naturally I have to do some rather inventive hunting for recipe ingredients here in Southern Thailand.
Although I have many recipes on my computer, I tend to make up stuff just off the top of my head. For example, my recent "concoction" of red kidney beans, hot chili powder, onions, bacon, a dab of sage, oregano, water, mustard and ground pork...oh yum! Did it ever turn out good!
Lately I've developed an interest in Indian / Malay / Muslim food and have started to accumulate a few delicious recipes.
My favorite restaurant is the Jaya Restaurant on Penang Street, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. I occasionally have to go there to get my non-immigrant B visa renewed and when I do, I eat at the Jaya morning, noon and evening. Their food ranges from classic Penang fare to Malay to Indian and the people who frequent the place are a pleasure to watch. It's like stepping into a restaurant in the middle East.