When I was growing up in my tropical island home of Singapore, I believed that stews were eaten only by Europeans. This preconception probably came from reading western fairy tales and watching movies and television. It was only when I learnt to cook in my late teens that I realised stews are actually prepared around the world in various forms. Usually a cold-weather classic, stews can be savoured any time of year, anywhere. One of my favourite stews is lamb tagine, a staple in every Moroccan restaurant. Tagine, or tajine, is a North African dish named after the earthenware utensil in which it is cooked.
The first time I paid attention to the word ‘quiche’ was way back in the early eighties, and I did not even know how to pronounce it then. It was from the title of a book, countless copies of which were stacked on a table as I entered a Barnes & Noble store in Fox Hills Mall in Culver City, California.
One Saturday morning in late January, while visiting friends in San Francisco, we decided to take a day trip to Berkeley. While we had several reasons for going there, one of the most important was to check out some of that area’s most highly-regarded eating places. I asked my friends, some of whom knew the area well, for recommendations on where we should go to — after all, I was the tourist and they were the locals. While there were a lot of options thrown around for lunch, dinner and snacks in between, everyone agreed on where we should have breakfast. They all said Rick and Ann’s.