From the Spice Islands

By Colman Andrews

Published on January 17, 2008

SAVEUR editor-in-chief James Oseland's first feature for SAVEUR was a portrait of Baltimore; his second was about Quebec. You can understand how we might have thought of him as an expert on East Coast matters. But there was something we hadn't found out about Oseland: his gaze was focused a lot farther east. In 1982 he'd accepted an invitation from a college friend to spend the summer at her family's home in Jakarta—and fallen in love with the food he discovered there. Over the next two decades, he adopted Indonesia (together with nearby Malaysia and Singapore) as his second home, returning more than 25 times to the region. In 2002, he started writing a book on the area. The result—published in August, 2006 by W. W. Norton—is Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, a 384-page, travelogue-style cookbook. "SAVEUR is the book's mom," says Oseland. "Without the magazine there'd be no Cradle of Flavor." In January, 2006, Oseland repaid the favor by becoming our executive editor and later that same year became editor-in-chief. (SAVEUR cofounder Christopher Hirsheimer, who once held that same title, photographed much of the food in the book, incidentally.)

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