On my knees before a dish of shirako in one of the hidden away restaurants of Tokyo, I tapped my chopsticks against the white ruffled lump set in a pool of clear eggy liquid garnished with a lime. No one knew the English translation. I was a guest and the only foreigner at the table. I had but one choice: eat it.

Little did I know that the mental preparation it took to clear my mind and raise an unknown and undoubtedly animal-derived, most likely raw substance to my mouth would open a door to the boundless world of food.

Incidentally, shirako (translation: fish sperm) is rather disgusting, but I regaled in a dinner full of new tastes and textures: a celebration of land, culture and history dancing on my tastebuds.

I have always enjoyed cooking, but since that night, food has come to mean much more than just tasting good and filling an empty stomach. Food became the focus of my anthropology studies.  I want to know everything I can about cooking and eating. Why do we eat what we eat where we eat and when we eat?


Bon appétit!

Contact: monicadekeirle [at] gmail [dot] com



  1. Bitsy

    This blog is so YOU. It brightens my heart to read it. I am so proud of you.
    Hello to Bastian (sp?).

  2. Stephanie

    Monica – my mom just told me about your blog/website and I absolutely love browsing through your many delicious-looking cooking projects! Hope you’re doing well over in France – seems like you are! Take care and I’m trying to plan some European trips in the coming year…I’ll let you know. It’d be fun/random if we could meet up!

    Take care and cheers!

  3. Hey Monica,
    it’s your cousin Lizzie Draper in Utah. How is life in France? I saw your gorgeous wedding pictures (forever ago) and haven’t heard much about you since. I found your blog on Aunt Sage’s. I hope you are doing well and you should check out my blog sometime. Your food looks delicious! Wow!

  4. Camile

    Wow!!!! The photographs are gorgeous, the food looks delicious, and I love the stories. Excellent job! I look forward to seeing more! Take care.

  5. such a gorgeous blog!

  6. Fabulous blog. Can’t wait until I have more time to read it all. I will add you to my favorites

  7. Hi Monica,

    Reading this reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It is great to be part of a real food culture. I love shopping at my farmer’s market (used to belong to a csa). I grow some of my own vegetables, but don’t have lots of space. I love cooking too, and want to know what is in the food I eat.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and talent!


  8. Monica,

    Based solely on your very well written “About” entry, I can already tell you are on your way to becoming one of the more exciting and fascinating food blogs of late.

    Thanks for adding me to your blog roll. I’m adding you to my “introducing” list.

    Best of luck!

    • Thanks Eddie,

      I’ve been a fan of yours for a while. Fabulous stories!
      If you haven’t yet got your hands on a plate of shirako, let me know when you do.

      Happy Eating!

  9. I just read your post about Japan, I think about it all the time too. Luckily all my family are ok, though some had to be evacuated but there was just another quake this morning 😦 On a brighter note, beautiful blog!

    • I’m glad your family is safe. I hope they are keeping their spirits up.

      I haven’t written much lately because I’m building a new kitchen, but when it’s done there is so much that I want to cook. I took a quick look at your blog and thought, “this person could be my best friend!” It looks like fun and I’ll follow up when my life (ie: kitchen) is back in order!

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