Editor’s Note: This is the first of what we hope will be several posts for On The Table, a group blog that is an experiment of sorts for us at The Columbian. We’ve had reporters team up on blogs but until now we’d never had a community- or reader-blog written as a collaborative effort. We’re excited to give this a try and hope the bloggers and you have as much fun with it as we do.

My name is Lila and I wanted to welcome all of you to “On The Table.” When I first saw the request in The Columbian for people interested in writing a blog, I jumped at the chance to do something totally out of my comfort zone but that I knew would be a great opportunity to share my passion for food. I have considered myself a “Foodie” but as I start writing I looked up the definition on Wikipedia.

n.Slang A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.[1]

Further, a foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out for convenience or hunger. While gourmet and epicure can be used as synonyms they have fallen out of favor and bring to mind a stodgy or snobbish attitude. [2]

I don’t know if I fit into this description but I guess I will find out as I take this journey.

I am first generation Chinese Canadian/American who has lived in Southwest Washington for almost sixteen years. My earliest food memories were sitting in a chair in the kitchen watching my parents cook dinner. Since I was the eldest of three children I was the first one to learn how to prepare meals for my family. I watched carefully as my dad showed me how much water to use to make a pot of rice and to this day I can eyeball the right amount of water to make the perfect pot of rice. You see, rice was the basis of all our meals and usually there was a dish with meat and a dish of vegetables. There was always a pot of soup made to have with our meals that would last the whole week.  In my early years, we only ate Chinese food as this was what my parents who both grew up in China knew.  As we got older and my parents became more assimulated to the Canadian culture we started to branch out to try different foods.  When we would go play at the neighbours house we were exposed to potato chips and cookies and candy that we did not have at home. We would look at these foods and wonder how they tasted. We never asked to have some because you see we were taught if you go to friends or families to visit that we were to say no thank you even if it was offered to you. We would watch TV and see comercials about food and beg our parents to try these new things. I think this is one of the reasons why I love reading about food, writing about food, talking about food and collecting recipes and cook books my entire life.

I am greatful that I was born into a culture that considers food as the most important element of life and family.  This is so much of a cultural thing as when you greet family and friends the first thing you say is “Have you eaten yet?” I do not know of any other culture that puts food in such high regard. An example of how important food is in the Chinese culture, especially among the older generation, is that as soon as you finish breakfast a conversation starts about what to have for lunch or which grocery store we need to stop at to get ingredients for dinner.

I hope to share more stories of my love for all things about food.  I will share recipes and talk about the ever changing food scene in Clark County and across the river in Portland. I will explore the local farmer’s markets and hopefully taking some of the mystery out different foods that we can find in our local stores and markets.







Lila Mah-Kuhn

I am a first generation Chinese/Canadian/American who has lived in SW Washington area for almost sixteen years. I have a love for all things about food. At age 10 I learned how to cook by watching both of my parents preparing meals for family and friends. I have collected recipes and recipes for most of my life and in the past fifteen years I have found that reading food blogs and searching for recipes has become a hobby. I love sharing my heritage and how food is not just a necessity but something that ties all human beings no matter what part of the world you live in.

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