Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What Washington Eats Wednesdays: Noi Chudnoff

On Saturday, I went to buy a moleskin (a writer's notebook) to jot down my "food" thoughts. We stopped in a Logan Circle kitsch store called Go Mama Go. I've lived in the neighborhood for two years but never visited the place because, well, I don't like kitsch. But this day I did and was pleasantly surprised by the very cool and fun items that weren't necessarily all crap--not the cheap stuff you find in the Chinese "everything for sale" stores in Gallery Place. This was purposeful and stylized tchotchke's. I bought a beautiful black notebook with a magnetic flap and a peacock feather pattern. "I need to come back when my boyfriend isn't in such a hurry to go" I told myself. I spoke briefly with the girl behind the counter, asking her about the store. She gave me the owner's card. On a plain orange piece of light stock paper, a homemade label read "Noi Chudnoff" and on the other side another sticker displayed the hours.

Odd name. Noi Chudnoff. So I looked it up and found a nice piece on the 60-something year old Thai native. . Her story is a great one: she left Thailand at a young age to find her independence, estranging herself from her very traditional parents who discouraged her ambitions for careers in medicine and law--careers for men, they said. In the States she made a good life for herself, attending graduate school and working creative jobs. She eventually opened Go Mama Go later in her life after raising her son. She craved her independence so greatly that in 2000 she decided to move into an apartment above an adjoining store, Home Rule, to attend to Go Mama Go while her husband maintained the homestead in Maryland. Her store reflects this independence, vibrance, and whimsy. It's full of colorful, fun things from kimonos to sushi plates, to body lotion and paper goods. Everything is quite tastefully funky. I was hoping at some point to meet the woman behind all the charming finds.

Unfortunately, Noi died suddenly yesterday morning. While being prepped for colon cancer surgery, she fell and hit her head, sustaining a brain hemorrhage.

1 comment:

Food Rockz Man said...

That's horrible news, but thanks for sharing it. I've purchased many a gift from Ms. Chudnoff . . . it's one of my go-to spots in the neighborhood for funky, high quality food-related gifts.

This is the second untimely, sad death of someone in my personal (though not particularly close) universe that I've learned of in the past 24 hours. Learning of the first yesterday afternoon is what prompted me to leave work at a reasonable hour yesterday and treat myself to a nice meal, which I blogged about this morning (though I didn't mention that the meal was untimely-death-inspired in the blog).

Life's to short . . . and it might turn out to be shorter than we expect. So go eat something good!

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