About the food of Togo

Local house in the Taberma Valley in Togo. The whole area is deignated a UNESCO Heritage Site. Photo by Erik Kristensen.

There's an old Togolese proverb which says "Do not  roast all your corn in the winter."  The proverb sums up Togo nicely. While the words point to importance placed on resourcefulness in this small, west African country, it also points to something much more obvious. The Togolese love their corn. As with most proverbs, they draw from the popular culture from whence they originate. This skinny strip of a country in western Africa really does love their corn, especially cornmeal. … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Thailand

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httpv://youtu.be/-x8snseHl80 It took a Green Papaya Salad from Thailand to make me think about the rhythms of my life. Rat-tat-tat-tat.... Rat-tat-tat.... Rat-tat.. Rat... Rat... Tat-tat... Thwap. As I pounded the garlic and chili peppers into a paste, feeling both awkward and unskilled, I began to ask myself some questions... Namely, how is it that something as simple as pounding food can be so hard for me, yet be so easy for another person - like... oh, say... someone from … [Read more...]

Recipe: Thai Iced Tea

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There's nothing sweeter than a good love story; and there's no love story more refreshing than Thai Iced Tea. This is the love story of extra strong Ceylon tea, brewed until deeply blushing. The rouge dissolves like a faint, as sweetened condensed milk swirls into the mix. If you think that's all there is to Thai Iced Tea, you'd be half right. For many people, that's all they desire. But every love story needs a little spice, so today we're going the extra mile, by including … [Read more...]

Recipe: Green Papaya Salad | Som Tam

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Whomp. Womp. Womp. Everything worth doing takes a little bit of work. And so it is with Som Tam. The mortar and pestle crushes the garlic, mashes a Thai bird chili peppers,  and wooshes the fish sauce and lime juice into the green beans and papaya. I put the bowl on the table, dotted red with tomatoes. Ava thinks the papaya is spaghetti. The pale green shreds curl around her fork. "It's something like that..." I say, hoping she believes me. She takes a bite, then another. Soon … [Read more...]

Menu: Thailand

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"Friends for a meal are easy to find, friends until end of life are difficult to find" (Thai Proverb) Summer is the time of easy friendships, where the only things that matter are cold drinks, fresh food, and a patch of shade. Dinnertime is less strict, and I find myself veering towards later, lighter meals. Like this one. So now all you need is to find someone to share it with (P.S. Speaking of which, I can't decide if that Thai proverb is encouraging or discouraging, but there's one thing I … [Read more...]

About the food of Thailand

Water buffalos in Thailand. Photo by Torikai Yukihiro

From her thick, green mountaintops in the north, all the way past her flatlands, through her river basins and glittering skyscrapers, Thailand has it all. And if you thought her landscape is stunning, you should taste the food. There's a zing to Thai food that keeps me coming back; at first I thought it was the sour notes, formed from hefty squirts of lime juice. I do adore a good burst of lime...But over the years I've realized Thai food is far more complex than that. There's a dance … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Tanzania

Kilma'njaro, captured out the window of a flight from Dar es Salaam. Photo by Paul Schaffner.

httpv://youtu.be/u2OP7gffR3g   Moving Beyond Your Breaking Point Summer sweat is a near constant, now. I haunt my house, barefoot, draped in loose flowing dresses, completely aimless thanks to this seasonal fever. It's all I can do to stay awake when the temperatures hit the nineties and the humidity approaches 100%. Eating Tanzania in this thick sort of summer heat was just perfect. All I had to do was close my eyes, and I was there. At least, I was there on the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Greens with Veggies & Peanuts | Kisamvu

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When my neighbor Jonathan told me he craves Kisamvu for weeks after his visits to Tanzania, I knew I had to try it. Kisamvu is just another word for cassava leaves, but Jonathan tells me he uses spinach whenever he's in the states and the taste is a very good approximation. Jonathan gave me the very recipe they use at the orphanage he visited in Tanzania, called the Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children. While there, he films documentary footage to help promote the good work they JBFC … [Read more...]