Menu: Tuvalu

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Ever wonder how an island nation forms? There's an old Tuvaluan legend  that claims the first inhabitants of Tuvalu were ladies named Pai and Vau. Pai and Vau held baskets of sand. The grains that fell out of those baskets are said to have formed the neighboring atolls (the tiny coral reef islands we learned about yesterday). I love this image. It really goes to show how a little carelessness - something as small as a slip of a basket - can have far-reaching effects. Of course, all this … [Read more...]

About the food of Tuvalu

Funafuti in Tuvalu looking south. Photo by David Arfon Jones.

This week we're scooting out into the Pacific, all the way to Tuvalu - a country which is as much fun to eat as it is to say. I wasn't convinced I'd find much info on these water-lapped islands, especially considering Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world - behind Monaco, Nauru (also in the Pacific), and the Vatican City. It is made up of just three reef islands and six atolls. An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef like these: There's generally a lagoon inside. Not a … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Turkmenistan

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httpv://youtu.be/24BSRyPF1bY Our week cooking Turkmenistan was all about the bubble... bubbling Watermelon Jam, bubbling Central Asia Tea, and bubbles on the forehead. It was the bubbles on the forehead that really made me smile. In Turkmenistan, tapping your tea bubbles, then tapping your forehead is said to bring good fortune. This little ritual definitely falls in the realm of superstition. I felt a little silly doing it. At first, I couldn't figure out why. The awkwardness wasn't … [Read more...]

Recipe: How to throw a Central Asian Tea Party

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  The best kind of party is a tea party. Even better? A themed tea party. This week we're exploring the Central Asian Tea Party. As I read through many descriptions of teas in Turkmenistan (this week's Global Table) and her neighboring countries, I realized there are just FIVE basic things you need for a Central Asian Tea Party. Anything else is icing on the proverbial cake. 1.  Green or Black Tea.  In Central Asia, people drink two main kinds of tea, green or black. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Watermelon Jam

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Imagine living in a place that has a National Holiday called "Melon Day."  You could be surrounded by more than 400 kinds of melon, including some 50 varieties of watermelon.* The cool, sweet flesh would fill your belly and spirit. Eating it would definitely make you smile. And spreading it on bread? Even better. If any of this appeals to you, you might want to consider moving to Turkmenistan. These lovely people have celebrated Melon Day since 1994, and they don't … [Read more...]

Menu: Turkmenistan

menu-from-Turkmenistan

"Whatever you put in your pot comes to your spoon." Turkmen Proverb We're in the middle of summer. The sidewalk's sizzling, but anyone from Turkmenistan can tell you; that's no reason to turn off the kettle. This week we're celebrating summer in true Turkmen Style. First, with a spirited watermelon jam, inspired by the 200 varieties of melon that grow in Turkmenistan. Second, with a central Asian tea party - a fun way to gather with family and friends. *Both recipes and the meal review … [Read more...]

About the food of Turkmenistan

The Darvasa gas crater in Turkmenistan. Photo by Tormod Sandtorv.

There's no way to dance around it... In Turkmenistan, you can come face to face with the "gates of hell"... The only catch? Darvasa is no supernatural place. This "hell" is manmade. Way back in 1971 this crater was formed while drilling for natural gas. There was a collapse and, to prevent the escape of fumes, some people decided they should ... set the gas on fire. (Had I been around, I would have definitely been against throwing a match* in a giant pit of natural gas... am I … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Turkey

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httpv://youtu.be/6hIxigHjUIw After my crazy weekend in Portland speaking in front of 3,000 people, I needed some time to unwind. I was like a hot, thirsty wanderer, begging for a glass of water. But in my case, the "water" was my husband and daughter. I wanted to soak in their company, I wanted to be quenched by their spirits. Because, even if every stranger in the world could hug me, there's nothing cozier than the embrace of my husband and little girl. And that's why, when my little … [Read more...]