Monday Meal Review: Tunisia

Crying in front of 3,000 people. Last week, I did that.

We ate Tunisia and celebrated Ava’s fourth birthday right before I hopped on a plane to go to the World Domination Summit, hosted by Chris Guillebeau. Keith and I were sticky with the honey almond samsa. Ava ate two pita sandwiches spread with the grilled Tunisian Salad. (She must be growing. Again).

Then, I hugged my family goodbye and flew to Portland with a belly full of Tunisian goodness.

I’d been invited to speak in front of 3,000 people at the Summit. I’d rehearsed my talk for a month or two, twice a day. I had it down pat. I was going to talk about the spiced life. How this blog helped me achieve it. How it’s kept me from running away from my happy ending.

But the night before I was to deliver the talk, I received a phone call. My talk might be cut down. Way down. They’d know more in the morning.

Bright and early on the big day, I got confirmation. I had one minute on stage, instead of the eight I’d planned on. They wanted to know was I still interested in talking?

 Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

Look at all these beautiful people! And there’s double this amount on the main level. Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

This would be the perfect excuse to back out.

After all, 3,000 people is a whole lot of people.

But you know what I said?

I said yes. Because the answer could only be yes

To be specific? The answer was yes and thank you. We must always be grateful, especially for an opportunity to grow.

<Cue the rewrite.>

With just three hours to go before the big moment, I sat on my bed and tried to figure out how to cram my talk into a minute, Cinderella-style. It didn’t take long to realize it wasn’t going to happen. In fact, I wasn’t going to be able to focus on anything to do with the spiced life.

I was going to have to hone in on the core of my beliefs and fast.

I had to sum up why I was doing this blog.

Not the little why, but the BIG why.

What is Global Table Adventure all about?

Thankfully I knew the answer. While cooking the world had given me a spiced life, it has done much more than that. It has taught me how to LOVE. How to be hungry for peace. 

Once I knew my direction, the story just about wrote itself. Over breakfast, I rehearsed  my lines with a gal I’d met at the conference named Freya. She helped me make notes and, when I had a minor freak out, she did what any friend does:

She told me I could do it.

I even practiced my talk on two coat check ladies. Awesome.

All too soon, the time came to head onto stage. I didn’t know everything by heart, so I had to bring my heart to the table, instead.

sasha at WDS2013

Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, considering how last minute the talk was.

But a few sentences into my talk I began crying. Hard.

The whole thing was a bit of a blur, but things got interesting about the time I said:

“Yes, there’s heartache, war, devastation, and famine in the world.

People are having important conversations about those things, as they should.

But you know what’s also important to talk about?

The good.”

Once one tear spilled out, the rest followed suit, faster and faster. I’m not sure when the audience began clapping – maybe their audible acknowledgement of my beliefs overwhelmed me and opened the floodgates. Or maybe I started crying before that. The video (which I hope exists) will have to tell us that.

I do know one thing: when I tried to get it together, I snorted into the microphone.

I assure you, it was totally unintentional.

Friends, I don’t think I would have kept going if a few voices from the crowd began shouting “Keep going!”

Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

Thanks to them, I got my message out.

Ultimately, I told 3,000 people that it’s not about doing what we love, it’s about loving your world in the way that only you can… by using your unique gifts and talents to change the world. That’s what I’m doing here, and that’s what I wish for you.

So the talk ended and I slunk back into the crowd. But, when they released us for lunch, something strange began happening: people hugged me. Walking down the streets of Portland… they were hugging me! They hugged me while I was on the phone AND while I was being hugged by other people! They high-fived me. Some people picked me up and spun me around. Guys and girls kissed me on the cheek. At least 100 of them did one or all of these things. I know because they took my cards. And I ran out… I couldn’t move five feet without someone else loving me.

Look at this beautiful soul, who gave me a standing ovation:

Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

Photo courtesy of World Domination Summit, taken by Armosa Studios.

Throughout the day, many of the headlining speakers complemented me. Some confided that they’d cried with me. Andrew Warner even gave me his personal meditation bracelet.

I am bursting with just the strangest feelings… BEAUTY. SPIRIT. LOVE.

You know what it all boils down to?

If you risk sending love out into the world … then guess what? You’ll get it back. Try it. You’ll see.



Now, back to our Tunisian Global Table… and a bit about the recipes we tried this week!

Tunisian Grilled Salad | Salata Mishwiyya [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

Salata Mishwiyya is a non-apologetic salad, full of intensity. Those caraway seeds, the raw garlic, and the chili peppers make for a punch. But the Tunisians know what they’re doing; by pairing it with tuna and hard boiled eggs, balance is achieved, especially with plenty of lemon juice, olive oil, and pita bread.

What I loved least about this dish:

You’ll need to let it meld a while. I tasted it right after mixing the ingredients and felt like it was

Honey Almond Samsa with Orange Blossom Water [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

This is like a very fragrant baklava. The orange blossom water made the dessert dreamy – poetic, even. The almond mixture, by itself, isn’t very sweet, but a dunk in the honey syrup changes all that. Keith and I gobbled it up; we even had a friend roll his eyes with delight.

What I loved least about this dish:

Not much, though it was too sweet for Ava. Maybe save one or two from the dunk if you have people in your family who don’t have a sweet tooth. Or do a quicker dunk.


  1. Samantha says

    You know what? I think you made *the* right decision when they called you the night before, about your talk. :’) Thank you for sharing the details about the event here on your blog too! ^^

    I agree with you wholeheartedly with your core message~ the world needs to have more kindness and love out there. Just give. Smile. Hug. And celebrate the good! <3

  2. Amber says

    That’s wonderful to hear. Congratulations on such a successful talk and thank you for continuing to share your adventures with all of us. 🙂

  3. AWESOME! I am so thrilled to “know” you through your blog, I did not know you were going to be in that conference, I guess my life is way too frantic at the moment, but it doesn’t matter.

    what matters is that – you accepted a challenge that not very many people would. It would be almost “natural” to back out of it when they essentially prevented you from following your initial plan. Changing a talk in such short notice is very hard. In front of 3 thousand people? Almost impossible…. But you did not let any of this stop you.

    that, is awesome.

    • Sasha Martin says

      The more time goes by, the more I realize adaptability is the key; almost nothing ever goes according to plan 🙂

    • Sasha Martin says

      You are so kind, Marie-Claude. You’re name is beautiful, by the way.

  4. Heather says

    Now my eyes are welling up too!

    Gutsy and great decision to go through with the talk after the change in plans. I love your message!

    • Sasha Martin says

      If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that tears are contagious. Sorry 😉

  5. Donnie says


    It’s been very enjoyable to see your cooking adventure, as well as, and especially, your inner journey. Your personal growth has been both an inspiration and a pleasure to watch. Today, 3000, tomorrow 10000! Congrats!

  6. Cynthia says

    Thank you for sharing your insights here and at the conference. I knew your message would be important. Well done. I’m not surprised you were received with so much enthusiasm. I suppose going through the tempering fire of saying what you want to in one minute was one of the best things to ever happen to you. What an exercise in figuring out in a few words what is the core of your beliefs. Just hold on to that longer speech. I’m sure it will get used in the near future!

    • Sasha Martin says

      I love that image of tempering; that’s exactly right… perfect word choice.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Me too! (Although I might cover my face with my hands while watching it)

  7. Ruby Libertus says

    Oh, Congratulations! Good job. I have missed two and a half months of your blog and now that I am back from my four country hectic tour am back to looking at it and it was exciting to see this first one, I have to go back and read the rest too now.
    See you back home next month.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Welcome back, Ruby!! Can’t wait to hear all about your trip 🙂

  8. Thank you for providing a bridge of connection to different cultures, through one of our shared rituals as a species: food.

    Your talk on the #WDS2013 stage really moved me. I love what you’re doing, keep it up!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Thank you Caelen – glad to have reached you… and happy to do my part to connect as many as possible. Cheers to you!

  9. I’ve got tears in my eyes just reading this post, Sasha. I’m sure that if I had been there, I would have been absolutely blubbering. Bravo to you for being willing to step into the arena and let your light shine through. I’m sure that everyone connected with you because they could feel the love you had for this wonderful project you’ve created.

    Hugs to you!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Oh, Jackie – thanks for the encouragement. Hugs right back to you!

  10. Pingback: Global Table Adventure | Monday Meal Review: Turkey

  11. I believe we share the message. You share your appreciation of every country, I would like to share my appreciation of small things around us, between us and inside of us. People often take them for granted, or have prejudices to them. But all of them are beautiful, all of them deserve love.

    With most of the other speakers, I waited until somebody else stood up. I was afraid to attract extra attention, to stand out. But with you, my desire to show my support and love to what you had said and what you are doing was much more important than anything else. Thank you very much, Sasha!

    The food looks so yummy that I’m almost ready to eat my iPad))))

    • Sasha Martin says

      I’m so glad to hear from you, Lik! Your support really moved me. Thank you for being brave. It made a difference.

  12. Laura says

    Hi there! I’m a little late to this post, but we all know there are no coincidences and timing is nearly always providential. I found your blog while searching the Internet for a good recipe for Tunisian mint tea. We visited Tunisia in January of 2017 and fell in love with it. I ended up finding your blog and reading your amazing story and ordering your book and–above all–really digging deep to find my own purpose in this larger story. My husband and I love to travel and have been to a number of the countries you’ve cooked, and while we’re not your typical touristy-tourists, I’ve always left each place with a lingering sense of “there’s a deeper story here.” At 56, I’ve been in a slump lately; your words have inspired me to go deeper, learn more, give back more, explore more, get going again. A thousand thank yous!

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