A Central American Lunch

Lunch from El Salvador

Central America can provide fresh, fun inspiration for the lunchbox (with a generous dash of indulgence). Since our family chose not to opt in for my daughter's school's weekly Pizza Day, I'm always looking for something special for Ava's Friday lunches. When I asked Ava how she enjoyed this particular Around the World lunch, Ava returned my question with wide eyes and an even wider grin. I have a feeling the cheesy pupusas from El Salvador did the trick. Pupusas are made with masa harina … [Read more...]

Feast of the 7 Fishes | Linguine with Baccalà Sauce

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A lump of salt cod (baccalà) just might be everything. To use the tough, leathery fillet - more hide than flesh - the cod must first be soaked in fresh clean water. Gradually the salt leaks into the water and clouds it. A change of water, then more salt comes out. Several more water changes. A couple of days go by. The cod becomes soft. Mild. Tender. Italians know: these steps cannot be skipped or the meal will be ruined. I find myself sifting around for meaning this year. Did you notice … [Read more...]

An African lunch for a cold day

South African Lunch

Below freezing weather means one thing: the thermos goes on double duty. This week I filled Ava's hot pink Hello Kitty thermos with a hearty bean stew bolstered with a swirl of red palm oil - a typical element in West African cooking. On the side - a fat hunk of mealie bread. This is southern Africa's answer to corn bread (especially popular in South Africa). The fresh corn kernels add sweetness and interest beyond anything Jiffy Mix can offer. Tips and Tricks If you'd like a little … [Read more...]

5 Jaw-dropping books for international food lovers

In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World

Every once in a while I browse through my scattered but immense cookbook collection, thumbing for ideas like a hungry hitchhiker: Take me somewhere different. Take me somewhere new. These five books represent a selection of my favorite go-to cookbooks as well as several incredible coffee table books that make excellent gifts for loved ones with an international food obsession. 1. Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater The best cookbooks … [Read more...]

How cold is too cold for recess? 24 parents across the globe weigh in.

How cold is too cold for recess? 24 parents around the world weigh in.

As a family we've always been big on eating and playing outside - even when the weather dips below freezing. Ava's school is remarkably progressive in this regard - they'll go out in snow, even if its just for a few minutes. But most schools in Oklahoma keep the kids indoors during recess for one simple reason - we're more used to heat waves than snow storms. Our closets prove it: I don't buy Ava a snow suit or snow boots unless a big storm threatens(otherwise it may never get used … [Read more...]

The latest Viral song is for hummus lovers. Seriously.

It's all about the paste, the song.

Take one part hummus obsession and one part pop sensation - and this video by comedian Remy Munasifi (a.k.a. Go Remy) is the result. I laughed. I fell in love. And then I began rummaging around in my kitchen for hummus ingredients. Thankfully I had what I needed - and I was able to whip up the Lemon Garlic Hummus I made when my family tried Israel. Here's to all things hummus! (And for those of you that think a video all about hummus will be a welcome break from pumpkin pie? Forget … [Read more...]

10 Global Takes on Classic Thanksgiving Dishes

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Sure, Thanksgiving is an American holiday but most of us can trace our ancestry back to some other part of the world. Which is why every year I like to bring you a selection of globally-inspired dishes for your Thanksgiving feast. Case in point? While mashed potatoes are classic components of the Thanksgiving table, there's no reason you can't add a bit of global flare to your recipe... and you'll get a couple of ideas how to do so below! Here are 10 global takes on classic Thanksgiving … [Read more...]

Indian Curry for Lunch

An Indian lunch for kids or work

Ava's school encourages outdoor play - even when it snows. For this I am  SO grateful (if kids in northern climes like Alaska, Sweden, or Canada can go out to play when it's cold outside my daughter can handle it, too). But if she's going to face the elements, she also needs a hearty lunch to keep her furnace running. Curry is great for taking the snarl out of the winter air. This vegetarian chana masala warms with tomato cooked down into a bed of spices - cumin, coriander, turmeric, … [Read more...]

Sweet & Spicy Korean Braised Turkey

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You've had roast turkey and deep-fried turkey... but what about turkey with real international flavor? This Thanksgiving let's honor our melting pot culture with a recipe worth talking about. This Korean stuffed turkey breast is perfect for a smaller gathering of curious epicureans, happily feeding 4-6. I can't decide if the best part is the sweet and spicy glaze (made with soy sauce, mirin, ginger and garlic)... ... or the butternut squash stuffing (complete with chestnuts, … [Read more...]

Ava’s French Lunch

French Around the World Lunch

One of my favorite food memories from France was going out for couscous with my guardians. I was a wide-eyed teenager, happy to sit around a fragrant pot of stewed veggies and eat until my stomach ballooned. My favorite part was how the broth saturated the couscous, forming an unctuous gravy. The strong North African influence not only made its way into the restaurants  of Paris, but also into the home cooking - as I soon learned, couscous also makes a great base for ratatouille. Today I've … [Read more...]