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The Creepiest Kitchens in the World

The 7 Creepiest Kitchens in the World

The Creepiest Kitchens in the World

The kitchen should be the heart of every home, filled with happy memories… but these kitchens are chilling reminders of historical disasters, spine-chilling authors, and the cruelest politicians who ever lived.

 

Edgar Allan Poe (USA)

Edgar Allan Poe's Kitchen, courtesy of the Poe Museum. Portrait author unknown; most likely George C. Gilchrest, Samuel P. Howes, James M. Pearson, or Andrew J. Simpson, all of Lowell, MA.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Kitchen, courtesy of the Poe Museum. Portrait author unknown; most likely George C. Gilchrest, Samuel P. Howes, James M. Pearson, or Andrew J. Simpson, all of Lowell, MA.

This kitchen might seem quaint, but this iron stove fed the creativity of one of the world’s best mystery writers – Edgar Allan Poe. He lived in this cottage during the last few years of his life in the late 19th century, along with his wife, mother-in-law, cat, and birds:

… Poe’s mother-in-law Maria Clemm prepared the family’s meals. Mary Gove Nichols recounted of this room, “The floor of the kitchen was white as wheaten flour. A table, a chair, and a little stove that it contained, seemed to furnish it perfectly.” Poe Museum.

If you don’t remember the man, perhaps you’ll remember the famous opening to his poem The Raven:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

Adding to the creep-factor, Poe’s life ended in a completely inexplicable way – far from his hometown, disoriented, in strange clothes, after having been found in the gutter. Some think it was alcohol poisoning. Others wonder if something more sinister happened. (Read more at The Smithsonian)

 

Hitler (GERMANY)

http://www.skylighters.org/photos/tours/

Adolf Hitler’s Dining Room and Kitchen, courtesy of Skylighters. Portrait of Hitler unkown, from German archives.

I get chills up my spine when I look on this man’s face. But did you know that Adolf Hitler – one of history’s cruelest dictators – also happened to be vegetarian? It was said that he averted his eyes whenever animal cruelty was shown in films and he kept his gardens stocked with fresh produce. (source)  This photo shows the kitchen and dining room from which he entertained his political guests.

 

The Titanic (Off the coast of CANADA)

Source: Retronaut.

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Source: Retronaut. Replica Second Class Passenger Plates from the Titanic Exhibition Store.  Painting of the sinking ship by Wily Stöwer.

These kitchens come from the world’s most infamous shipwreck: the Titanic, which went down off the coast of Canada in 1912. I can almost hear the ceiling rattling with all those metal cups. What an eerie sound that must have been! This ship fed a ton of people, right up until the moment it sunk into the ocean:

A huge staff labored almost continuously in Titanic’s massive galleys to prepare more than 6,000 meals a day. The main galley, which churned out food for first- and second-class passengers, featured serving pantries; a butcher shop; a bakery; vegetable kitchens; specialized rooms for silver and china; rooms for wines, beer and oysters; and huge storage bins for the tons of coal needed to fuel the 19 ovens, cooking tops, ranges and roasters. (History)

One survivor, Ms. Walter Douglas, recounted the first class meals – feasts of “caviar, lobster, quail from Egypt, plovers’ eggs, and hothouse grapes and fresh peaches.” (Source) For comparison, here’s the last meal served on 2nd Class (the ship would hit the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. that night and go under with more than half of her occupants by 2:20 a.m.):

Sample 2nd Class menu from the Titanic.

Sample 2nd Class menu from the Titanic. Source.

 

Saddam Hussein (IRAQ) 

File:US Navy 031217-A-0000X-002 A modest array of items sits inside the makeshift kitchen where Saddam Hussein probably ate his last meal before his capture.jpg

This hideaway kitchen in Ad Dawr, Iraq is where Saddam Hussein ate his last meals prior to capture. In the mess you can just make out a few staples like  vegetable oil, honey, coffee and water. More canned food is in the bottom cabinets. Two tea kettles and a pot occupy the stove area. The rusted barrel with holes in it looks like some sort of charcoal burner, probably used for warmth. Source.

 

 

Pompeii (ITALY)

File:Pompeii0070.jpg

Grande Taberna Pompeii kitchen. Photo by Aldo Ardetti .

Grande Taberna, an outdoor, public kitchen in Pompeii. Photo by Aldo Ardetti.

The city of Pompeii was buried in ash after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79A.D. – a horrific loss of life. But when the city was uncovered in 1748, archaeologists discovered much of the buildings and artifacts in tact. That goes for this kitchen and “thermopolium”  - the equivalent of today’s fast food establishments. In some cases, full plates and an assortment of cups and pitchers were found still resting on the counters, as though waiting for the customers to return.

These small shops had L-shaped counters into which large storage vessels were sunk, which would contain either hot or cold food. More than a hundred and twenty of these buildings have been discovered in Pompeii alone. They are linked to the absence of kitchens in many dwellings and the ease with which people could purchase prepared foods — just as in modern times. Eating out was also an important aspect of socializing in Pompeii. (Source)

 

“Bedlam” (UNITED KINGDOM)

An octagonal kitchen building at Royal Bethlem Hospital, early 20th Century. Courtesy of Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust

The Hospital of Bethlem, a.k.a. Bedlam, at Moorfields, London (Engraving)

The Hospital of Bethlem, a.k.a. Bedlam, at Moorfields, London (Engraving)

This 8-sided kitchen was heart of Bedlam, a.k.a. the Hospital of Bethlem – the world’s most infamous asylum. The kitchen’s odd shape hints at its former status as central courtyard and garden for Bedlam. The kitchen was built to accommodate the ever-increasing number of patients.

A little background: the asylum was built in 1247 and became solely focused on treating the mentally ill by 1377, making it the oldest asylum in Europe. The building soon inspired the English word “bedlam.” which means confusion and noise.

Patients were cruelly referred to as prisoners, medical records were rare, and in the 1600’s the building went as much as 40 years without an inspection. Worse yet, Bedlam was built over sewers and human waste was known to block the entrance. In 1607 eating vessels were ordered for the inmates – some historians believe that there weren’t any -until this point. In the 1630’s the atmosphere was described as pure chaos by a Donald Lupton, full of “cryings, screechings, roarings, brawlings, shaking of chaines, swearings, frettings, chaffings.”

The hospital was moved in the 1930’s, with parts being demolished (including the kitchen) giving it a fresh geographic start but, for many, the horrors that earned the name Bedlam will never be forgotten. (More on the construction/demolition can be found here and here)

 

Hindenburg (USA)

German Airship in NJ. Albert Stöffler in the Hindenburg’s electric kitchen. (photo courtesy of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmBH Archive)

Photos from the Hindeburg.

Photos from the Hindeburg. Galley Kitchen plus seating for the crew (note the photo of Hitler and Hindenburg). Source.  Photo of disaster from the Associated Press.

The Hindeburg is another enormous disaster – an airship plummeting from the sky in 1937 after catching fire. These kitchens were electric – they weren’t the reason for the fire. In more creepy news, this ill-fated airship was only 78 feet shorter than the Titanic and featured a photo of Adolf Hitler on the wall.

Thankfully, there were only 35 on-board fatalities. This is in great part because several people were able to jump off the doomed flight just before it hit the ground – including the 25-year old pastry chef, Albert Stöffler. He realized the airship was on fire after climbing on a table to avoid hot water and noticed the glow of fire outside the window:

He noticed that hot water from the kitchen had spilled all over the floor, and sat up on one of the tables so that his feet wouldn’t be scalded. From here he turned and looked out of one of the observation windows in the floor and saw on the ground below him the reddish glare of the fire. When the ship neared the ground, Stöffler knew it was time to get out. He jumped through the nearest window from a height of several meters, picked himself up and ran, with the ship’s burning frame crashing to the ground just behind him. He escaped almost completely unharmed. (Read more).

Curiously, the kitchen (and water) also played a role in saving the life of a young boy on board:

Werner Franz, the 14 year-old cabin boy, was initially dazed by the realization that the ship was on fire. As he stood near the officer’s mess where he had been putting away dishes moments before, a water tank above him burst open, and he was suddenly soaked to the skin. Not only did this snap him back to his senses, as he later told interviewers, but it also put out the fire around him. He then made his way to a nearby hatch through which the kitchen had been provisioned before the flight, and dropped through it just as the forward part of the ship was briefly rebounding into the air. He began to run toward the starboard side, but stopped and turned around and ran the other way, because the flames were being pushed by the wind in that same direction. He made it clear of the wreck with little more than singed eyebrows and soaking wet clothes and lived to be the last surviving crew member when he died at age 92 on August 13, 2014. (Source)

So those are the seven creepiest kitchens in the world – to me at least! Which ones do you find the freakiest? Which ones would you be curious to see? I definitely would like to see Poe’s some day. And I would have loved to have dined on the Titanic – but not on April 14, 1912.

falafel-head

15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods

This Halloween go international: spin the globe and dress up as an iconic food from whatever country strikes your fancy! To get you started, here are 15 adorable costumes representing famous foods from all over the world. 

Escargot (FRANCE) 

Snail Costume (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Jordan Ferney’s DIY Snail Costume from her blog Oh Happy Day.

Oohh la la! A bit of newsprint and foam balls and you’ve got the most adorable snail costume.
Learn how to make the costume at Oh Happy Day.

On snails:

While the French are best known for their love of snails, the snail has a long (and slimy) history. Archeologists have found snail shells from prehistoric times. The Roman Philosopher Pliny the Elder considered escargot an elite food to the Romans. There is also a recipe for snails in the oldest surviving cookbook written by Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman foodie from the 1st century.

Sushi & Sashimi (JAPAN)

Sashimi/Sushi Costume (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Costume by Caroline Caffelle shop owner for TheWishingElephant on Etsy Photography by Betsey Darley

This little sashimi eating sushi is way too cute. Find the costume on The Wishing Elephant, then try making our Futomaki recipe (a.k.a. Veggie Sushi) – it’s super fun!

On Sushi:

Sushi is a Japanese dish originally developed as a fermentation process for fish. It originated not actually in Japan, but in Southeast Asia before spreading to south China and later Japan. It wasn’t until later in the Edo Period (1603-1868) that the rice in sushi was not being used for fermentation. The nigiri sushi we know today was invented by Hayana Yohei as a fast food that could be eaten in public or the theater. Did you know that after an authentic sushi experience you can offer to buy the chef a drink in gratitude for the meal?

 Falafel (MIDDLE EAST) 

 

 

Make a statement this Halloween. Turn your head into a falafel ball and replace your arms with tomato slices!  Great costume, Paula!

On Falafel:

The origins of the falafel are unknown. It is made from grinding up chickpeas, fava beans or sometimes both and deep frying them into a ball or patty. It is the second most common dish made from chickpeas (after hummus).  The world record for the largest falafel ball is 164.4 lb and was set in Amman, Jordan on July 28 2012. Falafel is known in Egypt (excluding Alexandria) as ta’aimiya.

Tea (UNITED KINGDOM & SOUTHERN AFRICA) 

Tea Bag Costumes  (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Found on Pinterest

Dress up as Rooibos, the caffeine free tea grown throughout southern Africa and win MAJOR points from every tea nerd (including me!). Or go British, with Earl Grey. Either way, the look is smooth! Learn how to make the costume… Oh, and get in the mood by trying the famed African Rooibos Latte recipe.

On Tea:

Tea plants are native to East and South Asia. Though nobody is sure of the exact inventor of tea, Chinese legends attribute the invention to a Chinese inventor—Shennong—as he was the first to invent a tea shredder. In the United Kingdom, each person drinks an average of 1.9 kg of tea per year, making the British one of the largest consumers of tea in the world. Tea is not only a drink, but in the United Kingdom and Ireland, it’s also meal. Afternoon tea is a light meal usually held between 4 and 6 pm while high tea is meal in the evening for workfolk, and it’s held between 5 and 7 pm. High tea usually includes a hot dish and is followed by tea cakes and bread served with butter and jam.

Hamburger & Hot dog (UNITED STATES) 

Hamburger Baby (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Sherry Petersik, Young House Love blog

These all-American munchkins are the cutest! And just look at those teeny fingers peeking out from the lettuce.

On Hamburgers:

There have been many claims to the original invention of the Hamburger between the years 1885 and 1904. The earliest report of a “hamburger sandwich” that we know of is in a newspaper called Chicago Daily Tribune. The article was written in July of 1896 and the it reads “A distinguished favorite, only five cents, is Hamburger steak sandwich, the meat for which is kept ready in small patties and “cooked while you wait.” There are many variations of the hamburger worldwide, with patties consisting of different meats (including but not necessarily limited to: beef, turkey, chicken, bison, ostrich and venison) or meat substitutes (such as tofu, TVP, seitan, quorn, beans, grains or an assortment of ground up vegetables).

Haggis (SCOTLAND)

Haggis (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Photo found on Gail Turpin Design under a page about the work she did for the Scottish company Macsween.

Whether you love eating it or not, dressing up as Haggis is a definite Halloween do. I guarantee you’ll be the talk of the party!

On Haggis:

Though Haggis is popularly assumed to be of Scottish origin there isn’t historical evidence that definitely attributes it to one single place. There is various folklore regarding Haggis, including a tale that it is a creature that runs through the Scottish Highlands. According to a poll, 33% of Americans visiting Scotland assumed that Haggis was indeed an animal. If you aren’t a fan of haggis then maybe you would instead enjoy Haggis Hurling, a competition that involves—you guessed it—throwing haggis as far as possible. The world record is held by Lorne Coltart who hurled his haggis 217 feet on June 11th 2011 during the Milngavie Highland Games in Glasgow.

Greek yogurt (GREECE) 

Greek Yogurt Costume  (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Gabriel Rossi, Getty Images

It’s amazing what a bit of cardstock, foam core, and tape can do! These guys look great (and healthy, too). Get inspired by trying the recipe for our favorite treat made with Greek Yogurt.

On Greek Yogurt:

Greek yogurt (also called strained yogurt, yogurt cheese or labneh) is yogurt that has been strained by means of a cloth, paper bag or filter. It is used most commonly as a base for a popular Greek dish tzatziki—which is a Greek sauce served either with grilled meats or pita bread for dipping—or as a dessert with various sweets served on top such as honey, sour cherry syrup or fruit preserves.

Empanada (SOUTH AMERICA, SPAIN, PORTUGAL)

Not only is she an empanada – she’s an empanada that can cook! Celebrate this winning costume with real beef or apple empanadas. 

On Empanadas:

Empanadas can be found all over the world, with first mentions occurring in the Middle ages on the Iberian Penninsula (think Spain and Portugal) . There are Empanada recipes in a cookbook titled “Libre del Coch” by Ruperto de Nola published in 1520 in Barcelona. The Spanish word for bread is “pan”; “Empanar is a verb form that means “to bread”. Empanada is the past-participle “breaded”.

Croquembouche (France)

Croquembouche (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Photo by Studio DIY

Nothing like a few dozen coffee filters to make the sweetest French wedding cake ever (the French chef is  nice touch, too)! Find the step-by-step instructions on Studio DIY.

On the Croquembouche:

The Croquembouche is a tower made from dozens of pastry puffs (called profiteroles) and drizzled with fine threads of caramelized sugar. The name means “to crunch” – which is exactly what the dessert does when you take a bite! You can thank Chef Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833) for inventing the confection. He is considered the world’s first celebrity chef and was nicknamed  “Le Roi Des Chefs et le Chef Des Rois” which means “King of Chefs, and the Chef of Kings.”

Cannoli (ITALY)

Cannoli (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Caroline Edwards, author of Chocolate & Carrots blog, and her son.

A little felt, a onesie, and the cutest baby around?? This cannoli costume is brilliant! 

On the Cannoli:

Cannoli are Italian pastries filled with sweetened ricotta. Historically the treats were made for Carnivale, quite possibly as rather suggestive fertility symbols. Italian ethnographer Giuseppe Pitré wrote in his book “Credenze e Pregiudizi del Popolo Siciliano, Vol. 1″ (“Customs, beliefs and prejudices of the Sicilian People Vol. 1″) that cannoli were not favored by people of any particular ranking or class but were desired by rich and poor alike.

Churros (SPAIN)

Churros (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Found on Pinterest

I seriously hope someone is dressed up as chocolate dipping sauce or a bowl of cinnamon sugar. Here’s our Churro recipe, for those who are now -like me – hungry!

On Churros:

Churros are another food where the origins are unclear; a theory is that the Portuguese brought them to Europe while another is that Spanish Shepherds made them to substitute for fresh bakery goods. Churros are named after the Navajo-Churro Sheep due to resembling the horns of the sheep. It’s important that Churros have maximum surface area and minimum volume so that the heat when cooking can be evenly distributed to get the crunchy sweet treat we know. There have been cases of Churros exploding if the recipes are off, including a newspaper that was successfully sued for printing a Churro recipe that caused the treats to explode and injure 14 people; the case took seven years to fully resolve.

Taco (MEXICO)  

Tissue paper lettuce on top of a taco baby? Pure genius! 

On Tacos:

Though the details seem to be unknown, the origin of the taco dates back to before Europeans arrived in Mexico. Evidence was found that the people of the lake region in the Valley of Mexico ate tacos filled with small fish. There are many types of traditional tacos, from “spit” or “grill tacos” to shrimp tacos.

Pavlova (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND) 

These girls definitely capture pavlova’s sweetness. This concept is a must for New Zealand, especially considering it stars their beloved Kiwi! Try our recipe today.

On Pavlova:

The dessert dish Pavlova was created by an Australian hotel chef in Wellington, New Zealand while the famous ballerina whom the dish is named after—Anna Pavlova—visited during her world tour in 1926. There is a chapter in the book “Food on the Move: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food an Cookery” by Harland Walker about the dish, titled “The Pavlova Cake: the Evolution of a National Dish”. The chapter was written by Helen M. Leach. She writes about the history of the dish, including argument between Australia and New Zealand as to which claims creation of the dish as well as how the modern pavlova shifted from the 1920s meringue cake.

Basmati Rice (ASIA/AFRICA)

Basmati Rice Costume  (15 Halloween Costumes Made from the World’s Most Iconic Foods)

Photo by Deponti

There are no words for this costume! RUN, don’t walk, to your nearest Indian market and grab a bag of rice. Cut holes for the head, arms, and legs. So stinkin’ cute!

P.S. Wondering what to do with all the rice? Try one of countless rice recipes from around the world. It’ll be gone in a flash!

On Basmati Rice:

The word basmati is derived from the Sanskrit word “vasmati,” meaning “fragrant.” Indian traders brought the rice to the Middle East. It can be difficult to tell basmati from other types of cheaper rices. In 2010 the United Kingdom ran a test on wholesaler supplied rice and discovered that out of fifteen, four samples of what was supposed to be genuine basmati rice had cheaper kinds mixed in; one even lacked basmati entirely. Authentic basmati has a delicate long grain and tastes best when rinsed and soaked for thirty minutes prior to cooking.

Pierogi (POLAND) 

I’d be smiling, too, if I were dressed like this sweet pierogi!
Can’t get a costume fast enough from Arla Designs? Try our homemade recipe for cheese and potato pierogi.

On Pierogi:

There are over ten ways to spell Pierogi (pirogi being one!). The root meaning of the word is “festival”. Pierogi can be sweet or savory, common fillings being fresh fruits for dessert or mushrooms, cheeses, meats, onions, cabbage, sauerkraut, spinach—and, well, I could go on a long time on savory options because it’s honestly up to the preference of the chef what you fill them with. No wonder the word basically means festival – you could bring these to absolutely any occasion and it’d be a party!

With Gratitude: 

Special thanks to our new Content Coordinator Intern Mickaela Casper for gathering these amazing costumes and researching so many fun facts! She’s a fantastic addition to the GTA Family!

small-photo-ofMusakhan

Celebrating the shining star of Palestinian cuisine: Musakhan

Musakhan Recipe from Palestine.
Within Palestine’s hotly contested territories there is one thing everyone can agree on: Musakhan. This simple dish doesn’t shout. It’s flavors don’t battle for dominance. No, Musakhan is a quiet meal – a layered preparation of chicken, onion softened with sumac, and doughy pieces of taboon bread. And yet this unassuming dish earned a Guinness World Record in 2010 in the city of Ramallah.
World's largest Musakhan Dish.

World’s largest Musakhan Dish, Palestine. Photo by Travel Palestine.

Why a Guinness World Record Matters

The clout of earning a Guinness World Record often remains limited to the feat itself – at most a symbol of egregious excess (consider the world’s largest pancake, for example – nearly 50 feet across with no other purpose than to … eat). But for Palestinians, the world’s largest Musakhan was a show of pride and honor far beyond simple bragging rights. Making the Musakhan was a critical show of cultural pride during a time of great crisis. More than 40 Palestinian chefs united efforts to cook and assemble the 4 meter loaf. The finished dish weighed nearly 3,000 pounds, including 1,100+ pounds of onion, 550+ pounds of flour, 370 pounds of olive oil, and 150+ pounds of almond (pine nuts may also be used)! To further bolster the cultural emphasis, many of the Musakhan’s ingredients were sourced within Palestine. Indeed, Palestine’s former Prime Minister, Salam Fayad, says: “This great achievement completely depended on Palestinian products, mainly olive oil.” (Source)

According to Jamal Aruri, the man who organized the feat:
“Musakhan is a popular, completely Palestinian food, made in Palestinian villages […] We seek through this festival to distinguish musakhan as part of Palestinian culture.” (Source)
Musakhan Recipe from Palestine - needs lots of onion!
While even these men veer into political discussion when talking about this dish, renowned Palestinian cookbook author, Rawia Bishara, has wise words when it comes to food and politics:
I think cooking is politics. What I’m trying to do here—I wish everybody practiced politics like that. It’s spreading the culture. It’s showing the real face of us and who we are and what we are all about. And I think this is politics. My politics. I think when you speak politics, talk politics directly, you always create a challenge and other opinions. It’s different from accepting the other. Food is taste. They taste, they accept, and it goes from there. It’s as simple as that. I think this is the best way. (Source)

Many ways, one dish

There are many ways to make the dish – often the bread and onions are stacked like lasagna before being piled high with chicken. In other cases, as taught by Clifford A. Wright, the onion and chicken are wrapped in a thin bread like lavash, the end result more like gift wrap. But today I’m making Rawia Bishara’s rendition, which affectionately dubs “Chicken Pizza.” While onion and the lemony smack of ground sumac should be the dominant flavors, sometimes folks add a pinch of saffron and a dusting of cardamom, lending the dish an ethereal quality. In any case, the onions take on a lovely pink-purple from the sumac. I take Bishara’s advice and used naan here.

Serve with plain yogurt and olives.
Serves 3-6
Ingredients:
3 whole chicken legs, extra fat trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
4 onions, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp ground sumac, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
pinch saffron (optional)
pinch cardamom (optional)
salt & pepper
3-6 pieces of taboon or naan
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Method:
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, brown the chicken on both sides in olive oil over medium-high – about 8 minutes per side. Use a splatter guard or, if you don’t have one, simply use less olive oil (add the rest with the other ingredients).Musakhan Recipe from Palestine.
Remove chicken and set aside on a platter. Add the sliced onions and cook until reduced by half.
Musakhan Recipe from Palestine.
Return the chicken to the pot along with the sumac and seasoning.
Loosely cover and continue cooking until the chicken is falling off the bone and the onions are very soft and browning – about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and reduce heat as necessary to avoid burning the onions.
Musakhan Recipe from Palestine.
While it’s cooking, imagine walking through the bustling streets of Ramallah, where the Guinness World Record was attempted.
Central Market in the city of Ramallah.  Photo by Rawan Nassrallah.

Central Market in the city of Ramallah. Photo by Rawan Nassrallah.

To serve, brush the flatbread with olive oil, top with onion mixture and chicken.
TIP: For lighter portions, cut the whole leg at the joint and divide the leg and thigh pieces over 6 breads instead of 3.
Garnish with more sumac. Broil for a moment to heat through.
Serve with plain yogurt and olives.
Musakhan Recipe from Palestine.
Enjoy with love and hope in your heart.
P.S. I invite you to let me know about other Palestinian food I should try! Even though I do lots of research for every post, it’s tough knowing about all the great food in any one part of the world.
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Within Palestine’s hotly contested territories there is one thing everyone can agree on: Musakhan. This simple dish doesn’t shout. It’s flavors don’t battle for dominance. No, Musakhan is a quiet meal – a layered preparation of chicken, onion softened with sumac, and doughy pieces of taboon bread. And yet this unassuming dish earned a Guinness World Record in 2010 in the city of Ramallah. Serve with plain yogurt and olives.Celebrating the shining star of Palestinian cuisine: Musakhan
Servings Prep Time
3-6people 20minutes
Cook Time
1hour
Servings Prep Time
3-6people 20minutes
Cook Time
1hour
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, brown the chicken on both sides in olive oil over medium-high – about 8 minutes per side. Use a splatter guard or, if you don’t have one, simply use less olive oil (add the rest with the other ingredients).
  2. Remove chicken and set aside on a platter. Add the sliced onions and cook until reduced by half.
  3. Return the chicken to the pot along with the sumac and seasoning. Loosely cover and continue cooking until the chicken is falling off the bone and the onions are very soft and browning – about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and reduce heat as necessary to avoid burning the onions.
  4. To serve, brush the flatbread with olive oil, top with onion mixture and chicken.
  5. TIP: For lighter portions, cut the whole leg at the joint and divide the leg and thigh pieces over 6 breads instead of 3. Garnish with more sumac. Broil for a moment to heat through. Serve with plain yogurt and olives.
Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.

Around the World Lunch: Greece

Ava’s Greek Lunch

Around the World Lunch: Greece

For this edition of Ava’s Around the World Lunch we’re heading to Greece with mezze. If you play your cards right, the flavors of Greece can be in your child’s lunch box in less than five minutes.

Quick-Fix Secret

Tucked away in my pantry is my greatest quick-fix secret: stuffed grape leaves, a.k.a. dolma.  Sure, I’ve been known to make dolma. I happen to LOVE making them. But sometimes I’m in a hurry and need to grab something quick for my daughter’s lunch. While I’ve found dolma at grocery store salad bars, I don’t always think far enough ahead to grab some.

Thankfully our local Middle Eastern market sells dolma in cans for $3.99. There’s well over a dozen in each can. While not the same as homemade, they still have the same great pop of lemon and rich olive oil. They’re great to have around for hectic mornings!  Serve with pitted olives and a little tomato sauce for dipping, just like the do in Greece.

Is it Greek without Spanakopita?

I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out. This is another recipe you can make ahead and freeze, or simply keep a store-bought box of frozen spanakopita on hand. In the morning, while little ones are getting dressed and eating breakfast, bake off a few. For an even quicker fix, make homemade spanakopita for dinner the night before and save a couple for leftovers. Try not to eat them all before you pack the lunch!

Around the World Lunch: Greece

Fresh Salad

For a salad, I made a small bowl of tzatziki. Just stir together a cup of plain yogurt, one clove of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of mint, and half a cucumber that’s been peeled, shredded and squeezed dry. A good sprinkle of salt pulls all the flavors together. This is the only item in the mix that can take a few minutes to prep – and it can easily be made the day before.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Plan ahead. Make the dolma for a party on the weekend. Here’s an amazing recipe from Qatar and here’s another, more unusual version from Armenia. They keep for at a good week in the refrigerator, so you can easily set a few aside for lunches.
  • Not in the mood for tzatziki? Swap the yogurt salad for a traditional Greek salad. Remember, this means no lettuce!
  • Need a protein boost? Try meat-filled dolma. You can make or buy ones stuffed with spiced lamb or pork.

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

Ava’s Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work.

In this weekly column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!

besan doodh recipe

Besan Doodh: A Drink Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Malala & Kailash

Besan Doodh

One thought crossed my mind every time I took a sip of the Besan Doodh. The thought overwhelmed the bold cardamom and it distracted from the warm milk tinged with saffron. A small thing, really – a sentence, again and again, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I didn’t clip her wings.”

Malala Yousafzai. Photo by Claude Truong (2013)

Malala Yousafzai. Photo by Claude Truong (2013)

These are the words of Malala Yousafzai’s father. Malala is a young woman from Pakistan – just 17 years old. She is easily the greatest superstar in the peace movement right now thanks to her unapologetic opposition to those who would keep girls from receiving an education. Though she’d been blogging for the BBC since she was 11, the whole world paid attention when she took a shot to the head on the way to school at age 15, two years ago.

As of Friday, Malala is the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first Pakistani winner. In a nice nod to her work for children’s education, she found out about the award during chemistry class.

Malala’s father was the first person to write a girl’s name on the family tree – a family tree that went back hundreds of years. Her father stood back and let her be 100% equal to her brothers. He insisted she be educated. And now she is a voice of inspiration for girls everywhere. She is strong. She is without fear.

Though a child herself, Malala is like a mother, speaking for those who have no voice. Caring for them when no other would.

Catering to the smallest

Kailash Satyarthi. Photo by Leandro Uchoas.

Kailash Satyarthi. Photo by Leandro Uchoas.

And then there’s Kailash Satyarthi – the Indian man who shares the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala. His story comes through the airwaves more quietly, ungilded by the media – almost a footnote to the Nobel Peace Prize press of Malala. But Kailash’s work is no less important.

Kailash has spent every moment since the 80’s working against child labor and oppression in India and throughout the world. He started a nonprofit called GoodWeave that helps consumers know they’re purchasing carpets made without child labor. Look for the label (the web site has a listing of retailers). He’s directly saved more than 80,000 children from brutal oppression. Sources report that Kailash is also a passionate cook and has been known to personally prepare meals for many of children he’s saved. With these meals, scared children open up. Smile. Become children again. Become free again.

Kailash doesn’t limit his fatherly love to his own son and daughter – he is a father to all children – opening his heart to each child who needs him. Without hesitation.

This is family. In the truest sense.

Family is not just a handful of people living under one roof.

Family encompasses the entire planet.

Family has no borders.

What a gift these two people are to the world.

To the human family.

Please join me in celebrating Malala and Kailash:

Besan Doodh

To toast Malala and Kailash’s achievements I sought out a drink that I could share with my family. The trick was finding one that would be enjoyed in both Pakistan and India.

Enter Besan Doodh, a hot, milky drink slightly thickened with chickpea flour (called besan flour). The drink is popular throughout the Punjabi region, which spans parts of Northern India and Pakistan. In a nod towards the children Malala and Kailash help, this hot drink is often sipped to soothe little ones’ sore throats.

While some simply use the flour, ghee, milk, and sugar, I rather prefer the recipes that add some cardamom and even a garnish or two. The overall flavor is milky, buttery-rich (thanks to the ghee), and earthy from the flour. The touch of sugar and cardamom gives each sip an ethereal pleasure.

Tip: Look for besan flour at your local Indian market or try “Garbanzo and Fava flour” from Bob’s Red Mill. It works just as well (garbanzo is just another word for chickpea)!

Besan Doodh - Punjabi Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons ghee or butter
1 tablespoon chickpea flour
2 cups milk
sugar, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Optional garnishes:

Slivered almonds
a pinch saffron
golden raisins

Method:

First, make a roux:

Melt the ghee in a small pot and add the chickpea flour. Cook, stirring continuously. the mixture will clump up, then – gradually – the ghee will release the oils. Add the milk, a little at a time at first so as to not create lumps.

Second, season the drink:

Add sugar and cardamom. Any desired garnishes can be added now or to the bottom of the glass. I prefer to cook them, as it’ll make the final drink more flavorful.

Simmer the milk for several minutes, until the sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

I shared these steps on Instagram the other day!

Making a little surprise to honor Malala and Kailash.

Enjoy. (But whatever you do, don’t clip your small, dreamer’s wings).

Besan Doodh Recipe

 

P.S. Looking for other Indian or Pakistani recipes? Look no further.

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To toast Malala and Kailash’s achievements I sought out a drink that I could share with my family. The trick was finding one that would be enjoyed in both Pakistan and India. Enter Besan Doodh, a hot, milky drink slightly thickened with chickpea flour (called besan flour). The drink is popular throughout the Punjabi region, which spans parts of Northern India and Pakistan. In a nod towards the children Malala and Kailash help, this hot drink is often sipped to soothe little ones’ sore throats. While some simply use the flour, ghee, milk, and sugar, I rather prefer the recipes that add some cardamom and even a garnish or two. The overall flavor is milky, buttery-rich (thanks to the ghee), and earthy from the flour. The touch of sugar and cardamom gives each sip an ethereal pleasure.Finding a Drink Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Malala & Kailash
Servings Prep Time
2people 5minutes
Cook Time
10-20minutes
Servings Prep Time
2people 5minutes
Cook Time
10-20minutes
Ingredients
Optional garnishes:
Instructions
Make a roux:
  1. Melt the ghee in a small pot and add the chickpea flour. Cook, stirring continuously. the mixture will clump up, then – gradually – the ghee will release the oils. Add the milk, a little at a time at first so as to not create lumps.
Season the drink:
  1. Add sugar and cardamom. Any desired garnishes can be added now or to the bottom of the glass. I prefer to cook them, as it’ll make the final drink more flavorful. Simmer the milk for several minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Tip: Look for besan flour at your local Indian market or try “Garbanzo and Fava flour” from Bob’s Red Mill. It works just as well (garbanzo is just another word for chickpea)!

Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.

Around the World Lunch: Egypt

Ava’s Egyptian Lunch

Around the World Lunch: Egypt

Ever since Ava’s Egyptian-themed birthday party this summer, she’s been obsessed with all things Egypt. Naturally, when I asked what she wanted to try for this week’s Around the World Lunch she sang out “EGYPT!”

Finger Foods 

First up? Ful medames (pronounced “fool”), Egyptian street food often served for breakfast and lunch. Ful is a dip made with fava beans cooked with onion and tomatoes. It’s high in protein making ful great for concentration during the school day!  For color and flavor I added torn parsley and drizzled some olive oil and lemon juice over the top, just like they do in Egypt. We treat ful like hummus, so on the side Ava has plenty of pita bread to dip, dip, dip. I also included tomatoes and a hard boiled egg, both popular ful toppings in Egypt.Ava-babushka

Dessert

As a nod to Ava’s Egyptian birthday party, I included a slice of Basboosa, a Middle Eastern semolina cake laced with rose water and lemon juice. This cake is dense and sweet – but the touch of lemon juice and rose water balances everything out.  It’s the perfect pick-me-up in for a Friday! (I should know, I snuck a couple of slices while making her lunch this morning!)

Tips & Tricks

  • Make the ful the night before – it’ll be even better in the morning and save you a lot of time!
  • If your child doesn’t like chunky textures, blend the ful completely smooth so that it reminds them of hummus.
  • Real talk: Ava’s lunch is not magic, it shifts around just like everyone else’s. To avoid a mess, I popped a lid on her bowl of ful after taking this photo.
  • Looking for more nutrition? Swap the basboosa cake for orange slices – the land along the Nile River is one of the world’s greatest producers of oranges – who knew?!

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

Ava’s Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work.

In this weekly column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!

 

Chana Masala Recipe

Chana Masala & The Remarkable Quest of Chris Guillebeau

Chana Masala Recipe

Psst… Be sure to enter the giveway at the bottom of this post!

I want to tell you a story about Chris Guillebeau – a man who traveled to every country in the world.

It took him 10 years.  He’s not the first to do it, and he won’t be the last. And yet his quest is remarkable.

Let me explain.

Chris_GuillebeauFrom Quest to Calling

I stumbled across Chris’ journey a few years back  when he had about three years left in his quest. I read with amusement about his jogging escapades on strange terrain, how airport lounges can double as offices (and triple as bedrooms!), and how he managed to maintain relationships with his family and friends all while exploring the world.

Like many people, I was immediately smitten with Chris’ quest.  It’s not simply that his journey mirrored my own (cooking every country in the world for anyone stopping by) – but it was the fact that Chris was able to escape the confines of standard travel blogging to become a remarkable life blogger. That is to say, he used his journey as a platform to teach bigger lessons about life, work, and love.

By choosing the unconventional path, he’d uncovered what I was just beginning to learn: Quests  -like visiting every country on earth or cooking every country – will teach you as much about yourself as it does the places you’re learning about (if not more).

Testing the theory

Chris had a hunch he wasn’t the only one who’d been transformed by a quest. One day he put out a call for reader stories that he’d share in his book The Happiness of Pursuit. Above all, he wanted to inspire more people to live out their dreams. Hundreds of people wrote in, from all corners of the globe.

I was one of those people. To my delight, my story was accepted along with dozens of others.

After several interactions I can tell you this about Chris:

  • His kindness is staggering.
  • He gets more done in 24 hours than most people do in a month.
  • Something he says or writes will probably change the course of your life. Maybe it’ll be subtle, maybe it will be big. But something will change.

The Pursuit of Happiness by Chris GuillebeauWhen you’re done, you’re still not done.

I just finished reading the book.

I particularly loved the stories that showed people expanding on their quests – like a birdwatcher who went from setting a record in Missouri  (sighting 275 distinct bird species), to eventually seeing more than 500 distinct species a year and then, finally, going for the world record.

I know a good deal about what it takes to set a goal and complete it, and yet I still found myself writing notes in the margins, discovering new ideas, and getting just the kick in the pants I needed to reinvigorate my quest.

After eating every country, I can definitely say that my appetite has been whetted, not sated. I want to learn more, understand better, and continue to share my love of world cuisine. And I want to make it easier for you to do this. Reading his book is helping me put actionable steps to what this will look like.

Edible Memory

The quests we undertake have a ripple effect on our lives. For Chris, traveling gave him a love of Indian culture and especially Chana Masala. He’s now a vegetarian and finds comfort in this highly spiced (and often spicy) Punjabi dish.

I like to think of his love for Chana Masala as a symbol of his quest and all the ways traveling the world has changed him. It might seem small at first, but the reality is this: Every time he eats this curry, he can think back to the places he’s been and still hopes to see. This curry is everything.

Chana Masala is enjoyed in both India and Pakistan. It is highly spiced and often spicy. A souring agent like mango powder or crushed pomegranate seeds is typically added to the curry. While both are available at Indian markets, I substituted a little extra lemon juice to create a similar flavor. I like the curry even better the day after it’s made, once all the flavors have time to mingle (speaking of which, whole coriander seeds have an intense flavor – substitute ground coriander if sensitive or new to curries).

A note on the spicing – one chili pepper makes the mix hot – build up from there if you have a high tolerance.

Serve with naan or homemade roti. Plain yogurt makes a nice side.

How to make Chana Masala

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or ground coriander)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped (reserve a little for garnish)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon homemade garam masala
4 cloves garlic, grated
One knob ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 teaspoons)
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1-3 green chili peppers like serranos (to taste), sliced
Two 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinse and drained
Juice of half a lemon

Garnishes:

lemon slices
onion slices
a handful torn cilantro leaves

Method:

Add seeds to hot vegetable oil in a medium skillet or pot. Cook until the spices sizzle and pop like an old fashioned record player (up to 15 seconds)

Chana Masala spicing

Add onion and cook until soft. Add spices, ginger and garlic and cook for a few moments until fragrant.Chana Masala Recipe

By now your house will smell glorious.Chana Masala

Add the tomatoes and cook until the juices dry out and the tomatoes begin to smell roasted. Add chickpeas and sliced hot peppers. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.

Chana Masala Recipe

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Garnish with cilantro and onion as desired.

Chana Masala Recipe

Serve with a nice, soft naan or homemade roti… and add a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt if the heat is too much.

Most importantly? Enjoy with a spirit of adventure.

Since you made it this far…

How about a giveaway? I’d love to offer a copy of The Happiness of Pursuit to one lucky reader. In the comments of this post, tell us what recipe holds a significance for you and why. Then check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

xxoo
Sasha

P.S. Here’s how much Ava loves the Chana Masala: All the way to her back!

recipe.chana.masala.img_6598 recipe.chana.masala.img_6608 recipe.chana.masala.img_6599

 

Ava's Around the World Lunch - France

Ava’s French Lunch

Ava's Around the World Lunch - France

This week Ava’s Around the World Lunch is inspired by the food of France.

The Snacks

We were in a bit of a hurry, so I started by grabbing some popular French snacks – a dark chocolate covered biscuit and a tiny, ultra creamy imported French yogurt called Petit Montenbourg (Ava’s favorite flavor is raspberry, but the little six-pack also comes with flavors like pear, apricot and banana). It’s really special that I can offer Ava the same snacks I enjoyed when I lived in France as a teenager (I was delighted to find both at Whole Foods).

Studying Monet at Philbrook in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Studying Monet at Philbrook in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Sandwich

As for Ava’s sandwich – we did a simple cheese sandwich, though butter and ham would also be very French. A little lettuce adds color and a bit of nutrition – remember romaine lettuce offers much more than iceberg (Romaine is 17% protein and one head contains 4 1/2 times more vitamin A than a large carrot!). I’ve always added greens to Ava’s sandwiches, so it’s never been a struggle to “get” her to eat them. Sometimes it’s just easier to put them on the healthy path from the beginning, rather than try to correct bad habits later.

A Few Tips and Tricks:

  • We use thin breads a lot for Ava – at 5 years old, they’re a lot easier for her to handle. If you’re making lunch for an older child, try using a baguette or a croissant.
  • If you can’t find the tiny French yogurts, you can use regular yogurt – simply look for flavors like pear, peach, raspberry, or apricot. If the yogurt is too big to fit into your lunch container, simply spoon it in. Add some fresh berries on top for a nutritious boost!

 

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

Ava’s Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work.

In this weekly column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!

 

Where in the world are all the vegetarians

Where in the world are all the vegetarians?

Where in the world are all the vegetarians

This post started innocently enough – I was curious where all the vegetarians were around the world. But once I went down the rabbit hole, I was lost for good.

Of the ten countries I was able to analyze, India takes the lead by a long, long shot. 31% vegetarian is amazing! And I wasn’t particularly surprised with the low results of Portugal and Spain (so many meat-heavy dishes there!). I thought Brazil’s would have been similar but it ranked quite high at 8%. Digging ever deeper, I found that the Brazilian city called Fortaleza is 13% vegetarian.

3 things to understand about vegetarian populations:

  • Individual cities within a country will skew more or less vegetarian, depending on the culture
  • The types of food a country loves will skew the results
  • Some people who identify as vegan also identify as vegetarian. Depending on how accurate the survey is, there’s a risk they might have been counted twice.

The huge frustration in my research.

I may have been able to cook food from every African country, but no thanks to the paltry information out there regarding these hidden gems. I ran into the same problem here. There’s remarkably little information available to be found about African vegetarians – every search I did came up blank. (If you have any, please pass it my way and I’ll make an updated infographic!).

Another shortcoming is in the results themselves: various studies often reveal disparaging percentages, depending on the interpretation of the word vegetarian (for more information, read on).

But it seems most can agree… here in the USA, we’re about 13% vegetarian.

World Vegetarian Day - percent of vegetarians in the US

A recipe for World Vegetarian Day

As you may know, I prescribe to Michael Pollan’s addage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” After learning what famous vegetarian Mahatma Gandhi loved to eat, I created a celebration meal in his honor for this World Vegetarian Day (October 1). If you haven’t already checked it out, read on to see what his favorite dishes were and what beautiful soup we decided to try in celebration of World Vegetarian Day!

P.S. The good news is October 2nd is Gandhi’s birthday and the entire month of October is World Vegetarian awareness month, so there’ll be lots of opportunities to try his recipe or one of our hundreds of other vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Gandhi quote for world vegetarian day

 

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

In our house we live by Michael Pollan’s addage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  This week we’re going one step further, invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s strict vegetarian diet in honor of World Vegetarian Day (October 1st). While most people think of Gandhi as a famous pacifist, he also had a lot to say about eating a pant-based diet, led in great part by his compassion and respect for the lives of even the smallest creatures. Not one to mince words, Gandhi wasn’t afraid to puts his beliefs in black and white:

 No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn
Taught by the power that pities me
I learn to pity them

- Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Our daughter Ava has been eating mostly vegetarian for a while now, so she was particularly happy to celebrate World Vegetarian Day with a new-to-us dish.

recipe.Lemon.Rasam.img_6529

What to eat for World Vegetarian Day?

While we have hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes from around the world, I thought it’d be fun to try a dish Gandhi might have enjoyed during his lifetime. There’s quite a bit of information about his diet since he wrote extensively on the subject. According the Gandhi foundation and other sources, he generally avoided milk (except for goat milk later in life), partook in numerous raw meals, and (as a nationalist) had a soft spot for the cooking of his heritage (he was born in a small town called Porbandar in Gujarat, India).

Gandhi smiling at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. (Photographer unknown).

Gandhi smiling at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. (Photographer unknown).

For my research I looked to the Ganapati South Indian Kitchen, located in the UK. Ganapati is one of the few restaurants that specializes in serving up what are thought to be Gandhi’s favorites (along with some creative interpretation to allow for inaccessible ingredients). In fact, they have a special called the Mahatma Thali (a 12-item meal served on a banana leaf).

According to [Gandhi], a model meal for Indians should include goat milk, brown rice, dry cereals, seasonal raw fruits and vegetables, jaggery, pulses and pure ghee (in small portions).

The Mahatma Thali serves up everything from chutneys, pickles, and raw cabbage salads to curry, moong dal, red rice, and lemon rasam (a soup that can be seasoned many ways, including with lemon, as the owners suggest). More information about the restaurant and Gandhi’s favorite food is available in the Times of India, Mahatma on the Menu.

A recipe to clear the sinuses

After studying their menu I was inspired to serve lemon rasam to my family – a pure, brothy soup that’s perfect for the changing seasons and – thanks to the lemon, turmeric, and ginger – a highly restorative meal. Any illness you’re fighting should be tamed after a bowl or two of lemon rasam.

Lemon Rasam topping

Though distinctly seasoned with cumin, coriander and mustard seed, the juice of a whole lemon carries the high notes. To balance the staggering citrus be sure to add plenty of salt and as much chili pepper as you can stand. The spicier the Rasam, the healthier!

Rasam goes beautifully with long grain rice, like basmati. Though we were out of brown basmati and red rice – Gandhi would have preferred these… so if you have them, all the better.

Lemon Rasam

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1/3 cup yellow split peas (toor dal)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium tomato, diced
1-4 hot green chilies, sliced (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
One lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt

Garnish:

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
a couple teaspoons ghee or vegetable oil
cilantro leaves

Method:

Simmer the split peas along with 2 1/2 cups water and the turmeric in a covered pot until tender (30-45 minutes – times will vary depending on the age of the dried peas). Set aside.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Meanwhile, add 1 cup water to a small pot, the diced tomato, the hot chilies, and fresh ginger. Simmer covered until the tomatoes are tender and the broth is fragrant – about 10 minutes.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt. Add the reserved tomato and cooked split peas (and their broth) and remove from heat.

recipe.Lemon.Rasam.img_6461

In a small skillet, toast the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds in a little ghee or vegetable oil. When they pop, pour the mixture over the broth.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Garnish with a generous handful of cilantro leaves and serve with rice.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes

Enjoy with a smile in your heart and love for life!

xxoo

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Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam
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Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.

ethiopia.img_6419

The REAL reason why people put butter in their coffee

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

We just celebrated International Coffee Day on September 29 (though every day might as well be coffee day around here)! In honor of the holiday, I did a little digging into the origins of butter in coffee… a hot trend in the United States. At the end of this post, follow the link to try your own Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

In Kate Bratskeir’s article entitled “Why People are Putting Butter in their Coffee”  a company by the name of Bulletproof is “credited for popularizing the concoction” (meaning butter in coffee). The article goes on to state the health benefits of adding butter to coffee – particularly how it stabilizes the caffeine hit for improved mental clarity and how it helps encourage weight loss.

I’m no scientist. And I don’t particularly want to weigh in on the debate of  whether or not butter can help you lose weight. I would, however, like to back up a moment and explore the idea of butter in coffee and who came up with the concept. I assure you it is not a 21st century coffee entrepreneur (albeit a kindhearted man who clearly cares enough to use good, organic beans and butter from grassfed cows). In fact, if you go to his web site, his inspiration comes somewhat circuitously from yak butter tea in Tibet.

“I learned about the power of butter at 18,000 feet of elevation near Mt. Kailash in Tibet.  I staggered into a guest house from the -10 degree weather and was literally rejuvenated by a creamy cup of yak butter tea.” – Dave Asprey

But when it comes to butter in *coffee*, the people who should be credited  are the Ethiopians.

How to roast your own beans for an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

A little History:

Coffee is thought to have originated in Yemen sometime during the 6th century. But it was shortly after the first coffee “cherries” were discovered in nearby Ethiopia during the 9th century that people began grinding the roasted beans and mixing them with ghee, which is a type of clarified butter. This made it easy to carry around the stimulant for quick caffeine-fixes.

Over time Ethiopians continued to add ghee to their brewed coffee, sometimes with spices or salt. Celebrity chefs like Marcus Samuelson and Andrew Zimmern have covered Ethiopia’s extensive coffee ceremony traditions in their recipes and on television. I had the opportunity to try Ethiopian-style coffee during the four years I spent cooking a meal from every country in the world.

After one taste I can attest: this centuries-old tradition is not going anywhere soon.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Around the world lunch: South America

Ava’s South American Lunch

Around the world lunch: South America

This week Ava’s Around the World Lunch is inspired by the food of South America. I wanted something healthy and my daughter loves fun finger foods – so I put together an easy and nutritious Bolivian Avocado Salad, a sweet and salty Martin Fierro from Uruguay (made with quince paste and queso fresco cheese – both scored at the local Hispanic market), and homemade Apple Empanadas.

The apple empanadas were a direct inspiration from this week’s Around the World with Apples challenge, where I’ve invited you to try something new with apples! And I’ve been making some variation of the avocado salad for her lunches as far back as I can remember… so good.

A Few Tips and Tricks:

  • For little ones try cutting the avocado into cubes and serving the salad loose. Real talk: After taking this picture that’s exactly what I did for Ava – she’s in kindergarten after all!
  • In a hurry? Make the empanadas quick by using pre-made pie crust with our filling recipe! 
  • If you can’t find quince paste you can try guava paste. And if you can’t find either of those where you live I’m sure someone could also make an extra strong jello situation work… but then we’d be veering off into the land of “creative interpretation.”  

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

The idea came about a few weeks ago when I shared a photo of Ava’s French lunch on Instagram; those of you who follow me there and on Facebook immediately requested more details! Now – I’m not going to say that Ava eats a global lunch every day of the week (even I have my limits) but about once a week we make an Around the World Lunch happen.