How to throw an Egyptian themed birthday party

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Walk the aisles of any party store and the selections are the same: overpriced plastic renditions of the latest Disney craze. But what would happen if I helped my child see there's more to the world than someone else's fairy tale? What interests your child? Start there. Ava's Egyptian-themed birthday party came about in a round-about way... but it's always been about what she loves. About six months before her 5th birthday, I noticed she would often ask to read a book on gemstones that her … [Read more...]

If your part of the world was a burger, this would be it. (Part 2)

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Photos: Moroccan girls by M. Osmenda, Bhutanese girl by C. Michel, & children in Ghana by K. McCormick. The heart of African cooking... I'm so excited about today... because today  we're diving into the heart of African cooking. I'll be sharing four burger creations inspired by four distinct regions of Africa. It's not all the same... Next time someone tells you all African food tastes the same (or that they know nothing about African cooking), send them here. I know … [Read more...]

Celebrate Name Yourself Day with Nigerian Fried Rice

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This Shall Not Die In Yoruba culture, in southwestern Nigeria and Southern Benin, the naming of babies is of the utmost importance - one that the Yoruba people believe will help determine their child's future - their fate. That's how a baby might come to be named Kokumo, or "This Shall Not Die." I'll be honest, the first time I imagined a baby with the word "die" in their name, I got the chills. But Kokuma is an optimistic, prayerful name. A wish for their child's well-being - not some … [Read more...]

Plan a “Kuku” picnic with tips & recipes from the Persian holiday Nowruz

Newroz celebration in Istanbul. Photo by Bertil Videt.

The first picnic of the year is a thing of beauty: tender daffodils and hyacinths poking through last season's dusty, yellowed grass. Herbs getting bushy and fragrant. The air is cool, but the sun is warm. If you're looking for an excuse to get outside and celebrate, you're in luck: the Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, is the time to do it. But before you scope out a sunny patch of grass, there are a few things you should know. Why Nowruz? Sure, you could just plunk down a blanket and … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Zimbabwe

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httpv://youtu.be/k08UD-r2IPY The marathon is complete. We did it. We ate every country in the world. (Breathe in, breathe out) The first thing Ava said about completing our challenge? "Can we start cooking the world all over again?" And, later: "When are we going to start another Global Table Adventure, mama?" This child was barely seven months old when we started. Here she is with Afghanistan... (sigh) I can't look at this photo without tears coming to my eyes. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Zimbabwe Candy Cake | Chikenduza

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Candy. Cake. From Zimbabwe. Given the name... and the fact that we needed a celebration recipe (this being the last recipe of our 'official' adventure to eat a dish from every country in the world)... well, I had to make it. That's not to say there weren't other choices for celebration food. I could have made sweet potato cake (spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg) or sliced mango with custard. But I was sold when I saw the shiny pink glaze on the mound of cakey bread. I would have … [Read more...]

3 Quick Recipes for Zimbabwean Pumpkin & Squash

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Everywhere I go, I see the rust, orange, and gold of pumpkins and squashes. Some smile from my neighbors' front stoops. Some have been tagged for this year's Thanksgiving pie or pumpkin pancakes (Hello, Russia!). Even Pinterest looks like a digital pumpkin patch of late. All this for good reason. These beautiful gourds are autumn. They represent breathless hikes to pick out the biggest, the gnarliest, the cutest in the bunch. But for all that, I can only look at so many pumpkin recipes … [Read more...]

Menu: Zimbabwe

Witch doctor of the Shona people close to Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe. Photo by Hans Hillewaert.

I don't think I've ever done this. I've always told you the menu. Every Wednesday for 195 weeks, my choices have been in this space, recorded in black and white. But today... I'm just not ready to tell you what I'm making. Perhaps it's panic. What if I make the wrong choice this week? Or perhaps it's denial. What if I'm not ready for it to be over? I can tell you this much: there will be pumpkins and squashes. There will be peanuts and peanut butter. And there will be, I assure you, some … [Read more...]