3 Contest Winners & Oh my gosh, the things I’ve been doing…

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For the last two months I've been writing (and rewriting) my memoir. I've been going into work early. Resuming work after Ava's bedtime. And I loved it. I especilly loved the letters L,M, and N. I loved the solitude of deep thought that comes with getting so buried in how to describe something that I cannot hear anything around me. I loved going through the manuscript and marking things "BORING," and then coming back to those passages and trying to think of better commentary, … [Read more...]

A Pilgrimmage to Love Your World

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  Nearly four years ago, when I set out to cook a meal for every country in the world, I didn't know I was embarking on a pilgrimage. I just had a bout of wanderlust. A picky husband. A baby I wanted to raise with an appreciation for the world's inherent beauty. I wanted her to love the world (and I wanted her world to love her!).   I cooked, cooked, cooked. I took thousands upon thousands of photos. My husband, Keith, filmed Ava, week  after week. I was … [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...]

Recipe: Mealie Bread with Blackened Chilies

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If you ask my husband, there's always room for cornbread. And he'll eat twice as much cornbread if green chilies dot through the crumb. But what would he think if the cornbread came from half a world away? If it came from Zambia? As a former "Mr Picky" he says: Mealie Bread is a good way to bridge the gap for picky eaters to try something from another culture." The cornbread in Zambia is much like the cornbread in the USA - except it is made with fresh corn kernels instead of cornmeal. This … [Read more...]

Recipe: Almond Stuffed Date Balls

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When I made the amazing Pistachio Date Balls for Iraq, I thought I'd seen the easiest recipe in the world.  It only uses two ingredients (third if you feel like getting extra fancy), and there's no cooking. Well, today's date balls are even easier: they don't require a food processor. Boom! Even as simple as they are, the flavor is amazing - as though from a much more complex recipe. There's a sweetness from the dates that transports me straight to Yemen... I mean, forget it. Let's … [Read more...]

Recipe: Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce | Nước mắm pha

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Nước mắm pha is the quintessential Vietnamese dipping sauce, used on spring rolls, rice noodles, salads, and more. It's sweet, salty, and heavily spiced. A basic recipe includes freshly squeeze lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and water. The real flavor comes from garlic and fresh red chilies. I learned on Food Safari (a great food/travel show - catch it if you can!) that if the cook can get the garlic and chili pieces to float in the nước mắm pha, they will get … [Read more...]

Recipe: Venezuelan Fruit Punch | Tizana

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Crack open just about any Venezuelan fridge and you just might find a pitcher of tizana. Tizana is as much a drink as it is a fruit salad. The fruity concoction keeps for nearly a week, which makes it perfect for impromptu scooping. Though perhaps not traditional, I'm guilty of digging into the pitcher at breakfast time, dessert time, and, of course, at midnight. I can see how having tizana in the fridge would be a great way to get my daily allotment of fruit, especially when in a … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce

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When I ask my mother how I'm related to Cousin Alfred, the answer usually goes: "Well..." and then there's a  contemplative silence. I can see her running through all our different relations, high up on the family tree, doing mental gymnastics to connect one branch to another. Eventually, she comes out with "I think he's my mothers, mother's cousin's"... and then, either she trails off, or my attention span wanes because, really, all that matters is that he is family, one way or … [Read more...]