All posts filed under: Monday Meal Review

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Monday Meal Review: Solomon Islands

Ava’s been saying something disturbing lately. If a toy breaks, she says “let’s buy a new one.” If fruit sits too long in the basket and gets mushy, she says “let’s go to the grocery store.” She says these things, even with a father who shows her how to build and repair her toys in the garage … Even with a mother who teaches her how to make apple pies with bruised apples. Maybe she says it less than some children, but I’m still concerned, and I’m at a loss with how to handle it. Our week cooking the Solomon Islands brought the issue into clear relief. In the Solomon Islands, food is incredibly difficult to grow. There’s mountains. Monsoons.  On the remote islands, locals might have to row to another island just to get to the grocery store. You get the drift. Food is not to be wasted. Families must make due with what they have. This includes eating green papaya and grated cassava, wrapped up in banana leaves, some of the rare indigenous foods. So, …

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Monday Meal Review: Slovenia

“What you build easily will fall quickly” – Slovenian Proverb I rarely take the time to bake any more. Life keeps getting in the way. Meetings, obligations – the stuff of adulthood. This week, thanks to Slovenia, I had the opportunity to use my hands to shape, braid, and decorate an ornate loaf of Slovenian Heart Bread. As I worked, I was surprised to find myself overcome with relief. Working flour, water, egg, sugar, and butter together into a smooth ball felt like an old friend, come home again. When I try to pinpoint this comfort, I come to the conclusion that baking feels exactly like a vacation. But from what?  What could baking do to “take me away” … and, perhaps more importantly, what was it pushing me towards? For starters, baking takes me away from the perpetual click-click-click of the keyboard and mouse. So often I find myself lost on Facebook and Pinterest happenings, or who is doing what in some other life that seems oh so much more interesting than my own. But …

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Monday Meal Review: Slovakia

“Everything bad is good for something.” – Slovak Proverb Have you ever done something, only to find it didn’t work out as you’d planned… but somehow it worked out even better? Last week I casually substituted a video for my written meal review. I thought it’d be a fun change of pace- a more visceral experience for you. Almost immediately, the comments filled with a resounding “no,” – an outcry that was astonishing both in it’s passion as in it’s consistency. Almost every single person felt the same way, which is remarkable in itself. And the fact that every comment was worded thoughtfully, kindly, and compassionately? So awesome. As I read through the comments, I was moved by your devotion to the blog and especially to the written word, referred to as a ‘dying art’ by some. I thought about your responses while I cooked this week’s comforting menu – soup, bacon bread, and blueberry bubbly cake. Maybe it was a subconscious move on my part – after last week, a big bowl of coziness was just the …

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Monday Meal Review: Singapore

Hi, friends! Our weekly review is now  offered to you on video. I’m realizing that telling you the story of what we experienced is far more powerful with video; if photos are worth a thousand words, video must be worth a million. [dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]This week’s lesson: Singapore teaches us how condiments can spice up an ordinary dinner, Global Table style, even for the pickiest among us.[/dropshadowbox] As always, I’d love your thoughts: how do you use condiments (local or global) to give your meals a boost? UPDATE:  I had no idea this new format would stir such a strong response. Please know, I’m hearing you all… thanks for weighing in. It seems the general thought that the new video format is good, but the words need to stay? My intention was to move some of the text into the actual recipes, to make them stronger… but if you prefer it separated out, I’d love to know why. Thanks for your input… you’re the reason this blog exists (as …

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Monday Meal Review: Sierra Leone

Hi Friends! This week we’re trying something new with our weekly video, combining Ava’s Corner with a brief review from me. I’m a little camera shy, so I thought I’d do something a little silly, like sit in a green chair, in my kitchen. Just because. Special thanks to my dear husband, Keith (a.k.a. Mr. Picky), for editing our video, as always. I’d love to hear what you think of this new format in the comments. Enjoy: xo Sasha & family THE FOOD Okra & Eggplant Stew [Recipe] What I liked most about this dish: While the slick, slippery okra tested me, Mr. Picky and Ava weren’t even phased. In fact, they loved it (they didn’t even know it was in there, actually), which probably had as much to do with the fact that I didn’t make a big fuss (or any fuss, really) about the dish. I simply put it on the table, matter-of-factly. For Ava, the trick was to give her a piece of the meat ahead of time to nibble, with just a …

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Monday Meal Review: Seychelles

I was an hour into researching the food of Seychelles when it hit me – hadn’t there been someone in my writer’s group who went to these amazing islands a year or so back? Images of suggestive two-lobed coconuts and pirate stories popped into my brain. Yep. That’s right. Barry had been there. Barry who lives the life of a wandering bachelor, who jets off at the drop of a hat to see this place or that, and who loves to tell the tales almost as much as going. Barry who might be in the Pacific islands next week, but isn’t quite sure if he feels like going yet. Barry, Barry, Barry. One email later, and our dinner date was confirmed; he’d be happy to join the family for a bite of the Seychelles. A little stovetop travel to bring his tastebuds back to that beautiful place. When he walked in he sported a thick, white beard and, thanks to the twinkle in his eye and the gifts he bore, it felt a lot more like …

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Monday Meal Review: Serbia

Oh, goodness. Where to start? As you may already know, tremendous, life-changing things are in the works with National Geographic. I don’t have all the details yet, but what I do know I shared our Facebook page, so go take a peek. Friends, this is pure insanity. All I can say, is that it’s amazing where a little imagination – a little stovetop travel – can take us. Rest assured, when I know more, I’ll be writing it up here on the blog. Until then, we’ll have to settle ourselves with the requisite happy dance and a healthy dose of humble gratitude. What else can we do when National Geographic is on the line? Ironically, everything else this week was pure chaos. All three of us were ill (in day-long, misery-laden shifts, I might add), my cooking was in shambles – I had to remake the musaka twice (the first time Ava gobbled it up eagerly, the second time was post illness and, well, the results are in the video), worse yet, I made the cake three times and at no …

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Monday Meal Review: Senegal

“Little by little one catches the monkey in the jungle.” – Senegalese Proverb* A reader recently asked me what my New Year’s Resolutions were. I’m almost loathe to admit that I spent New Year’s Eve fast asleep, head pressed firmly into my dreams, but the reality of the matter is that the only place I wanted to be at midnight was fast asleep in my cozy nest of blankets. Our bedroom holds steady at 64 degrees, guaranteeing that the tip of my nose stays cold all through the night, which makes snuggling all the better. Brrr. To answer the question, though, I’ll say that, while I’ve given up resolutions in the traditional sense, I’ve taken on year-long challenges instead.  It sounds the same, but it’s not. These aren’t broad, sweeping resolutions like “lose weight” or “have more fun.” These are small, measurable, and manageable challenges.  Little by little, they add up. Plus we start them around Thanksgiving which, I suppose, makes them Gratitude Goals, not New Year’s Resolutions. Last year, for example, we vowed to only …

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Monday Meal Review: Saudi Arabia

“If I am a prince and you are a prince, then who will lead the donkeys?” – Saudi Proverb We sat in the middle of the tight, woolen rug, cross legged, our toes bumping the edge of the soft cotton table cloth. Without a table to drape upon, the cloth looked like a slack sail, hungry for the wind. Sunlight streamed through the windows, massaging our backs. It felt good. If I shut my eyes, the windy, freezing day that clattered against our window almost disappeared. In fact, if it weren’t for the glittering Christmas tree at our side, there’d be no sign this was winter. The scent of black cardamom and fennel in our Saudi pizza dough made the room smell sweet and woodsy, while the ground lamb and green onion topping felt like an early spring. My friend Becky and her mom joined us for lunch. I hadn’t seen Becky in more than a year and I hiccuped a tiny laugh, despite myself, when I opened the door to find the entire door frame full of …

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Monday Meal Review: São Tomé and Príncipe

Our children grow up frittata fast. They start out little bitty eggs, get whipped up into a froth (by our mad parenting skills, no doubt), and then poured into a pan… ready for the oven (a.k.a. the world). We turn around for ten minutes, and when our gaze next falls upon them, they are a … frittata… nothing like the little round egg we started out with. Our hearts break a little (partly because we’re proud of how far they’ve come, and partly because we’ll always miss the baby they once were). This week I turned around for ten minutes and my daughter was no longer a toddler. She was a full-fledged little girl. For the last year Ava’s been sleeping in a crib with several slats hacked out. We called it her toddler bed (considering the drop-side crib is no longer safe nor salable) , but we all know it’s just her old crib, hacked up. Well, this creative solution is no more: this week we finally moved Ava to a big girl bed, complete …

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Monday Meal Review: San Marino

Neighbors. I’d already planned on talking about neighbors last week, but when the grief of Newtown, Connecticut struck, I realized how much more urgently this message needs to be said. Abe Lincoln called the people of San Marino his “Great and Good Friends,” despite being separated by an entire continent. There was such tenderness in his words, but this particular weekend they struck me hard. Why? Because so few of us know anything about the people who live in our very neighborhoods, let alone an ocean away. Did you know, neighbor Sandeep Kapur, who lived two doors down from the killer (who I shall not name out of respect for the grieving), stated that he had never met the family, despite the fact that he’d lived there for three years? Three years, without so much as a hello. Unfortunately, this is not unusual. Listen, friends: my only platform is love. Love, love, love. Always more love. Do you know who lives near you? Are situations like these keeping you from finding out? Listen. We can’t …

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Monday Meal Review: Samoa

There’s a Samoan proverb which reads “Ua iloa i vaʻa lelea,” or we are one family.  I love this proverb. I spent most of my topsy turvy childhood figuring out what love means. What family means. And then, one day, those grace-filled words dawned on me … We are one family. The Samoans knew it all along. Blood bonds and geographic bonds are just the wonderful beginning. We can find love whenever and wherever we open our hearts. We are all one family. Sometimes it’s a bit messy. Sometimes it’s not how we pictured it. Sometimes we disagree and sometimes we cry. Sometimes we need a break. But sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes we laugh and see eye to eye. Sometimes we can’t get enough of each other’s smiles. We are one family. How my life changed when I began to look at the world through this lens. Sure, I still mess up (all the time, actually… and I’m sorry for that), but reminding myself of these words helps me to slow down and “think kinder,” with more love, …