All posts filed under: Monday Meal Review

zimbabwe.food.recipe.img_2913

Monday Meal Review: Zimbabwe

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. I just… can’t. It symbolizes how much happens in four years. How much changes. I had the strangest sensation as I was taking my last bite of candy cake for Zimbabwe. Every time I blinked my eyes, I’d open them expecting to find my seven month baby nestled in my arms. All over again. That’s probably not what Ava meant when she suggested we start over. But every time I opened my eyes… there Ava was…  all grown up, four and a half years old, talking about staying “hwydrated.” I kept blinking. I kept hoping for a moment of …

default-image

Monday Meal Review: Zambia

Between Zambia and Zimbabwe lies the stunning chasm of mist and water called Victoria Falls. The water flows through both countries like some stealthy border walker, never fixed to one particular country. Never tied down. In this poetic space, where rapids, danger, and sparkling, spraying joy all tumble together, I see meaning for our own little cooking adventure. I’m on one side of the end, metaphorically sitting in Zambia, looking at Zimbabwe. Wondering what comes next. I’m so close to reaching my goal of eating every country in the world. So. Close. And yet, the “end” feels so, so, so far away. Almost unattainable. By this, I don’t really mean the cooking . Cooking one more country will be easy. I know how to research recipes. I know how to cook them. Sure, I make mistakes from time to time, but after four years, the process feels like breathing. No. It’s something else that feels far away, that feels unattainable. Perhaps it’s that I don’t know how to reach a goal of this magnitude. Not …

yemen.food.recipe.img_3129

Monday Meal Review: Yemen

“Oh yeah…” Keith says, chewing thoughtfully. “These are good!” I look at him a moment, scanning his eyes, wondering if he is being truthful. Then I look down at the plate to check if he’d eaten the right thing. Sesame coated, almond stuffed dates. Yup. Could he really think the Stuffed Date Balls are good? To be fair, he had no idea what they were when he ate them, except I did warn him that the crunchy thing inside was an almond. Still, these date balls seem more challenging to me than sushi, more challenging that the raw beef soup for Laos, more challenging than the frankincense ice cream. More challenging for me, at least. We all have our difficulties when it comes to certain textures and flavors. And dates have always been mine. Could it be that we project our fears onto our friends and families, expecting them to react the same way we will? If so, no one has a chance. The favorites have been decided before anyone takes a bite. The funny thing? …

vietnam.food.recipe.img_2995

Monday Meal Review: Vietnam

  “The husband eats hamburger; the wife eats spring roll” “Ong an cha ba an nem” Vietnamese Proverb Even though Keith loves hamburger as much as he always has, and I love salad just as much, if not more…  I’m of the mind that there is no reason to eat different food at mealtimes, as long as everyone can assemble their own plate. This week, I put that theory to the test. The spring roll recipe we tried contains both meat and a garden’s worth of vegetables. Perfect for all appetites. There was just one problem: any time we’ve dined at a Vietnamese restaurant, Ava has turned up her nose at the Spring Rolls. I never thought I’d be able to get her to try them. Which is exactly why I wanted to make them for this week’s Global Table. Given our past experience with sushi, wherein Ava only had to fill and wrap one roll to become a forever fan of the Japanese food, I thought it was worth a shot at having her make …

family

Monday Meal Review: Venezuela

Lately, I have this crazy energy. I thought it was because I’m almost done with this four-year challenge. Or because we just ate the world in one day, between our event in Tulsa and all of you who cooked along on October 12th! Or because I just saw my family. They always energize me! Then, I thought, perhaps it is because I am exactly two weeks away from my major book deadline. After this date, some changes can be made, but the book baby is largely out of my hands. Or maybe it’s simpler than all this. Maybe I’ve been drinking too many shots of espresso. Am I the only one who does that in busy times? Surely not. The thing about crazy energy, it wakes me up too early. All the things I have to do rush through my brain space, an unwelcome stampede. But even as I squeeze my eyes shut, I can’t make it stop. Generally, it’s about the book. My mind races with all the things I need to fix, edit, add. …

vatican.city.food.recipe.img_2594

Monday Meal Review: Vatican City

Are there recipes of loved ones long since gone that you continue to make? I asked this question on our Facebook page the other day, and several of you shared touching comments about your family recipes . Valerie keeps her family recipes in a box. Whenever she sees the handwriting of her loved ones who’ve since passed, she says it feels like a “tap on the shoulder.” But, for some of you, it goes beyond the recipes. Theresa says she still uses her husband’s grandmother’s canning supplies. How wonderful it must be to eat jellies out of the same jars grandma did! This week, when we made Cousin Alfred’s meat sauce for the Vatican City, I felt like I could taste the past. Like I was closer to him and those memories of standing in his kitchen, watching him cook. I also felt like I could taste my heritage, even though I’ve never been to Italy, let alone Vatican City. And we were fortunate enough to share the meal with our neighbors. Our neighbors of Scottish and German …

vanuatu.food.recipe.img_2391

Monday Meal Review: Vanuatu

Last week someone asked me if I was going to cook with rocks because that’s how they cook in Vanuatu. It was a fair question and one that, about two years ago, would have gotten me all sweaty and stressed out. I would have asked myself if I was treating the people of Vanuatu fairly by not  digging a pit in my back yard, scavenging large rocks from local hiking trails, then cooking the meal beneath our Oklahoma red dirt. But now, three years and seven months into this Adventure, my answer comes without any regret. No. Over the last years, this blog has helped me figure out who I am and what I am capable of. Right now, I have at my disposition a standard stove/oven combo.  When the kitchen gets too hot, I have an old gas grill in the back yard. Once in a while we use my chimnea to roast marshmallows. In Vanuatu, you work with what you have.  You celebrate what you have. And that’s no different here, in my little corner of middle …

uzbekistan.food.recipe.img_2109

Monday Meal Review: Uzbekistan

Stirring, stirring, stirring. Uzbekistan requires no stirring. Just a layering of this vegetable, then that… a stuffed quince and few chopped nuts. But no stirring. Definitely nothing of the sort. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to just wait? To wait and do nothing? To wait and trust that everything will come out okay, no burning, no overcooking, no drying out? How hard it is to not stir the pot? With just three weeks until our big event at Philbrook and two months until the end of our Global Table Adventure, this message feels particularly apropos. I feel like there should be something I should be doing. But sometimes we just need to wait, and savor the results when the time comes. THIS WEEK’s FOOD Harvest Stew | Dimlama  [Recipe] What I loved most about this dish: The key to dimlama is browning the onion and meat, so it’s no coincidence that the resulting brown gravy is also my favorite part of the stew. The hint of cumin and cilantro gives the dish the characteristic Uzbek edge, making it …

family

Monday Meal Review: Uruguay

Bzzzz, bzzzz, bzzzz. If the noise meant honey was on the way, that’d be one thing. But that’s not the case this week. Our annual Crow/Martin family vacation to Beaver’s Bend wouldn’t be complete without bees. And by bees, I mean hundreds upon hundreds of bees. It’s really hard to tell in the video, but as soon as I set out our spread from Uruguay, we were as good as swarmed. Let’s just say, we could have never gathered for this photo if food was anywhere nearby: After ten minutes? The leftover Martin Fierro treats were covered with the yellow and black buzzers. One was swimming in the salsa. Another stung my husband and Grandma Martin, though the children, thankfully, were left unharmed. Before the bees could claim any more victims, we retreated into our cabin. I take the over-enthusiastic bees as a happy omen. You see, in Uruguay, the bees do a lot better than North American ones. They aren’t dying off in mysterious numbers. They live long and prosper. Maybe the secret is the …

united.states.of.america.img_1766

Monday Meal Review: United States of America

Friends, we are here. After three and a half years, we’ve come to the first ending. With the United States of America, North America is officially done. The continent is “cooked,” as it were. I can’t help but notice the irony: the first country to begin the end of our Global Table Adventure is my own country. Perhaps this is a bit of alphabetical nonsense, and nothing more. But I like to find meaning in my life. I choose to dig deeper. I see it as a two-part message. First, we need to understand our home before we can understand anything beyond it. Second, the world can help us understand our home better than anything else. There are lessons out there that can enlighten us. That can clarify our own situations. Only once we love and appreciate our own home, can we fly from the nest and explore the world with love. We celebrated in style: this week we hosted an All-American potluck with our friends. I’ve never done such a thing. With my eyes so …

united.kingdom.food.recipe.img_1500

Monday Meal Review: United Kingdom

Other than the perennial baseball cap, there’s not a lot of people wearing hats anymore.  I don’t usually give the matter much thought, but this week, as we had our royal British Tea Party, I found myself wondering why not? Why don’t we wear fancy, fussy, feathery hats? Even at the beach, it’s a rare  to find women sporting practical, wide-brimmed, shade-bearing hats. Where has the fuss and circumstance gone? Because, with it, I think we also lost some fun. Is it that we’re too afraid of standing out? Have we run out of room in our closets? I read somewhere that men stopped wearing them because JFK didn’t wear one to his inauguration (or much at all, really). UPDATE: Snopes says this is not true. I haven’t heard any excuses for us women. Do you ever wear hats? Why or why not? THIS WEEK’s FOOD: Coronation Chicken Salad [Recipe] What I loved most about this dish: EVERYTHING! Cooking down the onion, toasting the spices, the sweet chutney, and bits of diced apricot…it really is a blast of flavor. I’ll definitely be …

default-image

Monday Meal Review: United Arab Emirates

The batter hits the pan. Immediately, the sticky scent of dates hits the air. A few minutes later, I am alone with a stack of sweet, lacy, whole wheat muhalla. They look like crepes, but taste like sweet, yeasty bread. How on earth can I not eat them all up? Talk about a challenge. But my family is elsewhere; Ava at her little school program and my husband at work. So I eat just a corner of one. Then another. Soon an entire muhalla is gone. Then another. In the minutes that follow, I begin to wonder what the side effects of eating an entire batch of date crepes will be. Then I decide, it’s best not to think about it. A few days later, Keith makes a batch of muhalla. We’re supposed to eat together as a family, but we can’t seem to get it together. Everything’s a hurry, and we end up eating out. The batter sits in the fridge for three days, until it ferments so much, the only thing to do …