Yes, I’ll sing to an apple tree

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The question is not whether I'd sing to an apple tree, but rather where I can find an apple tree to sing to. My Oklahoman neighborhood just doesn't deliver the crimson fruit. Regardless, I will tipple this wassail with a cheer (wassail literally means "wes hail", or good cheer)- after all in 2014 I'm learning about celebrations around the world, a suitable follow-up to completing our first adventure: eating one meal for every country in the world. January is all about … [Read more...]

Recipe: How to throw a Central Asian Tea Party

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  The best kind of party is a tea party. Even better? A themed tea party. This week we're exploring the Central Asian Tea Party. As I read through many descriptions of teas in Turkmenistan (this week's Global Table) and her neighboring countries, I realized there are just FIVE basic things you need for a Central Asian Tea Party. Anything else is icing on the proverbial cake. 1.  Green or Black Tea.  In Central Asia, people drink two main kinds of tea, green or black. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Sudanese Cinnamon Tea

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Under the pulsing noonday sun, Tea Ladies line the streets of Sudan. They soak up what little shade they can find. Water simmers over charcoal stoves. They swirl a mishmash of ingredients through the steam, into the pot. You can pick your combination. Will it be mint? Or what about ginger? The most popular option for many patrons is cinnamon tea, a blend of black tea steeped with cinnamon sticks. Many patrons like to hold a sugar cube between the teeth while drinking to sweeten the … [Read more...]

Recipe: South African Amarula Coffee

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There's nothing like a drunk elephant to get my attention. Whoa, whoa, whoa. It' s a little early for that kind of talk. Let me back up a moment. Amarula Coffee is a South African favorite - a breezy concoction that includes your favorite coffee, some brown sugar (the sweetener of choice in South Africa), a shot or two of Amarula, and whipped cream. It's very much like an Irish Coffee. Why? The Amarula. You can find this creamy concoction at most liquor stores in the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cocoa Tea

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When I told Ava that the fine people of Saint Lucia like to wake up in the morning and drink Cocoa Tea, she squinted her eyes, titled her head, and said "what mama?" "It's like hot cocoa," I smiled, "but richer, and seasoned with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg." Her eyes instantly popped open in recognition and the corners of her lips curled impishly. I showed her my mound of chocolate chips and added that in Saint Lucia they use cocoa sticks and balls to make their Cocoa Tea, but we'd … [Read more...]

Recipe: Russian Tea

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If you want to try something uniquely Russian (at least, I'd never heard of it until this week), try a cup of nice, black tea with a spoonful of fruit jam stirred in. Tea is the national drink of Russia, while the jam is a happy bonus. If you're serving to more than one, be sure to brew the tea extra strong. According to Wikipedia: A notable feature of Russian tea culture is the two-step brewing process. Firstly, tea concentrate (Russian: заварка) is prepared: a quantity of dry tea … [Read more...]

Recipe: Pakistani Coffee with Cinnamon & Cardamom

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I'm not a sadist by any means, but I will take any chance I can get to make my sweet Mr Picky drink coffee. For years now, he has claimed to hate the stuff. I maintain that coffee simmered gently with milk and spices is not the same as the sludge served at the local gas station. I've tried making him Nauru's "Recycled" Iced Coffee (no luck), Arabian Cardamom Coffee (no luck), and even an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, complete with popcorn (he exhibited mild curiosity but only ate the popcorn). … [Read more...]

Recipe: North African Sage n’ Green Tea

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There are a few ways to keep cool in hot weather. In the west, we wear shorts, drink cold drinks, and blast the A/C. In Niger, they use a completely different set of tricks. The polar opposite, in fact. For starers, they cover up. Believe it or not, wearing long layers made of lightweight cotton keeps the sun's hot rays off your skin. The flowing movement of the fabric acts like natural air conditioning. The elephants accomplish the same thing by dusting themselves with dirt. Not quite … [Read more...]