Recipe: Watermelon Jam

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Imagine living in a place that has a National Holiday called "Melon Day."  You could be surrounded by more than 400 kinds of melon, including some 50 varieties of watermelon.* The cool, sweet flesh would fill your belly and spirit. Eating it would definitely make you smile. And spreading it on bread? Even better. If any of this appeals to you, you might want to consider moving to Turkmenistan. These lovely people have celebrated Melon Day since 1994, and they don't … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tunisian Grilled Salad with Tuna | Salata Mishwiyya

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Usually, the food we grill stays whole. We put it on a bun, or we eat it with our hands. But today's Tunisian Grilled Salad takes a different approach. The charred vegetables - peppers, onion, tomatoes - are pulsed together into a chunky mixture, then served with flaked tuna, and hard boiled egg. This salad has body. Much of the intensity comes off the grill,  from the raw garlic, hot chili peppers, and the caraway seeds, all of which can be tempered to taste. Please, please, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Sweet Potatoes in Coconut Caramel Sauce

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I love necklaces. The bright stones add a splash of color and fun to my generally plain-Jane outfits. Seeing as I don't general have time to put on makeup, necklaces are the one and only way to brighten up my look. To make it look like I tried. Well, today, we're getting a taste of how the islanders in Tonga dress up dinner. In short? Sweet potatoes meet coconut caramel sauce - a vivid display of orange, white, and golden brown. Sweet potatoes and coconut grow easily in the Pacific, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tomato Cornmeal Cakes | Djenkoume

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Even grownups need to build sandcastles from time to time. The urge comes from deep within our hearts - some far away love for fantasy, perhaps formed in childhood. Today, we're listening to our inner child; we're making edible sandcastles... from Togo. At least, that's what I'm calling them. If you want to be a serious adult, you can call them cornmeal cakes. In Togo, corn is everything, ever. Sometimes it is served as porridge. And sometimes it's served as Djenkoume, a.k.a. cornmeal … [Read more...]

Recipe: Green Papaya Salad | Som Tam

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Whomp. Womp. Womp. Everything worth doing takes a little bit of work. And so it is with Som Tam. The mortar and pestle crushes the garlic, mashes a Thai bird chili peppers,  and wooshes the fish sauce and lime juice into the green beans and papaya. I put the bowl on the table, dotted red with tomatoes. Ava thinks the papaya is spaghetti. The pale green shreds curl around her fork. "It's something like that..." I say, hoping she believes me. She takes a bite, then another. Soon … [Read more...]

Recipe: Mashed Potatoes with Veggies | Irio

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  I'm a little like mashed potatoes; I'm stable and sure, but I avoid wearing colorful makeup. The last time I wore blue eye liner was the nineties, and it was already a decade too late. I'm destined to recede behind more vibrant individuals - individuals of style. But imagine what good things could come from a splash of color? The jury is out with me, but consider the mashed potato. Must she remain the unadorned, pale wallflower in a buffet of color? Tanzania teaches that this … [Read more...]

Recipe: Lamb Plov with Dried Apricots & Raisins

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I'm an awkward girl; I'm not up on fashion trends, my slang is two decades passe, and I'd rather drink wine at home than be surrounded by 100 people I don't know. Dinner parties can really put me to the test, especially when I'm the hostess. I want everyone to have a good time, but I'm never entirely sure how to bring everyone together. That's where Tajikistan can help. You know that moment, right as everyone sits down to eat? I refer to it as the calm before the storm. It's a little … [Read more...]

Recipe: Taiwanese Shaved Ice Treat | Bào Bīng

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I don't use curtains in my bedroom; I don't need them - someone would have to climb over our 8 foot fences and face our "attack cat," Malky  in order to see inside my bedroom... and we all know that would pretty much ruin any possibility for us to be friends.  Instead, I use half shutters, which allow me to see the moon at night and the birds during the day. It's my favorite space in my house. So peaceful. Anyway, the other morning I cracked open my eyes to discover the entire room was … [Read more...]