Cook a “5 senses” Valentine’s Day Dinner with these world-wise tips

A older couple in love

While I love my husband dearly, there are times that our love feels so comfortable I'm at risk for taking him for granted. But then I smell some garlic frying in oil, maybe some tomato sauce bubbling on the stovetop, and I know he's making me pasta for dinner. It's nothing complicated - a simple gesture, really - but I know in that moment he loves me. Food, prepared with care, is the meaningful gesture that can fix  just about everything, especially an in-the-rut relationship. To me, … [Read more...]

I have a mother

Photo by

In celebration of "Tell the Truth Day", I want to tell you about something that happened to me a few minutes ago. I was looking at a photo of a little girl sleeping in the outline she drew of her "mother," tears streaming down my cheeks. Maybe you saw it, maybe you didn't. For those whose hearts were also broken today by the photo, thinking this small child was an orphan, please read this statement by the photographer Bahareh Bisheh : "This little girl is my cousin and she actually fell … [Read more...]

A Radical Notion: Extreme Peace

Betsy Graves Reyneau, 1888-1964, Artist

Thanks to this blog many well-meaning, genuinely curious people ask me: "Do you really think peace is possible?" They say "really" with those drawn out vowels that mean they think I'm either a) ignorant or b) naive. When I sit and think about it, I realize they're right, on both counts. I am ignorant. When I was in eighth grade, my class went on a trip to Greece. One night while we were there, an explosion shook the very foundation of our hotel. In the midst of the chaos, the rumor-mill … [Read more...]

5 Secrets to Springtime in January

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You know that old saying, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere"? Well the same can be said of springtime. Even while ice and and snow pummel the northern hemisphere and hot days sizzle in the southern, there are plenty of people celebrating springtime in India and other South Asian countries... Yes, in January. After the wild hair seventy degree day we had a couple of days ago, Ava and I were ready to say goodbye to winter, too. So how do we get there? This January 14 marks Makar Sankranti, the … [Read more...]

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: 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...]

3 Quick Recipes for Zimbabwean Pumpkin & Squash

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Everywhere I go, I see the rust, orange, and gold of pumpkins and squashes. Some smile from my neighbors' front stoops. Some have been tagged for this year's Thanksgiving pie or pumpkin pancakes (Hello, Russia!). Even Pinterest looks like a digital pumpkin patch of late. All this for good reason. These beautiful gourds are autumn. They represent breathless hikes to pick out the biggest, the gnarliest, the cutest in the bunch. But for all that, I can only look at so many pumpkin recipes … [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...]