Posted in cross-cultural

The Power of an Image #4

McDonalds_3012808bRecently, the Russian government closed several branches of McDonald’s in Moscow, allegedly on health grounds.  I’m sure it’s all part of a larger political game. But that’s not the point.

Seeing these pictures reminded me of the spring of 1995.  A bunch of us had just spent 7 months or so in different parts of the former Soviet Union and were gathering in Moscow for a conference.

McDonald’s was the place we all drifted to.  Amazing how a place I don’t even like can feel so much like home!  When for months, nothing feels normal, you lower the bar, I guess.

I distincly remember also going to some pasta restaurant.  None of us cared about the pasta.  In the least.  You see, aside from cabbage (a lot of that!), carrots and apples, we hadn’t seen any fresh vegetables, let alone salad, for many. long. months.

And this place had a salad bar.  A SALAD BAR!  We were like children on Christmas morning!

So, this might be a current news story.  For me, it opens a whole box full of memories!

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Posted in Culture

From Grandma with Love

What a wonderful idea!  Going to lots of different countries and asking grandmothers to make a dish they would normally prepare for their families.

I am intrigued by the food, but even more so by the ladies!  I would love to sit down with each one them and hear their stories.  How amazing would that be?!

And the kitchens, they are all so different!  I wonder about the lives that have been (and that are being) lived in those homes – the fun, the laughter, the tears..

And now: enjoy your culinary trip around the world!

(Sadly the pictures don’t seem to display correctly…  sorry about that!)

1. Italy: Swiss chard and ricotta ravioli with meat sauce

Italy: Swiss chard and ricotta ravioli with meat sauce

Marisa Batini, 80 years old – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

This wonderful photography project comes from Gabriele Galimberte, who works with Riverboom, a Swiss publishing group of journalists and photographers. From the website’s introduction:

Gabriele Galimberti pays homage to all the grandmothers in the world and to their love for good cooking, starting from his own very Tuscan grandmother Marisa who, before the departure for his tour around the world by couchsurfing, took care to prepare her renowned “ravioli ripieni.” She was not so concerned about the possible risks or mishaps her grandson might face in his adventurous travelling worldwide, but her major concern was, “what will he eat”?

You can see the whole “Delicatessen with love” collection (including recipes and written portraits of each grandmother) on Galimberti’s website. H/t to PinkRobotBoogaloo for sharing.

2. Albania: Burekoep domate (layered egg custard pie)

Albania: Burekoep domate (layered egg custard pie)

Neriman Mitrolari, 52 years old – Albania

3. Algeria: Chicken and vegetable couscous

Algeria: Chicken and vegetable couscous

Lebgaa Fanana, 42 years old – Timimoun, Algeria

4. Argentina: Asado criollo (mixed meats barbecue)

Argentina: Asado criollo (mixed meats barbecue)

Isolina Perez De Vargas, 83 years old – Mendoza, Argentina

5. Armenia: Tolma (roll of beef and rice wrapped into grape leaves)

Armenia: Tolma (roll of beef and rice wrapped into grape leaves)

Jenya Shalikashuili, 58 years old – Alaverdi, Armenia

6. Bolivia: Queso humacha (vegetables and fresh cheese soup)

Bolivia: Queso humacha (vegetables and fresh cheese soup)

Julia Enaigua, 71 years old – La Paz, Bolivia

7. Brazil: Fejoada (pork and bean stew), light version

Brazil: Fejoada (pork and bean stew), light version

Ana Lucia Souza Pascoal, 53 years old – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

8. Canada: Bison stew under the midnight sun

Canada: Bison stew under the midnight sun

Kathy O’€™Donovan, 64 years old – Whitehorse, Canada

9. Cayman Islands: Iguana with rice and beans

Cayman Islands: Iguana with rice and beans

Maria Luz Fedric, 53 years old – Cayman Islands

10. China: Hui guo rou (twice-cooked pork with vegetables)

China: Hui guo rou (twice-cooked pork with vegetables)

Pan Guang Mei, 62 years old – Chongqing, China

11. Egypt: Kuoshry (pasta, rice and bean pie)

Egypt: Kuoshry (pasta, rice and bean pie)

Fifi Makhmer, 62 years old – Cairo, Egypt

12. Ethiopia: Injera with curry and vegetables

Ethiopia: Injera with curry and vegetables

Bisrat Melake, 60 years old – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

13. Georgia: Khinkali (pork and beef dumplings)

Georgia: Khinkali (pork and beef dumplings)

Natalie Bakradze, 60 years old – Tblisi, Georgia

14. Haiti: Lambi (conch) in Creole sauce

Haiti: Lambi (conch) in Creole sauce

Serette Charles, 63 years old – Saint-Jean du Sud, Haiti

15. Iceland: Kjotsùpa (lamb and vegetable soup)

Iceland: Kjotsùpa (lamb and vegetable soup)

Valagerdur Olafsdòttir, 63 years old – Reykjavìk, Iceland

16. India: Chicken vindaloo

India: Chicken vindaloo

Grace Estibero, 82 years old – Mumbai, India

17. Indonesia: Soto Betawi (beef soup with coconut and vegetables)

Indonesia: Soto Betawi (beef soup with coconut and vegetables)

Eti Rumiati, 63 years old – Jakarta, Indonesia

18. Kenya: Mboga and orgali (white corn polenta with vegetables and goat meat)

Kenya: Mboga and orgali (white corn polenta with vegetables and goat meat)

Normita Sambu Arap, 65 years old – Oltepessi (masaai mara) Kenya

19. Latvia: Silke (herring with potatoes and cottage cheese)

Latvia: Silke (herring with potatoes and cottage cheese)

Inara Runtule, 68 years old – Kekava, Latvia

20. Lebanon: Mjadara (rice and lentils cream)

Lebanon: Mjadara (rice and lentils cream)

Wadad Achi, 66 years old – Beirut, Lebanon

21. Malawi: Finkubala (caterpillar in tomato sauce)

Malawi: Finkubala (caterpillar in tomato sauce)

Regina Lifumbo, 53 years old – Mchinji, Malawi

22. Malaysia: Nasi lemak (coconut rice with vegetables and fried dried anchovies)

Malaysia: Nasi lemak (coconut rice with vegetables and fried dried anchovies)

Thilaga Vadhi, 55 years old – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

23. Mexico: Vegetarian Tamales

Mexico: Vegetarian Tamales

Laura Ronz Herrera, 81 years old – Veracruz, Mexico

24. Morocco: Chicken tajine

Morocco: Chicken tajine

Eija Bankach, 62 years old – Massa, Morocco

25. Norway: Kjottsuppe (Icelandic beef and vegetable soup)

Norway: Kjottsuppe (Icelandic beef and vegetable soup)

Synnove Rasmussen, 77 years old – Bergen, Norway

26. Peru: Corvina ceviche

Peru: Corvina ceviche

Itala Revello Rosas, 77 years old – Lima, Peru

27. Philippines: Sinigang (tamarind soup with pork and vegetables)

Philippines: Sinigang (tamarind soup with pork and vegetables)

Fernanda De Guia, 71 years old – Manila, Philippines

28. Spain: Asadura de cordero lecca con arroz (milk-fed lamb offal with rice)

Spain: Asadura de cordero lecca con arroz (milk-fed lamb offal with rice)

Carmina Fernandez, 73 years old – Madrid, Spain

29. Sweden: Inkokt Lax (poached cold salmon and vegetables)

Sweden: Inkokt Lax (poached cold salmon and vegetables)

Brigitta Fransson, 70 years old – Stockholm, Sweden

30. Thailand: Kai Yat Sai (stuffed omelette)

Thailand: Kai Yat Sai (stuffed omelette)

Boonlom Thongpor, 69 years old – Bangkok, Thailand

31. Turkey: Karniyarik (stuffed eggplants with meat and vegetables)

Turkey: Karniyarik (stuffed eggplants with meat and vegetables)

Ayten Okgu , 76 years old -€“ Istanbul, Turkey

32. USA: Moose steak

USA: Moose steak

Susann Soresen, 81 years old – Homer, Alaska, USA

33. Zanzibar: Wali, mchuzina mbogamboga (rice, fish and vegetables in green mango sauce)

Zanzibar: Wali, mchuzina mbogamboga (rice, fish and vegetables in green mango sauce)

Miraji Mussa Kheir, 56 years old – Bububu, Zanzibar

34. Zimbabwe: Sadza (white maize flour) and pumpkin leaves cooked in peanut butter

Zimbabwe: Sadza (white maize flour) and pumpkin leaves cooked in peanut butter

Flatar Ncube, 52 years old – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

I would really like to try the Latvian dish!  Not so sure about the Malawian one, though…

What about you – any favourites?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/dishes-foods-cooked-by-grandmothers-around-the-world

http://www.gabrielegalimberti.com/projects/delicatessen-with-love-2/#

Posted in Culture

Around the world in 50 breakfasts!

Sometimes clicking on a link takes you not just to another page, but to another world.  Like when I clicked on 50 of the World’s Best Breakfasts!  To be sure, some (Portugal!  Maybe it’s the “served in the sun” bit that makes it so attractive!) look more appealing than others (Aussies, keep your Vegemite!).  But really, I just want to pack my bags, head out into the big wide world, and try them all!

50 of the World’s Best Breakfasts

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1. A full English Breakfast – it must have beans, sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns and toast. Of course, it should all be knocked back with a cup of tea, but black pudding is optional as far as I’m concerned.

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2. Breakfast in Iran – it usually features some sort of naan bread with butter and jam. When a light breakfast just isn’t going to hit the spot Iranians eat halim. Halim is a mixture of wheat, cinnamon, butter and sugar cooked with shredded meat in huge pots. You can eat it hot or cold. You can also see the Iranian version of an omelet here too.

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3. A Cuban wake up meal – usually consists of sweetened coffee with milk with a pinch of salt thrown in. The unique Cuban bread is toasted and buttered and cut into lengths to dunk in the coffee.

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4. Polish Breakfast – known locally as Jajecznica, a traditional Polish breakfast consists of scrambled eggs covered with slices of custom-made kielbasa and joined by two potato pancakes.

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5. Quick Spanish breakfast – Pan a la Catalana, or Pan con Tomate, in Spain is simple but really delicious. Just rub some bread with fresh garlic and plenty of ripe tomato, then drizzle with olive oil and salt. Top with cheese, ham or sausage for an extra bit.

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6. A yummy Moroccan breakfast – usually consists of different breads with some chutney, jam, cheese or butter. They have a really delicious crumpet-style bread which they make in huge slabs for you to tear a bit off, and a semolina pancake bread called Baghir – both are really tasty.

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7. A healthy Hawaiian breakfast – I couldn’t imagine Hawaiians eating anything but fruit to be honest. Of course, there’s the bagel but I’m sure they’d burn the energy from that off in a few minutes on their surf board anyway.

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8. Swedish breakfast – often involves a Swedish pancake, known as a Pannkakor. It’s a thin flat cake made from batter and fried on both sides – much like a crepe. It’s usually served with a sweet, fruity filling.

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9. Icelandic breakfast cuisine – a hearty and hot breakfast to fight off the dark, icy mornings is what’s needed here. Hafragrautur, or oatmeal, is served with a sprinkle of brown sugar with a few raisins or nuts on top, perfect.

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10. Breakfast in Portugal – a delicious and simple affair with stuffed croissants and plenty of coffee served in the sun.

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11. Breakfast in Australia – there’s only one crucial ingredient here, Vegemite. Travelling Aussies are often found with a sneaky pot of the sticky, salty brown stuff in their backpack. Just don’t get in the Vegemite vs Marmite war – everybody knows Marmite is better, but let them have their fun.

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12. A Brazilian breakfast – mmmm a delicious selection of meats, cheeses and bread is the normal breakfast fare here. Jazzy rosething crafted out of I don’t know what, optional.

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13. An Italian breakfast – a nation too fabulous for heavy breakfasts me thinks. Or maybe they’re saving themselves for a big cheesy pizza lunch and a pesto pasta dinner? (Although there’s nothing wrong with having them for breakfast you know) Either way an Italian eats on the run with a ‘cappuccino e cornetto’ aka a cappuccino and croissant.

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14. A Welsh breakfast – errrm is it just me or is that cheesy toast flashing me a smile? Welsh Rarebit aka cheese on toast is a truly, truly delicious breakfast. Just the sight of that bubbling cheese makes me want to smother it in Worcestershire Sauce and chow down, mmmmm. Anyway, 36 left, must dash.

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15. Breakfast in Denmark – top marks for presentation here. On a Dane’s breakfast plate you’ll often find rye bread, cheeses, salami, ham, pâté, honey, jam and sometimes even thin ‘plates’ of chocolate. It came as a bit of a shock to me but my research has shown that bacon is not actually that popular! Dun dun durrrh. How can this be? Apparently they send in all to the UK.

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16. A Philippines breakfast – it’s all about the local fruits here. Mangoes are popular fare to keep you regular. As for keeping your energy up rice is the top choice, or the little sausages, known as longganisa, you can see above. When fried with salt and garlic cloves it’s known as sinangag. The sinangag is then combined with eggs, meats and beans and bob’s your uncle, fanny’s your aunt, a delicious Philippine breakfast is born.

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17. An Alaskan breakfast – featuring reindeer meat and an egg nestled on a pancake. Poor old Rudolph, he won’t be able to join in any reindeer games now, will he?

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18. A traditional German breakfast – wursts, local cheeses and freshly baked bread is the normal fare for a German breakfast. All washed back with a delicious coffee.

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19. The famous American breakfast – home made thick pancakes with syrup and blueberries, topped off with a few rashers of bacon. Anyone not wishing for a coronary usually opts for a bowl of muesli, so I’m told. Pancakes all the way for me!

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20. The French breakfast – ah, le croissant, le croissant, how I love le croissant! Pack them with crushed almonds, butter, chocolate or cream, they always taste good.

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21. Breakfast in India – here we have rosemary roasted potatoes, Indian tofu scramble, lentils, veggie sausage and banana pepper toast. Breakfast cuisine in India varies hugely depending on the region but if you think of your Indian breakfast somewhere along these lines, you would be correct.

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22. A hearty Scottish breakfast – much like a full English and a full Irish, but the country’s USP is the ‘sumptuous’ slab of haggis served alongside every fat-fried egg. Don’t know what haggis is? Scroll down quick if your animal eating habits err on the queasy side. It’s sheep’s heart, liver and lungs minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and stock…

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23. Thailand’s breakfast offering – you’ll find this dish at stalls throughout Thailand. It’s a minty spicy fish with a sweet & spicy pork, served with rice. By all accounts it tastes excellent, and it’s cheap at only 30 Bhat. Thai breakfast fare isn’t all that different from what you’d eat for lunch and dinner.

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24. An Argentinian breakfast -usually consists of “mate” (an infusion drink made with leaves of “yerba”) or dulce de leche with “facturas,”a croissant-like typical pastry.

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25. An Irish breakfast – you’ve had English and Scottish, now it’s time to learn the Irish USP. That would be white pudding and soda bread.

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26. A Canadian breakfast – that eggy looking section is actually perogies. Perogies are boiled, baked or fried dumplings made from unleavened dough and traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit. Then you’ve got some sausages and toast to mop it all up.

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27. Breakfast in Mexico – the delightful plate above consists of beef tips, chilequiles and other assorted goodies eaten in Manzanillo. Nachos, cheese and beans always feature heavily and a delicious, spicy breakfast is the norm.

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28. A Russian breakfast – oladi is the breakfast of choice in Russia. They’re sort of like pancakes and kind of like Yorkshire puddings, hot, just fried, soft inside and with a crispy edge! They’re best enjoyed with soured cream, honey, jam or fresh berries.

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29. Breakfast in Vietnam – usually consists of some meaty treat dropped in a semolina/porridge mixture. What you see above is pork porridge. It features Chinese doughnuts, beansprouts, pork intestine stuffed with peppery pork mince, sliced pork heart, stomach slivers and blood pudding. A bit more interesting than toast and jam anyway.

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30. Breakfast in Peru – ceviche is popular whatever time of day, breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s a seafood dish made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chilli peppers. What a feast.

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31. Breakfast in Bolivia – saltenas are a bit like empanadas crossed with Cornish pasties. They’re the traditional option for a Bolivian breakfast and usually filled with meat and vegetables, and slightly sweetened with sugar.

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32. An Egyptian breakfast – the breakfast of choice here is Foul Madamas. It’s made from fava beans, chickpeas, garlic and lemon. Above you’ll see the dish topped with olive oil, cayenne, tahini sauce, a hard boiled egg, and some diced green veggies.

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33. Breakfast in Japan – what do you mean you’ve never had tofu for breakfast? It’s a popular choice in Japan, along with fish and rice. Soak it in soya sauce and you’ve got yourself one delicious, and semi-healthy breakfast.

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34. Breakfast in China – a lot like lunch and dinner in China. Expect noodles, rice, sticky coated chicken and fried veggies.

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35. Malaysian breakfast – A hot bowl of Mee – noodles mixed with egg, vegetable and tasty spices.

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36. Breakfast in Mongolia – it generally consists of boiled mutton with lots of fat and flour and maybe some dairy products or rice. In western Mongolia they add variety to their diets with horsemeat.

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37. Breakfast in Belize – fry jacks are a staple in Belize breakfast cuisine. They’re deep-fried pieces of dough that are often accompanied by beans and eggs, or jam and honey.

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38. A Hungarian breakfast – always consists of Pogácsa. Well, nearly always anyway. Throughout the year there are festivals dedicated to it and the recipe changes region to region. They have a scone-like consistency and as well as a popular breakfast item, they’re also used to bulk up goulash meals.

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39. A Korean breakfast – breakfast is similar to lunch and dinner in Korea. You’ll get a small plate of kimchi, a bowl of rice and a bowl of clear vegetable soup. A good old-fashioned slice of toast is also a popular choice, but that doesn’t make for nearly as good a picture.

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40. Breakfast in Pakistan – in Pakistan you’ll get Aloo Paratha for your breakfast. It’ s an Indian unleavened flatbread made by pan frying, wholewheat dough on a tava. The dough contains ghee and the bread is usually stuffed with vegetables. It’s best eaten with butter, chutney or some other spicy sauce. It’s not uncommon to roll it up and dip it in your tea.

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41. An Estonian breakfast – curd cheese on a wheat bloomer – known locally as ‘cheese on toast’. The creamy topping can be supplemented with ricotta or fromage fraiche instead, if you prefer.

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42. Breakfast in Jordan – the choice varies depending on the are and upbringing you’re from. Labneh, hummous and falafel are all popular choices and are usually served alongside olive oil, lamb sausage, jam and butter, turkey or beef mortadella.

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43. Breakfast in Venezuela – empenadas are the order of the day. Fill the little pastries with fresh cheese, minced meat or any combination of veggies and beans.

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44. Breakfast in Colombia – there are a variety of regional staples to keep your stomach grumbles at bay throughout the day. In Cundinamarca this changua dish is very popular. It’s made from milk, scallions and cheese.

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45. Breakfast in Ghana – the most popular breakfast item in this African country is waakye. It’s basically rice cooked in beans and is found at all the street stalls in Ghana.

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46. Breakfast in Uganda – like a lot of large countries the typical breakfasts vary region by region. But a popular dish across the country is katogo – it’s a combination of green cooking bananas mixed in a stew from beef or in a sauce from vegetables. The picture above is banana with cow organs.

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47. A Bahamas breakfast – to be a Bahamian breakfast it must contain grits. Grits are dried ground hominy, or corn, for anyone not in the loop. You mix it with boiling water and the grits becomes a porridge. Its popularity came from slavery times when it’s all the slaves had to eat. Nowadays it’s topped with fat prawns and meat to spice it up a bit.

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48. Breakfast in Costa Rica – Gallo Pinto is the standard breakfast fare in Costa Rica. It’s made from black beans, rice, optional soured cream, salsa and a corn tortilla. Costa Ricans will often have a bit of avocado, fried ripe plantain or cold meat on the side.

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49. Breakfast in the Dominican Republic – you need to try the mangu. Mangu is made from mashing boiled plantains with butter and either salami, cheese or eggs. Top it off with a hot chocolate and you’ve got yourself some traditional Dominican Republic fare.

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50. A Turkish breakfast – the full Turkish treatment usually consists of a few varieties of cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, and spicy meat.

via blog.hostelbookers.com/travel/best-breakfast/

Posted in Uncategorized

Food, Glorious Food!

(www.wordle.net)

Just a little glimpse into my foody week!  What an eclectic mix:

* introducing my friend Helen to some very German delicacies

* enjoying brunch at one of my favourite cafes with some of my favourite Berlin friends

* Afghan food – wow! Some things reminded me of my many visits to Balti houses across Birmingham.  Others of sitting in Rima’s house and eating her amazing food.  And of my favourite Iranian restaurant in Brum.  Makes sense I guess.  They are all neighbours, after all.

* exploring the (mostly Turkish) market at Maybachufer.  The sights, smells and flavours are something else!  In a good way!

* spring was in town for a few days, my local ice cream place is open again – what a perfect excuse (as if I needed one…) for my first ice cream of the season.  Cantaloupe melon and green tea.

Posted in Uncategorized

Planning the party

When the Bible describes the “City of Light” (or the new Jerusalem) and it says: “the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it” (Rev 21:24) – I reckon that splendour should definitely include food!

I had a taste of that on Monday night, at the “Food around the World” event at the Globe café!  Since then, I have been working on the menu for the big meal in heaven 🙂  The Japanese sushi were very nice, so they’re definitely in!  As is the Chinese Spicy Chicken!  And I loved the Iranian dish (unfortunately can’t quite remember the name),  I kept going back for more!  The German fruit pudding (Rote Grütze) I made seemed to go down quite well, too.  And then there are all the other dishes I’ve tried along the way: Russian smetana – to die for!!!  Mexican food – very yummy! And so the list goes on… At least I won’t have to try it all in one day!

OK, so heaven is about an awful lot more than food – but I loved my little taste of what it can be like when all the nations and peoples come together!

PS:  I don’t think there should be a place in heaven for Marmite 🙂 Well, maybe in some far corner…

PPS: I’m still contemplating whether I would want there to be dancing in heaven.  I had a go at Salsa dancing and Arabic dancing this week.  Both good fun but elegant and graceful are not words that would readily come to mind when I’m involved!

A taste of heaven :-)
A taste of heaven 🙂