Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Recipe Thief - Making Connections Through Food

“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” Michael Pollan

Pizza Romana by the Slice, Pizza Al Taglio
I must confess, I didn’t know how to #cook when I got married.  My husband on the other hand is a great cook and his passion for food is contagious.  He’s the grandson of #Italian immigrants and food and cooking are just part of his DNA.

When you are miles away from your country, your own kitchen may be the only source for the food to which you are accustomed.  Trying to find ingredients can prove to be a very challenging task.  Do not become demoralized, try to play with substitutions (you may come up with a great twist on your favorite recipe) and don’t be afraid to ask around, someone in your circle may know where to find what you’re missing.

One of the great aspects of being part of an #International community is learning from each other.  Cooking is a great way to connect with people.   Throughout the years I not only learned how to cook, I also collected recipes from friends around the world.  I put them all in a little binder that I carry with me in my suitcase when I move, for fear of loosing all those pieces of my life.  Almost all my recipes start with a friend’s name: Kelly’s Artichoke Dip, Marilia’s Brazilian Cheese Bread, Kim’s Pita Bread, Martha’s Cuban beans.  Some recipes were happily shared, in order to get others I had to use every persuasive argument I know (I just couldn’t bear the thought of not eating a particular dish once I moved away). And every time I make one of those recipes I think of my friends and the time we spent together in this adventure called Expat living.

Love my international friends for all they have to teach me!
 Do you like to cook?  Why not host a cooking class?  Start small, with only a few friends.  You can even start a cooking club.  The last page of my binder is the recipe for Sushi Rolls (maki), obtained at a #cooking class taught by one of my #Japanese friends, an excellent cook and a great teacher.

Eating with friends is appreciated in all cultures; some traditions are more ritualistic others more relaxed.  Food is also a great way to learn more about your host country. Give it a try!  Or how they say here in Italy: MANGIA, MANGIA!!

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