I consider myself lucky in that I grew up eating foods that were not considered normal. Beef tongue was as common as chicken at my house and pancit was like our spaghetti. We did have the traditional fare like fried chicken with mashed potatoes but it wasn’t what we had all the time, and I liked it that way. Both my parents were wonderful cooks. We rarely had anything out of a box, in fact, that blue box of mac-n-cheese that seems to be in everyone’s pantry was a no show in ours. I didn’t have packaged tortillas until I was an adult living on my own, my mom made them from scratch. Hamburger Helper, tried it once when I was an adult….wasn’t missing much.
As an adult I’ve always worked with people from all over the world, and of course, shared their food. I have so many recipes written on work papers. I find the hand written ones so personal. I truly treasure them. One particular co-worker, that became a good friend, was from Ethiopia. He had so many stories of his life back home and the food they ate. He would bring a bunch of food, as would I, and we would eat lunch together. It was so much fun tasting food I had never experienced. He wrote down several recipes that I still have over a decade later laminated in their original form.
Tonight I made a big Ethiopian dinner using all of his recipes, and it was sooooooo delicious. My kitchen looks like a disaster since I used a zillion dishes, but it was worth it. I encourage everyone to eat outside the box, literally and figuratively. Get creative and expose your children, family, and friends to different foods of the world. There is so much, and each meal can be such a learning experience. It’s not just about the food, it’s also about the history of it, where it came from and the people that eat it.
Go get creative in the kitchen!!!
My Ethiopian dinner. Isn’t it beautiful?