Now that we’ve finished the D’s, the E’s and the F’s, plus two detours to “G” countries, here are some highlights from the fifteen countries that we visited:
Favorite home-cooked meal:
Jess: This is a tough one. I really liked the socca, the chickpea flour pancakes we ate during our French weekend. Plus, they were very easy to make, and didn’t require any modification to make them vegetarian-friendly. They’re also vegan and gluten-free, so they could accommodate a number of special diets. The Far Breton dessert was also delicious, though not as healthy and accommodating of special diets. I also enjoyed the koshary we made during our Egyptian globetrot a lot. Several of the dishes we made from the Latin American and Nordic countries were also quite good, but if I have to pick just one country and meal, I’ll go with France and socca.
Derek: One of the most enjoyable meals for me was the breakfast of topoi that Jess cooked for Fiji. The chewy balls were very fun to eat!
Favorite restaurant meal:
Jess: We didn’t get to go to very many restaurants during this particular round of countries. Technically, we didn’t go to a restaurant for Greece, but I’d pick it as my favorite meal out. It wasn’t the best Greek food I’ve ever had, but the atmosphere really couldn’t be beat.
Derek: Eating a delicious meal at the House of Hummus and then peering next door to discover that the adjacent Jerusalem Hallal Market sells not only groceries but a colorful array of carpets, clothing, brassware, and other imported essentials as well.
Most memorable “live” experience:
Jess: Again, I’m going to have to go with Greece. Not only did the Greek Fest have a lot of food, but they also had many cultural displays and presentations (which Derek took more advantage of than I did).
Derek: I was very fortunate to be able to stay a bit longer than Jess at the Greek Fest (who was busy cooking a Greek dinner). After hearing a talk on the music of the Greek Orthodox Church, I attended a second lecture on how to cook trahana which ended with an impromptu discussion of where one can harvest wild greens in the area.
Film I’d recommend:
Jess: My favorite film from this batch is Good Bye, Lenin! from our German globetrot. I think it gave us a good sense of a certain historical time period in German history (the reunification of East and West Germany), with some humor.
Derek: the French film Entre les murs, known in English as The Class, was interesting for me because it offered a (fictionalized) glimpse into the pedagogy of an inner-city school. I am always looking for ways to make my own classroom more engaging!
An activity I wish we had been able to find/try:
Jess: A lot of our dishes during our Fijian globetrot reflected Indo-Fijian culture. It would have been great if we could have also done more with indigenous Fijian cuisine. But, I did enjoy cooking with cassava for the first time–the pre-grated frozen cassava in our local grocery store was a wonderful find!
Derek: We missed a couple of stereotypical Finnish activities, namely sitting in a hot sauna and eating black licorice.
Most challenging country:
Jess: I was really intrigued by Equatorial Guinea because it bears the distinction of being the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, but it was difficult to find information about it. I was also hoping we’d have lots of Spanish-African fusion recipes to follow, but didn’t turn up any in our search.
Derek: With a population of only 72 thousand people, Dominica was already going to be a challenge. But then we realized that a web search for “Dominican” anything was likely to turn up results for the Dominican Republic instead!