Meal 104: Maldives

If you go to the Maldives, off the southwest coast of India, for a tropical beach vacation, you’re more likely to find steaks and French cheese than any of the local cuisine. I’m not entirely surprised, because the intense flavor of sun-dried and smoked tuna runs that through nearly every meal is probably a bit too intense for the holiday-package crowd. This is only the second meal for which I’ve ordered an ingredient online, but there’s simply no way to cook […]

Meal 79: Iran

We say that with a Nosh we aim to cook a meal appropriate for a special moment or celebration, so it’s great fortune when the calendar aligns with a festival — and even greater when it’s the biggest of the year in the country. Persians have been celebrating Nowruz, the festival of the spring equinox, for millennia, and specific foods play a central (and delicious!) part of the rituals. Nowruz felt to me somewhere between Passover and Thanksgiving, a holiday tightly […]

Meal 68: Guinea

Teeny dried shrimp. Pre-cooked fonio grain. Okra powder. Unlike shopping for Ghana, this time Diaby had everything I needed. As I got to talking with the man behind the counter — finally, for the first time in a half-dozen trips, we broke the ice! — it turns out he’s from Guinea. (I was startled to hear the name of his city, Mamou. That’s pronounced the same as the family name for my grandmother who passed away last month. I suspect […]

Meal 53: Egypt

For 12 millennia, people in what’s now Egypt have successfully built civilizations around agriculture in a virtually rain-free desert environment. While there’s plenty of evidence that they grew fruits and vegetables, the annual cycle of the Nile’s flooding made it much easier to grow plants that could thrive on their own in properly inundated soil — which means grains and legumes were much easier than relatively more fickle fruits and vegetables. So, it should be no surprise that our meal was […]

Meal 44: Cuba

A friend who’s been to Cuba suggested that “for many Cubans, food at the moment is state-issued ham sandwiches, which you could approximate with some layers of wet cardboard standing in for bread, and finely shaved erasers for the ham, all encased in a blister pack of clear cellophane.” Our guest Tennessee reported that by far the most disgusting food she’s had in her life was “street pizza” in Havana, during her time as a student there. Fortunately, we were able […]

Meal 39: Costa Rica

Our travels have taken us to Laura’s parents’ place on the shores of beautiful Lake Josephine on Anderson Island, Washington. How lovely to hit our one-year mark of Noshing, and make it 20% of the way through the nations, amongst the pine trees, outdoor, during a break in the rain! Costa Rican food, as I remember it from visiting there in eighth grade, is very simple and straightforward, with one distinctive aspect: Salsa Lizano. For a Tico, the colloquial name […]

Meal 32: Cape Verde

Note: In 2013, the year after we cooked this meal, this country changed its official name in English to Cabo Verde. For some countries it’s tough to nail down which dishes to cook, but Cape Verde, a cluster of islands off the coast of Senegal, offers an unmistakable national dish. The cachupa is a stew based on dried corn and beans, and what goes in beyond that depends on your family history, socioeconomic status, and whether the rains came. To […]

Meal 25: Brunei Darussalam

Hands down, Brunei posed the biggest challenge to date. Partly due to the fact that this small, wealthy, Islamic sultanate is proud of its internationally diverse culinary culture, there’s not a ton of info available online about distinctly Bruneian foods. It was an online treasure hunt, with plenty of Google Translate and a few key finds such as an article from a Philippine newspaper, leading me mostly to ethnically Malay recipes that seemed to also be popular in Brunei. Then, […]

Week 13: Bahrain

One of the unexpected discoveries of cooking around the world has been learning just how many different ways there are to cook rice, far beyond the basic boil-then-simmer that a rice cooker does. For example, parboiling, as I’ve learned, involves cooking it quickly in a rolling boil for a few minutes, until it’s soft on the outside but still crunchy on the inside. Then you drain it, and then either put it in another dish or cook it on its […]

Week 1: Afghanistan

By virtue of the alphabet, first up in the culinary romp around the world is Afghanistan! I had it easy with the research for what to cook, since my good friend Oliver lived in Kabul for two years and is very into food. I took his advice on what to cook just about exactly, merely turning to the internet for the recipes. (Don’t think I know anyone with deep experience on Albania, so next week will require some more planning.) […]