Meal 54: El Salvador

After a three-week trip to India, where our senses were entranced with spices, I was afraid that Salvadorean food would prove mild and uninteresting. While it’s true that pupusas are a pretty straightforward food, I was surprised by the creative combination of ingredients, such as aged cheese in dessert, cloves in a soup, and coriander seed in a drink. While the food of this small, dense, Pacific-facing nation shares most of its base ingredients with its Latin American neighbors, a […]

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 35: Chile

Chile has gone through a nutritional upheaval in the past half century. Whereas a few decades ago malnourishment was a worry, now their obesity levels are in the same league as the US. With flaky pastries and tasty breads, it’s easy to see where the temptation lies. For this long Memorial Day weekend, we shook things up by heading up to the Catskills. Our friend Sarah-Doe spent much of her childhood in this big, rambling structure, a former grain mill […]

Week 20: Benin

Benin, on the West African coast next to Nigeria, was formerly known as Dahomey, after a fearsome warrior kingdom that for a few centuries would sell captives to European slave traders. The countless souls passing through on their way to the Americas brought many foods with them, such as yams, okra, and peanuts, and many people from the Caribbean islands where they landed now live in Brooklyn. Thus, due to a long, strange path of history, I didn’t have to […]

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.) […]