My Global Food Challenge

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Taste Test:                                                                                                    

Zip Facts about Chile:

  • Chile boasts the driest place, the Atacama Desert; the highest lake, the crater lake (Lake Chungara) of Ojos del Salado; and the highest historically active volcano, the Ojos del Salado volcano, on Earth
  • The Chinchorro mummies, considered the oldest mummies in the world, were discovered in Chile
  • Chile may have the lowest divorce rates in the world, possibly because divorce was not legalized there until 2005
  • It is also referred to as país de poetas (country of poets) by the people of Chile, mainly for their two Nobel Prize Laureates, Gabriela Mistral (1945) and Pablo Neruda (1971)
  • Easter Island, a Polynesian island and Chilean territory far off the west coast, is famous for its 887 giant moai figures carved from volcanic stone

Chile roberto-matta-bringing-the-light-without-painRoberto Matta – “Bringing Light without Pain” (1955)

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Zip Facts about Colombia:

  • Colombia is not only known for its coffee, but also for its emeralds, and produces over 90% of the world’s supply. It is the second largest exporter of fresh cut flowers, and the third largest producer of women’s lingerie
  • The national tree of Colombia is the Quindio Wax palm, which is the tallest palm tree on Earth
  • The right to vote was given to the women of Colombia in 1975
  • Colombia is second only to Brazil in its mega biodiversity, and has more endemic species than any other country
  • Colombia is also known for its infamous son, Pablo Escobar, whose Medellín Cartel drug empire reigned supreme during the 80s and 90s

Colombia omar2_fullOmar Rayo Reyes (1928–2010) – geometric optic art

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Zip Facts about Croatia:

  • The island of Brac supplied the Croatian stone that built the White House in Washington, DC
  • The Croats of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina say “Bog” for both hello and good-bye, the literal translation of which is “God”
  • The necktie, or cravat (which is derived from the word “Croat”, was invented in Croatia
  • Dalmatians, also known as the Dubrovnik hunter dog, originally came from the Dalmatian coast in Croatia
  • The voting age in Croatia is 16 for the employed and 18 for those without a job

Croatia 0449Milivoj Uzelac, “The Girl in the Boat” (1926/1927)

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Here it is again, bitter orange juice (Naranja agria), a sour citrus fruit used as a meat marinade and a great flavor addition to many Caribbean dishes.  The last time a recipe called for naranja agria, I used a 1:1 orange/lime juice mix and the flavors were definitely there.  But this time I was fortunate to find it in a local supermarket

Additions/Omissions:  For the steaks, I used rib-eye and used tam-tam onion crackers that I had on hand for the crust.  While it was more coarsely ground and had a bit of a sticking issue, it had a great mouth feel and taste on the steak.  For the potatoes, I wasn’t sure if the skin needed to be on or off, so I left them on as very good way to change up a baked potato.  Fifteen minutes did not seem like enough time to adequately crush the potatoes, so into the microwave it went.

Taste Test:  Steak and potatoes excellent

Zip Facts about the Cuba:

  • In the indigenous Taino, Cuba’s capital “Havana” is translated as “great place” which seems fitting for the largest city, not only in Cuba, but in the entire Caribbean
  • Cuba is known for its music. Son, the main musical form, combines upbeat rhythms with classical guitar.  Fidel Castro unveiled a John Lennon Statue in John Lennon Park in 2000
  • Baseball and dominoes are extremely popular in Cuba
  • Education, food and healthcare are free and readily available in Cuba. Students need to pass three core exams (Math, Spanish, and the history of Cuba) to enter their university of choice.  The highest doctor-to-population ratio in the world exists here
  • Cuba is home to the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird, the adult only growing to approximately 2 inches in length. Cuba boasts the smallest frog as well

cuba Amelia-Pelaez-Las-Hermanas-1943Amelia Pelaez – “Las Hermanas” (1943)

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cyprus-flagThere are many things to consider when exploring the world’s cuisine, especially the conversions of ingredient quantities and oven temperatures, as well as the vocabularies of many different languages.  Despite my years of French, I still had to look up courgettes (zucchini), but recognized aubergines (eggplant) from a previous recipe.

Additions/Omissions: used eggplant but left out zucchini, would have been wonderful with both; used bay leaf and ground lamb.  Once all of the ingredients were cooked, the assembly was quite simple and fun to do.

Taste Test:  the moussaka was very good, but I don’t think the bechamel worked out as well as it should have.  I would definitely check out other bechamel recipes in the future and adjust for the change.  The salad was excellent.

Zip Facts about Cyprus:

  • Cyprus is the home of Mount Olympus and the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who rose from the sea at Petra tou Romiou in Pafo
  • Cyprus once belonged to Cleopatra as a gift from Mark Antony
  • Perfume most probably originated in Cyprus, alabaster bottles with traces of perfume scented with aromatics such as coriander, rosemary, bay, and lavender were discovered in a large underground cave in Pyrgos
  • The Cyprus Mufflon is a wild sheep that roams the mountainsides only in Cyprus
  • It is believed that Cyprus produced the oldest wine in the world, Commandaria, a sweet red wine

cyprus ruzen1Ruzen Atakan – “Silent”

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