My Global Food Challenge

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andorra-flagThis is one of the first times I have even thought to mix veal with chicken, I have mixed veal with beef many times before.  I do like to “marry” pastas on occasion, mixing sizes and textures, although I usually stick to the “rigati” (or lined) pastas.  I also don’t mix pasta and rice often, except to make a pilaf.  All in all, it was comfort food, lots of meat and vegetables for a two pot meal.

Additions/Omissions: no ham or pork

Taste Test: The stew was very good without the background of pork, but I am certain it would have been better with it.

Zip Facts about Andorra:

  • Andorra, bordered by France and Spain, is located in the Pyrenees Mountains. Because of this, its inhabitants have adapted a mountain society from its sociopolitical and economic movements to its urban rule, where 30% of all facades are to be constructed of stone masonry
  • The cultures of both countries have provided dualistic influences in many of the traditions and activities of the Andorran people, such as in language, public education, and currency (see French and Spanish Andorran stamps below). However, political and civil societies are trying to consolidate an Andorran national identity
  • The Andorran diet consists mainly of meat, fish and vegetables with popular winter dishes such as escudella (a stew of chicken and veal) and trinxat (potatoes and cabbage). The cuisine is predominantly Catalan
  • Andorra is one of the few countries in the world which boasts a 100% literacy rate
  • Andorra is a duty free zone, but without an airport. You can travel by plane to Barcelona, which is the nearest one

Andorra 97-ciutat flotan4Helena Guàrdia – “Proof of the existence of the floating city”  structure with photograph (2011)

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

bosnia-flagI have learned a few things about cooking with wine and other alcohols by exploring these global recipes and by watching some of my favorite chefs on the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, or Create.   I have known for many years that the first rule in cooking with wine is to choose one that you like to drink and not a “cooking wine,” although I have to admit that I do have a bottle or two of “good” cooking wines in my pantry for “emergency” situations.   You need to consider the extra salts and additives, if you elect to use them and certainly do so sparingly.  A few more tips:  use wine for marinating vegetables and meats (or use at room temperature to tenderize), use for basting with melted butter or oil, and make sure to reduce wine slowly over low heat in pan or pot to evaporate alcohol (1/2 cup of wine down to 2 tablespoons reduction).

Additions/Omissions: used beef and veal and a really good Sauvignon Blanc for stew.  I did change the cooking method, as I sometimes do, either using a crock pot or Dutch oven for soups and stews.  For this stew, which requires layering of flavors, I used a Dutch oven which I started on medium heat on the stovetop and finished in a preheated 350oC oven for about an hour.

Taste Test: very good

Zip Facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • When the XIV Olympic Winter Games were held in 1984 in Sarajevo, the capital city, it was the first Winter Olympics to be held in a communist country, then Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina gained their independence from Yugoslavia in 1992
  • The official currency, the Bosnian Convertible Mark (BAM), cannot be bought or exchanged outside of the country
  • The difference between a Bosnian and a Herzegovinian is not an ethnic distinction, but a regional one
  • “Celebratory gunfire” is still shot into the air before and after big events such as weddings and birth receptions
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts the world’s tenth highest coffee consumption per capital. Rakija, Bosnian plum brandy, generally thought to have “health” benefits, is consumed and offered to guests with abandon

Bosnia MicaMica Todorović (1900-1984) – called “the first lady of Bosnian and Herzegovinian painting”

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Taste Test:                                                                                                  

Zip Facts about Ghana:

  • Ghana was originally settled by Africans, but occupied by Europe from 1942. Rule wasn’t imposed until 1874 by Britain as they claimed the land strip that they named the Gold Coast.  Ghana was renamed and gained independence in 1957
  • According to the Global Peace index, Ghana is the most peaceful country in Africa and 40th in the world
  • The world’s largest artificial water body, Lake Volta, which covers 45% of the total land area, was created by the construction of a 370m wide X 124m tall dam at Akosombo in 1996
  • African batik was brought to Ghana from Indonesia by the Dutch. Indonesian batik is handwritten or painted manually, is usually limited to earth colors, and the motif is small and dainty.  African print is industrially printed with larger motifs in any color imaginable
  • As in Indonesia and other cultures, it is impolite to use the left hand for social interactions and eating, particularly because it is thought to be relegated to toilet-related activities

Ghana 9681732_6b066705a3Wisdom Kudowor, “Floral Arrangement”

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Additions/Omissions:  greece-flag

Taste Test:                                                                                                  

Zip Facts about Greece:

  • If you are over the age of 18 in Greece, voting is a legal obligation. Children live at home until they marry and grandparents live with their families until death, reducing the need for retirement homes
  • Like some other countries, Greeks celebrate “name day” (their saint’s namesake) more than their own birthdays
  • Greek salutations are not with an open hand or palm exposed, which is considered an insult, and waves are with the palm closed
  • The word “barbarian” comes from the Greek “barbaroi”, meaning those who don’t speak Greek and sound like they are saying “bar-bar-bar”. “Tragedy” originates from the Greek word for “goat song” as Greek tragedies honored Dionysus and actors wore goatskins.  The first Greek tragedy Hence the derivation of “thespian”
  • Olive trees planted in the 13 C. in Greece are still bearing olives, and help to make Greece the third best in the world’s olive production.  Greek mythology alludes to a contest of the best gift between Athena and Poseidon for the guardianship over the city.  The gods decided the winner, Athena’s gift of an olive tree over Poseidon’s gift of water

Greece EratiniYiannis Spyropoulos (1912-1990), Eratini” (1961),-1912-1990-73-c-sjw130t4e1

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Taste Test:  

Zip Facts about Sweden: 

  • Sweden has the highest number of nuclear plants and the highest number of McDonalds per capita in Europe (connection?)
  • Driving switched from left-hand to right in 1965
  • Sweden has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, women, on average, have their children at 30
  • The favorite food is Swedish meatballs, which are just called meatballs, served with potatoes and lingonberry sauce
  • Most often stolen from Sweden are their moose-crossing signs

Sweden cecilia_edefalk,_babyBaby – Cecilia Edefalk

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I wanted to use something other than beef for a change, so, in trying to buy lamb for this, there were only baby lamb chops and lamb bones available locally.  I chose the latter, hoping there was enough meat on the bones.

Additions/Omissions:  The spices I used were cumin and cayenne pepper to taste.  I also added more tomato paste (8 oz can) with a little water.  

Taste Test:  The taste was great, but it probably would have been just as good with a marbled cut of beef.

Zip Facts about Uzbekistan:

  • Uzbekistan shares one of the largest deserts in the world, Kyzylkum, with Kazakhstan
  • Bread (lipioshka) is never found upside down or placed on the ground, no matter what the container
  • There are two doubly landlocked countries in the world, Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein, which are surrounded by countries that are landlocked.  You would need to cross the borders of two countries to get to an ocean
  • There is a ban on all religions not approved by the state
  • Palov, a dish of rice and meat, and green tea are the national favorite foods

Uzbekistan - sittingonstone

Sitting on Stone – Timur Tsaku

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Not to be contrary, but I started at Z.  I thought it would be a great jump start to go through a few letters quickly.  There are only two recognized countries that start with Z, only one now that begins with a Y (without Yugoslavia) and none with X (unless you count Xanadu :).

Getting into W, there seems to be some controversy over designation for Wales, Wallis and Fortuna, and Western Sahara.

About the photograph, although I am a photographer, I do mainly travel, events, and work with actors/performers.  I have never done food photography, and certainly appreciate those that do.  Unfortunately, I didn’t even take a snapshot of this meal and have to apologize for any of the food photos I may take in the future.

My family makes a herculean effort to eat together almost every night.  And considering that daylight is the best light for food photos, and we have never eaten before nightfall, despite the season in New York, I will barely get a flash photo on programmed mode before the food hits their plates.

Additions/Omissions:  no substitutions, served over white rice

Taste Test:  Delicious

Zip Facts about Zimbabwe:

  • Formerly Southern Rhodesia, new name means “great houses of stone”
  • Zimbabwe shares Victoria Falls (one of the seven natural wonders) with Zambia on their border
  • Their motto is “Unity, Freedom, Work”
  • Natural “sculptures” are granite “balancing rocks” found around their capital city, Harare
  • Country is on a raised plateau so its tropical climate is cooler than the countries bordering it

Zimbabwe Mundopa

Baby Talk 2 2014 – Wycliff Mundopa

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