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Food Around the World

A Journey With Food

Ethiopian Food!

We went to an Ethiopian restaurant this past Sunday. It was a very interesting experience. It was a very ethnic restaurant and we very clearly stood out! Our waiter was awesome and willing to answer questions for us. He knew his food and could tell us if it was spicy or not and had great recommendations.

We all tried something different – lamb, beef, beef and collared greens, and chicken. I chose the chicken dish because chicken is usually my first choice at restaurants. The dish that I chose, Dor0 Wot,stated that it was the most popular option. ┬áIt was very flavorful with a lot of spices. I really enjoyed it! But it was a little hot – spicy. I would for sure get it again.

The unusual part of the experience though was eating with our fingers. The food was coated in a lot of sauce which made it a messy meal to eat. It was served with a long flat thing piece of bread that you use as your silverware. The bread was airy and light and cold – almost like a very, very thing pancake.

I think my favorite part was the coffee ceremony. The roast the beans, and then make the coffee on the spot. It as a very bold and smooth cup of coffee. They also serve the coffee with popcorn!

Overall it was a great experience with great food! Although, a little pricey.

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Excitement

So, despite all my complaining and worries I am actually excited to cook these meals! I am excited to gain new cooking skills and to get a small glimpse of each country. This is a good way for me to get to “travel” since actual travel is not necessarily in the budget right now!

One of the reasons I am so excited about doing this journey is because it will give me an opportunity to explore some of the local ethnic grocery stores. When of the things about my childhood that stands out to me is going to the Mexican Grocery store to pick up tortillas and other items to make enchiladas. The only thing that really stands out to me is the skinned while cow head that sat in the meat department case. I found it gross but fascinating. I am excited to get to head to explore new stores to be able to expose myself to new cultures!

I am also excited because I will get to go shopping! I currently work at IKEA and I see all this fun kitchen stuff come through but I don’t really need it right now. I do believe that this journey will allow me to buy some of these fun things! Also, spending money is always fun!

But ultimately I am excited to try new things. I am excited to HAVE to try seafood because I would probably never try it otherwise. I am excited to learn to cook. I think it will open my mind and through this food adventure!

So, in just a few weeks we begin!!

Obstacles – Part 2

I like to think that I am good at analyzing situations. I can see the good and the bad in every situation. I will often stop and focus on the negative in every situation but I can easily see the good too. It is good for me to process and write down what could happen – both good and bad! This way my focus doesn’t stay stuck on the bad.

So, this week I will continue on with three more things that I believe could be obstacles in this process. Next week I will write about what I am most excited about the journey.

One of the things that I am a little worried about is the lack of cooking utensils we have. JL’s apartments has the essentials. I am sure that we will have to invest some money in cooking tools to be able to pull off some of the meals. I believe that I would rather invest money in the food then purchasing cooking items. But the good news is that I currently work at Ikea..which means I can get many cooking items at a discounted price!

I have alluded to this several times but the second obstacle I will encounter with this process is my lack of cooking skills. I really have none. I can follow a recipe, most of the time :). I used to HATE cooking, but I am slowly learning to enjoy it. As I have been cooking a little more lately, I have found that I don’t necessarily dread it anymore but I don’t jump spend time in the kitchen either. My hope is that this process will help me grow to enjoy cooking.

Lastly, I have alluded to this many times but I am lazy. This process is going to push me beyond laziness. I am going to have to do research, find the right places to get items, cook the items. Of course, I won’t be doing it alone but it will be a lot of work. Going beyond the laziness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have been looking for a hobby for a while, maybe this will become my new hobby :)!

Obstacles

As I do research for this process a couple of obstacles stand out to me. Actually more than a couple….like six..I am going to talk about three of them today, and then next week I will elaborate on the next three.

The first thing that I believe will make this “adventure” a challenge is that I tend to be a picky eater. I am not huge on sauces or adding extra things to my foods. I generally don’t use condiments, like ketchup or mustard. I am not a big gravy fan and I SOMETIMES like bbq sauce. The list goes on and on in regards to sauces.

I also can’t really handle spicy. I love pico de gallo but sometimes it is so hot it makes my nose run. I like to be able to enjoy my food and not be thinking about my hot mouth or running nose. ­čÖé

The other big concern is that I am not too keen on seafood. Between the texture of most sea creatures and the smell…I just can’t get the food to my mouth. My guess is that many of the meals, especially coastal countries, will include some kind of seafood.

With all of that being said, Global Table Adventure provides a starter kit. Some advice that Sasha gave has really helped me to accept the fact that I maybe eating a few things that are out of my comfort zone. “It’s important to try recipes that occasionally challenge our preferences. Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself by liking something you didn’t. If not, that’s okay. No matter what, it’s critical to always speak with respect about other culture’s foods.” This food journey will allow myself to be introduced to things I would never even think about eating.

The second thing that I believe could be an obstacle is being able to find the necessary food items. Will there be spices that are not easy to find? Sometimes I struggle to find things in Kroger or HEB currently and I am just looking for everyday items!  My lack of cooking knowledge hinders my grocery store shopping sometimes.

The last thing that I believe could be an obstacle is the budget. My weekly budget for groceries is very minimal. This is one of the reasons that we have chosen to only do this one time a month for the time being. The price of food can add up quickly. We will have to be very careful to make sure that we are using the best stores to find the needed items. Are ethnic grocery stores cheaper then Kroger or HEB? We will have to spend time shopping around a little to make sure that we are staying cost effective. As I have mentioned previously I am lazy, I don’t like spending time going from store to store but this process may mean that I don’t get all of my needed items at one place.

Overall I believe that these obstacles can be over come easily with research and an open mind! ­čÖé

The Beginning

Before the summer started Jose Luis and I decided that we wanted to go on a journey of restaurants throughout Houston. We had planned to go to a different ethnic restaurant each month. The catch was that we agreed that we would not eat out at any other restaurants during the month because 1) we were spending too much money eating out and 2) good cultural restaurants tend to run on the high side price wise. Unfortunately we have failed at this adventure for several reasons:

  • We tend to use food to get out of the house
  • It’s hard not to eat out for celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, family and friends coming into town)
  • There are so many great places to eat in Houston it’s hard to resist
  • We kept forgetting that we were not suppose to be eating out
  • We are lazy and cooking doesn’t allow us to be lazy ­čÖé15252736_10100827858806425_2128443692745348921_o

We also failed because we get stuck on the same three┬átypes of restaurants: Mediterranean┬áand Afghan and Colombian. We both love everything about Mediterranean and Afghan food! Especially hummus! As for the Colombian food – JL is Colombian. So, it is only natural that we spend a lot of time eating Colombian food. He gets to enjoy great food from home and I get to spend time learning about the culture and food from the country that he loves so much. The food is amazing!

So, whenever we get a chance to go out to eat we usually end up eating fast food or end up eating ┬áColombian food. But there are so many places that we really want to try and we talk about going to often – an Ethiopian restaurant is top on our list right now!

Last week I was listening to an old episode of Rick Steve’s Travel podcast. You can check it out here. A guest on the episode, Sasha Martin, started Global Table Adventure with her family. As soon as I heard this I knew that it would be perfect for JL and I! It keeps us from eating out but it allows us to explore all of the 195 countries in the world. Sasha did all of the work – she and her family explored every single country in the world by doing research and making food from every area. Her blog provides recipes,information, and all but the tangible ingredients. We can go on an exploration each month without leaving the house.

I am excited to start this adventure! We have decided that we are only going to do it one time a month for right now in order to fit into our schedule and our budget. I hope in the future that we will be able to increase it to at least two times a month. We intend to “explore” each country by alphabetical order so that we get a variety of foods throughout the year.

I plan to spend the month of December doing research and preparing for our journey. My parents and sister are coming at the end of the month and we are going to introduce them to Colombian food (empanadas and ajiaco!!) and to celebrate the end of the semester we are going to finally get our Ethiopian food. Stay tuned for exciting updates on our food adventures (:p) and if you are in Houston make sure to check out Mi Pueblito for great Colombian food!

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