I love different cultures! When I was at college a club hosted an annual Asain celebration (usually around Chinese New Year) that featured fashion shows, food, dances and martial arts from all the major countries in that area. It was through that that I became familiar with even small countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Thailand and learned to love the vast differences that made us who we were. Despite differences there were always something that was similar which would also put a smile on my face, something familiar that felt a little like home.
When I began teaching, especially English as a Second Language classes in Phoenix, I became familiar with the middle eastern countries of Iran, Iraq and many of the African Muslim nations. Of course this lead to various forays into their food and additions of recipes to my strange repertoire. Now I like having homemade hummus on hand, or tzatziki, fafaela, etc. There is something about these experiences that make me remember the humanity in all of us that ties us together - the need to eat to stay alive and how each culture has turned that need into an art and a social connection to enrich life.
Well Kent and I branched out again last night and went to a tiny restaurant that served Somalian food. There is much of the middle east in it, but the spicy sauces, chappati bread and barris (rice) and goat meat were all new for me. We BOTH stuck out like sore thumbs there, not only due to skin color but that fact that we used a fork and spoon. I wished in some way I had had a guide to show me how it is done correctly and politely, it would have made the experience ever so much more authentic. It was a wonderful time and Kent and I both agree we'll have to go back for more!
This was the goat meat roasted to a wonderful flavor and the rice that is seasoned with cinnamon and cardamon. I LOVED the rice!
This was the chappati bread that had then be cut so it resemble noodles mixed with chicken (reminded me a little of tandoori chicken from India) and onions with a tangy sauce on the top. Between the 2 plates you'll see an empty one that had babaganosh (an eggplant based dipping sauce), Tahini sauce (sesame seed- very rich) and hummus. Had we known the servings would be that large we'd have order a little less!