Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Spice of Life

One of my favorite things about living in various places, besides getting to know people from different backgrounds, is learning to enjoy ethnic foods. Being the product of a “mixed” marriage (my mom is a southerner from Kentucky, and my dad is a “Yankee” from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), I grew up appreciating the regional differences in the meals at my grandmother’s tables.

Then at Asbury College I met Lyn, a fellow Salvation Army student from the Bahamas. Visiting in her mother’s home was nothing short of delicious! Mummy makes a melt-in-your-mouth fried grouper, peas and rice, Johnny cake and guava duff. Mmmm, just thinking about it makes my mouth water all these years later, and I swear I can still smell the salt in the warm ocean breeze. In Kenya began my love-affairs with Indian and Ethiopian food, both so exotically rich and zingy.

I guess you could say I’m a "social eater" because I’ll try just about anything served among friends.

Not only do I love to eat, though, I really love to cook. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve collected recipes along the way, and meals from every continent have been incorporated into our regular family suppers. Making things I’ve learned from friends through the years helps me feel connected with them still, in spite of being far away now. Memories bubble up as I work, and I find myself comforted by past experiences as well as the present creative process. My kitchen is a happy place for me.

When we lived in Cyprus, I took a six-week cooking course from a local chef. Roddy is Cypriot but grew up in South Africa, so his menu was Greek-ish with a bohemian sort of cordon-bleu twist. A true artist, each dish in his restaurant paired unique ingredients for an original flair. In class, though, he focused on traditional Cypriot dishes and gave us some helpful kitchen tips as well. Oh my goodness, taking that course was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done.

Jack loves to help me in the kitchen. Because of his sweet tooth (and the fact that the oven is a separate part of the process), baking is his thing at the moment. He’s getting really good at using measuring spoons and is starting to learn how to crack eggs. I’m so excited about passing down such a joyful and practical skill to my son. Little Sophie is already showing an interest in what goes on in the kitchen, too. Oh, I hope both of our children will grow up to enjoy the people -- and the flavors -- of the nations.

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So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Laura- You are making me hungry! I enjoy cooking too, but don't do as much as in Kenya. Just enough to feed us each day. Kyle and Crystal enjoy cooking and entertaining lots. I think I'll suggest to Crystal that she look for a place to take cooking classes in Honduras- where they are now living. That way she could meet people and do something she enjoys.
I'm praying for Saca, Joel and especially Elijah! Can't imagine the roller coaster ride they have been on! Keri Little