Over a year ago I stumbled across Global Table Adventure and was intrigued by the concept. Essentially this blogger was eating around the world. She started at A and each week cooked food from a different country. To be honest, I started following because I wanted to know how long it would be before she gave up (when I found her site she had been going strong for awhile). It felt like there were so many great blogs dropping off at that time and while I thoroughly enjoyed Global Table Adventure I kept thinking, “gosh I don’t want to like this too much because it will probably disappear.” Good news – it’s still here! Sasha does a great job bringing dishes from around the world to life and documenting her families experience eating.
Each day of the week has a theme, Monday – meal reviews from the previous week, Tuesday – travel day an intro to the new country, Wednesday – Menu for the week, Thursday – Technique, Friday – Fun. What might be even more fun is the videos’ Sasha posts on YouTube of her daughter testing out foods. She’s so cute! (Like this video from eating El Salvador – PS Sasha we are coffee table twins!) You really have to watch the videos – I think they are a great addition! . What I love about this blog the most is that by the time Ava (Sasha’s daughter) is 5 she will have eaten at least one meal from every country in the world AND she’ll have a fantastic document of her childhood!
Please meet Sasha (and Ava too!)
Tell me a little bit about your blog and what you write about.
Hello! I’m on a mission to celebrate our diverse and beautiful planet by cooking one meal for every country in the world – 195 Countries, 195 Meals, 195 Weeks. I like to say I’m hungry for peace. Each week I share all the recipes, tidbits about the countries, as well as reviews – including a video of my young daughter sampling the food – at GlobalTableAdventure.com. I like to share the good, the fun, and the downright silly. We’re now just past the halfway mark.
I decided to work alphabetically for two reasons. First, I didn’t want to show preference to any particular nation over another. It makes that little country you’ve never heard of just as important as the countries everyone knows. Second, it keeps the continents nicely shuffled, so that there is a good variety to the site over the course of the entire 195 weeks (nearly four years). If new countries are added during this project, I will include them in the Adventure.
On average I make 3-4 dishes per country. Sometimes I combine two countries in a week (this is a safeguard to build in vacation or sick time). When I combine countries I make less dishes per country – usually 2-3. The menus are sampler-style, meaning the dishes are representative of the flavors of that country, but not necessarily a cohesive collection meant to be eaten in one sitting. Sometimes a dish will actually be a spice blend or seasoning paste. For example, when I cooked Fiji, a nation dominated by Indian cuisine – a side effect of colonization, I put homemade curry powder on the menu.
Why did you start blogging?
Several things came together at once – I needed a creative outlet, my daughter was just starting out on solids, and I was thinking about all the negative things happening around the world. At the most basic – I wanted better for myself, my family, and the world.
For myself: I wanted a creative outlet that would help me out of my cooking rut. After moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma – after a lifetime of travel – I missed the food I grew up with – trying new dishes, new flavors. I am more landlocked in the Midwest than I’ve ever been before. Global Table Adventure has been a great way to continue learning and growing, while also being fortunate enough to stay home with my daughter.
For my family: I wanted to find a way to get my impossibly picky husband to eat better, especially since we had a daughter about to start solids. Children mimic parents and I find that dinner can be a a big struggle if one parent refuses to try certain foods. I also wanted my daughter to learn to appreciate other cultures, other ways. By growing up with one meal from every country in the world, her mind will naturally be curious and open.
For the world: The news would have you believe that there is nothing but war, poverty, and tragedy in the world. With so much focus on the negative, people tend to feel divided by their differences, instead of united by their similarities. I believe that Global Table Adventure’s uplifting focus on the food and culture of countries around the world will help people appreciate and come together over our common humanity. This is why I am dedicated to only sharing positive stories; there’s enough people focusing on the negative.
What is your earliest memory in the kitchen?
My mom used to give me pieces of her pie dough to make my own creations. There were no restrictions – I could put anything in my little pies …. spices from the cupboards, leftovers from the refrigerator, and whatever I could rummage up in the pantry. I loved, loved, loved the creativity. Of course, many times I went too far and my treats were inedible (apples, raisins, cereal and cayenne pepper, anyone?). Still, the bug to “create” with no fear of the outcome (or being “wrong”) took firm root in those early escapades.
Who or what influences you in the kitchen today?
Well, I suppose I could put some fancy answer about a celebrity chef or a movie, but here’s the truth… I can’t cook in a messy kitchen. I just can’t do it. My heart starts beating too fast and my skin begins to crawl. Part of the problem is that I have a small kitchen. My mom is the neatest person I know and, so, I channel her organizational skills at least once a day. Turns out I’m rather particular. For example, I don’t use round spice jars because they twist and turn, making it hard to find what I’m looking for – I use French Square spice jars instead. They stay put and the labels are always facing the right direction. Considering I have two entire drawers full of spices (one for grinds and one for whole spices), I can’t imagine what kind of mess I’d have otherwise. I must be doing something right because this last year I’ve received several comments on how much “neat stuff” I manage to tuck away inside my tiny kitchen. And I don’t mean gadgets – an item doesn’t make it past my door unless they serve more than one purpose. I don’t even have a microwave or a toaster (the stovetop and broiler work just fine and save me half my counter space).
Everyone has a favorite recipe that we just can’t re-create the same way as our mom, grandma etc. Which recipe is this for you?
Probably my mom’s torta de riso – or rice cakes. She made them with fried onion, pork fat, fresh herbs, plenty of eggs, cheese, and day-old rice. There isn’t an exact recipe – she just throws it together and bakes until golden and slices in squares. I would eat this until my belly button popped out, if I could. Anyway, for some reason I just can’t get it to be as epic as her versions.
Which of your recipes is your favorite?
That’s like trying to pick a favorite child… impossible. I do have a section devoted to several favorites, however… (find them here!)
What was your least successful recipe attempt?
I have had a longstanding battle with yucca (aka cassava and manioc). Nearly any recipe I’ve tried with yucca – from any part of the world – has failed. I had to cook almost half the world before I finally got one of those recipes right. The recipe that finally worked? Cassava Fries. Yum.
Which kitchen tool couldn’t you live without?
I’m starting to think it’s my Middle Eastern coffee pot. Because I don’t have a microwave, I use it for everything… melting butter, reheating sauces, frothing hot milk, and so forth. It almost never makes it back in the cabinet, that’s how much I use it. I much prefer it to lugging out one of my heavy pots -even the smallest one is too big for these little jobs.
Last meal. What would yours be?
Today I’d go for ravioli, two cannoli, and a big red rooibos latte.