Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo

410-641-0039

Eat like a nomad and try some global grub

Wanderlust rocks my very foundation as I awaken. Did I
dream about the British Isles? Was I thinking of Provence as I nodded off? Am I
really itching to travel to the Germany or the Pacific Rim again?

No,
it is the after-effect of teaching global cuisine, a fascinating subject that
confuses the issue of ethnicity in food and then attempts to explain the
amalgamation of various cultures into one, synergistic body of work.

In
studying the foods of the world, one cannot help but note the vast and numerous
paths of migration, amalgamation and destruction left in the wake of
exploration, trade, conquest and discovery.

The
Nomads, Vandals, Alans, Moors, British, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Asians,
Goths and Normans were all known to explore mightily in the name of trade or
conquest. And with them came the foods and cooking techniques of their
homeland. As the groups moved from land to land, the culinary treasures of
untold worlds were combined into a one-pot meal.

In
many cases, the nomadic sprawl entailed oppressive occupation and the
usurpation of native populations and there is little that anyone can do to fix
that. We are talking about events took place hundreds if not thousands of years
ago.

Some
countries, such as Thailand and Japan, never succumbed to colonial powers.
Interestingly, and with great foresight, Japan shut its doors to outsiders
after the Portuguese brought them Tempura. Maybe they envisioned themselves
getting a tad too chubby with all of that fried food. As a result, modern Japan
boasts 97 percent ethnic Japanese among its citizenry.

The
commonality of food language is another intriguing notion in studying global
grub. Most think of curries and chutneys in regards to Indian food, and it then
becomes easy to draw the line to Britain, as India was a colony, with their
love of curries, chutneys and even fish sauce, aka Worcestershire (fermented
anchovy goo).

Recently,
I had the pleasure of dining with a Welshman and an English woman at the
monthly meeting of our local Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association. Throughout our
dinner conversation, we were reminded of the great trading empire that was
Britain, the refinement of dining in the British Isles as opposed to the
perceived mild barbarism of American table etiquette.

We
discussed the misconception of puddings, namely Yorkshire, a buttery popover
accompaniment to the ubiquitous rib roast that was and is our traditional
Christmas dinner. How could it be pudding? After all, the consistency is hardly
akin to ours.

And
then the conversation managed to turn to braised meatballs and a raisin-sponge
cake pudding. As you can imagine, the topic of etymology was lively and the
difference in culture and wordplay was brought to light through scintillating
discourse.

And
this is exactly why I implore my students to travel; to learn other cultures
and appreciate them. By doing so, you will not only be singing that bothersome
Disney song about a small world, but you will also grow in terms of your
self-knowledge and worldview. Methinks it’s time to pack my bags once again.

Yorkshire
Pudding

1
1/2 cup AP flour

1
1/2 cup whole milk

1
tsp. salt

6
eggs

1/2-1
cup pan drippings from the rib roast

Step
1: Combine all ingredients except the drippings

Step
2: Leaving the drippings in the roasting pan, put back in oven and make very
hot but not smoking

Step
3: Pour the batter into the pan evenly and bake until golden and risen

Step
4: Remove and serve with the roast and fresh gravy