Is 2018 really behind us? It feels like we started 2019 without much warning!
On that note, does anyone else find it insane that we go from the holidays right to January? There’s all this pressure to start the new year with a bang! Have a plan, and follow it! I started my January without a plan (I’m just a rebel). But I’ve now finally got myself into the swing of things. I’ve wrapped up my 2018, and I’m ready to go for 2019!
So, let’s jump to the point of this post!
I am so excited to share with you the next project for this blog! As you probably can already tell, I love food! I also love to explore all things food! Whether it’s cooking, baking, smelling, photographing, the culture around it, and of course tasting food. So….drumroll please,
I will be doing a new series – the series will explore food from around the world! I’ll be exploring all things food – with the goal of exploring it one country at a time!
The name of this series will be:
(you know like globe trotting, but with food)
FOOD IS MY BUCKET LIST
As a child, every time someone asked me what I wanted to do in life, my response was that I wanted to visit every single country in the world! That was my entire bucket list. I knew that there was a lot I didn’t know, and I thought traveling was the way to learn more. Or maybe it was because I thought visiting new places meant more vacations!
Over time, I’ve realized that traveling to every single country in the world would be an incredibly expensive, and maybe even impossible endeavour for me. Plus, the way the world is going, there are definitely going to be countries I will never be able to visit. Mostly due to political bitch fests or greed, but I’ll have to make my peace with that.
To date I’ve visited only 14 countries. With 193 countries around the world, in my 28 years of life, I’ve only visited 7% of the world!
I started to think about what I enjoyed most about traveling. I realized, a lot of what I most enjoy about travelling has revolved around food – from desserts I want to try, to street foods I want to taste to the markets of local ingredients I wanted to experience.
If travel planning is left up to me, I’ll start with a list of places to eat at, and then schedule other attractions around these meals. I do love exploring the nature, history, architecture and learning about the people when I travel. But food is definitely a focus! As great as it would be go to every country in the world, it would also be amazing to explore food from around the world.
Thankfully, I can actually do that myself, right from my own kitchen! I’m not after the fine dining type restaurants, but rather those hole-in-the-wall type places, the ones that locals would recommend! (I.e.: if there’s a line up out the door or that it’s highly rated Yelp or Zomato).
I haven’t talked a whole lot on this blog about myself. My family also comes from a background. On the surface, we look Indian or Pakistani but my family has moved around A LOT. My mom’s family has roots in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. My dad’s family has roots in India, Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan. I myself was born in Dubai, and now live in Canada. I honestly struggle to answer the question, “Where are you from?” every time I’m asked. Because truly, I am a combination of many different countries.
Through all the moving around, my family, on both my mom’s and dad’s side has discovered food from many regions. Family gatherings often feature Burmese dishes, or sweets that are traditionally Bengali.
I, myself grew up in Dubai, UAE. Before you get too excited, this is before Dubai was the shiny, gold plated, tourist city it is today. But what Dubai has always been, is a hub for people all around the world. If you’ve ever been to Dubai, you know that you can find anything and everything – including food from any cuisine you can think about! Growing up, we ate a lot of Lebanese, Indian, Syrian, Pakistani, British, Chinese, Greek food, with a side of McDonalds of course! With all these options, I was exposed to a variety of flavours and tastes that I otherwise would not have known.
Fortunately, I currently live in Toronto. There is a lot of diversity in its food offerings. What makes Toronto unique is that, here we don’t have food that is quintessentially Torontonian (to my knowledge). If I had a friend who visited me, I would not be able to take them out for a “Torontonian” meal, but there is no shortage in options for food. There are restaurants around the city, that make all kinds of cuisines – Japanese, Thai, French, Ethiopian, Indian, Brazilian, Greek (I could really keep going).
The best part of all that we do have available is that they do all these cuisines so well! You don’t get some bastardized version of the dish, but rather food that is trying its best to represent where it came from! That is truly what makes Toronto, a very unique city: thanks to its diverse citizens who are from around the globe and have come to call Toronto home.
Food as a concept is very much tied to culture. It’s no surprise that despite all the technology today, we don’t just have our meals through a drip or meal replacement shakes. But rather we enjoy eating, and we treat meal times as sacred rituals. It is ingrained in every part of our lives – whether it is eating around the dinner table together as a family every night, or planning social events around specific meals: meeting friends for brunch or dinner.
There are even certain foods that we think about for special occasions like Biryani at weddings (for Pakistanis) or cake for birthdays in the Western culture, or popcorn as an essential movie going treat!
I love trying new food! Since I’ve started to cook more (part of that adulting thing I’m doing), I’ve tried to replicate the foods I love to eat. I love to learn about new techniques, different ingredients, and spices that people around the world use in their foods. I’ve also become curious as to which ingredients make a dish, from a certain place, what combination of spices make something Greek, or Indian, or Japanese?
So here, I’ll be sharing my personal project, with you. I will share with you what I learn about food from different places and along the way we may even learn a bit about each place’s culture or history. The plan is to showcase every single country via a series of posts:
- Laying the groundwork – a post that’ll help us learn what makes it -ian, -ish, or -ese; it’ll featuring spices, key ingredients and cooking techniques
- Let’s Feast – a look into how people celebrate and socialize with food – who knows I might even throw a few dinner parties to try all the food!
- Coffee or Tea – I love caffeine, and every country has a preference, coffee or tea – so let’s seek out the best caffeinated drinks around the world!
- Bringing it home – Recipe links from around the globe, showcasing other bloggers, cookbooks, etc. – that I’ve personally tried – and so you can too!
- A spoonful of sugar – No meal is ever complete without dessert! I cannot write about food, without exploring at desserts!
A few side notes
- .I can’t promise authenticity – For the most part, authenticity in food hard to accomplish, even when you are from the particular region or country. (I like the way Thrillist talks about it).
Even I, as a Canadian-Pakistani, would not be able to give you an accurate depiction of authentic Pakistani food. My family has moved around many different places, and experienced the local cultures. But when we cook foods from those countries, we’re often making our own versions of these foods. However, there are often key elements, that help replicate the tastes of the foods from those regions.
- I’ll be posting a master list so you can go through and check off the countries that I’ve “visited”. Yes, this is to mostly satisfy my incessant need to write things down, just so I can cross them off (anyone else?).
As of right now, there’s 193 countries, around the world – lots of ground to cover – literally. Let’s get started!
P.S.: If you have any recipes your friends or family enjoy or have any insight about any of these food nations, do share them with me!
Follow along! And let me know which countries you’d like to see me explore!