Gastrodiplomacy: Sharing American Food With The World

Often times, it’s people that bring food to different places. But once in a while, food can take a person around the whole world.

JJ Harder’s journey to becoming a gourmand, as well as a diplomat, was not always clear-cut. He recalls growing up eating frozen foods in Omaha, Nebraska. College taught him how to cook, since living with a bunch of guys entailed a not-so healthy diet. After returning from the Peace Corps in Bolivia, and being introduced new foods while there, he was craving something more. He took it upon himself to visit every single restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska, which ultimately led him to become a food critic for the local newspaper. read more

Homeland Harvests: Growing Vegetables With Memories

Come autumn, my mother starts acting like her seventy-something year-old self – that is, grouchy, itchy, and nostalgic. The season has always been an anomaly to her tropical body and soul. What was up with the brightly colored leaves? Taunting her with their false heat of oranges and reds while the air was brisk on her white sari. She never liked autumn, not one bit. But that’s mostly because the arrival of autumn meant one thing – the waning of her beloved garden. It was where my mother preserved the many tastes, textures, and smells of our homeland. read more

Sephardic Cuisine: Passover on the Bosporus

The story of how a South-Asian American Muslim foodie, a Jewish Latino Literature professor, and an Irish-Catholic physicist, amongst several other hyphenated attendees, gathered for Passover Seder may seem farfetched at first thought. But then again, we’re talking about Byzantium… I mean, Constantinop – ermm, Istanbul! In the king of all crossroads cities, at the terminus of the Silk Road itself- where seekers and nomads were already roaming rife for millennia, it’s not too hard to imagine such a gathering. Many came searching for trade, some came for refuge, while a few others still come to the city for things all-too ethereal for words. At times, they came together – the silk merchant with the pilgrim, the janissary with refugees – partaking in each other’s journeys to the city. I was no different. read more

Damas: A Welcoming Respite On the Aegean Shore

At its nearest, the shores of Turkey are a mere five kilometers away from the Greek island of Lesbos, close enough for the people of Lesbos to witness lines of boats heading towards their island. At first a trickle at the onset of the Syrian Civil War, the flow of refugees – along with other regional migrants from the surrounding nations – swelled to many boatloads, arriving everyday for the past couple of years. For the Strait of Mytilini, however, this is an old story. read more

I Do: Marrying Food with Traditions Worldwide

In an increasingly globalized world, more and more weddings have become multicultural affairs. Guests from multiple continents eat food from varying cuisines, all at the same reception. Whether ceremonies indulge in extravagance or find solace in simplicity, Nilou Nouri ensures cultural traditions are preserved to grant newlyweds the happily-ever-afters of their dreams. read more

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