I am bursting with a new idea, which I am going to share with you tonight, because I am really bad at keeping my ideas to myself. Normally I share them with everybody I meet way too soon, and then when I realise the idea is too difficult, or way more work than I realised, I have to shamefully confess to everyone the next time they ask "How's your new project going?", that I have um...postponed it for a while (i.e. quit).
So I am doing it again tonight. However, there are two things which I believe will make this idea last. Firstly, it's been on the boil in my head for years. So it isn't really new as such. Secondly, I reckon that if I am held accountable to thousands of people out there, then I will be more likely to follow through. Shall we see?
Right, here goes.
As a child of the Empire (and I mean by that the British Empire, not the Spanish or Roman), I have been brought up with a myriad of food influences in my daily life. My grandparents were born in Kenya and South Africa. Their parents came from Scotland, England and Germany. My parents were South African through and through, but with a strong British influence rather than Dutch-Afrikaans. However, we like all kinds of South African food. I have also travelled widely, and have lived in the United States. My parents were adventurous with their food, and whenever we travelled we ate the local cuisine from local places. Often when we came home, we would cook and eat similar dishes. I have grown up eating Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Irish, American, German, Afrikaans, Malay, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, French, and Thai food as part of my daily life, with a good dose of British meat and three veg thrown in.
I love that the global community has open its arms wide and embraced dishes from all nations as their own. The English national dish is now heralded as Tikka Masala (a curried, grilled meat dish originating in Indian cuisine). The South African national dish is Bobotie, a baked minced beef dish with dried fruit and curry spices and a savoury custard topping, which originated from the Indonesian slaves brought into the Cape by the Dutch in the 1600s. Mexican food plays a big part in the daily life of Americans, and most people in the Western world now recognise an Enchilada from Nachos.
Now you're wondering what I'm up to. As all these different foods have played such a big part in my life as a food-lover, I wanted to look more closely at the different dishes that are seen as signature foods for the different nations that were once part of the Empire. I would like to find out a bit about their history, and how they developed into the popular and widely-eaten dishes of the global culture we live in. Mostly, I would like to look at the variety of recipes and come up with my own family-friendly, nutritious and, most importantly, authentic version of each dish that any mum or dad could make at home with ingredients from their local store. I will be cooking a main course and dessert myself, in my kitchen on Fridays with photos and comments!
If you would like to broaden your horizons a bit, or perhaps just learn a bit more about the background of meals you take for granted, please join me every Friday, starting this week. I will be posting the weekly dish with an ingredient shopping list a couple of days before if you want to cook along with me on Fridays. This would be a great opportunity to cook with your family too, and teach them a bit about the country where their meal came from (homeschoolers alert!!).
Check back in tomorrow to see the dish for this Friday and a shopping list. I am so excited about doing this. I hope I can inspire some of you to come exploring with me!