Many of us dream of jetting off to Bombay or Rome. Unfortunately, exciting excursions like these don’t often fit within the budget. But some friends in my ward have devised a way to get a taste of the exotic—literally—by forming an international dinner club.
With the help of Cook’s Illustrated’s cookbook The Best International Recipe: A Home Cook’s Guide to the Best Recipes in the World, my friends have experienced some of the tastiest dishes from France, Italy, Russia, and Japan. I was invited to join them on Africa/Middle East night, and it was a blast!
The menu included dishes like baba ghanoush (grill-roasted eggplant dip), muhammara (roasted red pepper-walnut dip), falafel (chickpea fritters), couscous (crushed semolina of hard wheat), lamb meatballs with yogurt dip, and West African sweet potato and peanut soup.
For most of my friends, it was their first time tasting these foods, and it was entertaining to watch their expressions. Having traveled to the Middle East a couple of times, the aromas and flavors triggered some of my fondest memories from those trips—shopping the markets of Cairo and walking the streets of Jerusalem—and made me anxious to have a new adventure. Thailand, perhaps.
I may not be able to visit Bangkok anytime soon. But in the meantime, I can enjoy some Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles with bean sprouts and tamarind sauce), larb (spicy ground pork cooked in lime juice, chili pepper, and fish sauce), and Massaman curry (a savory sauce made with curry paste, coconut milk, peanut sauce, potatoes, and carrots).
*To try some classic Lebanese recipes, including Eggplant Moussaka and Lentil Soup with Ruby Swiss Chard and Lemon, check out the Home Cooking section in the May/June 2011 issue of LDS Living.
Jamie Lawson is managing editor of LDS Living magazine. She loves traveling internationally, meeting fascinating people, and listening to 80s music. She enjoys tasting new foods but does not like to cook. She has two adorable boys who help her stay up to date on the latest technology, fashion trends, and catch phrases.