|Photo: Rajesh Kumar Singh, AP|
Followers of this blog know that we enjoy preparing, sharing, and tasting foods. We also like to learn about the geography of food: if food did not have a geography, everyone would eat the same stuff. Since that clearly is not true, we can learn a lot about geography from food -- and a lot about food from geography.
It is also true that all of us have "ordinary" foods and "celebration" foods. One of the most common ways we mark special moments in time or special gatherings with other people -- or both -- is through the preparation of special foods. The foods that mark weddings, homecomings, religious or civic holidays, and the passing of seasons are not foods we could afford to prepare and consume every day.
The photograph above comes not from Casa Hayes-Boh, but from a nice little photo essay from National Geographic, describing celebratory foods from around the world.
We have actually made and/or eaten a few of the foods shown. I have not had the Vietnamese banh chung, which looks remarkably similar to Nicaraguan nacatamales, though I imagine the resemblance is superficial.
Because we are always looking for inspiration to try new foods -- and learn some geography along the way -- I am willing to bet that this blog will feature attempts at preparing at least a few of these dishes at home. Living near greater Boston, we can probably find others prepared more expertly and enjoyed in their cultural context nearby. This is especially true of the aforementioned banh chung; we have dabbled in pho, but we might leave this to the experts, at least the first time.
The photo essay includes one dish we are not likely to take up. Even though it is the most widely known food of my own heritage, we are not likely to be making or even sampling haggis any time soon. For any Scottish celebrations that arise, we will have to be satisfied with the beverage side of the menu!