Friday, October 17, 2008

Food from Around the World

Go check out the wonderful round up of recipes over at Bellini Valli's in recognition of World Food Day. Together with Ivy, from Kopiaste, Bellini Valli is raising awareness about world food security issues. Future plans are in the works to continue raising awareness about these food security and I know Giz is working with these ladies on these plans.

The premise of this event was to have submission of family or regional favourites that used local and seasonal ingredients. The goal of this event is to create a "conga line" of food, where a long line up of dishes can feed everyone on the street. The hope is that this conga line will continue to grow to reach neighbourhoods, communities, cities, regions, and countries.

There is a great range of dishes from a variety of cultures. Go check it out!

Sticking with the theme of food and culture, I wanted to share a bit of a hodge podge of some recent experiences I've had with food and culture. Although food is only one element of a culture, it is (with a bit of effort) accessible to those from other cultural communities. Plus, in some ways, it creates an appreciate for or a small understanding of a cultural community other than the one with which you primarily identify.

Although Canada is a multicultural country, only French and English are given official language status. This means, for example that food products are required to contain information in both French and English. For most of the country, the use of the second official language is a rarity. But for many, bilingualism is a reality of every day life. Usually, but not always, fluent bilingualism is a skill held by Francophones. Being a minority in Canada, the chance that they will use (and learn) English is greater than it is for Anglophones.

If you watch this video, you can listen to a small portion of an ice cream-making demonstration I went to a while ago. The woman giving the demonstration says everything in both English and French with ease. Granted, even for those who are bilingual, this type of fluidity between languages requires practice.

Later that day, R and I went to a local Greek Festival.

How many festivals can you buy entire roast goats at? This one, for sure. Since we weren't really into bringing a full goat home we took advantage of the gyros.

Here's my question though....If Greek salad doesn't include lettuce - why is there lettuce in the Greek salad at a Greek festival?

Last, but not least....Below are a video and pictures from my first time trying hot pot. I actually had no idea what it was when a friend invited us over for dinner. She was excited to share hot pot with us. My first thought was....hmmm...sounds illegal. Turns out - it's not. Plus, it's really good.

Wikepedia says that "hot pot, or less commonly Chinese fondue, refers to several Chinese varieties of steamboat stew. It consists of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood".

Here's what the setup looked like:

Our hot pot included meatballs (already in the broth), shrimp, thinly sliced beef and squid. There were also mushrooms, baby bok choy and noodles.



Anonymous said...

I need to start eating with you people.

Bunny said...

I saw the round up the recipes are wonderful and so many different ones from around the world! Amazing! I would like to participate in the Thanksgiving Round up when we all celebrate American Thanksgiving together with recipes. The video, why is the hot pot divided in the middle?? Everything looked so good! With the ingredients being veggies and thin beef and seafood I bet everything was tender and full of flavor!

alexandra's kitchen said...

Oh my gosh this looks like so much fun! I used to order something like this at a Vietnamese restaurant in Philly. It was so delicious. You don't happen to have a recipe do you?

Cakelaw said...

Very interesrting - I have never heard of "hot pot" in this context before.

Ivy said...

Psychgrad, about the Anglophones I must say that this happens all over the world. As English is spoken all over the world they do not bother to learn another language. In Greece our children have to learn English until they are proficient with the language and at least another European language usually French, German, Italian or Spanish, otherwise they are considered illiterate.
About Greek salad. In Greece we have lots of kinds of salads and I have explained in a post what a Greek Salad is:

If you want to eat a salad with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, feta, oregano, olive oil and kalamata olives you will have to ask for a "horiatiki salad".

PG said...

bunny - good point - the division in the middle allowed our hosts to use one side and R and I used the other side. So I guess...reduce the spread of germs? I would imagine that the hot pots would differ in their size and divisions.

alexandra's kitchen - I can look into it. I think it's just a general soup broth.

Ivy - Yes. I'm well aware of the use of English as an international language and that bi- or multi-lingualism is a reality of life for the majority of the world's population. In this post, I was just talking about bilingualism in Canada.

I guess my confusion about Greek salad is that I've read bloggers who are quite passionately against Greek salad with lettuce in it (or at least the practice of calling it Greek salad). So - if that's the case, why is there lettuce in the salad at a Greek festival?

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Some people get very passionate about what you call a dish and what the ingredients are. In my food philosphy call it what you want as long as you don't call me late for dinner...Ivy and I are looking forward to Giz joining us for our world hunger events. Ivy already has a wonderful second event planned that we will hear about soon.

glamah16 said...

That old Greel salad question. I love me some hotpot! That festival looks fun.

Melissa said...

I laughed at your Greek salad question. I think that's true. How funny.

There are plenty of places in the particular area I live to do hot pot, but I've always been a bit shy to go try it. I need to just gather up a few friends and do it. Thanks for the video and the explanation.

Núria said...

You are having such a great October month!!! All these trips and festivals!
Those goats look gorgeous, I would have gone for one... mmmmmm.
Concerning the salad question... Ivy really knows ALL about it :D

grace said...

i planned my month of august around the local greek festival. come on, all the gyros you can eat--how could i not?

priscilla joy said...

hi giz! thanks for always stopping by my blog - i always enjoy comments! that gyro looks deelicious!! yummy.

Lori said...

I love, love, love gyros. Had one last weekend!

I have always wanted to do hot pot. So funny Jenyu at Use Real Butter did Hot Pot too.

Rosie said...

The round-up was amazing for this event and many thanks to Val, Ivy and yourself for making us more aware! The festival looks so much fun.

Rosie x

Laura Paterson said...

Wow - that all looks so amazing!

Hot pots aren't common here, but I seem to remember seeing that in China they are split into two sides, one spicy, one not - and represent culinary yin and yang!

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