I know, I know. I need to quit coming up with new features and start cooking things. I get it, I do. Tomorrow, I promise, I'll be posting an actual recipe.
But, for the moment, I digress, because I've been a bit inspired. I noticed lately that several food bloggers have posted a list of 100 cooking tasks or foods they want to try, and are checking them off one by one. I was planning on doing that, but I honestly couldn't think of 100 foods on my "to attempt" list. But then, I got an idea. Instead of foods, why not do 100 cuisines?
I encounter international food a lot. In my own fictional writing (much of which is historical or contemporary multicultural) I'm always having to do a Google to find out what people actually eat in the region where my characters are living. When I read, I often am intrigued by descriptions of food in memoirs or novels or historical accounts. And of course, when I travel, I can't help but eat a ton, pick up as many cookbooks as I can carry, and immerse myself in the local foodie culture as much as possible.
As some of you may know, I am an avid student of and activist for human rights. I'm studying law, but I don't plan to practice; instead I want to be a human rights worker in some capacity. I think one of the biggest challenges when it comes to human rights is cultural misunderstanding. People resent it when another culture gets thrust on them, and when people from other cultures make assumptions about their own. Modern international human rights and its enforcement mechanisms often seem like a Western invention for those from non-Western cultures - and who could blame them? Treaties are often written in the language of Western human rights scholarship, according to Western priorities, and enforcement/activism/education is frequently done in Western ways. But human rights, I believe, is an international concept. It can come up in any language, in any culture. The key is respect, and recognising that at as individual, with a cultural background of our own, none of us can truly understand where another person is coming from - but we can learn from them.
To me, this is the beauty of food, and all it stands for. Companionship, welcoming, community, culture... so many aspects go into the sharing of nourishment. Sitting down for a meal with someone different from yourself and just listening can be an amazing experience. And of course, with the conversation, there is the food and drink, which can be a point of connection, a means of cultural transmission, a very strong association in memory, and of course, the material that sustains life. What could be more powerful?
So now, I'll get off my soapbox, and explain the damn feature! Below is a list of one hundred different countries, and a few regions stuck on the end. I wasn't exactly sure how to make the adjective of every country I chose, or how to spell some of them, so feel free to make corrections! Also, I wish I knew how to do tables in Blogger - big apologies for the long string of text! But anyway, I'm going to try to make a dish from each of these countries and regions, in no particular order, with no particular time limit. When I post a recipe, I will try to include a little bit about the country and its cuisine, as well as where the recipe comes from. I'll also be linking to places you can learn more about human rights activism. If you have any recipe suggestions, especially if you hail from one of these countries, let me know!
8. South African
73. Sri Lankan
87. New Zealand
99. Costa Rican
ps - I know Kashmir is a region, but I've made Indian food before, so I put it in instead :-)