Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Breakfasts of the World Wrap Up

The conclusion of my nine month long breakfasts of the world project is bittersweet. I'm happy to be able to eat a normal breakfast that doesn't include deep deep fried fish or lemon porridge. I'm sad that it's over, and that I no longer will have to try a strange dish every morning. Most of all, I'm proud of myself for sticking with it until the end. It has taught me a lot about different cultures, traditions, and the foods eaten around the world. I've gotten to see into the lives of many different people groups through my adventures in the kitchen. It has opened my eyes to how awesome and diverse the world God created is.

People eat a lot of different things around the globe. Asian countries like Vietnam and Iran have rice dishes. Caribbean countries like Bermuda and Grenada have bakes or fish. Pacific islands like the Cook Islands have fruit or coconut inspired dishes. In Africa porridges are a staple in places like Uganda, while Northern Africa tends to eat things similar to breakfasts in the Middle East. Middle Eastern breakfasts often include beans, eggs, or flatbreads like the dishes I cooked for Yemen and Gaza. South American breakfasts are often times made up of some type of bread, whether it be a flatbread (Belize), roll (Chile), or cheese filled pastry (Bolivia). Breakfasts in European countries like Ireland and Austria utilize grains to made porridges, pancakes, or breads. Lastly, North American breakfasts can range from egg dishes from Mexico to syrupy waffles in Canada.

Throughout this journey, I have learned a lot about myself and my taste buds. I am more inclined to breakfasts from the Americas with a few exceptions. I don't think I could survive at all in Asia. After all the islands, I am sick of coconut. I did not like it to begin with, and I am totally disgusted with it now. I found a new love for rye breads, and have learned to make many different cheeses. Below are lists of my favorite and least favorite breakfasts along with some of my amazing accomplishes and epic fails.

Favorite Dishes
The whole point of this project was to broaden my taste buds and try something new. I certainly did try new things, but I'm not so sure that my taste buds were altered all that much. I found that I enjoyed the more 'normal' breakfasts the most, but I did discover that I enjoyed some things that I would never have thought that I would like. Some of my favorites included the following:
  • Sinangag na Kanin and Pandesal: My reception to this Filipino breakfast of rice and bread was split between the two recipes. I really didn't like the rice, but the pandesal was amazing. I have actually made the bread rolls again quite a few times. They were that good.
  • Pogacsa: Hungarian cheese biscuits? Yum!
  • Fatut: This was probably my favorite breakfast of all. Who would have thought Yemen would have such a great recipe? It was easy too. Basically it was chunks of pita scrambled with eggs.
  • Huevos Oaxaca: This Mexican egg dish was to die for. I especially liked the crispy fried tortillas.
  • Koko Laisa: I'm normally not a fan of the rice dishes, but the American Samoans know what they are doing with their koko laisa. It's chocolate, after all. How could you go wrong?
  • Liechtenstein Bread: I'm normally not a fan of white bread, but this loaf was amazing. My dad always talks about the great bread in Europe. If it's anything like this, I agree.
  • Pupusa: These cheese tortillas are a favorite in El Salvador. They have a whole day dedicated to them. I don't wonder why. They are delicious.
  • Batbout and Amlou: Yummy Moroccan flatbread with homemade almond spread makes a delicious breakfast. Even my mom loved it.

Least Favorite Dishes
I'm a picky person, and this project has reminded me of that again and again. Also, some people just eat nasty things for breakfast. Some of those dishes I choked down are not suited to be served anywhere to anyone under any circumstance. Here are some foods that I will never eat again:
  • Cachapas (pictured above): These Venezuelan thick corn pancakes were not for me.
  • Emasi Etinkhobe Temmbila: This recipe for buttermilk grits came from Swaziland. I don't know if it was just me, but it tasted rancid. Yuck!
  • Foutou: The Ivory Coast has a lot of plantains. I don't like plantains, so I didn't like foutou.
  • Cassava Porridge: This Angolan dish was my first taste of cassava, and it almost ruined the African staple for me. I think it was more of the texture than the taste that got to me.
  • Saltfish Salad: Fish should never be on the menu for breakfast. Especially when accompanied by raw onions. The people of the British Virgin Islands must either have really good toothpaste or no friends.
  • Ai-Manas: The people of East Timor sure to know how to clear your sinuses with this hot dish. I had to throw it away after a bite or two, and my mouth burnt all day.
  • Lemon Porridge: The people of Burkina Faso have my respect if they can manage to choke this stuff down every morning. It tasted like lemony grits mixed with peanut butter, onion, and spinach sound like it would. Not exactly my idea of a yummy breakfast.

Some dishes were really hard to make. I was proud of myself for putting together the more complicated ones. Here is a list of some of the hardest/ prettiest breakfasts that I managed to put together:
  • Pan de Casabe: This Cuban dish that utilizes grated cassava was not as hard to make as it was time consuming. Grating the cassava took a lot of arm strength. I was really pleased with the results, and this recipe changed my mind about cassava for the better.
  • Croissants et Chocolat Chaud: I never thought I would be able to make my own croissants, but with a few hours' work I got it done. Harper even said the French treat tasted better than the Pillsbury crescents.
  • Cheese Burek (pictured above): My Croatian "snails" were so cool looking, and they tasted great too.
  • Adjaruli Khachapuri: My Georgian cheese boats with an egg in the center were pretty awesome looking, if I may say so myself. They tasted pretty good too.
  • Humitas: These Peruvian tamales turned out perfectly. They sure did take a long time and some practice at wrapping the corn husks, but it was well worth it.

Once again, some dishes were very hard to make. A lot of the time I failed, but it was all a learning experience. I learned what not to sub for certain foods. Also, I found that I am good at forgetting or rushing through steps. Sometimes my failures turned out to be fairly decent tasting, but that was definitely not always the case. Below are some of my failed attempts at recreating a dish:
  • Appa: Also called hoppers, this Sri Lankan flat bread is supposed to puff up. Mine stayed flat and tasted like fermented rice.
  • Baton de Manioc: I tried to sub tapioca for cassava in the Gabonese dish. It didn't work.
  • Spanakopita: If I had not tried to make my own filo, this Grecian recipe would have turned out great. It's one time when homemade is not better.
  • Sesame Seed Bread (pictured above): I'm not really sure what happened to this Bulgarian bread, but it was all crunchy and dry. It still had a nice taste, but I think it needed more liquid.
  • Vaisu ta Moko: A bad substitution combined with not much information about Tokelau led to this coconut recipe not turning out.
I hope my journey has inspired you to take on your own cultural quest. Maybe you're not adventurous enough to eat beans and fish for breakfast, but I hope you can get something out of all my posts. I know I did. It has been a lot of fun. Now I have to decide what project to pursue next....

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