I have lived my entire life in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. While I love Utah, it’s pretty monochromatic culturally. Throughout most of my childhood my parents hosted international students, so through these students I was able to learn to respect, appreciate and love the Japanese, Thai, and Saudi Arabian cultures.
As time goes on I recognize more and more how much of the world I haven’t seen. The rare vacations I have taken have been within the contiguous United States with the few exceptions of Alberta, Canada and Tijuana, Mexico. I absolutely love and cherish the memories of the vacations I have taken, but mostly throughout my life resources have been limited and opportunities to travel have been few.
Because of all this, I am trying to learn and appreciate cultures using the means I do have while staying at home- through universal language of food. I would love to travel the world to experience the food and beauty of other countries, but until then I have my kitchen as a start. I want to explore Morocco through tagine dishes, taste Spain through paella and travel to the furthest tip of Argentina through empanadas. (Thanks Ana!)
Sunday was the first day of Hanukkah so I’ve been thinking a lot about traditional Jewish food. Judaism is not something that I know a whole lot about but I am choosing to celebrate this holiday my own way, by spending the day today learning about customs, creating traditional Jewish dishes, and remembering why I am thankful for cultural diversity. For dinner I made brisket, potatoes and carrots all braised in some red wine with challah on the side. I had never made challah so it was a fun project for a Sunday.
I got my challah recipe here. I was doubling the recipe but accidentally quadrupled one ingredient by mistake. So I quickly doubled the rest of the ingredients again. It was quite the gamble because I had never made this type of bread before so I was not sure if it would be forgiving. Apart from being incredibly messy and getting flour EVERYWHERE, I think it paid off. I ended up with 4 beautiful Elsa braids of dough. The bread is absolutely delicious! Crusty on the outside but pillowy and soft on the inside, slightly sweet with enough flavor to still be able to taste it underneath a thick layer of homemade jam. Seriously divine!