It's a new journey
I am about to do something crazy. So crazy that some of my family may look at me with that side-eye with a frown or the side-eye with a grin. Either way, it’s about to be interesting.
I am going to cook my way around the world. Yes, I did this in Culinary School but that was guided by a Chef Instructor, and the dishes were split up amongst the classmates at the table. This time, it will be all me and maybe an occasional minion every now and then. I want to cook a dish from every country in the world.
Easy? Nope! Adventurous? Yep! Challenging? Yep! But, I’m determined.
I've always wanted to travel the world and my mom helped to get that dream started when she joined the Army. We started small with traveling from Chicago to her first assignment in New York. I can remember visiting the city and enjoying some street food. It was Jamaican food and at that time I kept hearing West Indies. Now, I had no idea what that was but I knew it was delicious and I loved it. After about 3 years, we were moved across the globe to Germany. This is where my love of cooking grew stronger. I mean, I enjoyed food and I enjoyed cooking after watching my granny, granddad, and one person in particular…my great-granddad. As a child, I truly believed my great-granddad was the creator of frozen meals. More about that later. It was just something about being in a totally different country as a teenager. We explored Germany, Austria, France, and Czechoslovakia. It was the first time I've ever had mayonnaise that tastes just like ketchup and the famous jagerschnitzel. Oh my…that's some good food. But, the kicker was when my granddad came to visit and we went to a restaurant that served jagerschnitzel. We weren't able to finish everything so he asked for containers so we could take our meals home. The next day, he took the leftovers, added some ingredients, and made a different meal out of it. That's when I learned how to take a dish and put your own twist on it. He told me to never be scared to try something new…it's just food.
When we left Germany, we were moved to the South…Oklahoma. Now, I could talk a whole lot about this place but that's for a different type of blog 😂. Let's just say, I was introduced to a few southern traits that I have never known about and I will discuss that along the journey. My granddad was originally from Mississippi and he always cooked southern-style food. I just didn't know a whole lot about it. Like, this man would cook possum, coon, deer, and more. I wasn't eating that. I drew a line where my “try something new” stopped 😂. After about a year being in Oklahoma, I joined the Navy and was moved to California. Though I was stationed in California for my whole 20 years, I was still able to travel the world by sea. Let me tell you, I tried something from every single place we visited and I would then try to recreate some of those dishes. Here are the places I was able to visit while I served in the Navy, in no particular order:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Seychelles, Africa
- Phuket, Thailand
- Pattaya Bay, Thailand
- Abu Dhabi
- Sydney, Australia
- Perth, Australia
- Adelaide, Australia
- Albany, Australia
- Chennai, India
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Mazatlan, Mexico
After the military, I decided to get my Culinary degree because it's not just about grabbing ingredients and making a dish but it's about learning the different flavor profiles and the different techniques that are used to make those dishes. I tend to have moments when I'm craving ramen from Japan, or jagerschnitzel from Germany, and being able to make it myself is really fulfilling. Now, I want to take it a step further, learn more, and cook more. I know this will be a challenging journey but it's going to be a fun and interesting journey. I want to take you with me on this journey as well. It'll be challenging as I know it's hard to get certain ingredients in my area but fun & interesting to see how I can put my own twist on these dishes.
To get started, I will guide my way through the United States. I am going to take a little chapter from my Culinary School and work my way through 11 regions of the United States. I may leave California as the very last region I cook throughout this entire journey just to wrap it all up. We shall see how this goes. The first region I will start with will be the New England region. I wasn't able to cook the one thing I wanted to in school, so now I get the chance to create my version of New England Clam Chowder in my own kitchen. Are you ready? Stay tuned…
For now, check out how I made this Corned Beef & Cabbage, which is very similar to the New England Boiled Dinner.