Our Women's International Cooking Collective has continued this fall (even with my lax blogging about it). And in 3 months, we've "visited" 3 unique countries, thanks to some wonderful guest chefs!
Guest Chef Adele, who I thought was a nurse-- but turns out she is a nurse while going to school at a culinary academy-- represented her country well. Adele, who originally comes from Florence, took on the challenge of teaching us to make an exquisite Mushroom Risotto and homemade Tiramisu. She gave me many great tips on how to improve my kitchen tools for optimal cooking ease (thank you!). Adele hopes to one day open her own Italian restaurant & wine import store here in the US. I'll be there opening night!!
UGANDA Guest Chef Rehema was our first Olympic chef... that's right, in passing conversation we somehow got out of her that she was in the Olympics ("just once"), representing her country as a runner! She is here in the US studying for a Masters in Public Health Education in hopes of returning home one day to help combat the AIDS crisis affecting her country (and claimed the life of her twin brother). We learned to cook Cassava, Sim-Sim Balls, Posho, Peanut Butter Black Beans, and 3 main dishes (a chicken, a fish, & a veg) that I still never learned the name for. Needless to say, Rehema was ambitious to teach us all she could.
Guest Chef Pari taught us how to utilize about a dozen different spices... and turn any dish into a flavor wonderland! Pari, who comes from my hometown, Fort Worth, is the first person in her family born in the US. Her family fled Afghanistan during the Soviet take-over, lived as refugees in Pakistan for a while, and eventually ended their flight in Texas. She serves on the board of a local mosque (even at her youthful university sophomore age) and was eager to tell us much about her religion as she cooked. She taught us to make Aloo Chole (Aloo means garbanzo bean, Chole means potato- so guess what the dish was?), Samosas, and a milky-sweet dessert called Seviya. Mmmm.
Starting this Women's International Cooking Collective has been such an adventure. I've learned so much from the women who have agreed to teach us. Not just about food, but about culture, and about "being a woman" in today's world. I love spending time with both the students and chefs. And I am so thankful that God has given me this unique way to use my house to create friendships and be a place of welcome & love!