Assignment 111: Germany

Location: Western Europe Population: 83.2 million Capital: Berlin Geography: A forested, mountainous nation with sea borders in the north Language: German Signature flavours: Pork, dairy, egg, bread, potato, asparagus, dill The Menu In an unprecedented turn of events, Eric and I swapped assignments. I had drawn Luxembourg and he had gotten Germany, but he was…

Assignment 110: Cyprus

Location: Mediterranean Sea Population: 1.2 million Capital: Nicosia Geography: An island nation in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Language: Greek, Turkish Signature flavours: Lamb, seafood, olives and olive oil, citrus, sesame, beans, cheese The Menu Eric’s foray into Cypriot cuisine was exhaustive. The more he learned about it, the more his menu grew. He…

Assignment 109: Iraq

Location: Middle East Population: 40.2 million Capital: Baghdad Geography: A mix of rocky desert, marsh, and mountainous regions Language: Arabic, Kurdish Signature flavours: Lamb, rice, citrus, dates, tomato, cardamom The Menu This fall, Eric and I moved into a new home. The kitchen was one of our favourite features when we first saw the house…

Assignment 108: Libya

Location: North AfricaPopulation: 7 millionCapital: TripoliGeography: A mostly flat desert nation on the MediterraneanLanguage: ArabicSignature flavours: Mutton, fenugreek, tomato, date, fig, citrus, nuts, olive oil The Menu Compared with its North African neighbours Tunisia, Egypt, and nearby Morocco, Libyan cuisine was more of a mystery for Eric when he headed into this assignment. One of…

Assignment 107: Comoros

Location: Off the east coast of Africa Population: 851,000 Capital: Moroni Geography: An archipelago of three main islands and many smaller islets Language: Comorian, French, Arabic Signature flavours: Seafood, rice, coconut, plantain, tropical fruit, beans The Menu If you have ever experienced seafood-induced anxiety, then you will know how I felt as I compiled my…

Assignment 106: Wales

Location: Great BritainPopulation: 3.2 millionCapital: CardiffGeography: A mountainous nation in south western Great BritainLanguage: Welsh, EnglishSignature flavours: Lamb, mutton, beef, dairy, leek, seafood, potato, cabbage The Menu Eric’s Wales assignment marked our first foray into British cuisine. He went in having heard only of Welsh rarebit — cheese on toast — which he learned was…

Assignment 104: Cuba

Location: CaribbeanPopulation: 11.2 millionCapital: HavanaGeography: A tropical island of flat fertile terrainLanguage: SpanishSignature flavours: Beef, pork, rice, beans, plantain, tropical fruit, spearmint, tomato The Menu Eric’s father was Cuban, and Eric lived in Havana until he was eight years old, so he is familiar with traditional Cuban fare, like ropa vieja (shredded beef), bistec de…

Assignment 29: Egypt

Location: North Africa Population: 96.8 million Capital: Cairo Geography: Sandy desert except around the Nile Valley and Delta areas Language: Arabic Signature flavours: Pita bread, legumes, garlic, parsley, lemon, cheese The Menu I picked up a fantastic cookbook at a used bookstore a few weeks ago that I finally got to crack open for this…

Assignment 28: Sri Lanka

Location: South Asia, off the southern coast of India Population: 21.4 million Capital: Colombo Geography: A tropical island nation, mostly of plains, with a small mountainous area Language: Sinhala, Tamil Signature flavours: Rice, ginger, chilli pepper, curry leaves, fennel, roti, treacle The Menu Eric and I have been eating Sri Lankan food for years at…

Assignment 27: Malaysia

Location: Southeast Asia Population: 31.9 million Capital: Kuala Lumpur Geography: Coastal plains with a forested, mountainous interior Language: Malay Signature flavours: Rice, coconut, seafood, pineapple, pandan, shallot The Menu Recipes abound for Malaysian cuisine, and so it was a matter of narrowing down my choices (unlike some past assignments that saw me actually emailing tourism…