Tuesday, December 13, 2005

And we're done...



I know I didn't get to all of the countries in Europe, and I hope that this blog has encouraged you to explore some foods from other countries not mentioned (Italy, Germany, Hungary, etc.) If you're esecially interested in Italy, check out this blog, Travels in Italy. Exploring the different foods has been both educational and interesting for me. I hope that you have found my entries entertaining and informative. So as I leave, I want to wish you all a safe and Happy New Year and lots of good eatin!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

We're almost done...but first let's stop off in Spain

Spain is a very fascinating country filled with a very rich culture and delicious food. Spain is the 3rd largest country in Europe and is physically borderded by Portugal and France. The capital of Spain is Madrid, which is also the most populated region in the country. Spains mainland has many plateus and mountain ranges. To learn more about Spain's geography, check out this Wikipedia article.

The eating lifestyle in Spain is very different from America. A typical dining pattern involves a light breakfast at 8 a.m.; a mid-morning breakfast at 11 a.m.; tapas at 1 p.m. with a three-course lunch following at 2 to 3 p.m.; a merienda for tea and pastries or a snack at 5 to 6 p.m.; evening tapas at 8 p.m. or later, and a three-course supper at 10 p.m.(Sally's Place) Their lunch and dinner have smaller portions because of their in-between-meal snacks. However, this does not mean that they reduce the flavor in each dish.

Like many countries in Europe, Spanish food is often prepared family style, in which a lot of food is made and it's all meant to be shared. Many meals include some meat, poultry or fish, but almost all contain either rice or beans (or both!) Spanish food has a little kick to it. Although not all of the food is spicy, a common ingredient is Cumin .

One traditional food associated with Spain is a Tapa. Tapas are found in practically every restaurant in Spain, even if it's a tiny one. Tapas are actually not one type of food...this is a word used to refer to snacks. They are usually included in the price of drinks and can range from finger foods, such as olives, to a more substantial "snack", like a stew. In a way, you could probably think of them as the Spanish Happy-Hour free appetizers. The only difference is these are served all day long, and there is much more selection. For example the number of tapa varieties in a small bar, or tasca as it is called in Spain, can range from 6-8; while the number in a large tasca can be close to 40! For more information about Spanish food and the Spanish culture, visit DonQuijote.

Monday, December 05, 2005

This is a test...


My professor wants us to do a test for class, so I must add this as a post: nworbxela

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Christmas in England


With the holidays quickly approaching, many people in England will start making their famous dishes in preparation for Christmas. Most British citizens celebrate Christmas and they make certain foods for the hoiidays.
The traditional Christmas dinner is very similar to the American Thanksgiving becuase it has roast turkey and stuffing, roast potatoes and vegetables, bread sauce, cranberry sauce and gravy. The meal is followed by Christmas pudding.

English Christmas pudding was originally a poridge dish made of wheat or corn boiled up in milk. As time went on, it evolved into a plum pudding. Today, a Christmas pudding is a brown pudding with raisins, nuts and cherries. It is served with custard or brandy butter. According to Woodland's Junior School, the traditional time for making a Christmas pudding 'Stir Up Sunday ' at the beginning of advent. A proper Christmas pudding is always stirred from East to West in honour of the three Wise Men and traditionally made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and His Disciples. Every member of the family must give the pudding a stir and make a secret wish.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Stopping by at the Big Ben

England, a part of the United Kingdom, is an island off the west coast of the European mainland. According to Think Quest, England is made up of a highland region and a lowland region. The lowland region is where the majority of the population lives. England's largest city, London, is the capitol of the United Kingdom.
There are several who would say that British cuisine is quite bland, consisting of the so-called "meat and veggies" dish, but some of the traditional British food is quite interesting. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

The Sunday Roast
The best example of a traditional British dish, according to Wikipedia, is the Sunday Roast. It is referred to specifically as a "Sunday" roast because the dish is meant ot be left in the oven for hours while families go to church and then eaten as a lunch or early dinner. Traditional roasts are beef, pork, lamb or chicken, with certain accompanying sides (For a list of sides, visit wikipedia)).

Breakfast in Britain
To touch briefly on another British specialty, we'll have to visit Breakfast! This is because scones are such a popular breakfast dish in Britain. Scones look like an everyday biscuit in the US, but frequently contains raisins, currants or dates. Along with breakfast, this treat is also eaten at teatime.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Food in Greece

Greece is a peninsular country located in Eastern Europe between Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. One of the characteristics of the geography of Greece is the large amount of islands. There are more than 2000 greek islands scattered both in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. (To learn more about Greek geography, check out these sites: GreekA and Class Brain.

Greece is a country made up of a very diverse culture. Traditions, religion, music, language, and food are the major parts of Greek culture and constitute the base to know for those who wish to travel to Greece. (To find out more about Greek traditions, religion and music, click here).

What's interesting about the food of Greece is that although there are local dishes which are made differently depending on the area, there are also dishes that are prepared in the same way throughout the entire country. Another interesting fact is that all restaurants located in Greece are obligated by law to have a list of menu prices posted by the entrance-Talk about strict price transparency!

So here's a list of some interesting foods and what makes them unique to the Greek culture:

Greek Salad
It is recommended that you try this at everywhere you go in Greece before you eat each meal. This starter, although a staple at any Greek restaurant, can taste very different depending on how they mix the ingredients. Like a garden salad, this contains cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions; but only romaine lettuce is used and they also add olive oil, crumbled feta cheese, black olives, red wine vinegar (or sometimes lemon juice instead) and various spices.

Gyro/Souvlaki

A "traditional" Gyro (pronounced yhee-ro) is made up of a mixture of minced pork and lamb slowly roasted by turning around on a vertical spit. (Not surprisingly, the word gyros in Greek means "something that goes around"). Gyros tend to have this meat mixture, tomatoes, onions, tzatziki, and a great deal of spices, all in a pita. Souvlaki is prepared the same way as a gyro except the meat used is only pork. In Greece, although there are sit-down taverns that serve gyros, there is almost always a take-out counter. I guess you could say that buying a gyro in Greece is like getting 'Fast Food' in the US. (For more information about gyros, visit Greek Landscapes and Athens Guide.)

Mousaka is a dish consisting of layers of ground lamb or beef and sliced eggplant topped with a cheese sauce and baked. It's the Greek version of an Irish Shephard's Pie. Although at first glance, the dish seems simple to make, there is a lot of preparation and skill that is required to make this dish taste as delicious as possible. For one example of how to make Moussaka, check out this recipe. Also, make sure to check out wikipedia for some interesting information about moussaka and the many versions of this famous dish.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Quick stop in Poland


Poland's official name in Polish is Rzeczpospolita Polska. This Eastern European country is not only filled with a lot of interesting history, but is also home to very good food. Polish cuisine has elements taken from the cooking traditions of the many national groups that lived in the country side by side for centuries, notably the Jews, Ukrainians, Belarussians and Lithuanians. There are also some Russian, German, Czech and Austrian influences as well as dishes from more distant regions like Italy, France and the Middle East.

Throughout its history, Polish cuisine has gone through many changes. For example, during the Middle Ages, Polish food was very heavy and spicy. They used game and beef in many of their dishes and used spices, which they bought at cheap prices from the East, to add flavor to the imperfectly-preserved meat.

Nowadays, since the end of communism, traditional foods that have been used in Polish cooking include cucurbit, zucchini and all kinds of fish.

There are many traditional dishes that come from Poland that we eat in the States and probably are unaware of their Polish origin. For example, pierogis are a traditionally Polish food. Pierogis are square or crescent-shaped dumplings of unleavened (non-raised) dough, stuffed with sauerkraut, cheese, mashed potatoes, cabbage, onion, meat, or any combination thereof, or with a fruit filling. The word pirog (or its equivalent in the various Slavic languages) means "pie", which can take the form of a stuffed dumpling, pastry, or two-crusted pie. To learn more about Pierogis, check out Wikipedia and this interesting blog entry.

For those of you with a sweet tooth, who aren't looking to check out the fat content for your desserts, a traditional Polish dessert is a Sernik. A Sernik is a delicious fat cheese cake. For those of you who are not interested in something so heavy, try a Kompot. In Poland, this is a favorite stewed fruit drink that often takes the place of dessert after a heavy meal. It is simply fresh fruit briefly cooked in slightly sweetened water.

To learn more about what some Polish foods are, check out this crash course in Polish cookery