Connecting with my Istanbul instructor, I learned about killing onions, feeding neighbours, and always adding extra olive oil.
There's an old-fashioned tradition which dictates that, if you cook something especially fragrant while preparing Turkish cuisine, you must share it with your neighbours. After all, you never know who might be particularly roused by your aromatic fare. Perhaps there is an expectant mother who has a craving or an elderly person who isn't able to easily visit their favourite cafe.
There's a second part to this tradition. If you are so fortunate to receive a sample of your neighbour's cooking, you must return the cleaned plate with some cooking of your own. It's simply poor form to return a dish empty!
I first heard about this cozy custom from Aysin, my cooking teacher in Istanbul. Under her tutelage, I learned more about Turkish culture and cuisine than I thought possible - and we did it all as a virtual experience, cooking side by side even though we're half a world away.
The history of Irish coffee involves a chef, a travel writer, and a journey around the world - but you can easily make it at home.
An oral history of Irish coffee usually begins in Foynes, a small community in western Ireland. But in actuality, the legend of this popular cocktail wraps around the world, from Dublin to the Marshall Islands. And a travel writer plays a starring role!
This boozy, creamy drink first gained popularity after it was served by Irish chef Joe Sheridan at Foynes Airbase, likely in 1943. It was offered up as a bracing concoction for passengers whose flight was forced to turn back due to poor winter weather and they promptly fell in love with the combination of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream. However, it was travel writer Stanton Delaplane who popularized it in 1952 when he brought the recipe home to San Francisco.
(Let's all take a moment to appreciate how fitting it is that someone whose last name is "Delaplane" choose a career as a travel writer. Marvelous.)
Stan convinced his friend Jack Koeppler, owner of San Francisco's Buena Vista cafe, that the drink would be a hit. Or, depending on who you believe, Jack approached Stan and tasked him with the job of recreating the Irish drink that was slowly getting a word-of-mouth reputation. According to official lore, since they couldn't figure out how to to properly add the cream, they offered Joe Sheridan a job and the chef immigrated to San Francisco in 1952. Problem solved!
Alas, there may be more to the story. In a Time Magazine interview with Joe in 1955, he stated that he immigrated through Canada and Hawaii before settling in San Francisco by coincidence, where he found work in an all night dinner called Tiny's Waffle Shop (now closed). Like many travel legends, it seems like this story has some tall tales.
If you can't go to Rio for Carnival, this festive Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro recipe is a delicious alternative.
If there's one thing that travel has taught me, it's that every country seems to have their own special chocolate concoction and Brazil is no exception. Brigadeiros are best described as a Brazilian bon-bon. These soft, truffle-like delights are incredibly easy to make (cocoa and sweetened condensed milk are the star ingredients) and you can easily customize them according to your own tastes. This Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro recipe is the perfect way to inject a little travel coziness into your day, even if you can't exactly fly to Rio!
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