I can imagine a lot of my friends saying, "THAT'S NOT TABBOULEH!"
Purists, I urge you to relax! Even the chef acknowledges that there are many opinions about this famous, Lebanese salad.... It's not a salad? It's not Lebanese? Oh, but it is Lebanese! Personally, I consider it a spectacular salad, but there are those who insist that tabbouleh is not a salad. It's tabbouleh. Oh, goodness, I could really get into all sorts of trouble!
Call it what you will, Kellie Anderson, health educationist and nutrition advisor with Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, has fun with it. Her website and blog are fantastic and her recipes are beautiful, healthy, wholesome, and (did I mention) FUN! She offers mostly vegetarian and vegan options but also recipes with fish and sometimes meat and poultry. She also has gluten-free selections.
Kellie is originally from Florida, but she's lived, worked, and cooked in Scotland for many years. Her recipes draw from a wonderful variety of food traditions and cultures -- delicious, healthy fusion! If recipes such as Curry-Spiced Vegetable and Lentil Enchiladas ("Naanchiladas'), Pad Thai Crepes, Fig and Labneh Tartines with Maple and Cardomom, Baked Marinara-stuffed Arancini (Risotto Balls), and Three-Ginger Parkin (Sticky Gingerbread) with Vanilla-Apple Compote don't sound interesting to you, well, then, ouf! Check out her recipe index; there is something in it for everyone. It's huge and it feels so good to know that she's created all of these recipes with good health and clean eating in mind. Her website is easy to navigate. Her recipe index is at the bottom of the menu list.
Food to Glow - thank you, Kellie!
What a great idea! Who doesn't love shepherd's pie and Mediterranean cuisine?
Claire Jessiman is a food educator, writer, and consultant based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Her blog, Foodie Quine, was listed by Scotsman Food and Drink as one of 2015's most influential Scottish food blogs. Claire's writing and recipes are wonderfully down-to-earth. A lot of her recipes are very Scottish, I think, with fun or sophisticated twists, but not all of them are. She's versatile! While I certainly haven't had time to try every recipe, they all look delicious. When I saw her recipe for Greek shepherd's pie, I knew I'd found one great and interesting food blog.
Claire also posts product reviews, travel tidbits, and great drink recipes. Even if you don't like to cook but enjoy a good gin tonic, I urge you to check out her blog.
#Scottish Food Blogs
"You will like it!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes! Just read it!"
My brother and I don't always share the same taste in books. He doesn't mind sad endings, dark humor, mob war, world war, and, yep, war in general. My preference -- near obsession -- with happy endings can limit my book choices when I allow and I usually do. But he was sure that I would enjoy "Ove," and he was right! I'm not the only one, of course. Written by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish columnist, blogger, and writer, and translated by Henning Koch, it has received well over 4,000 very good reviews on Amazon alone.
It is the story of a widower who only wants to kill himself and how other people, relationships, life, keep interrupting his plans. It's a poignant, masterfully-conveyed reminder of how we all need each other. There are heartbreaking moments, heartwarming moments, and comical, laugh-out-loud incidences. Ove is a man to be reckoned with and his new neighbor Parvaneh is up for it. There are also clogs in the story, which I found rather cool, for the story is set in Sweden. But A Man Called Ove could be placed anywhere; it Is the definition of timeless, universal wisdom and appeal.
Not only has the book been translated into over 30 languages, its characters present an insightful, sweet, truly funny cultural mash. From what I've noticed, Backman's books all seem to emphasize our human need for love, interaction, each other. It's a theme I'm very partial to.
Just read it.
Define "foreign travel." I'm asking for a personal definition, not a legal or governmental one. It's just that I've often wondered -- this past weekend more than ever -- if a vacation at a tropical resort constitutes foreign travel? What if you find no need to depart from the utter comfort of the resort itself?
This past weekend, along with my family and many friends, I attended a beautiful wedding at the Hyatt Ziva in Cancun. The hotel is beautiful, the staff enormous and friendly, and every comfort was attended to. This trip was the first I'd ever taken where I did not leave the resort to explore. In the past, basic comforts were taken care of morning and night; during the day, there were adventures to be had! But that's not what this particular trip was for and oh, what a blast it was vacationing with so very many people we know and love, not to mention attending the spectacular wedding of a beloved young couple.
But it occurred to me that every year, many people vacation at resorts without ever leaving the carefully manicured grounds. Sometimes it's simply not safe to do so and sometimes it's simply not convenient. I realize, too, that resort travel is its own travel niche. But is a tropical resort vacation a foreign travel experience or just a resort experience?
Did we experience a foreign country? Language wasn't an issue. Almost everyone working at the resort spoke English, which is something I could say about many American cites as well. I polled others in our party and, not surprisingly, no firm conclusion was agreed upon. It was only fair to acknowledge that all of us were, in fact, in a country other than our own (be it Canada, Lebanon, or America). Our passports were stamped. Okay, so foreign? Most of the Texans scoffed at the notion. Would someone in Buffalo, New York consider Canada a foreign country? One young man pointed out that if you are from somewhere further from the border, Mexico would certainly seem foreign. Finally, most all agreed -- including me -- that, at the very least, a resort vacation does not authentically represent the country in which it is located.
But it sort of does, doesn't it? Usually (not always), the people working in resorts are from the area. Certainly in Mexico, that is the case. Aren't people half the experience, at least? And then there's the location, the physical, geographical place. Resort or no, a Mexican resort is in Mexico, a Jamaican resort is in Jamaica, and a resort in the British Virgin Islands is ... um....
On the flight home, I discussed the issue with the young world traveler seated next to me. She considered the question seriously and suggested that it surely depended upon the traveler and the destination. She also pointed out that what constitutes a country's culture can vary depending on the specific area within the country. Food is a good example. What might be enjoyed along the coast of a country might not be found in the mountainous regions, or what is popular in the city not the least appreciated in the countryside.
It almost begs the question: what is authentic? A close-to-home example would be the resort towns of Breckenridge and Vail, Colorado. I love both dearly. Breckenridge holds the boast that it was a real town before it became a resort. So far as the debate goes, the Breck folks maintain that Vail has never been a "real" town. It was invented as a resort. The Vail team argues that it has been a town since it was incorporated in 1966. For whatever reason a town was founded, surely the fact that it has a mayor (a community leader), and supports a year-round population with police and fire departments, hospitals, schools, and all sorts of commerce, makes it a real town? To expand to the broader examination, are the ski resorts of Vail and Breckenridge representative of Colorado? I say yes, as far as the high mountain culture is concerned.
At the end of the day, a resort vacation in Cancun might not represent Mexico City, but it definitely represents Cancun.
The young world traveler was right, as the young so often are.
Surely, the past, present, and future connect in this miraculous state we call life. In this light, history and all human experience are ever-present. Wouldn't it be nice, then, if we could enjoy each other, if we could appreciate and celebrate our differences? Let us love! Let us have fun. Let us toast each other and wish each other well. Now, in our awareness, is the time to be happy, to do our best, to live fully to our purest, highest standards.