A year ago I began a project to cook food from every country in the world. It is called I Cook the World. It is my way of making some sense of the chaos and misunderstanding I see every day on our planet. Food is a source of comfort and it is also a great source of knowledge. The history of civilization is contained in the story of food. I first fell in love with the study of food when I was in elementary school. It began with the American Indian. I did a school project for class one year on the food of the American Indians and I made corn pone. My grandmother Mary Matello helped me make the cornmeal bread in an round, iron skillet on our stove. I tried to convince my grandfather and grandmother that it needed to be made outside over an open fire to be real Indian corn pone. It was the middle of winter in Pennsylvania and there was no convincing them to help me dig out the snow to make an outdoor cooking pit. I'm sure I used the argument that the Indians had to cook in the snow without great success. The bread turned out very well but it wasn't really authentic. As true Italian-Americans, we used olive oil instead of butter or margarine.
I always wanted to know what people ate aboard ship for long journeys. I was crazy about the Phoenicians, the greatest traders of the Ancient World, and wanted to know everything about trade routes. Thomas Jefferson. Still mad about the guy. The stories of the tomato and the potato were as exciting to me as Beverly Cleary's Jean and Johnny.
I am still in love with learning about food. The latest book at my side is a work of true passion, Twain's Feast: Searching for Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs. I hope to meet the author one day. I understand what drove him on with this amazing project and he knows how, after reading this book, I long for the taste of prairie chicken.
Demands on my time have made it difficult for me to actually COOK foods from every country on Earth. Luckily, I live in Los Angeles and many cuisines are available to me here. So, I will be dining out to experience as many of the world's foods as possible. At times, I will be cooking at home. I'll still be writing about it all.
I will also be writing about it here on Truffles, Chestnuts, Cherries. I am combining all my blogs on this one site. It will take a little time but will make life simpler. New I Cook the World entries will have their on page on Truffles, Chestnuts, Cherries. My other blog Middle Crescent Kitchen will become dormant with a referral to this site.
All this feels very, very good!