I am taking a time out from researching the national dishes of Slovenia. Well, when I say researching, what I mean is idly Googling “Slovenia food”, “Slovenian Cuisine” and other variants. Dormouse is appearing remarkably often. I need to find a recipe I think my boys will go for, and that I’m happy to cook.
So probably not dormouse then.
This all started when I had Junior-Senior home “sick” and very bored one day. He wasn’t really sick anymore, but we were still in the 48-hours-not-allowed-back-infection-control-window, so home he was, and bored he was. It was of course tipping it down outside, so having read every book in the house (ish) and played every game, out of sheer desperation to get a few minutes to prepare lunch, I packed him off to find the map of the world and “Tag” pen he’d been given by my aunt.
I wasn’t terribly sure about the Tag thing when the boys were first given it. We like the interaction with one another that we get from reading stories, and when the white flag goes up and electronic baby-sitters are needed, DVD or iPad works better. The tag map of the world however, is fantastic. Both boys love it, and spend many a happy 20 minutes exploring with the help of “la rose des vents” (our tag being in French).
So off he was sent, to pick a country, any country, whose food he would like to try, and I promised to cook him something from that country at the weekend. He picked Russia (nice and big, can’t miss it) and so this whole game began.
Many weeks later, we have prepared and eaten food not only from Russia, but from Japan, India, China (for Chinese new year), France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Papua New Guinea (hmmm, coconut fish ceviche was a challenge for all of our taste buds, although fried plantain was a hit), Australia, South Africa (mealie cake, very popular, click here), Morocco, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England, Korea, Mexico, Alaska (not a country I know, but shown separately on the map) and many others (full list of countries and dishes here, if you want to see it).
We have talked about people, and about flags, and discovered some original cooking methods. We have boiled mutton (well, hogget, couldn’t get mutton) in water heated by hot stones taken from the heart of a camp-fire. (Good stones were hard to find, this being chalk and flint country. Don’t use flint by the way, it explodes when you heat it, scared the heck out of me. You want river bed pebbles ideally.) We have cooked salmon steaks on charred cedar planks nestled on a fire, and made pizza in our clay oven. (Which we do anyway, but it counts!).
We have two columns on the chalk wall in the kitchen, headed Oui, yummy and Non, yuck, and when we are done the boys stick a little paper flag in the appropriate column. So far the only out and out Non has been Papua New Guinea, although Australia (lamingtons, too sweet) and Spain (didn’t like tortilla) are hovering between the columns in a non-committal sort of way.