Feed your friends: 4 cultures of hospitality, grace & good eats


‘Tis the season to feed and to be fed. Christmas and the surrounding holidays have got me thinking a lot about why we celebrate special occasions by feeding each other- our family, our friends, those we love, and maybe even those we don’t know particularly well. In the U.S. we don’t normally spend too much time in the kitchen, preparing, cooking, and plating labor-intensive dishes- but come November and December, we’re roasting 20 lb. turkeys, sugaring hundreds of tiny cookies, melting chocolate for ganache truffles, peeling apples for pie, and kneading all sorts of crusts and breads—all for the sake of others (okay, maybe we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor a little).

It’s an exceptional time of the year to be hospitable. But in other parts of the world, and in other cultures, hospitality is a year-round tradition, expectation, and joy. Since I’ve had the awesome opportunity to do a good bit of traveling to different countries, I’ve had the equally awesome opportunity to eat my way around the world, in the kitchens (and living room floors, and straw huts) of some of the most talented and generous cooks I’ve ever known. They’re not professionals, but their capacity to wow on an often limited budget is just as impressive as any restaurant chef—if not more. Here, a few of my favorite experiences… Continue reading “Feed your friends: 4 cultures of hospitality, grace & good eats”

3 things I learned in Morocco about being a kinder person


Last year around this time, I was wrapping up three years in a country in the northwestern tip of Africa, known for a few different things, depending on who you talk to; for some, beautiful beaches; for others, world-renowned cuisine; for others, gorgeous home decor; and for others, questionable safety. When it came down to it, I went to Morocco for one reason: I was overwhelmed by the sense that not to go would be to reject some crucial part of my life purpose.

I didn’t know it last year at this time, but it would be my final few months living in a country that changed me and taught me more than I could ever could have anticipated going into it in September 2012. When I boarded the plane Los Angeles- Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf- Marrakech, I knew it would be an awesome adventure and an incredible challenge, but I could not know exactly how either would unravel. Almost four years later, I can look back and name some of the things I learned there, the larger pieces that I took away with me. Continue reading “3 things I learned in Morocco about being a kinder person”