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

IMG_1073.JPG

‘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”

What I learned about staying healthy while living overseas (it’s surprising)

img_1328

Before moving to Morocco in 2012, I had one major fear. I didn’t fear loneliness, or being far from my home country, or not being able to communicate with those outside of my culture and native language. I wasn’t afraid of not finding a job, or even of the possibility of terrorist attacks (although there had been a major attack in Marrakesh in 2011). This one thing crossed my mind again and again while packing and preparing: the fear of gaining weight. Continue reading “What I learned about staying healthy while living overseas (it’s surprising)”

5 secret spots in Tangier, Morocco

Tangier, Morocco is a city that can be a bit overwhelming to the average tourist. Built on the tip of North Africa closest to Spain- and as a result, ideal for shipping, tourism and shady transactions- it has a rich history of a swirl of people and goods. Once you’ve made the steep climb into the walled medina (old city) from the port, you’ll find yourself in a chaos of commerce: shop owners trying their best to sell you rugs, leather slippers and touristy knick knacks; candy vendors with glass cases of sticky almond nougat; Moroccan housemoms weighed down with plastic bags of tomatoes and cucumber; and of course, the lone entrepreneur offering you a cell phone at a discount price (read: it’s stolen).

IMG_1306.JPG

Continue reading “5 secret spots in Tangier, Morocco”

5 secret spots in Tangier, Morocco

Tangier, Morocco is a city that can be a bit overwhelming to the average tourist. Built on the tip of North Africa closest to Spain- and as a result, ideal for shipping, tourism and shady transactions- it has a rich history of a swirl of people and goods. Once you’ve made the steep climb into the walled medina (old city) from the port, you’ll find yourself in a chaos of commerce: shop owners trying their best to sell you rugs, leather slippers and touristy knick knacks; candy vendors with glass cases of sticky almond nougat; Moroccan housemoms weighed down with plastic bags of tomatoes and cucumber; and of course, the lone entrepreneur offering you a cell phone at a discount price (read: it’s stolen).

IMG_1306.JPG

Continue reading “5 secret spots in Tangier, Morocco”

Cucumber salad with yogurt, mint & preserved lemon

Image (15)

Summer vacation, 2015: lounging under a palm tree in Hawaii, sipping coconut-y cocktails. Summer vacation, 2016: sweating it out in Tangier, Morocco, navigating alleyways and battling salesmen in the souk. Don’t get me wrong- I love Morocco, and especially in the summer, when locals are out late, streets are packed with fresh fruit carts and there’s never a dull moment. Never.

But it is HOT in Africa in the summertime. The sun seems to be particularly strong and bright in this ancient North African city, hills are especially steep, and cultural standards had me wear pants-and-a-cardigan in shorts-and-a-tanktop kind of weather. When I returned home from my morning treks into the city, perusing rugs and visiting coffee shops, I wanted a cool shower and a long nap. But first, salad. Continue reading “Cucumber salad with yogurt, mint & preserved lemon”

Jesus is dependable, not predictable.

IMG_1543

 

If I’ve learned anything in the past seven years of following Jesus, it’s that He is dependable. Many, many times, I’ve been in fear about my health, anxious about a situation regarding work, or uncertain of how it’s all going to turn out. And every time He has come through for me by healing me, or giving me peace, or just working out those practical circumstances, I know His presence is something I can depend on for the rest of my life. And there’s no peace like knowing that this Man, who’s this faithful, will be at my side forever.

Jesus is dependable, but He is not predictable. When I first began to follow Jesus, I wanted to cram everything I knew about Him into formulas. And sometimes, formulas work. Example: if I don’t pray in the morning, I usually feel discouraged and grumpy by about 2 p.m. Another example: if I begin to thank Him for what He’s done, instead of complaining about a difficult circumstance, my whole mindset shifts. But I have found that when you follow a God who may have a will apart from your own and who knows you better than you know yourself, life can’t be planned the way you thought. And formulas aren’t going to work the way you thought. Continue reading “Jesus is dependable, not predictable.”

Jesus is dependable, not predictable

Jesus is dependable, not predictable
Following in His footsteps

 

If I’ve learned anything in the past seven years of following Jesus, it’s that He is dependable. Many, many times, I’ve been in fear about my health, anxious about a situation regarding work, or uncertain of how it’s all going to turn out. And every time He has come through for me by healing me, or giving me peace, or just working out those practical circumstances, I know His presence is something I can depend on for the rest of my life. And there’s no peace like knowing that this Man, who’s this faithful, will be at my side forever.

Jesus is dependable, but He is not predictable. When I first began to follow Jesus, I wanted to cram everything I knew about Him into formulas. And sometimes, formulas work. Example: if I don’t pray in the morning, I usually feel discouraged and grumpy by about 2 p.m. Another example: if I begin to thank Him for what He’s done, instead of complaining about a difficult circumstance, my whole mindset shifts. But I have found that when you follow a God who may have a will apart from your own and who knows you better than you know yourself, life can’t be planned the way you thought. And formulas aren’t going to work the way you thought. Continue reading “Jesus is dependable, not predictable”