Last week, I attended Florens 2012, the Florence Culture and Heritage Week in Florence, Italy. It was one of the most memorable conferences I have attended so far, and for several reasons. One, I got to meet the other 5 winners of Team Florens who had come from around the world, namely USA, UK, Australia and Italy. We spent a lot of time together, talking, tweeting, wandering around Florence and eating our way through the city. Continue reading “Florens 2012: A big success!”
Fondazione Florens has picked six international bloggers to go to Florence this November as part of the official ‘Team Florens’ including Sucheta Rawal, of Go Eat Give from Atlanta, GA! A number of Italian publications are calling Go Eat Give “one of the most influential blogs on culture in the world” and are very excited to receive the acclaimed writers in Florence, Italy next month. Continue reading “Go Eat Give is going to Florence!”
Although New Mexico is one of the oldest states in the continent United States, its cuisine is very different from the rest of the country. Influenced by Spanish and Mexican settlers, the modern day New Mexican cuisine sits in a league of its own. Continue reading “Introduction to New Mexican cuisine”
Go Eat Give’s first monthly cultural awareness event was held at Imperial Fez restaurant last night, and it was a huge success! While the Real Housewives of Atlanta filmed at the restaurant, we had our own private section in a royal Moroccan tent-like setting. As twenty-five or so sat on comfortable cushions and low over sized chairs, we discussed our mutual passion for food and travel, while enjoying some of Atlanta’s finest Moroccan fare. Continue reading “Destination Morocco”
We tend to undermine the role of cultures in building stronger economies. But the fact is culture leads to tourism, tourism brings in jobs, and jobs build economies. Even the idea of foreign currencies and trading them through brokers like Libertex (look at the Libertex Gebühren here) have the ability to heighten and increase the finances of a country, therefore making their economy much stronger as well as allowing them to compete with others. Destinations that have a rich heritage and preserve their culture tend to bring in more tourism dollars, which sustains local businesses and provides employment to a large number of the population. Continue reading “Your culture can save your economy”
The past week has been rather interesting and insightful. I have been in India, acting as a host and guide to my dear friend, Gina. This is her first time visiting India, even Asia. She is originally from US but currently living in Spain.
The first day we took a drive in Delhi, Gina pointed out the chaos and randomness of things that I was quite accustomed, and rather numb to having grown up here. “There’s a random cow in the middle of the street, a guy on a cycle with flowers in his carrier, a tea shack by the highway, stalls of groceries jutting out of run down structures, kids with goats” Gina exclaimed about hundreds of other things she saw in the most unexpected places. This pretty much defines the scene in India. There are auto-rickshaws, scooters, cycles, bullock carts, buses, cars and pedestrians on the same road without any rules, blaring horns randomly at each other, but still there is order in the chaos. Within that, the contrasts are even more spectacular. You will see million dollar homes next to slums, children begging for money knocking at the windows of Mercedes cars, women wearing saris covering their heads with modesty watching scantily dressed Bollywood actresses on their TV sets, five star hotels, Louis Vuitton showrooms and people earning less than $1 a day.
Orienting Gina with Indian culture and traditions has made me revisit it myself. I had been blindly following everything that was taught to me from a young age, but when someone else questions why things are a certain way, what do they mean, you need to think about it before being able to provide an explanation. India has a rich culture spanning thousands of years. It has over a billion people following several different religions. The society is somewhat tight, where family values, customs and people are given much importance. This means you can’t always do what you “feel like” as we often times take for granted living in the west. One thing Gina had a hard time with is when hosts would force her to eat even though she wasn’t hungry. Indians tend to show their love through food and it is considered rude if you refuse to eat what they offer when they are treating you.
Another thing she noticed is how we politely say “come” instead of “let’s go.” She thought it was a more gentle and inviting way of addressing each other.
I always knew that as a woman I had to dress conservatively in public places or men would ogle and I would draw unnecessary attention. Why is this the case and where does it stem from? Maybe the ancient believes of protecting women and hiding them behind veils in order to resist temptation. I don’t have the answer to that. All I know is some things you just don’t question and need to follow blindly.
I had the opportunity to attend the two-year anniversary of Dinner with a Passport this weekend. Dinner with a Passport is a foodie group started by Sonia Catalina Viteria, who is originally from Ecuador but now lives in Atlanta. Sonia had friends from all over the world who loved to cook and eat, so she started coordinating a once a month event doing just that. About ten people meet at someone’s home and a different country is picked each month. The hostess prepares dishes from participating countries while the rest of the members help cook and bring drinks.
After two years, the group has 194 members, so this particular event enjoyed the diversity accumulated over time. Every person was asked to bring a dish or drink from their representative country. The result was an international buffet that matched no other! There were original, home-cooked dishes from Greece, Poland, Russia, Peru, India, Ecuador, USA, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Spain and many more!
Scroll through the pictures and see if you can identify some of these dishes…
The connection between people knows no geographic or cultural boundaries. An Indian couple, Durrain and Navaz Porbandarwala organized a fundraiser for victims of the Japan earthquake, in their neighborhood in Kennesaw, Georgia. Durrain, who is a cooking instructor, prepared a scrumptious dinner with the help of her neighbors. They put out flyers, invited friends and held the event at their subdivision Clubhouse on a Saturday evening.
50 people attended and over $800 was raised. All proceeds will go to American Red Cross towards Japan relief fund.
It is impressive to see how people come together for a greater cause. It’s a small drop in the bucket but we all have to do our part in order to make an impact in this world. Imagine if each neighborhood around the world was to organize a similar dinner fundraiser, how much aid we would generate for the unfortunate Tsunami victims. Even if you are unable to make a financial contribution, do take out a few minutes to send your prayers and loving thoughts to these families.
Read my interview with the owner of TeaFuse and some wonderful insights in the art of afternoon tea, as appeared on Smyrna Patch.