One of the best things about living in the US is that it is a melting-pot of cultures, to this day. Since we are all immigrants from somewhere else, there are foods here and ways of cooking that come from all the way around the world. The western diet that has grown organically here out of the industrial society incentives to make profit is a disaster. It is one alternative diet though, among many to choose from in this country.
One does not have to go very far in any city in the States to find examples of the best foods found in any other city in the world. If you want to cook it yourself, just about every city has markets where ingredients for that cuisine are imported. Here in Kansas City we can get oriental foods and vegetables in several different places around town. There is Huong Vuong at the River Market, and right across the street, another one. Both are huge groceries.
If you want Mediterranean foods more Italian in nature, you can go to Carollo’s Deli in the River Market. Here you can find those tough to find ingredients, like mortadella sausage, for your muffuletta sandwich. On weekends they even cook outside the store, and the food smells and tastes great. There is quite a line at this deli every weekend. Take a number!
Like German food? I sure do, and this grocery in Mission Kansas is worth the drive. Werner’s has great sandwiches and sausages, too, that they cook up fresh on the weekends. If you have to eat out, you can’t beat fresh foods cooked right there where you can watch. If you are looking for special European ingredients, they have a fine selection.
Another fine place to get real unprocessed foods is at the Al Habashi Mart in the River Market. They have every spice you could want, and in addition, they have Eastern Mediterranean foods like canned Ghee, which is clarified butter, from pastured cows. This is a prime source for your Omega 3 oil needs. Get a big can and cook with it, for great fried potatoes, and sautéed vegetables. They have goat cheeses, frozen lamb, shiny polished almonds. This place is not somewhere you want to come hungry. If you do though, right next door they have a kebab restaurant that is open for lunches. We have never eaten anything there that wasn’t wonderful, so take a chance, even if you can’t pronounce it!
Greek, Indian, African foods can all be found. Of course how to cook them can also all be found online. I have been enjoying a great wordpress blog lately, Healthy Kitchen, where every day there are two new healthy recipes posted. I have tried a couple, time permitting, and have been collecting the ones that look most interesting to me. Using the internet we can all find easy, tasty and new things to fix. Cooking doesn’t have to be mysterious any more. This year I have discovered how to make my own sausages–its easy, ferment my own fresh vegetables–ridiculously easy, pressure can veggies and meats–easy if you have the equipment, shell and roast my own local nuts. If I wanted to I could think of a bunch more things I learned off of the internet this year, but I am sure you have too!
Well, being as it’s Saturday and a beautiful day at that, grab your significant other, grab your reusable shopping bags, and head out into the world. Bring home the great and interesting things that are available at these great businesses I have pointed out. Point out your own favorites, no matter where in the world they are. I love learning, and someday I may be in your neighborhood, and I would love to find your favorite spot to pick out exotic other-world ingredients.