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Cheap Eats: An Introduction

My mother always told me that, when I die, my tombstone should read, "You've gotta try this." Indeed, I have spent a great deal of my life shoving books, forks, flowers, radios toward friends and family, declaring, "You've gotta read this," "You've gotta taste this," "You've gotta smell, hear, feel, try..." If I like something, I want to share it. Writing gives me an opportunity to share with even more people what I've done and seen—and tasted.

I've done and seen quite a bit. My father was with the airlines, so I grew up flying, and I have carried the love of travel into adulthood. Our family also loved to cook, and eat. Trying local delicacies was always a big part of the travel experience, and we brought recipes and food ideas back from wherever we went. This is another tradition that I have carried with me throughout my life.

Food and food history fascinate me for a lot of reasons. Sharing food is an easy way of connecting with a culture, a way of experiencing things on a different level than just looking. But food is more than that, it is tied up with our humanity, since we all eat, and with the world's history, since we all want to eat well (the Gauls, when they were holding Rome for ransom, included 3000 pounds of black pepper among their demands).

These days, we are learning more about what food can do for us from the standpoint of health, as well as pleasure. Of course, some of this knowledge is simply being rediscovered, as scientists look to the legends to find out what is true and what is merely wishful thinking. This connection between food and wellness is another area of serious interest for me. Happily, it has been discovered that variety is one of the keys to healthful eating — the spice of life, indeed!

I could imagine nowhere better than Mensa to share what I have learned of food as it relates to history, travel, language, and healing, and so was born the column, Cheap Eats.

The recipes in Cheap Eats have been adapted for American kitchens, and guidelines have been added for people unfamiliar with certain foods or ingredients. Otherwise, the tastes are as close as possible to what I have experienced during my long culinary odyssey. I freely admit that I have not visited every country represented by a recipe in the column, but friends, restaurants, and a small amount of formal training have contributed considerably to my culinary experience, even in cuisines that I have not experienced in situ. There is a lot of delicious food out there, and this is just my way of saying, You've gotta try this. I hope you enjoy the stories and recipes in Cheap Eats. Bon appétit!

NOTE: All the terms and measures employed in Cheap Eats are standard American. For those of you who might be accessing Cheap Eats from places where these terms and measures are not used, some explanations and conversions are available here.
Recipe
Locale
ChiMe Issue
Aba Curriya Sri Lanka 01-2000
Calamari delle Marche Italy 01-2001
Fish Amok Cambodian 05-2004
Machee Kabab
(Fish Kebabs)
India 01-1999
Peixe com Môlho de Tangerina
(Fish in Tangerine Sauce)
Brazil 03-2000
Fish with Pineapple and Ginger Malaysia 01-1997
Icelandic Fish Soup Iceland 04-2002
Newfoundland Cod Cakes Canada 01-2007
Kulibiaka
(Russian Salmon Pie)
Russia 03-1999
Salade Niçoise France 08-2002
Salmon Mousse Cynthia's Own 11-1998
Shrimp de Jonghe America 03-2007
Smoked Salmon and Chive Cheesecake America 11-2005


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