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.

ChiMe Issue
Anniversary Chicken Cynthia's Own 11-1998
Chicken Adobo Philippines 03-1998
Chicken Masala India 06-1998
Csirke Paprikas
(Chicken Paprika)
Hungary 04-2000
Chicken à la N’Gatietro West Africa 07-1998
Bahmi Goreng
(Chicken and Fried Noodles)
Indonesia 08-1996
Çerkez Tavugu
(Chicken in Walnut Sauce)
Turkey 06-2003
Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic   01-2009
(Chicken with Papaya)
Philippines 09-2001
Djej Makalli
(Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives)
Morocco 09-2000
Cinnamon Chicken Pilaf Arab 12-1996
Cockaleekie Scotland 11-1997
Doro Wat Ethiopia 09-1997
Pollo Borracho
(Drunken Chicken)
South America 12-2003
Arroz con Pato
(Duck with Cilantro Rice)
Peru 12-2002
Galinha Cafeal
(Grilled Chicken with Coconut Sauce)
Mozambique 11-2002
(Grilled Fowl)
Japan 04-2009
Gumbo West Africa 06-2001
Soto Ayam
(Indonesian Chicken Soup)
Bali 08-1999
Murg Kashmiri
(Kashmiri Chicken with Almonds and Raisins)
India 07-2006
Lemon Chicken North America 05-1999
Malaysian Ginger and Soy Sauce Chicken Malaysia 05-2008
Yassa au Poulet
(Marinated Chicken Braised in Lemon-Onion Sauce)
West Africa 06-2000
Tandoori Murghi
(Marinated Spiced Chicken)
India 02-2003
Salat Oliviye
(Russian Chicken Salad)
Russia 04-2003
The Turkey Recipe North America 11-1996
Pavo en Pipian Verde
(Turkey in Pumpkin Seed Sauce)
Mexico 11-2007
Sopa de Lima
(Yucatecan Lime Soup)
Mexico 04-2005
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