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Adventures in Dining

Experiencing New Culture in Katy

Recently, I added some new culture to my family’s diet with some delicious Afghani food.  My dear friend Ghizal and I both packed up our little ones (both 3 years old and best buds.) along for a ride to the Middle Eastern specialty store in Houston.  What a learning experience.  I was surprised at the selection available in organic and specialty health products, though I shouldn’t be.  The culture I was experiencing supports a strong Mediterranean-type diet, with such a fresh appeal.  The amount of aromatic spices and savory sauces and dips available was delightful.  I was like a kid in the candy store, and I plan to go back very soon.

The prices were comparable, and in some cases, better than the general market’s.  I found the tofu I had been searching for, grabbed some wonderful Tzitziki sauce, and overindulged in teas, spices, and olives.  The pita bread I bought fresh from the in-house bakery was so chewy and delightful, that a day later, the kids have almost finished it.  I’m definitely going to get more of that next time, and bake it gently to make pita chips for the kids.

Later at home, Ghizal helped me cook yet another native Afghani dish, her ground turkey meatballs, as I provided a healthy and delicious Middle Eastern dinner for my family.  For sides, I made brown basmati rice in chicken broth and popped a fresh frozen bag of veggies in the microwave, adding some cumin and lemon pepper to them for great pizzazz in just minutes.  Frozen veggies are such a smart choice, as the vitamins and minerals in them are well-preserved from the freezing process.

I noticed recently something that has been resonating in me the more Ghizal and I get to know each other.  No matter what the obvious and fascinating differences in our cultures, the more we realize we are also alike.  The Hispanic and the Middle Eastern cultures are so similar in traditions, flavors, values, and other areas.  It is a fun experience to learn more about each other, and what we value most.  She is even teaching me some Dari, her native language.

All cultures are valuable, with something wonderful to instill in others, and I am learning this all over again firsthand.  What other culture are you currently experiencing (or desire to), and how do you embrace those moments?