I have been eating weird and wonderful food the whole of my life, it says a lot about who and what we are. Being a child of immigrant parents who came to the UK in the late 1940s the cultural background and culinary skills of my mother as she created delicious homemade meals for my brothers and myself are a grounding childhood memory. This was everyday fare. Her chips were amazing, her Hungarian Apple pie to die for. She influenced my love and enjoyment of trying new foods with unique rich flavours, using different cooking utensils and techniques.
We started the Taste of World Cuisine interest group back in November 2019 and met once a month on Tuesday lunchtime. During the lockdown we met on Zoom. Our Christmas Special was a great success, socially bonding, lots of chatter about Childhood memories of Christmas, a demonstration of boozy Choccie Truffles and we had a celebrity chef drop in to the group’s amazement. Other meetings have got us focusing on Healthy Eating, debating socio economic and climate food issues, held quizzes, shared our experiences of Unusual Foods I have Eaten, read poems about food and expressed our hopes to get back to face to face lunchtime meetings.
Selecting our favourite foods is a bit of a head scratcher because we have eaten some incredibly delicious dishes. Our very first restaurant was Slurp in Streatham were we dived into the luscious hot steaming bowls of Ramen and beautifully presented dishes of South East Asia and Japan. Great dishes which were not too spicy but fresh were eaten at a Columbian bistro in Brixton Village.
Wow! Then travelling further afield to Wimbledon village for the Nandos experience. We didn’t quite fit the social profile but everyone entered into the spirit of the visit. Smart phones to order and pay for their meals was the real winner of the day. Okay it’s never hard to get the all clear from members as to where we should go next.
Another new venture took us to a Spanish restaurant this time. I was wishing our visit to try Tapas, drink chilled sherry, Sangria and Spanish lager would never end. As we sampled the many dishes and soaked up the flavours the nods and smiles of approval stole the moment. Ole! Our recent experience of Middle Eastern cuisine gave us so much deliciousness, was full of flavour and healthy. Our thirst was quenched with refreshing cold fruity yoghurt drinks and there was no alcohol in sight.
I could talk much more about the wonderful cuisines we have tried and the welcoming staff who have made our visits so special.
We have plans to try Korean Cuisine in September, Vegan and Vegetarian style dishes in the future as well as visit some open air markets and savour Pop Up Street food.
Food is a great leveller and brings people together to share their experiences and culture. I can hear the members ask “So what’s Coming Next?”
If you’re interested in World Cuisine, get involved with our national u3a learning initiative, World Cuisine Cookery Challenge.