Over the past year and a half, we’ve cooked a LOT of meals (422 Recipes to be specific). We have tried to represent a wide variety of cultures in our kitchen and in our recipes; we’ve had a blast doing it. We’ve cooked American, Swiss, Thai, Mexican, English, Ethiopian, Korean, French, Peruvian, Italian, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, etc. Through it, there have been plenty of times where I have found myself cooking with an ingredient which was completely foreign and unfamiliar to me based on my past cooking. For these, I very quickly learned that I couldn’t just forge ahead and make them fit into the narrow vision of what I thought I knew about them. Cooking with molasses for the first time and trying to build it into a sauce for cod is probably my most memorable (and forgettable) example of this…let’s just say that recipe did not get posted. With new ingredients, it became pretty clear that I needed to step back and truly seek to understand their history, nutrition, chemistry, flavours, and textures before I could do them justice featuring them in my recipes.
Through all of that research, I’ve learned a lot about different approaches, techniques, and ingredients that are used around the world to creatively solve the same problem, which is essentially how to nourish our bodies and souls…how to give our physical forms what they need to exist and how to give the core of our beings the flavours that give us comfort, help us honor memories of past times and loved ones, and provide us with a sense of adventure.
Through it all, some of our favourite creations have been our Fusion Meals. For these, we borrow from varying cultures to build something new and inclusive. Sometimes, we draw from cultures that are similar to one another, and other times, we find inspiration from ones that are vastly different. As these culinary influences blend as one working towards one goal together, the result is always greater than the sum of its parts. Each component of the meal grows and enhances itself by learning from the other(s) while also maintaining and sharing back its own identity. The result is a beautiful mosaic.
If this works for something as simple as food, just imagine how we can impact the world by bringing these principles into our daily thoughts and actions. By honoring and respecting both our similarities and our differences…by seeking to truly understand, learning from, teaching, and growing with each other, we have an opportunity to build something different. Let’s create and cook this dish together.