Riley’s Rainforest: Eat Locally, Taste Globally
“Send down . . . from the clouds of Thy mercy the rains of Thy healing . . .” —Bahá’u’lláh
Have you ever eaten injera from Ethiopia or nacatamales from Nicaragua? Our global home is full of unique, delicious foods. There are hundreds of different cuisines we can explore!
Why do foods around the world taste so different? One big reason is that most traditional dishes are made from ingredients that are locally available. For example, rice grows well in the soil and climate of Eastern Asia. Corn and tomatoes are popular crops in Central America. Fish and olives are natural foods from the Mediterranean. Each region also uses blends of herbs and spices that create distinct flavors.
Some ingredients are widespread. Cilantro (called coriander in some countries) is a leafy green herb commonly found in European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian dishes. Garlic and onion are used around the world. And salt is universal.
It’s fun—and healthy—to try new foods from different cultures. Many traditional meals use whole grains, lean meats, and fresh fruits and veggies, which are more nutritious than highly processed convenience foods. Ask a friend from another culture if they’ll share their favorite recipes. Get cookbooks at the library or find recipes online. Learn about where each dish comes from. Experiment with different herbs and spices.
It’s better for the environment and our communities to eat food grown locally as much as possible, so try combining local harvests with global flavors to create your own fusion of food. Bon Appétit!
EXPLORE AND SOAR:
Yummy Almond Butter and Apple Wraps
By Andrea Hope
Most people think of almonds as nuts, but they’re really seeds from a fruit related to a peach. They’re also a tasty treat packed with protein and other nutrients. Check out this great recipe using an alternative to peanut butter—almond butter!
1 whole wheat tortilla
1 sliced apple
2 tbsp. almond butter
With spoon or butter knife, spread almond butter in middle of a whole wheat tortilla. Add apple slices, then roll up the tortilla. Add almond butter at the edge of the tortilla to make it stick. Tuck in ends on both sides and cut the wrap in half. Enjoy!
DID YOU KNOW? Centuries ago, explorers ate almonds while traveling the Silk Road, a network of trading routes between Asia and the Mediterranean used from about 130 BCE to 1453 CE. Almond trees flourished in the Mediterranean, especially in Spain and Italy. Today, more than 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California, U.S.
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