Back in 1981 my dad informed the family that we were all moving to Africa. I was only 8 so it was no big deal to leave sleepy boring Framingham, Massachusetts and move to Liberia, West Africa. Of course what sticks in my mind most from those days was the food. Every day we would walk through the villages on the way to school and see cassava plant being pounded into a pulp, coconut milk being poured and .. my favorite, paper cones with hot peanuts and peeled (but with the pith still on) oranges with a tiny circle cut out of the top to suck the juice out of. It was a culinary adventure tour every day!
And now here I am attending the World of Flavors 2009 in Napa and the theme is street food! Flavorful hand held items from Asia, the Mediterranean, and Latin America. The flavors were bold and the concepts were displayed in their very authentic form that we might be lucky enough to see diluted versions of in a casual dining chain a few years from now!
Of course this is World of Flavors and with all those celeb chefs wandering around of course the street food might be just a tiny bit more impressive then what is actually seen on the street (like the dry iced frozen parmesan cheese dish and the tempura slider corn dogs with curried ketchup). But nonetheless, the message was clear. Hand held dishes and bold flavors that have been consumed forever by everyone else –need to work their way into our system and wake up our bored American tongues!
The CIA Greystone, as usual, put on a grand show. The atmosphere allowed for regular people (like me) to mingle and speak directly with great culinarians like Paula Wolfert, Charles Phan, Morimoto, and Mourad Lahlou! There was non-stop cooking activity, non stop eating and lots of Illy coffee to keep us going!
My verbal descriptions cannot do the event justice I can only hope that my pictures can. Enjoy!