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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Project: Tasty Lots from Other Spots

Quick story: during World War II, my great-grandfather moved from the USSR to the United States. He was Lithuanian and in a small town in central Maine there was a small diaspora of Lithuanians. He met and married a Lithuanian woman there, and lived there the rest of his life. My mum was born to his son, which makes me a quarter Lithuanian.

Flash to present day: people in Utah celebrate the arrival of the Latter-day Saint (or Mormon) pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley like it's the Fourth of July--sometimes bigger than that. It is when the state was established and so it's a big deal. The LDS church world wide doesn't necessarily celebrate this day, though for many of them it does stand as a memorial of the struggles the first Latter-day Saints endured to practice their religion freely. In many other western states--such as California--it is celebrated by members of the church with large picnics, games, etc.

Since I am LDS, I will be partaking in this year's celebration in my ward. But we are not celebrating just the first LDS pioneers but pioneers around the world who are only now discovering the gospel and bringing it to their families, friends, and countrymen. The idea is this: a large picnic. The church will provide chicken and rice, and members will sign up to bring side dishes and desserts (and display items) from around the world. I thought about what I would bring for a while. You see, not only am I Lithuanian, but I'm also largely Scot-Irish, and have a healthy dose of English. Scot-Irish food was taken already, so that was out, but I don't really know much about Lithuanian food and have never been to Lithuania. Nor do I have anything from there. Same with Scotland and Ireland for that matter. So I thought about signing up for Russia--I studied the Russian language as my minor in college and though I've never been there, I have many friends from Russia, and have received authentic gifts and lessons in culture from them. Of course, I also thought of doing New England--O! Blessed homeland! How I miss thee!

Sorry, got a little carried away there.

Ultimately, I signed up for the Micronesian Islands--specifically Saipan (if that is specific when it comes to culture; not really I guess). I lived there for four years and my family is still there (I told you the decision was difficult), and obviously people are very curious.

Anyway, what this is all about is to tell you I've decided to dig into my roots a little--foodie style. I'm going to cook one traditional meal a week from now until September 11th from one of the countries of my origins. This will force me not only to look more into the culture but also double check where I'm from! So far this is the list I get to pick from:


I think I've got some French and German in there too, but I'm sure they're pretty tiny amounts, so I'll stick with these until I prove otherwise. So, if anyone's got any meal suggestions, send them my way!


ML said...

My great-great grandfather, Leonard Mochre, was from Russia.
And don't forget our neighbor to the north--beer and mooseburgers anyone? :)

Mal said...

Oh, okay, Jeremy and I figured we had to have some Russian in there somewhere. Besides, from what I've been able to find, there are A LOT of similarities between Russian food and other food from Eastern Europe.

And I didn't totally forget about Canada--though I tried ;)--but I figure their food is probably a lot like New England food. But of course I'll look into that more as well. Thanks Mum.

JustKiddin said...

ML, if you're a g-g-g-daughter/son of Leonard Mochre, I'm your cousin. Old John and Nellie B are my dad's grandparents.