Global Meals: The Big Round-Up

Since February 2011, when I first posted about this topic, I've written here often about the Global Food for Thought Meal Series that I organized for three semesters for the GreenHouse Environmental Learning Community. (see all posts tagged "Global Meal"). 

This series provided an opportunity for students to taste the foods of other cultures and then engage the social and environmental issues of the places whose cuisines they sampled. Through this, students began to understand how the production, preparation, and consumption of food involves us in intimate relations with the natural world and with each other. Chefs from Madison’s ethnic restaurants and other food experts worked with Housing Food Service staff to prepare dinners characteristic of a certain place. These meals were followed by an hour of discussion with the guest, to situate the food in environmental and cultural context.

My role was to decide on the ethnic cuisines we wanted to feature, recruit knowledgeable chefs or other experts from the community, work with the guests to develop their presentations, help design menus, choose readings (during the first semester only), manage the communication with Housing Food Service, coordinate student sign-up and room set-up, and all other details, both conceptual and concrete.

Recently, I got around to compiling all the menus and details from the whole series, and thought I'd share them with all of you. Hopefully, by reading through the meal descriptions, you'll be exposed to the cuisines and cultures of new places, the world over. And perhaps you'll be inspired to cook a feast full of dishes from another country. 

Travel to Tuscany, Nepal, Indonesia, Ecuador, Hmong America, Afro-Caribbean Brazil, Mali, the Northwestern Arctic, Bangladesh, and MesoAmerica with me, won't you?!


Spring 2011

Eating for One, or Six Billion
  • Date: February 2, 2011
  • Guest: University of Wisconsin Food Service Staff (Mark Gauthier, Julie Luke, Barb Phelan)
  • Menu (based off of ingredients that Mark Bittman, in the assigned reading, suggests sustain people from all countries the world over)
    • Apple cider
    • Selection of breads from Bakehouse Bakery
    • Chopped cabbage salad with apples and walnuts in a red wine vinaigrette
    • Chicken or mushroom stir fry in a dry marsala sauce served over local RP’s pasta
    • Cajun style red beans and rice
    • Baked apple crisp with fresh whipped cream
  • Readings:


Taste of Tuscany, and the Global Slow Food Movement

  • Date: February 23, 2011
  • Guest: Chef Francesco Mangano of Osteria Papavero
  • Menu:
    • Bruschetta and Salsa Verde Crostini
    • Arrosto di Manzocon Funghi Sotte 'Olio (Italian-style roast beef, served with shaved parmigiano cheese, baby arugula salad, and oil-cured wild mushrooms)
    • Polipo in Umido (Braised octopus with sweet peas and chili)
    • Baccola in Umido (Salt cod, braised with tomato and garlic)
    • Yellow corn polenta
    • Peperiota (Stew of sweet bell peppers)
    • Testaroli al Pesto (Tuscan-style spelt "dumplings" with basil pesto)
    • Salame di Cioccolato (Chocolate “Salami”)
  • Readings/Assignment:

Hunger Banquet, and Global Poverty

  • Date: March 2, 2011
  • Guest: Alhaji N'jai, founder of Project1808 Sierra Leone
  • Menu (depending on what socioeconomic status card was drawn):
    • Rice for all
    • Rice and cabbage salad for some
    • Rice, cabbage salad, and chicken stir fry for a few
    • Beef tenderloin and mixed greens for two
  • Readings:

Nepalese Cuisine: The Taste of the Roof of the World

  • Date: March 23, 2011
  • Guest: Gokul Silwal, chef at Chautara Restaurant, and Krishna Sijapati, current President of the American Hindu Association and of the Hindu Dharma Circle
  • Menu:
    • Lentil Dal
    • Cauliflower Tarkari
    • Chicken Curry with Rice
    • Home style Roti
    • Chiya (Chai) tea
    • Rice pudding
  • Readings:
    • General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions, GEFONT on Food Sovereignty. By Umesh Upadhyaya. Globalization and Nepali society.
    • Overview of Nepali Cuisine History Collected by Krishna Sijapati from various sources, March 2011
    • Rudra Gautam, Umesh Upadhyaya and Bishnu Rimal, “Dalits, Discrimination and Food Industry in Nepal,” GEFONT Anti-slavery International, UK. May 21, 2002

Vegetarian Tastes: At Home and Abroad

  • Date: April 13, 2011
  • Guest: Jennie Capellaro of the Green Owl Vegetarian Restaurant, Kristen Chilcoat and Roni “Papah” Sjachrani of Bandung Indonesian Restaurant
  • Menu:
    • BBQ jackfruit sliders
    • Tempeh-Lettuce-Tomato-Avocado (TLTA) sandwiches
    • Keto prak (tofu salad with Indonesian sweet soy sauce and freshly squeezed lime)
    • Oseng Oseng Tempeh (Cultured soybeans, green beans, lemongrass-coconut sauce)
    • Jackfruit, tempeh and vegetable curry
    • Chocolate vegan cheesecake
  • Readings:
    • Kathy Freson, “The Case for Fake Meat”
    • “Indonesian Kitchen”
    • A review of the Green Owl Vegetarian Restaurant on
    • A review of Bandung Indonesia Restaurant,

Ecuadorian Cuisine and the Kallari Cooperative’s Sustainable Cacao Production

  • Date: May 4, 2011
  • Guest: Judy Logback and Roxana Salvador of the Kallari Cooperative
  • Menu:
    • Ensalada Mixta: A simple lettuce salad with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette
    • Locro: A thick, rich soup of potatoes, cheese, and corn, popular in Peru and Ecuador
    • Fish Ceviche and Mushroom Ceviche, served over Ecuadorian Rice
    • Plantains, Pickled Red Onions, and Aji Criollo (a green hot sauce)
    • Mango, Orange and Pineapple Juices
    • Kallari chocolate tasting
  • Readings:
    • Check out the Kallari website
    • A cheat sheet on chocolate production, from Kallari (PDF)
    • 2008 New York Times profile of the Kallari Cooperative

Fall 2011
Hmong Cuisine and Wisconsin Culture

  • Date: September 21, 2011
  • Guest: Mai Vang, of the Hmong American Student Association
  • Menu:
    • Squash Soup (taub hau)
    • Stir-Fried Chicken (or Tofu) with Holy Basil (Pad Kaprao Gai)
    • Spring Rolls with Hoisin Peanut Sauce
    • Steamed white Jasmine rice
    • Tapioca Pearls (Nab Vam)

Afro-Caribbean Cuisine and Environment

  • Date: September 21, 2011
  • Guest: Scott Barton, New York City Chef and Food Scholar
  • Menu:
    • Pão de queijo: small baked cheese buns, made with cassava manioc flour
    • Moqueca de Peixe: A stew of white fish in a fragrant sauce, with Moqueca de Ovos with eggs instead of fish as a vegetarian option. Served w with Molho de Pimenta, a spicy sauce, and Steamed Rice
    • Salada de Feijão Fradinho: A salad of black-eyed peas and tomatoes in a lemon vinaigrette
    • Doce da Abobora: A dessert of stewed sweet pumpkin

Global Vegetarianism and Animal Ethics

  • Date: November 9, 2011
  • Guest: Justin Horn, Food and Animal Ethicist
  • Menu:
    • Creamy Feta-Spinach Dip, served with pita chips
    • Veggie Burgers, of tofu and walnuts, made by the local Nature’s Bakery Cooperative
    • Three Sisters Salad: A bright salad of squash, corn, and beans--three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America.
    • Aloo Gobi: A potato and cauliflower curry with a variety of flavorful Indian spices
    • Vegan Chocolate Cake: A rich chocolate-y dessert, with a “buttercream” frosting, all made without animal products

West African Food and Dance

  • Date: December 7, 2011
  • Guest: Otehlia Cassidy, co-director and lead choreographer of WADOMA (West African Dance of Madison)
  • Menu:
    • Cucumber-Tomato Salad
    • African Peanut Stew
    • Creamed Chard
    • Mango Bread Pudding w/ Caramelized Mango Sauce

Spring 2012

An Arctic Feast

  • Date: February 8, 2012
  • Guest: Andrew and Ariana Stuhl, Arctic Environmental Scholars
  • Menu:
    • Caribou Stew and Vegetable Stew
    • Baked White Fish
    • Macaroni Salad
    • Caesar Salad
    • Dinner Rolls
    • English Trifle
  • Description: In the Arctic, the feast offers families, visitors, and old friends a chance to connect with one another--and the land around them--over a shared meal. The feast has been a feature of northern communities for several centuries, marking important occasions in the year, allowing for the continuation of practiced values (such as respecting elders), and acting as a site for exchanging information. For this global meal, the feast offers not just a tasty dinner, but a unique window into Arctic life, past and present.

International Influences in Wisconsin Cuisine

  • Date: February 29, 2012
  • Guest: Terese Allen, Wisconsin food author and local foods activist
  • Menu:
    • Wisconsin specialty cheese platter, with locally-made Potter's Crackers
    • Traditional Cornish Pasties, served with salsa, with a Vegetarian Pasty Option
    • Southeast Asian Tomsum with carrots
    • Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad
    • Sweet Potato Pie
    • Cranberry juice and apple cider.
  • Description: Our guest Terese Allen writes about the pleasures and benefits of regional foods, sustainable cooking, and culinary folklore. She is food editor and columnist for Organic Valley Family of Farm, the country’s largest organic farmers’ cooperative, and a food columnist for Edible Madison magazine. Terese has worked as a chef, cookbook author, and food historian. Her books offer extensive histories of food and cooking in the Badger State (The Flavor of Wisconsin, co-authored with Harva Hachten), as well as everyday tips on sustainable eating through the year (Wisconsin Local Foods Journal, co-authored with Joan Peterson). Terese is president and founding member of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW) and is past-chair and long-time board member of Madison’s REAP Food Group, a grassroots organization that advocates for sustainable food systems. in southern Wisconsin.

Bangladeshi Food and Ecology

  • Date: March 21, 2012
  • Guest: Micah Hahn, Public Health Scholar in Bangladesh
  • Menu:
    • Jal muri (snack mix)
    • Chicken Curry and Egg Curry (Vegetarian Option), served with Kichuri Rice
    • Vegetable Mixed Curry
    • Rosh Malai (a sweet dessert of clotted cream)
    • Chai Tea
  • Description: Micah Hahn is a graduate student studying global environmental health at UW-Madison. She will be joining us for the Global Meal having just returned from her research site in Bangladesh, where she studied how villagers' consumption of palm tree sap may be contributing to the spread of the dangerous Nipah virus. Her research studies whether and how fruit bats transmit the virus to humans via the tree sap. She wants to work with local villagers to brainstorm ways to curb the disease while preserving their culture and traditional practices.

MesoAmerican Food and Culture: Insights from a Pedal Bike Trip

  • Date: April 25, 2012
  • Guest: Alan Turnquist, GreenHouse Program Director, who cycled across Latin America
  • Menu:
    • Beet juice with Lime
    • Cream of Squash Soup with chipotle cream and popcorn
    • Shredded cabbage salad with tomatoes, lime, cilantro, and sweet peppers
    • Mole Poblano (Chicken or baked Tofu/garbanzos) with rice and fried green plantains
    • Champurrado (Mexican hot corn chocolate) and Churros (Mexican Fritters, rolled in cinnamon and sugar)
  • Description: Alan Turnquist is the new GreenHouse Program Coordinator. He has lived, worked and traveled extensively in Latin America. He is recently back from pedaling around the Americas on a tandem bicycle with his wife Erin. He is really looking forward to sharing some food and stories from southern Mexico and Central America with the lovely GreenHouse Residents.