why I teach Pots, Pans & Passports class
Every year before Christmas my mom would ask, “Where should we go for Christmas this year?” “Greece? Or Italy?” I’d reply. For each year at Christmas we traveled to a different country. One year we went to Sweden. Another year it was Mexico, then Italy, and Greece. Even though I grew up in a small town (population 200!) I learned so much about the world from these holiday adventures.
Quick confession. Truth is, we never really went to Mexico, Greece, Sweden, or Italy. Rather, come November we would choose a country to “visit.” Pre-internet days, my mom would send me off to the local library to find cookbooks featuring that country’s traditional foods. Then we’d gather around the kitchen table pouring over cookbooks. We would design a menu from these countries to serve at Christmas. If we were going to Greece we’d call specialty grocery stores in nearby cities asking if they sold grape leaves or frozen octopus. If we were going to Italy we’d scour the back pages of fancy cooking magazines like Bon Appetit looking for squid which could be shipped to our little town. I learned to stuff grape leaves (Greece), make homemade tortillas (Mexico), and serve pickled herring (Sweden). On Christmas Eve we’d invite friends and family and set out a feast for all to enjoy.
Thus, at the beginning of each Pots, Pans & Passports class, I dedicate it to my mother, Louise DeRe Zippay. She taught me to always try the food on your plate and no matter where you live, there is always a world for you to explore. You simply need to step through the kitchen door.