Last week an old colleague posted one of those memories on facebook from “10 Years Ago Today.”It was a fun memory of an afterwork outing while on a business trip to Frankfurt. Me and the IT gang had been working very long hours on that trip and were enjoying a well deserved cocktail for our troubles. It also reminded me that the photo was taken mere days before I met my husband, for that was indeed the fatefull business trip when our paths first crossed.
Fast forward through one year of loooong distance dating, one international move, and one wedding, and here I am, living on the other side of the pond with an adorable husband who speaks english with a funny accent. Sometimes it just takes my breath away to think about the crazy and unexpected paths that life takes us down. Seriously, had I known, I would have studied German in school instead of French!
Living abroad is a whole mixed bag of crazy highs and lows. According to the relocation book I bought before moving, most expats go through three stages: (1) the vacation period, when everthing in the new country seems exciting and wonderful, (2) transition shock, also known as home-sickness and considered a form of temporary depression, and finally (3) adjustment to the new environment. I went though all of these, multiple times, and while I still have days when I look around and wonder, “how the heck did I get here!” I have mostly long since adjusted to life in my new home.
Adjustment doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, I still miss the US and my friends and family back home (oh, and decent Mexican food!) but it does mean that my view of my new home is more balanced: not perfect as I thought during the vacation period, or horrible like I thought during my deep bouts of home sickness, but a balanced mix of both.
Looking on the bright side of that balance, one of the great things about living here in Germany is the availability of culinary sensations from Africa and the Middle East. I may not be able to find decent salsa here, but there are any number of places I can go to enjoy fresh and delicious hummus, drizzled with oil & spices and served with chopped lamb & warm pita to scoop it up. It’s really, SO good.
All of which brings us to this week’s My Paris Kitchen recipe, Dukkah-Roasted Cauliflower. Dukkah, if you have not yet had the pleasure, is an Egyptian spiced nut mix which adds great flavor to whatever it is spinkled over. Like salsa, there really is no ONE recipe and variations abound. David’s (which can be found on his website) calls for a mix of freshly toasted ground nuts, seeds, spices, and salt. This recipe was incredibly easy and came together very quickly.
He then suggests that we sprinkle this nutty mix over roasted cauliflower. Another incredibly simple dish which was absolutely delicious paired some quick chicken breasts. Easy recipes which deliver tasty and wholesome dinners are always winners in my book and I’m looking forward to seeing what else Mr. Lebovitz has up his sleeve as we continue working our way through his book.
I enjoy the trips down memory lane that Facebook can provide. Your story is a particularly lovely one.
Africa is best represented by Morocco, Tunisia, and Ethiopia in Vancouver’s restaurant scene. Dukkah is fairly new to me.
I often envy Europeans for being at the crossroads for so many cuisines, but we’ve got an eclectic, multicultural food scene of our own here, so I’ve got nothing to complain about.
A lot of changes do happen in ten years. That is a very lovely story.
I can’t imagine the challenges of living across the ocean, but you seem to have weathered the cycles pretty well.
Germany really does have some excellent Middle Eastern (I didn’t try any of its African offerings) food. That’s so fun for you to see that picture and know you met your eventual husband a few days later!
I like the story you included. Great job xxxx
This was tasty, huh?
GREAT post!! I only moved a couple of states for love and still went through the stages of relocation, so I can only imagine moving across the globe. I think the cauliflower dish is going to make a regular appearance at my house.
Loved your post! Sounds like a wonderful love story! Living in NJ and the NY metropolitan area, we have an abundance of Middle Eastern groceries, and restaurants. Since I am part Lebanese…I know where the best are. Nothing like warm pita, with Labne and za’atar. One of my favorites!
David’s recipe for the dukkah was a real winner…so glad to have learned something new.
I will make sure to keep a jar in my pantry from now on.
I cannot imagine moving from country to country, my largest move was across the U.S. – 3000 miles and I was so homesick for the longest time. I loved your story.
I too loved the Dukkah, sure to have it on hand for it’s so many uses.
I just love your post. Jim and I met quite a few ex-pats in our travels and I always enjoyed
listening to their stories also. So interesting. We loved this recipe, the dukkah was delicious
and a new experience for us. Yours looks fantastic in that lovely serving dish.
Oh man, I really enjoyed your post today, Rose, and can see how awful that second phase must be. One of the times I spent some months in Paris during my doctoral research I actually brought a couple packets of taco seasoning with me. 🙂 I miss Mexican food that much when I’m traveling. That said, I agree that the access to middle eastern and african food for you must be _great._ Anyway, glad you enjoyed the recipe and I loved reading your tip on someone else’s blog (I hope it was you) about doing the spices first and then the nuts. I’m keeping that in mind, though I did get out some aggressions pounding away at the peppercorns and large bits of hazelnuts with my pestle. 🙂
Those stages of relocation sound very familiar to me…there are so many things to miss but it sounds like you have adjusted well. I hope you find a good recipe for fresh salsa 🙂
I love your blog. I have read many of your blog posts for FFWD. Do you have a favorite recipe from Jerusalem? Mine is the salad with dates and almonds.
Thank you! What a nice compliment.
That salad with dates and almonds ranks near the top for me as well, I’ve made it many, many times. I also love the spiced eggplant with bulgur salad, the roasted cauliflower, and the shakshuka. I haven’t hit many of the meat dishes yet but the veggie chapter has gotten quite a workout.
I’ve only lived in two places, so your life, in the various phases of relocation, seem so adventurous and glamorous to me. I loved this recipe (just made it for the third time in a week)! I’m thrilled the batch of dukkah makes enough to use many times. I’m really enjoying this book. I’m so glad you asked the question that sparked us to move forward. The recipes are great, and visiting everyone’s blog fills a void that I didn’t even know was there.
You just can’t predict where life and love will take you 🙂
I like that you said you went through the phases many times, books sometimes make it sound so clinical! You end up wondering why you are back to phase 1 when you already did that one and just want to get to the end of the cycle and settle down already! Dukkah is very popular here in Australia, but I think we are very multicultural, I’d love to see more good mexican though!
Your cauliflower looks awesome!!!
I enjoyed reading this post! The longest I stayed away from my homeland was a month in Toronto and I was already missing the food from back home! We have an interesting restaurant in Kuala Lumpur called ‘Out of Africa’ which is owned by a family from Africa (of German descent) and the food is pretty amazing! That platter of Dukkah-roasted cauliflower looks delish! (I might have miss out an ingredient in my dukkah line up!).