I rolled memories of this blog in my head, like a loose tooth.
I remember late at night when I can't sleep. Ironically, this is how our adventure began over seven years ago: Restless, at midnight. I will always remember waking Keith up in the middle of that fragile February night to tell him that I wanted to cook every country. And - love him - he accepted.
More than a place to store recipes from all over the world, this website has since become our family's digital home. Photos of almost all recipes reveal our changing lives. A little girl who turns into a young woman; my black hair becoming more salty than peppery, then black again; my husband and I were married most of the decade.
Time passes, time passes, time passes. And still time goes by.
When it all started, I was a novice cook, writer and photographer. Over the years, I've developed my cooking skills, learned to spin a sentence, have become adept at taking photos, and made friends along the way. Global Table Adventure has become a sandbox for families and students who want to explore food from all countries. I befriended Rick Steves. I published my memories by National Geographic. Christopher Kimball interviewed me on Milk Street Radio.
Oh yes. This blog exceeded all of my expectations and dreams. In many ways it would be easy to continue to produce charming messages of global cuisine.
Except that is not easy. Not anymore.
Life changes, almost without warning.
Ava underwent double hernia surgery and changed schools to grade one. Keith's father battled cancer last year. Family and friends got married. Family and friends are deceased. Last month Keith had his facial cancer removed.
Do you remember how, in my memories, I talked about not knowing how to be happy? How about waiting for the “other shoe to fall”? Yeah.
Something about all of this change is making me step back, slow down, and savor the time I have with the people I love. It also has an effect on the type of work I want to put out in the world. The land has to be fallow to produce something good; I no longer want to follow a daily, weekly, or even monthly blog posting schedule, but prefer to work quietly and deeply on the projects that speak to me the most.
Even artist Picasso went through distinct periods of creation - times when he pivoted, moved, threw his palate and started over. My name may not be Picasso, but I find myself looking for something other than international food. Like Picasso - who went through a blue period and a pink period and even cubism and surrealism and, yes, periods when he was fallow - I feel called to create in new and bold ways - in a way that matches to my life now and, in particular, so as to serve my local community.
One part will involve international food and peace. And some will not. Some will be a challenge, while some will be just good for the heart.
Here is a glimpse of my life right now
I am writing a fantastic novel.
I grow cantaloupe in the garden.
I am a researcher at the University of Tulsa.
I am learn how to make a great cup of coffee.
I'm learning how to make a good loaf of sourdough.
I volunteer at my daughter's school.
I am an advocate for foster children.
I go to the Renaissance fair.
I practice yoga.
I write poetry.
Share these kinds of updates here would be confusing for the dozens of families and students who come to this site for the purpose of global enrichment. So I give you the keys, my adorable adventurers of the world table. This is your site - for cooking, for learning, for using however you see fit. I'll do the same: dig through the archives for dinner and party ideas.
Therefore. I said my piece. And I said my peace. For seven years. Now I know what I'm supposed to do. Go away. Pass.
Except it's never that easy, is it?
I cannot completely disappear. I care too much about this community. You can always find my latest news on SashaMartin.com and on Instagram. If you are on my mailing list, I will let you know about new projects (if not, you can subscribe at SashaMartin.com). I won't be creating recipes or blogging there - at least, not yet. And if I ever do, I won't spend hours and hours creating content. The purpose of the site will be to let you know my art - this will not be the case be Art.
Until then, the enormous “global table” that this site represents will always be established - for you, for me, for the whole world. There is enough room for everyone at the table: don't forget to create space for everyone's ideas, fears and dreams. We are all humans. We all deserve dignity and respect.
We create peace when we learn from each other, when we understand each other.
And this is the greatest adventure of all.
Stay curious. Live with appetite.
With tears of love and gratitude,
Sasha, Keith and Ava
Whether you regularly whip up Michelin-worthy meals at the drop of a hat or your cooking skills are best described as “fine, ” you can always benefit from the helpful little tricks of others. Here, 14 of our friends’, families’ and coworkers’ most-used cooking tips.
There’s a time and a place to whip out that complicated coq au vin recipe you’ve been dying to try. A dinner party isn’t that time. With a new recipe, you’ll likely be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus, when you’re trying something for the first time, there’s always the possibility that it could go horribly wrong. When cooking for a group, we always err on the side of tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.
You do hours of prep work on an intricate dish, only to be totally disappointed once you taste the terminal product. Bummer. Instead of putting in all that effort only to be disappointed, taste while you cook. That way, you’ll realize sooner that the dish isn’t tasting how you’d like it to, and you can make all kinds of last-ditch efforts to save it. This doesn’t just work for bad-to-OK meals. Tasting midway through and realizing how perfect a dash of cayenne or a squirt of lemon juice would be can take a great dinner to legendary status.
Plating pasta means tossing some onto a plate and finishing it with a nice dollop of sauce right on the middle, right ? Wrong. Here’s how to take your carbs to the next level : On the stove there should be two pans, one with pasta and one with sauce. Cook the pasta to al dente and transfer it into the sauce. Then, add a little bit of pasta water ( literally just the starchy water the pasta has been cooking in ), which will help the sauce cling to the pasta while also keeping it the right consistency. Perfection.
In the pursuit of the perfect steak, you have to be OK with your kitchen getting a little smoky. That’s because, to get the mouthwatering sear we’re all after, the meat has to be dry and the pan should be pretty damn close to smoking hot. Trust us, it’s worth a few seconds of a blaring alarm.
Most foods are ruined by too much salt. Steak is different. When it comes to seasoning your meat ( before you cook it ), more is more. Use a generous amount of coarse Kosher salt—more than you think you need. Since most cuts of steak are pretty thick, even though you’re using a lot of salt, it’s still only covering the surface.
This one isn’t too complicated. Whether you’re making avocado toast, pizza, fried rice or a burger, the addition of a fried egg on top will not hurt your feelings. Trust us.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve definitely found ourselves in a situation where we assumed we knew all of the ingredients that went into chocolate chip cookies only to find out that we had about half the required amount of brown sugar. Ugh. tera avoid a mid-cooking grocery-store trip, read the recipe from front to back—carefully—before you start.
Prepping céréales in mass quantities is less about taste than convenience. Rice, quinoa and even oatmeal last about a week in the fridge after being cooked. When we’re prepping any one of those, we double up our measurements and store the leftovers, which are then impossibly easy to use up throughout the week. Too tired to make dinner ? Heat up some leftover rice from the fridge and toss an egg on top ( remember ? ). Couldn’t be simpler.
So you fried up a pound of bacon for an indulgent ( read : delicious ) déjeuner. Great, just make sure you don’t throw out the grease in the pan. Instead, save it in the refrigerator or freezer ( it technically lasts for up to a year, but should be used sooner than that to take full advantage of its flavor ). Then, anytime you’re cooking something you typically prepare in oil, try cooking it in the bacon grease instead. You’ll never want to eat Brussels sprouts the old way again.
You’ve probably heard that whenever a dish is lacking a little something-something, the best thing to do is toss in some salt. But, we have it on good authority that salt isn’t always the answer. When you’re tasting a dish at the end and you think it needs a little oomph, often it just needs a splash of acid ( like lemon juice ) to round out the flavor.
You know the difference between a paring knife and a fillet knife, but do you know how to take care of them ? Or, more importantly, how to use them ? A set of good knives can be the difference between a stressful cooking experience and a great one. First, practice your knife skills. Look up tutorials on YouTube and practice chopping, slicing and julienne-ing. It’s amazing what you can do with your cook time when your prep time is shortened with solid knife skills. Then, once you’ve got your skills down pat, learn how to take care of your set. No one ever achieved kitchen greatness with a dull chef’s knife.
The key to tender, flavorful barbecue and roasts ? Cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. The same doesn’t go for roasting veggies. For crispy, perfectly cooked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and more, remember the magic number : 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and you risk pulling a pan of blah carrots out of the oven. It might seem high, but to get the nice roasted flavor, you need high heat. And while we’re on the subject, stop crowding your veggies in the pan, which will also make them soggy.
You know how just about every cookie recipe suggests that you chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, but oftentimes you don’t listen because you just want cookies now ? ! ( Same. ) Unfortunately, this step actually does make a difference. In addition to limiting how much the dough spreads while baking, chilling your dough intensifies the flavors and produces that perfect chewy, crispy matière we know and love.
It won’t do your breath any favors, but never ( ever ) scrimp on garlic. In fact, we typically double the amount a recipe calls for. Apologies to anyone who was planning on kissing us.