JBFC Joins the “Global Table Adventure”

June 19, 2013 2:52 pm Published by

The Global Table Adventure is “the ultimate stovetop travel experience” – 195 meals from 195 different countries prepared and eaten over 195 weeks. Sasha Martin is the Tulsa blogger, mother, and foodie behind the adventure. She recently featured food from JBFC’s home of Tanzania and she featured some of our girls cooking on her website.

Here’s an interview with Sasha about her blog, the food, and her new found appreciation for Tanzanian cooking. Sasha took some time out of her busy cooking and blogging schedule to talk JBFC’s Director of Development, Ashli Sims, about food, Tanzania, and the new international connection between a couple of girls on two different continents.

Ashli: First of all, you’ve been doing 
this for 175 weeks – more than three years – how did you come up with the idea?

Sasha: Basically, there were three things happening all at the same time. I was really missing travel. I saw 12 countries before I was 18. And here I was a new mom and I didn’t have the financial means to travel. And I was thinking, “What could I do to still experience other cultures?” Also, my daughter was seven months old and just starting to eat solid foods. My husband was very picky – he didn’t know what eggplant was. I was a little afraid my daughter would copy his eating habits. Those three issues percolated until it hit me that something had to be done – so I thought a meal from every country in the world. It became like a game.

Ashli: On your website, you say the Global Table is a place where we can “share the one thing that unites us and drives our individuality – food.” That’s such a wonderful way to think about global cuisine. How did you develop that philosophy about what you’re doing and have you felt more globally connected over the last three years?

Sasha: I do feel really connected. As the project has moved along, it’s amazing how many people I have run into who have connections to different countries. And they’re really excited to share what makes their culture theirs. A lot of them are live right here in Tulsa. I thought I was missing out on culture because I couldn’t travel, but really Tulsa has it all. My eyes just weren’t open. A woman in a department store was from Belarus and she helped me cook borscht. Another lady from my daughter’s play group, appeared Indian, and turns out she was half Finnish. I was doing Finland that week and I invited her back to my house to help with them meal. I’m feeling more connected globally and locally.

Ashli: Recently, you took on Tanzania. This video not only includes you talking about your Tanzanian cooking experience, but a couple of special guest stars. Tell us how the JBFC girls got invited – virtually speaking – to your global table?

Sasha: It all comes back to neighbors. Jonathan Wooley (Sasha’s neighbor and a freelance

Wooley shooting in Tanzania

videographer/editor who has collaborated with JBFC on the documentary “Little by Little” and numerous short videos featured on Youtube) and I have gotten to know each other over the years. We got to talking and he told me about his film work with JBFC. Jonathan said he could shoot some of the girls cooking to help me with our meal. He grabbed the footage and we went over to their house and he showed us all. Watching the footage, it felt like we were right there in Tanzania. It was a great help as I was putting the meal together – little things about how thin I should cut the spinach – I could look on the video. It was nice to see you don’t have to worry quite so much about measuring. That they said hi to Ava – was just so sweet.

Ashli: For your Tanzania meal, you cooked Kisamvu, a JBFC favorite. This is also what the girls are cooking in the video. What did you think about their cooking techniques, compared with your own?

Sasha: It was amazing! Sometimes they used a cutting board, but often they would just cut tomatoes in their hand. Even something like the variable heat they were cooking over was a stark contrast to how we cook here, in the west. They’re adding wood to the burner as the coals burn down. It was an important lesson – In Tanzania the food is ready, when it’s ready. The meal came together pretty quickly, but it was a lot of chopping and washing of spinach. I think we’ve lost a lot of how cooking can be social. We’re in such a hurry. We forget if we’re chopping for 30 minutes we can also be gabbing with our husband, daughter, or brother.

Ashli: How did the Tanzanian fare, stack up against the other 175 countries you’ve done so far?

Sasha: I really enjoyed it <Kisamvu>. It goes really nicely with the peanut butter and the vegetables. Jonathan says my version was not as heavy with the peanut butter as he had in Tanzania. So maybe next time I’ll add a little bit more. It’s kind of like a creamed spinach with a peanutty flavor. I would recommend it as a nice side dish. Especially if they get bagged, chopped spinach, it’s an easy weeknight side dish that you could serve with chicken or just rice. I love that it is vegan. (Click here for the recipe Sasha used.)

Ashli: What did your family think of Kisamvu? Did Ava like it? What did she think of the shout-out from 8,000 miles away?

Sasha: Peanut butter is one of Mr. Picky’s <Sasha’s husband’s> favorites, so that kind of guaranteed

success for him. Ava wasn’t eating at first, but she wanted to be in the picture. And I told her the picture was for people who were trying the food. I thought she would just take one bite, but she ate several spoonfuls and seemed to like it.

Ava and I really loved the video of the JBFC girls. She just said, “Oh!” and smiled and giggled. I said, “Do you know what they said?” And she said, “Ava.” It was really sweet. And little kids of course notice everything. And there was a little girl at the bottom of the screen, who didn’t say anything. Ava pointed her out and said, “She’s shy.” (Editor’s Note: The “shy” girl in the video is Esther, JBFC’s youngest girl.)

On October 12, 2013, Sasha Martin is celebrating the culmination of her journey around the world through food by hosting a Global Table Celebration in Tulsa. Click here for details

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This post was written by Mainsprings