Sunday, July 19, 2015

Culinary Historians' Dinner

Arepas con Pollo Adobado from Columbia or Venezuela
Earlier this evening, we attended the summer dinner of the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor (CHAA), held at the Ladies' Literary Club of Ypsilanti clubhouse that was built in the 1840s. While this was our first time attending this event, most of the other people present have been participating in CHAA dinners for years or even decades. Tonight's theme was "Under the Southern Cross: Foods from Countries on the Equator or Below."

Contributions ranged widely around the lower half of the globe: African peanut soup, South American chicken and beef dishes, a dish from Borneo, Indonesian salad with peanut sauce, and several selections from Australia and New Zealand. I didn't keep careful notes about all the foods, but I enjoyed every one that I tasted, especially those flavored with the spices from the spice islands and other southern places. A really delicious selection!

Aussie vegemite sandwiches cut in the shapes of kangaroos and koala bears.
Explaining vegemite: "We hope nobody has tasted it before. Because if
you have, we'll be taking these all home."
Each contributor presented a brief summary of his or her dish and its history.
Chilean Pastel de Choclo: "a very fancy shepherd's pie."
Topped with a special type of young sweetcorn called choclo. Flavored with basil and layers of beef and chicken.
Behind that: Passover Haroset from Surinam made from a variety of cooked dried fruit and spices.
Explaining the arepas.
Pavlova: a meringue cake topped with lemon curd or cream and strawberries -- my contribution.
This dish was invented in New Zealand in the 1920s, claimed by Australia, and is now very popular in the US and many other places.
It's often made with whipped cream, but we had very hot weather today so I used lemon curd, which holds up better.
Anzac biscuits, supposedly invented during World War I to survive several weeks on a ship
supplying the Australia-New Zealand Army Corps, or ANZAC, who were fighting in Europe.
Explaining carrots with honey and cheese from Chile.


Jeanie said...

This looks like such fun! I love Pavlova -- it's my favorite Easter dessert -- the humidity is just right for the meringue, although with the softer meringue, I suppose it wouldn't matter so much regardless. I've always used the cream -- I'll have to try it with lemon curd next! I'm a sucker for lemon curd.

How was the vegamite?

Debra Eliotseats said...

What an interesting meal and I bet you had the best time. So interesting to learn about new foods.