Monday, September 8, 2014

A dinner to remember

Seventeen hours later, I think it's possible that I am still in a food coma. A joyous, amazing, please-never-end food coma.

Let me set the scene.

It's Saturday. Mark was a groomsman in a wedding, one that brought in a lot of his high school friends who live out of town. I knew a lot of the guys but not all of them.

Mark: KJ wants to know if we want to cove over for dinner tomorrow.

Kim: Is his mom cooking?

Mark: Probably.

Kim: Is she going to make Middle Eastern food?

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The answer was yes. An amazing yes, yes, yes.

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KJ's family is from Iraq, and his mom made biryani, dolma, cucumber-tomato salad and pickled beets. The dolma, unlike the familiar Greek, was served warm and rather than grape leaves, she used Swiss chard, onions, zucchini and bell peppers.

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When we were sitting at the table, it was as if dish after dish was brought out. If one even looked the least bit empty, it was quickly refilled and, with it, a fresh wave of amazing smells.

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There was also homemade yogurt and a dill-yogurt sauce for us to use to dip, drizzle or (possibly) just eat with a spoon.

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I was first introduced to a lot of these flavors when I went to Israel in 2001, and it was an unbelievable treat to get to taste them again.

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Some of the party might have argued that the real treat was dessert, made by KJ's wife. Chocolate lava cake with fresh orange and bananas. It was rich and amazing and worth every bite.

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The perfect complement? Tea.

As we ate dinner, I peppered KJ's wife with questions about what she cooked and what were her favorite things to make. Biryani was a favorite, as was homemade bread.

"What do you make?" she asked.

I was stumped. I cook a lot - usually - but I don't have a style or dish that I would call my specialty. I don't make traditional German food, which would be a nod to my heritage, nor do I cook English favorites for Mark.

I left the dinner wanting to find my style and specialty. I want to discover the things that make people want to eat at my house the way I now want to go to KJ's.


  1. Oh my goodness it all looks and sounds delicious!! Yum!

  2. Yum this all looks delicious.