There are days when I enjoy puttering around the kitchen for hours and hours on end–yes, really! I will mix and stir, simmer and sauté, and take all the time that’s necessary to create loads of deliciousness from scratch for myself, my family, and our friends to enjoy together. I welcome the eagerness with which my son volunteers his assistance, and I don’t mind that his help may mean that the process takes even longer than it would if I were to do it myself.
Then there are those other days, the ones where I expend all of my energy outside of the home. I also love to meet new people and make new friends. I thrive when asked to take center stage, and will gladly step into the spotlight to perform when the opportunity arises. It’s on those days that I am most thankful to be living in a place where fresh, local, organic, seasonal produce is in plentiful abundance.
Tirana, Albania is just such a place. My neighborhood is an eclectic and appealing mix of bustling big city and quiet suburbia all rolled into one. I can stroll to the corner cafe and expand my ever-growing Albanian vocabulary over a cup of tea with the owner. A quick jaunt around the block puts me at the doorstep of bakeries overflowing with aromatic loaves light and dark, fruit and vegetable stands spilling over with seasonal goodness, and a mix of modern & traditional restaurants galore!
After filling my cup with a rewarding day out in the community we currently call home, it is such a pleasure and a relief to allow the simplicity of a few quality ingredients to shine on our dinner table. They really don’t need any interference from me. Just a little knife work and some artful arranging, and dinner is served!
Some quickly-sliced cucumbers take a bath in a fragrant pickling liquid, then land on the plate with a zingy splash! The tang of crushed wild blueberries burble their way into a gorgeous glass, without any pretense of formality. The refreshing crunch of a ruffle of leafy greenery lightly lines a pillowy bun, protecting it from becoming soggy under the squish of a juicy tomato. Salted with a few slices of a traditional Albanian cheese, this open-faced sandwich is as delectable to the eye as it is to the mouth! Add a pile of briny olives and an array of carrot sticks, and the colorful plate is ready for its close-up, Mr. DeMille!
As comfortable as walking down the street hand-in-hand with a friend, life doesn’t get much better than this! Want even more of this deliciousness from our daily life in Albania? Interested in learning how you, too, can #PLAYwithYourFood and confidently encourage your children to do the same?
Register now for the fall session of our Fun Family Food Workshop with a special $100-off friends-and-family discount! This offer is only good for the next 24 hours, so don’t dawdle!!!