Passeports Gastronomique eBook helps you avoid “nasty food”

food ebookIf you are a culinary disaster (like myself), you probably don’t know your aloyau from your limaces. And lacking skills to read a foreign menu can be a pretty miserable experience.

A basic translation error could mean the difference between ordering a steak, or a plate full of friend lamb intestines.

Thankfully, there are tools on the market to aid in the dilemma of ordering the right food. One of those tools is the “Passeports Gastronomique”. This collection of eBooks is available for nine different languages, including Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish.

Especially in countries where the cuisine may be “a tad adventurous”, knowing what is on your plate means you won’t unknowingly become the next Andrew Zimmerman.

The books come in eBook form, which means you’ll be able to read them on the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook as well as any device with access to the free Amazon Kindle app (iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, Mac, Blackberry, Android and Windows Phone 7) or free Nook app (iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, Mac, Blackberry and Android).

Books start at $6.99 and are available through your mobile Nook or Kindle store, or Bon Appetit!

Seek local flavor by creating a food “theme” for your travels – International travel tip

Find a way to link the unfamiliar with the familiar.

While honeymooning in Greece, my husband and I discovered oregano flavored potato chips at a local supermarket. Thus began our quest to seek out “locally-flavored” chips wherever we traveled — paprika chips in Hungary, Maui onion chips in Hawaii, seaweed chips in Hong Kong, jalapeno chips in Mexico…

Find your own tradition and each international visit will be both an adventure and a comfort.

How to host a multi-cultural Labor Day barbecue

Labor Day is a quintessential American holiday. It’s a day to honor the workers, spend time with friends and family, and traditionally, to enjoy one last blow-out backyard barbecue before the cold weather sets in. Burgers, beers, and the all-American apple pie may be the staples, but since America is such a melting pot, why not honor that with a more international array of food and drink? Whether your ancestors arrived in America hundreds of years ago, or just within the last decade, showcase your heritage and the cultures of your closest friends by serving up some traditional cuisines from around the world. It doesn’t have to be a big hassle, you can make it as simple or complex as you like. Here are a few ideas for an international-themed Labor Day barbecue.

Host an International Happy Hour
Spicing up your drink offerings is the easiest way to add more international variety to your party. Nearly every country brews its own beer and, aside from the obvious Dos Equis from Mexico and Heineken from The Netherlands, it’s easy to find Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic), Quilmes (Argentina) and even Tsingtao (China) beer at most local stores. Wine is an easy option too. We all know the major players like Italy and France, but Hungary, Chile, South Africa, Croatia, and many other countries also produce wine. If you plan on serving liquor, set up a signature drinks station. Allow guests to mix their own Brazilian Caipirinhas, Peruvian Pisco Sours, or Italian Spritzs.

Dress Up Your Burgers and Hot Dogs
If you wouldn’t dare not serve burgers at your barbecue, you can still fancy them up with some toppings that reflect international cuisines. Add guacamole or cotija cheese to Mexican burgers, Brie cheese and fried shallots for French flair, or Feta cheese and spinach on Greek lamb burgers. You can also swap hot dogs for meats from various regions – go with spicy Spanish chorizo, German bratwurst with sauerkraut or Turkish doner in pita with yogurt sauce. Kebabs also work well. Try pork glazed with Chinese hoisin, or chicken in an Indian tikka masala sauce, skewered with appropriate veggies. Apply the same rules to your side dishes. Share the workload with friends by asking them to bring dishes that represent their heritage to serve on the side.

Don’t Forget Dessert
Dessert is another area where it’s easy to get creative while still offering a delicious end to the meal. It’s also okay to “cheat” a bit here, and buy some of the ingredients pre-made from the grocery store. Bake (or buy) some Greek baklava, serve French crepes topped with ice cream, Italian tiramisu, or Mexican tres leches cake.

Obviously, these are just a few of the options available. Check websites like All Recipes, consult with family or friends, or make your favorite handed-down-through-generations recipe. And if you have a great recipe you’re willing to share, please post it in the comments.