Traveling is a truly eye-opening experience. Just going to the next town over can teach you something you didn’t know about yourself or what surrounds you. Even more exciting is when you can delve into the true culture of a place and its people. One thing that is often the most unique is the food and, thus, the kitchen in people’s homes.
Everywhere is different. Some people cook outside on an open fire, some have luxurious $500,000 outfits and some just have run-of-the-mill set ups. One thing is for sure, everywhere around the world people are used to having certain things at their disposal when they’re whipping up something to eat. Bringing back little things, like the cooking techniques and materials from other cultures is one of the many treasures of traveling.
In Asia, rice cookers are huge. You’d be hard-pressed to find a modern home without one. Surprisingly, a lot of the rest of the world also has a pretty steady diet of rice, too. Most of Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East use rice as a staple in their homes and meals. What’s so neat about some of them is that you can use them to cook all sorts of different things, instead of just rice.
While a very region-specific thing as opposed to rice cookers, paella is a classic Spanish dish. It is said that sometimes paella pans are handed down as family heirlooms. There are paella pans that are large enough to feed an entire restaurant of people and ones that are meant for just you and a friend. Regardless of having a special pan in your own home, it never hurts to try something new.
A new trend in many kitchens throughout the world is to have your own espresso machine. More and more companies are manufacturing affordable espresso machines that let you practice your barista skills at home. Not to mention it’s a pretty cost-effective item if you have a decent addiction to caffeine. If you buy an espresso machine for home, you then get to choose which beans you use to brew your coffee. Many countries produce coffee in different styles and roasts. It’s like a whole separate form of experiencing a culture.
If you’ve ever had fresh pasta, you know how special it can be. Watching someone’s little Nonna do so as she’s been doing all her life is even more rewarding. Not saying that you can all of a sudden master the art of pasta making like Nonna, but you can get a pasta maker and try your hand at it. It’s a delicate art but something worth taking home with you.
While not all kitchen practices are suited to bring home, these few are great examples of what travel can teach you. Everyone eats, most people cook and how each specific person does it is a huge part of our lives. Taking home bits of kitchen cultures after travel leaves a lasting effect on your life, even after you return home.