Category Archives: Culture

Tagine

This is my tagine. I bought it at Sur La Table for under thirty dollars. There were other tagines that were far more expensive, but I wanted one that was ceramic and perhaps closer to what you might find in North Africa. Continue reading

Badal

Badal, 2005

Badal, 2005

Badal is a 2005 documentary that was filmed in Israel by the director Ibtisam Mara’ana. Badal marriages are a cultural tradition where a brother and sister of one family are married to a brother and sister in another family. It should be stressed that badal marriages are of cultural rather than religious nature.

In Badal, the matchmaker attempts to arrange a badal marriage that includes a young woman who is considered too thin and undesirable for a normal match. Continue reading

Cafés: Arkhangelskoe, Russian Federation

Olga and Pavel, Arkhangelskoe, Russian Federation, 2008

Olga and Pavel, Arkhangelskoe, Russian Federation, 2008

Outdoor cafés are wonderful places. In itself, an outdoor café requires only some tables, chairs, and perhaps an umbrella to block the sun and rain, but nothing more is necessary. What makes an outdoor café so special is that it takes on the culture and characteristics of it’s location, whether it is on a street, in a park, on a city square, or along a seacoast. There is no need to create an atmosphere because the atmosphere is already authentic. When food is a cultural experience, there can be no better place to enjoy it than amongst the culture and geography from which it was created. Continue reading

Tunisian Brik

Tunisian Brik

Tunisian Brik

We once had an exchange student from Tunisia who stayed with us for far too short of time. I’ll always be grateful to her for introducing Tunisian brik into our home. Technically, I think these are actually called Fingers of Fatima as brik are traditionally triangular and feature a raw egg, but brik is what she called them and that is good enough for me. Plus, it’s easier than explaining who Fatima was and why we are eating her fingers. Continue reading

The Russian Forest

peterhof-russian-forest

Forest, Near the Bay of Finland, Russian Federation, 2008

European Russian is a geographically divided country. In the south stretches the grassy steppe, the territory of ancient Rus and the birthplace of the Russian state. In the north stretches great forests, the place of refuge for the Slavs from the invasion into the steppe by the Golden Horde in the 13th century. In these forests later arose the princedoms of the Golden Ring, Muscovy, and finally modern Russia. Continue reading

Wurstfest: German Food and Texas Fun

Wurstfest, 2008

Marketplatz, Wurstfest, New Braunfels, Texas, 2008

Wurstfest is the Texas version of Oktoberfest that is held in New Braunfels, Texas each year during the first week of November. Olga, Asya, Irina, and Kate all attended the festival with us. It’s a fun place for an exchange student to absorb a little Texas culture. The two Muslim girls did not attend because Continue reading

Azerbaijian Hospitality

Rostov, Russian Federation, 2008

Rostov, Russian Federation, 2008

During our tour of the Golden Ring of Russia, after we had toured Rostov the Great, Olga, Pavel, and I were guests at her uncle’s home in Rostov. In this parting photograph is Pavel, Olga’s uncle Nabi, her aunt Elya, Kamila, who is married to one of Olga’s cousins, and Olga. Olga, our first exchange daughter, is half-Azerbaijan from her father’s side of the family and her father is Muslim. Her mother is Russian and Russian-Orthodox. Olga was raised in the Russian-Orthodox church. Continue reading