Using Food to Discover the World

Reading and cooking are two of my favorite ways to relax. Give me a suspense mystery and I’m lost to the world for several hours. Give me a new, interesting recipe and I will make a special trip to the grocery store and purchase ingredients to get started immediately. And if my love of reading and cooking are combined—say, I get a new cookbook—I will ignore everything around me as I marvel at the photos and look for good recipes.

These loves are why I signed up to test new and modified recipes for the upcoming revised edition of the Extending the Table cookbook. The cookbook is already a staple at our house. The introduction states, “This collection of recipes and stories invites us to sit with people we have never met, taste the flavors of their food, feel the warmth of their friendship, and learn from their experiences.” Indeed, as I’ve used this book over the years, I’ve felt much more attuned to the world around me.

The revised edition will include colorful photos and recipe revisions, along with several new recipes. Some of my favorites in the cookbook include Bang-Bang Chicken, Rice Noodles with Vegetables, and Dhal. Now that I’ve tested recipes, I’ve added a few more to my list.


Pad Thai already appears in the cookbook, but I tried a revised version with tofu instead of meat. When ordering this dish at Thai restaurants I always request tofu as the protein, and so I was excited to cook with it as well. After stopping at the local Asian grocery to find my preferred size of rice noodles, I grabbed the cutting board and heated the wok. I was thrilled when the dish turned out to be both simple to make and tasty to eat. The tofu was a nice exchange. From now on, that’s how I’ll make Pad Thai.


Mango Lassi is a new recipe for Extending the Table. I was eager to try it because I order one whenever eating at an Indian restaurant. The small, yellow, and soft mangos are my choice because they are sweeter and juicier than other varieties. I found them at my favorite Mexican grocery. I chopped them, measured other ingredients, and gave everything a whirl in the blender. It was another very simple and tasty recipe!


The revised edition of Extending the Table will be available in early summer 2014.  Join me in discovering more foods to expand our worlds!

120127_3988Mary Ann Weber, Managing Editor for Curriculum