The world is full of delicious cuisine – from kabili palau in Afghanistan to sadza in Zimbabwe – but with more than 200 countries, it can be hard to taste all the flavours the globe has to offer.
A Yellowknife couple managed to do it without leaving home. Nicole Garbutt and Cabin Radio’s own Scott Letkeman recently finished their international culinary adventure, making and eating a dish from every country.
Garbutt documented the journey, which took just over two years to complete, on Instagram using the hashtag #FromAfghanistantoZimbabwe.
“We have been pretty consistent with it,” Garbutt told Mornings at the Cabin. “Originally we were going to do about one meal a week, which would have put us closer to four years to finish, and then we just started ripping through it.”
Garbutt got the idea from a friend. She and Letkeman started making the meals in July 2018, after returning to Yellowknife from a whirlwind trip where they visited around 20 different countries over six months.
Garbutt said they tried to make each country’s national dish, a recipe shared by someone who lived there, or a favourite dish they had tried while travelling.
For some countries, however, it wasn’t that easy.
“Some were definitely a big challenge for sure. Some were hard to even find a recipe that was fitting,” she said, adding it was also difficult to find some ingredients in Yellowknife.
“There were definitely some creative substitutions.”
Garbutt was expecting types of fish or meat to be the hardest to find, but the biggest challenge turned out to be different types of flour.
“We have quite a collection of different flours now,” she admitted.
Among Garbutt’s favourite dishes? A spiced braised chicken dish from Peru stands out. For Letkeman, it’s paella from Spain.
“A lot of new things are now going to make it into as regular of a food rotation as we have,” Garbutt said.
The biggest thing she will take away from the experience is confidence in her cooking skills. She said she has fine-tuned the art of multitasking when putting together a large-scale meal.
“Food is so universal in the way that we enjoy it and prepare it and share it,” she said.
“I have always loved entertaining and cooking for other people. It brings me a lot of joy to have people enjoy something that I make.”
Letkeman, meanwhile, said he learned he’s a good sous-chef.
“I am good at taking directions,” he laughed.
“I am good at cutting things up. Other than that, kind-of staying out of the way.”
Jesse Wheeler contributed reporting.