Originally published in quality newspapers the week of November 15
A month or so ago my wife took our oldest son on a quick trip to California. As I spent some one-on-one time with the younger of my two boys he was a little sad that he wasn’t on the trip. “They’re going to taste different foods and hear different languages,” he whined. Last week I took both my boys on a trip to Louisville and during that trip my young one observed, “I didn’t think people in Kentucky would speak English.”
Although this kindergartner has not yet sorted out his geography and learned what is a different country versus another state, he seems to be showing some early signs of wanderlust.
The United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, and Grand Cayman. Those are the only stamps on my passport so I probably don’t qualify as a “world traveler.” I would love to globetrot more but time and money (actually the lack thereof) have kept me from doing so. My wife and are now, however, considering how we can do some international travel with our kids and my job in higher education might make it possible to live abroad for a few months sometime soon.
Even with our limited international travel we’ve managed to learn a lot about other places and cultures and the dinner table is one of the ways we create some teachable moments. A taste of an exotic spice or a bite of unfamiliar fruit can open up a whole new world.
One of my most distinct childhood food memories is my first taste of curry. A missionary family, home on furlough, invited my family over for dinner. We ate a wonderful chicken curry, watched slides of their missions work, and talked about their experiences until late into the night.
Over the years I’ve become friends with several people from India and had the opportunity to cook together with some of them. Indian food has become one of my absolute favorites. I was talking recently with one my friends about Thanksgiving and learned that his family enjoys a delicious mix of traditional American and Indian foods for their celebration.
So this Thanksgiving I’ve decided to incorporate some of the flavors of the East into our Western holiday. I love Indian chutney and decided to make one with cranberries instead of the standard relish we usually make. This version calls for roasting the cranberries along with a jalapeño pepper. The roasting deepens the flavor of the berries and mellows the pepper. A little orange zest brightens it up and some Indian spices warm it up. I did a trial run this week and it works wonderfully with roasted turkey.
I’m hoping my youngest son will especially enjoy the chance to “eat different foods” and this Thanksgiving I plan on teaching him to say “dhanyavad pradan” which means “we give thanks” in Hindi.
Roasted Cranberry & Jalapeño Chutney
- 1 lb fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1 medium orange
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat the parchment with cooking spray then spread the cranberries on it in a single layer. Place the pepper on the parchment as well and roast in the oven for 45 minutes until the pepper begins to brown and the cranberries have burst open.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes until the pepper is cool enough to handle. Using a paring knife, split the pepper lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and membrane from the inside of each half. Dice the pepper into small pieces and place them in a medium bowl along with the cranberries. Zest the orange adding the zest to the bowl then cut the orange in half and add the juice. Next, stir in the salt and spices.
Let the chutney sit for about an hour to let the flavors develop. This can be prepared a couple days ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator. This makes two cups.