Diversity Spice of Life

Russian friends & cooks: Olga & Zhenya

Diversity really is the spice of life. Just happens that not everyone likes spicy foods. Well, I do and so do a lot of my friends.

One of the many blessings for me right now is my wonderfully diverse set of friends. They enlighten me with different perspectives and add different flavorings to my life.

A while back, some of us decided to take advantage of our diverse backgrounds and start hosting ethnic-themed dinners. We started with an Indian dinner. The home-cooked meal was fabulous and so abundant. We literally stuffed ourselves.

The next dinner was all about paellas. Three persons brought their own pan full of the Spanish delight, while others brought sides and desserts, as well as 11 bottles of wine.

A few weeks ago, we had a Russian dinner that coincided with my wife’s “Sweet 16” birthday (plus some decades). Perhaps Russian cuisine is not as popular in the US as paella, but everyone was favorably impressed with the 17-ingredient borsch, the traditional Russian salads, pelmeni and so much more.  Hey, the vodka wasn’t too bad either.

I know hours (if not days)  of preparation went into the dinner, as each ethnic group takes such pride in their own culture. Olga Ugarova, a friend and a former colleague, even prepared a powerpoint presentation about Russia. If it wasn’t for the Russian vodka, I would remember more of the facts. The literary rate of 94%, however, was impressive enough for me to still remember. And I certainly won’t soon forget the taste of that wonderful borsch. Yum.

The next dinner is scheduled to be Korean with three ladies volunteering to cook. That should be quite a spread.

I heard somewhere that anyone can talk about being open-minded. However, a true measure of a person’s openness to try new things is whether that person will eat unfamiliar foods.

Diversity and openness are all good — and tasty too.

Shari's birthday