The Escapist Plate is a personal project that I am following with this blog: Every two weeks, I generate a random coordinate on the planet. Wherever it lands—if it lands on land—is the region I spend the next two weeks researching and from where I attempt to cook the cuisine. I’m attempting to be as specific as possible by researching regions to show the diversity within each country, as opposed to researching the entire country.
It’s a way for me to diversify my cooking and baking skills and continue to learn more about our fascinating world. I hope others, particularly educators, can enjoy it as well—perhaps by replicating this project personally or in the classroom. Various takes on this project could even include a class blog that examines an interest around the world—what schools in other regions are like, what arts and crafts or sports or dances are from different regions, and so on. The possibilities are endless.
I’m an educator who cares deeply about access and equity in education, and I love dogs. I love to travel, learn new languages and about history, meet new people, and experience new cultures. I also love to take too many pictures, and to create art—and I recently discovered I like to cook.
My fascination with this world and its cuisines isn’t new. I remember drawing plans for “the International Café” (that I’d open one day) when I was seven. It would have a farm outside, too (it would have the freshest food available), and it would be an entire skyscraper (it would be the tallest skyscraper). Every floor would have a different theme based on a country. When you stepped out into the room, everything would be an accurate recreation of that country and culture.
When I was nine, I was given a book that described the life of a Pilgrim girl in Massachusetts, and it described the process of making bread in an outdoor oven. I was fascinated by imagining daily life in the 1600s, but for some reason the recipe really stood out to me. It cautioned that if kids today tasted this bread, they might not like it. I was curious about how ingredients and acquired tastes may have changed through time.
When I was a little older I started studying a little Latin on my own, and I decided that I’d like to know what ancient Roman cuisine was like. I searched for a restaurant that recreated historical foods, and I was disappointed that such a thing didn’t exist. I did find one restaurant that recreates Roman dishes, but it’s in Italy. Italy wasn’t in the budget, and after searching through descriptions of ancient Roman food, I wasn’t sure I’d actually enjoy eating mice brains (although I do wonder). I decided that food that came close in taste and texture would work for a safe recreation medium when I got old enough to open my own local, ancient Roman restaurant, and later, an ancient Egyptian restaurant.
Later, when I was in college, I thought about how cool it would be to just transform these ideas into a kind of culinary staycation instead—a kind of mini life experiment. Maybe I’d celebrate new holidays from around the world for one year, and maybe each week or month I’d learn about a new culture in depth and try to recreate its food. I still didn’t know I liked to cook, though, and this is a thing that takes lots of cooking. Another reason it never came to fruition is that it didn’t seem realistic: how would I divide the regions of the world and for what period of time each?
By recently overcoming my fear of cooking and discovering the joy that comes from making my own delicious meals, I’ve decided to wait no longer. I’m still unsure of how I’ll go about this and all the logistics, but the important piece is to get started.
I’m very fortunate to be able to share this experience with all of you, Dear Readers.