It's like having your neighbour beckon you into her kitchen to taste what's on the stove.
Actually, it's like a block party in which everyone in the 'hood throws open their doors and you all get to try one another's treasured family recipes.
It's a rare opportunity for food lovers, and it happened on Saturday (September 19) at UBC Farm.
But the Joy of Feeding isn't a block party; rather, it's a fundraiser for UBC Farm. On Saturday evening, the rain held off, and 16 home cooks dished up some delicious fare from 16 different ethnic backrounds.
Spearheaded by Meeru Dhalwala, who co-owns Vij's and Rangoli restaurants, Joy of Feeding is a down-to-earth affair. Besides emphasizing local, sustainable food, the event aims to cultivate community and cross-cultural understanding.
There were plenty of young families in attendance, as well as UBC students and supporters of the farm.
I attended as a guest of the fest and chatted with some of the cooks at the booths. Here's a peek at what was being dished up.
I enjoyed this Brazilian chicken salad and loved that Nina de Souza-Jensen brought her Brazilian soapstone pots to display.
She explained that these pedra-sabão pots lock in heat like a cast-iron dutch oven; you season the soapstone with oil, and the handles are made from copper. (You'll recognize the soapstone from the unseasoned knob, below.)
She brought hers back from Brazil as very heavy carry-on hand luggage!
Guests wandered from booth to booth, but there were also tables at which you could sit and eat--a nice touch for these often standing-only events, especially for families.
This lamb stew was so delicious! Guests went home with a booklet containing recipes for everything that was served, and this is one dish I'd like to make myself.
I'll also be pulling out the recipe for this Quebecois cheese fondue when the weather cools further. Made with sharp Cheddar and strong dark beer, it was full of flavour.
The recipe book also features profiles of the cooks who participated, many of whom have interesting stories about their family history and how they came to Vancouver.
Lyce Rozario's tomato rice brought back my travel memories of Macau, where there is such an interesting mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences in the cuisine.
While many people are familiar with baklava, it was a treat to try one made from a family recipe.
This pudding had some interesting ingredients--black-eyed beans, taro, yam, sweet potato, and tapioca pearls. While I'm not usually a fan of sweet-bean desserts, Rosalie Yiu's family recipe was delicious, mellow with coconut cream and pandan leaves.
The dessert has a fun name--bubur cha cha--so if you have a chance, be sure to try it!
And no matter how full one might be, there's always room for pie. These yeast-dough treats were beautiful as well as delicious.