It was the summer of ’08 when I first coined the catchphrase.

My mantra, if you will, for how I want to live my life.

I remember because Tiffany and I would repeat to each other whenever we went out to eat, which was pretty frequently, especially considering our limited college student budgets. But we would scrimp and save and eat peanut butter sandwiches all week long so that when Friday came around, the culinary adventures could begin.

Eat the world. That was, and still is, our goal.

She was in New York for the summer and, being a west coast girl at heart, we knew that this was probably the most concentrated time she would ever spend here. So we had to take advantage of it while we could. Every weekend was a new restaurant, a new type of food. Arepas (Venezuelan), barbecue, Thai, Cuban, Korean, Italian, to name a few. We ate so much, and yet for every restaurant we went to it seemed like there were fifty more yet to try. But that is the beauty of New York, I guess. No matter how much time you spend here, there is always something new to discover.
When I started reading A Taste For Adventure by Anik See, I soon realized that she was doing, literally, what Tiffany and I had originally set out to do. She was eating the world. Traveling to some of the world’s most under-frequented countries – Malaysia, Patagonia, Armenia, Iran – alone, on foot and/or bicycle, mind you (this girl has guts), and immersing herself in their culture. By essentially walking into a small village or town and sharing food with its inhabitants. And this is not the commercialized five-star restaurant Americanized stuff that you or I would eat should we visit any of these countries. No, this is the food of the people. Street food that is sold at the local marketplace, weeknight dinners served up around the kitchen table, meals that are prepared on the side of the road around makeshift fire.

The most miraculous thing, though, at least in my opinion is that Anik is welcomed into all of these places with open arms. Complete strangers offer to let her stay with them, practically throwing themselves at her in their desire to share just a little bit of their lives with her and, through the book, with the world. Their cordiality and generosity is surely a testament to the power that food holds over us. We live to eat together. And there is not much more to it.

Needless to say, I really loved this book. It is extremely descriptive and beautifully written. Each chapter features Anik’s adventures in a different country and ends with a series of recipes for food that she has described eating. Some of the highlights, I imagine. Each of which is seemingly more delicious than the next.

For my Cook the Books entry, I could have made one of these. But how could I possibly choose? So instead, I decided to further Anik’s travelogue by “visiting” a country from the one continent (besides Australia) that went unfrequented.


But what do I, an American-Italian girl born and raised in New York City, know about African cuisine? Aside from a visit to an Ethiopian restaurant a year ago. Nothing.

So I consulted a cookbook that I bought this past year called Medina Kitchen. Filled with beautiful pictures and bursting with color, the book provides recipes for food that is produced by home cooks in Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya. Food that you will not find at a restaurant in America, but one that you would definitely find at a dinner table in any of these countries. In short, exactly the kind of thing that Anik would have eaten along her travels.
The recipe that I chose to make – Lamb with Pumpkin and Apricots – is a stew from La Goulette, the capital of Tunisia. It combines the tartness of dried apricots with the sweetness of butternut squash to produce an exquisitely flavored dish. The best part, though, was imagining that while I was eating it, that there were potentially people halfway around the world who were doing the exact same thing.

Talk about bringing people together.

Lamb with Pumpkin and Apricots
Serves 4, adapted from Medina Kitchen

1 lb lamb, stew meat
1 onion, diced
4 tsp sugar
1 butternut squash, diced (mine was around 2 lb)
50 g raisins
2 cups broth
100 g dried prunes, soaked
100 g dried apricots, soaked
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, to taste

NOTE – I made this in the crockpot because I felt that it would be easier and make for some really delicious meat, but you can certainly do it on the stove (as directed in the book).

1. Heat a large skillet and spray with cooking oil. Brown the lamb on all sides. Deglaze the pan with the broth. Add in the spices. Heat until warmed through.

2. Put the onion, butternut squash, dried fruit, sugar, and lamb/broth mixture into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours.

This is my submission for Cook the Books and to Deb’s Souper Sundays.

It is also my last entry into my 12 Weeks of Winter Squash!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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52 Responses to 12 Weeks of Winter Squash and Cook the Books – Lamb with Pumpkin and Apricots

  1. Amy says:

    I remember visiting Europe (specifically Germany, France, and Switzerland) 20 years ago (!) and hating the food. Fast forward to present day and I can’t get enough of the different cuisines. My palate was so green back then.

    I have nothing against a nice restaurant, or generic chain (Chipotle=love…ahem), but I totally know what you’re saying about street food. The best ethnic food comes from those little “hole in the wall” places that you probably walk right by and don’t even notice.

  2. Hi Joanne, I tagged you in a Chocolate relay race! I created a chocolate bar for you on the Chocri Chocolate website and in return you get to do it for two more bloggers. It is a relay race female vs. male. I couldn’t find your e-mail anywhere – you mysterious woman! E-mail me ASAP for the links and more info. [email protected].

  3. Erica says:

    That sounds fantastic! I can taste the sweetness of the prunes and apricots…..Wow! That is a delicious dish and full of flavor!

  4. SE says:

    I totally agree with you..about the most ethnic and authentic food of a particular cuisine is found in the rural areas of the places that one frequents !! I had to explain this about Indian food to so many of my colleagues that Indian food is not what one gets in the restaurants here 🙂

  5. SE says:

    hey and congratulations on completing the winter squash race !! this looks wonderful, i;ve got all the ingredients..may be should give it a try

  6. I love the idea of the book you wrote about! I’m definitely going to have to read it. I’ve tried to cook through as many countries as I can, but so often you can’t find traditional recipes from small countries. I love eating ethnically, wish I could go to all the restaurants with ya!

  7. A great entry to the series. I have finished the book, but have not cooked my dish yet. I would like to BBQ, but there is 10 inches of snow. So I am rethinking my plans…

    And BTW, how adventuresome of you two to eat out so bravely. You do not want to know my college cuisine.

  8. Alisa says:

    You are so darn adventurous, I love it!

  9. Kim says:

    You completed 12 weeks of winter squash!! Are you still hungry for more? This sounds like a great book that explores several cuisines. I’m relatively new with lamb, but I do like it and this sounds great (especially with the ease of the crock pot)!!

  10. Nazarina A says:

    Food does indeed bring all colors and creed together!Your winter squash and lamb look so very inviting.I could just dive right into that stew and the meat looks so tender.

  11. Bob says:

    Oh man, I bet lamb and pumpkin is a great combo! I wish my girlfriend would eat lamb. I’ll just have to make it for myself. Heh.

  12. Lamb seems to be problematic for some people, including my husband. Actually, he wouldn’t eat the squash either – LOL! I wish you lived closer so I could have some.

  13. HAHHA thanks re the comment. yeah, banana bread lara bar is a hit or miss. i had my last one today. it was…OKAY. cinnamon roll- i miss that one! love it. i love the ginger snap one too!

    curry tofu- DELICIOUSSSSS.

    hahhaha oh man, just coz you said that re: the short hair, i HAVE to putup one where i seriously seriously look like a little boy. and iw as mistaken for one too! =D

  14. Mari says:

    Once again, you outdid yourself! you are making it really hard for me to pick a dish for you to cook for me lol

  15. teresa says:

    this is so fun, adn so brave! i love this soup, such an original masterpiece!

  16. You two definitely made some fantastic memories eating the world that summer. When I was in college eating was at the bottom of the agenda and it should have been placed at the top.

  17. Wow!!! I love your mantra. My husband and I try to expose the girls to a lot of different types of food. My oldest loves Korean my littlest loves food from Afaganstan. I love what all different places have to offer. Great recipe!

  18. Shannon says:

    wow, this sounds absolutely delightful! and what a great tale 🙂

  19. oh that book sounds very cool love lamb yummy

  20. Juliana says:

    Love your goal 🙂 This stew looks yummie, love the combination of dry fruits in it…

  21. chrystad72 says:

    awesome girl. I love all the stories behind your food as well. I think its so fantastic that you set out to try new foods each week. Thats a very cool and interesting idea. I love your mantra as well!

    This stew looks sssooo yummy. Between the squash, prunes, apricots spices and lamb it sounds like such a delicious combination. Thanks so much for sharing!

    (Isnt cascada great?! They are one of my all time favs to listen to while working out. Evacuate the dancefloor is awesome!!)

    Have a wonderful Monday sweetie! xoxo!

  22. Pam says:

    Eat the world – what a great mantra!

  23. i love to eat the world too and u have a wonderfull fantastic way to get it all right….
    Yeah u always get it right…jus like to did yeah with this gorgeous combi…will miss ur 12 weeks of winter squash but not for too long coz ur up with more elciouness am sure…
    have a wonderful cheeryy meery singing happily day ….

  24. Chef Aimee says:

    Being Armenian, I eat lamb often and this is a great way to liven it up – always doing the classic ways of preparing it! I am so far from being pumpkin-ed out this winter – its one of my favorite foods. I was just thinking I need to crock this weekend – copycat time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  25. Love the food exploration! North Africa has some GREAT food. The flavors are remarkable. Not to say the food in other parts of the continent isn’t good either. We messed around with a delicious Senegalese dish that rocked! Yours looks really great.

  26. Katy ~ says:

    This is a wonderful recipe. Just look at all those wonderful flavors melded together in a single pot, taking advantage of fruits, meat and spices. A wonderful wonderful pot!

  27. Ah, wonderful recipe! I’m going to have to read that book if I can ever break away from reading blogs long enough to pick up a book again.
    Street food – I’d eat peanut butter sandwiches all year to be able to go back to Israel to have a falafel from one of the stands in the streets. Let’s not even get started on tamales, or the little restaurant in the old jail in Italy – oh man, what great food memories!

  28. The sweetness of the dried fruits and butternut squash goes so nicely with lamb, delicious recipe!

  29. I’m not brave enough to eat lamb! But I bet this would be just as delicious with beef. The book sounds really interesting. What a brave soul.

    Thanks for playing along in the relay! I hope you liked your bar – if you don’t I can change it.

  30. sophia says:

    You ate Korean, too? what did you eat? Curious! And I love how adventurous you are in the kitchen. Seriously, you deserve the best of the label “foodie”. You’re a role model for foodies!

    And LOVE this recipe. I had no idea African cuisine could be soooo scrumptious. Now when are you gonna make your own kimchi? 😉

  31. Cristie says:

    OK, I have got to get brave and do lamb. My husband would love this dish. Give me strenght.

  32. Sophie says:

    A georgous & marvellous tasty lamb dish!


  33. Talita says:

    How delicious, Joanne! Looks really tasty.

  34. Barbara says:

    I love lamb. And combining it with those dried fruits AND pumpkin is sheer genius! Medina Kitchen sounds like a book we should all have. Congrats on a lovely dish!

  35. Nostalgia says:

    Great adventure you have been in eating all kinds of food. Very interesting, I wish I would dare to do that too. Also, thanks for sharing information on the cook books you have piqued my interest and now I have to take a look at them.

  36. That looks really good! I loved the book too, although I was a little suspicious about how smooth and loving everything seemed to go..
    Deb would love this stew.

  37. Karen says:

    Love lamb & butternut… this dish looks so comforting and I bet it smelled devine!

  38. Michelle says:

    I participated in 2 African dinners and both were outstanding and real eye openers to different tastes and recipes. Loved it all! I still make some of the salads, can’t seem to get enough orange and cinnamon!

  39. Faith says:

    The sweet/savory combo is one of the things that really lures me into African cuisine. Needless to say, I’m swooning over this dish! (And Mike loves lamb so I know he’d love it too!)

  40. Paul Wynn says:

    Hmm.. I’m feeling a craving for pumpkin now.. do you also have anything for pasta?

  41. Olga says:

    huh! I just had lamb/potato stew for lunch today. Yours looks delicious: I like the combo of lamb and fruit.

  42. Debinhawaii says:

    Great review and a gorgeous dish–I love all the ingredients and sweet and savory flavors and anything lamb tempts me! 😉

  43. Donna-FFW says:

    Sounds like a wonderfully delicious dish. You always pick the most intriguing things!! I wish I were as organized as you to be involved in so many events:( I need to get my groove on.

  44. preventionrd says:

    Lamb with pumpkin and apricots, wow! That sounds like one unique, fabulous dish! I love lamb but I’ve never made it myself…I should change this 🙂

  45. Tiffany says:

    That was such an excellent summer- to be relived in many more visits to NYC!

  46. comfycook says:

    I love adding dried fruit to meat dishes. It seems to soften the meat taste to what I would describe as mellow. You will have to use your imagination as to what mellow means, in this context.

    That is some dish.

  47. Shirley says:

    So simple to make and yet so delicious. Full of goodness!

  48. theUngourmet says:

    This recipe looks intriguing and so much different than the things we eat at our house. I never think of using fruit with meat and I’ve never used lamb in my cooking. I guess it’s time to expand and experiment huh?!

  49. Elra says:

    Delicious lamb tagine Joanne. Love the addition of the fruit.

  50. Graziana says:

    interesting book, I didn’t know it and I think I will search it in my bookstore, thank you!

  51. Foodycat says:

    That’s a lovely dish for this book! And I love your story about eating the world – one day I will make it to New York and experience this multiculturalism for myself.

  52. Claudia says:

    Great dish! I saved it to my recipe file. That has always been one of the best parts of traveling – trying all the wonderful cuisines of the world.

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