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Tour de Goulash – Getting healthy while eating my way around the world

Monday, May 13, 2013



I recently started a project of trying to plan as many days worth of meals as I could and storing them up so that I could track them one by one, week by week as needed, saving me time as each week approaches.

The thing is, this project I have discovered, seems to take a lot of time investment up front and I’m not sure how I’ll be able to get it all done.

I have to figure a recipe’s calories, its servings and keep an eye on its sodium content.

It’s a little bit of a chore.

But tonight I came up with an interesting idea that might just keep me engaged while trying to do myself a healthy favor and plan my meals in advance.

What do I have in mind?

A “Tour de Goulash.”

I’ve had several different types of goulash before, not all from the same country.

It gave me an idea. Each country seems to have it’s own version of goulash, or stew, and why not, as I track my foods, plan on trying some of them out?

I think I might.

I’ve had several types of goulash in Germany while I was an exchange student. They call it “Eintopf,” or as it appears to me “one-pot.” Ein=one and Topf = pot.

I enjoyed these meals and lost about 50 pounds that year without trying. Part of it was the cooking for sure, it was healthy. The vegetables came out of the garden in the back yard.

The potatoes came out of a root cellar below my room (post-garden of course). That was kind of ripe! When that root cellar door was flung open, I would also fling open my window, I don’t care what time of year it was.

That was not a friendly smell, but I do like potatoes.

I got a lot of them in Germany.

A lot of countries cook with potatoes. I can’t imagine how many.

Probably just as many countries that cook goulash, or stew. A lot I’m sure.

I’ve had Hungarian chicken goulash. Yum!

That’s a family recipe and it’s been a while since I’ve made it.

My mom really knows how to make that goulash sing.

I only hope I can do it half the justice that she does it.

I’ve had Transylvanian goulash. Or as Rachel Ray calls it in her cookbook “Dracula’s Transylvanian Ghoul-ash.” Yum-o!

I saw that my in Rachel Ray cookbook and had to try it. I’m so glad I did. Wow.

In the two pages before, she has a Greek goulash recipe I have my eye on. I must try it.

But back to recipes I’ve tried.

I’ve had Yugoslavian goulash, or should I say “a recipe formerly known as Yugoslavian goulash.”

After history took it’s course, what happened to the goulash?

Is it Slovenian goulash now, or Croatian goulash, or Serbian goulash, or Macedonian goulash, Montenegrin goulash or, this is a mouthful, Bosnian and Herzegovinian goulash?

I don’t know. It would be interesting to find out – to explore the recipes of that region.

Maybe it’s all the same? Who knows. I’ll never know until I find out.

On another note, you know, I've never heard of Swedish goulash, or Polish goulash, or Lithuanian goulash.

I'll have to check that out.

Is there Estonian goulash?

I don't know.

Or Russian goulash?

Probably.

French goulash? Dire quoi?
(That means “say what,” according to Google translate.)

Pate maybe, but goulash? I don't know. I haven't had French goulash before.

I liked the pate. It wasn't anything like I expected it to be. But then again, I don't know that all pate is the same. Mine was in a pastry. Yum!

I'm not planning to make any of that.

I'm not even sure where to get that or how to make that. I'll let someone else cook that up for me someday. Hopefully I'll get to have some and hopefully I'll be somewhere in France when I eat it.

I think I'm on to something though. It would be wildly fun to cook dishes from all over the world while I'm tracking my meals. I could get a list of countries and check off the country as I've eaten it's food – at least one dish from each place.

I’ve heard of Irish Stew. I probably have a recipe at home, but I’ve never made it. I don’t know what’s in it, but I’m guessing probably at least a few potatoes.

If that’s true, I wonder what the stew might have been like during the “Great Potato Famine.” I don’t really know much about it, but I know a lot of people died, so there probably wasn’t much to eat at all. It’s very sad to think about.

I should read about it and educate my mind a little more.

Thinking about famine makes me grateful for what I have and grateful that I can do a project like this one if I want. I don’t have a lot myself, and will have to keep it all in budget, and keep the ingredients easy to find, but I think there’s a lot to learn in a project like this, and not just about food.

Food has history and it has culture. It’s almost as if it’s a language, each dish having it’s own “patois.”

For those who don’t know, a patois is a regional dialect. I never thought I’d use that in a sentence, but I have to say, I like how it rolls off the tongue.

Patois.

Okay. That’s out of my system – at least for now!

Such fun.

Speaking of fun, years ago I had the opportunity to make a Ghanaian stew-like soup. It was quite good – my version anyway. I had a more authentic version of it once, and I have to say, that resulted in a little more than a Maalox moment!

Palm oil and my stomach don’t get along. Mackerel and my tongue don’t get along. I don’t think it gets along with my nose either. At least the person who made the more authentic version for me, a Nigerian friend, was kind enough to cut the fish heads off when he made it.

And what was that? It’s called “ground nut soup with fowl and fufu.” The fowl is supposed to be guinea fowl, but I used chicken when I made it. I switched the palm oil, most of it anyway, for canola oil – which is a lot less saturated. And instead of a strong-flavored fish, I chose something a little less fishy.

And my version, well, I didn’t have to deal with fish heads at all. No eyeballs to consider eating. Thank goodness! I’m adventurous, but I don’t know about those fish eyeballs!

Essentially it’s got a peanut butter base, with I think tomatoes and peppers and such. I’m going off memory of something I made years ago. And it had fowl of one sort or another, fish and dumplings. Fufu is dumplings made of pounded yam, which I think I bought way too much off at the time. It’s used to eat soup or stew with and you eat it all with your fingers.

I ate a lot of fufu during that particular time in my life. It was good anyway.

Well, I guess I could go on forever about stews and goulashes, the one’s I’ve had and the one’s I haven’t. I’m not sure there’s a difference between stews and goulashes. I’ll have to find out. As far as I know – it’s all the same.

In any case, I think I have a lot of planning to do and a lot of eating to do – just not all at once. I must not forget to track those calories!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • WILLOW49
    I think that's a great plan! Perhaps you could share a favorite recipe or 2?
    1507 days ago
  • DAWNSJOURNEY
    emoticon for making a plan and adding some Spark to your food plans..Let us know how it all turns out.. and share some of those you love..
    1507 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    While it does take time to enter the recipe in the tracker - once it's done - it's there until you delete. The upside to doing this is if you're planning to do a variation of that recipe, you can choose to "makeover" the recipe which starts you off with the recipe you're making over already entered into the Recipe Calculator - and you edit from there. I do that a lot.

    I wish you much success on your journey to becoming the healthiest you can be!
    emoticon
    1507 days ago
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