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October 2018

International Autumn Foods Beyond Pumpkin Spice

Fall foods from around the world

Autumn is a bountiful time of harvest, celebration, and cuisine. It’s also the period of the year when it starts to get cold and wet. Any time spent indoors, however, can easily be accompanied by soothing fall dishes utilising the yields of the fields. Today we’ll look at some foods from around the world that can add some warmth to your autumnal days, proving that coffee with pumpkin spice isn’t the only thing to look forward to.

Cabbage Rolls (Egypt)

Egyptian cabbage rolls (محشي كرنب — maHshii kurunb) are similar to Mediterranean dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). This vegetarian dish is made with rice, onions, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, and numerous herbs and spices. Unlike the dolma, the Egyptian roll calls on cabbage for its wrapper. The ingredients are stuffed within the cabbage leaves, and the result is topped with tomato sauce and baked in an oven. Cheese can be added on top as well. Non-vegetarian variations can also include minced lamb.

Minestrone Soup (Italy)

On chilly autumn evenings, nothing beats a piping hot bowl of zuppa (Italian for “soup”). Minestrone is crafted using a concoction of ingredients such as onions, carrots, celery, broccoli florets, tomatoes, garlic, and potatoes. Seasoned and browned with olive oil, the flavorful mixture is simmered in water and/or broth and thickened with day-old rustic bread. Parsley, salt, and pepper are added at the end of this wonderful way for disposing of leftovers.

Käsespätzle (Germany)

What could be more comforting than a nice dish of oozy Käsespätzle? The cheesy noodle delight from southern Germany is similar to the internationally renowned macaroni and cheese, using instead a mixture of delicious German cheeses. The warm noodles are topped with caramelised onions, salt, and pepper. It’s simple and satisfying.

Maple Everything (Canada)

Maple syrup is one of the chief exports of Canada. It’s also one of the most soothing sweet substances known to humankind. Used to make everything from candies and cakes to roast meat glazes, this tree sap is as versatile as it is precious. Adding a small amount to season any dish will add an extra kick to the recipe. Even maple cocktails are a great idea; add a dash of maple syrup in place of gomme or simple syrup for a nice rendition on a classic drink.

Tamales (Mexico)

With the fall harvest, there is plenty of corn to use for masa, a dough used for the outer layer of the traditional Mexican food. The stuffed masa is wrapped with corn husks and steamed until cooked. Tamales can have any number of fillings, from chicken with salsa verde (green salsa made from tomatillos, a small green tomato) or carnitas (braised pork). During the Day of the Dead, in late October, tamales are placed on altars for deceased loved ones.

Candied Sweet Potatoes/Yams (United States)

Americans have been enjoying candied sweet potatoes and yams as early as the 1800s. Its presence as a Thanksgiving feast mainstay has been established over time, as well as the method of preparation. The dish can now be fairly elaborate, including honey roasted walnuts and marshmallows. Baked together in a pan, the sugar melts over the sweet potatoes and yams to form a delicious glaze. Talk about comfort foods!

Which are your favorite autumn foods? What soothing and warm dishes do you consume in your country? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on culture from around the world!