Today marks day 80 since I returned home to Provo after an extended stay in Asia. The number 80 is significant not only because Phileas Fogg circled the entire globe within that timeframe, but because 142 years and 80 days later I circled that globe. While those 80 days abroad were incredible, the past 80 days have by far been the sweetest of my life. Spanish Tapas and Swiss Muesli were just the beginning (previous blog posts). Since then, sushi, Sam Hawks, Indian curry, and zhatar have each found a spot in my heart. Let me explain.
Sushi. When I said I returned home to Provo after an extended stay in Asia, I lied. I was returning home to Provo, I was returning home to Andrew. The fact that he was in Provo was just a coincidence, as we both would be starting school in Provo come September. Going out for sushi was one of the first dates Andrew asked me out on. Wild Ginger was the place. Since returning home Andrew and I have made a sushi a weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, occurrence. We have tried nearly every sushi restaurants in Provo, traveled to Salt Lake City to eat Nigiri at the best sushi place in the state (Takashi), attended every VIP night at Happy Sumo, and bought a sashimi knife to make our own nigiri. Sushi seems to be the cure-all for everything. When my beautiful powerpoint deck was torn apart by my professor in Supply Chain (note, I only had 4 capitalization errors), I found myself being led hand-in-hand by Andrew to the sushi bar at Happy Sumo. While many people have other cure-alls, I just need sushi and a cute boy’s hand.
Sam Hawks. This Korean restaurant is charming, and for more reasons than one. Sam Hawks was the first dinner date Andrew took me on. I clearly remember thinking to myself, “Kylie, brace yourself, the relationship is progressing.” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go out with Andrew, because I sure thought he was cute, I was just needed to decide for myself that I was going to let it happen. Deciding to let it happen was the best decision I ever made. Sam Hawks continues to be one of our favorite places to return to not only because it is nostalgic, but also because the food is absolutely delicious.
Zhatar. I have always had an infatuation with the Middle East. In my travel-planning journal I have a trip through Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt completely planned and waiting for me to jump on board. Since that trip isn’t exactly feasible in the two day weekends BYU allots to it’s students, I have suppressed that desire to physically travel across borders by instead traveling through it’s cuisine. Zhatar is a spice blend that is used in the Middle East on everything from flatbread to lamb kabobs. A strong religious and cultural presence can be seen in Middle Eastern food. During the last day of Ramadan, Andrew and I cooked a Lebanese feast for my family and since then, the Middle East is the most popular destination on our cooking list. Enjoying delicious flavors, learning about new cultures, and discussing concerning issues about countries, are common occurrences during dinner. We even upgraded to wine glasses because we were feeling so classy, and we don’t even drink wine.
I am lucky to have a boy in my life who loves to learn as much as I do. For us, cooking is more than creating a delicious meal. It is an adventure to a new land, an experience with a new culture, and an opportunity to better understand the global environment we live in. The 80 days I have been home have been the sweetest of my life, and not because they were filled with fragrant spices, delicious curries, or Middle Eastern delicacies, but because they were spent hand-in-hand with a cute boy at a sushi bar.