The world is a simple place. We basically are  all the same.  The two things that are common to all is regardless of our ethnic diversity,  most of us still have one head, two arms and two legs.  Our similarities also extend to food and music.  After all we all eat and in different ways make music.  Not that we agree on everything.   

And we all have a love of certain foods due to availability of the basic ingredients common to where we live.  Yet to some the habits and customs of either the food or the music might not be so appealing.  And to many it’s the same recipe only a few ingredient’s change.

The best example is a dish made from rice, meat and grape leaves.  In Greece, they mix ground beef or lamb with rice and herbs and wrap it in a blanket of grape leaves and tastefully drape it with a sauce made from lemons.  In Israel they mix ground beef with rice, herbs and spices, wrap it in a blanket of grape or cabbage leaves and cook it in a sauce made with a tomato base.   

Similar dishes are found in central Europe and the middle east and with a little coaxing my mother would make my favorite dish.  We called it called Stuffed Cabbage a simple tomato based stuffed grape leaf. To die for with sweetened with raisins and carrot ground in for sweetness with the fresh tomatoes, no cans.

The Greeks use Lemons for the sauce as they have the mountainous soil both good for olives and citric lemons,The Israeli’s make the same dish but are hydroponic growers, the world leaders in hydroponic farming, and conduct clinics for countries throughout the world.  Thus an abundance of tomatoes, thus a tomato base.  

The Mexicans know corn meal and call it a taco or burrito.  In almost every other country that has beef and rice the story is similar including corn meal, beef and rice or chicken and rice  served many ways.  Same foods,  different condiments, bases or spices.  Common to all those countries is peppers which are grown world wide in varying strengths and potencies. That’s the seasoning in various degrees… 

Here are recipes that I may have culled stock ideas from and modified from the web closest to how I cook.  I rarely use a cookbook, most chefs on TV never show you the stock recipes they cook from, adding a pinch here and a new flavor there.  And rarely show you the ten to twelve people backstage that make them look so good.

I rarely write things down. I am what they call taste motivated and you would not like some of the concoctions I have made since I thought they were terrible too.  Simple lousy taste on occasion, I missed, blundered and fortunately our condo has a garbage chute for simple, and fast removal of the evidence.  

Many processes came from my Mom, memory and family, since I am older now, a lot older than some of these TV chefs and I chuckle a bit since most of these common recipes have been around, some dating back centuries, some slightly different based on country of origin which they all make a claim they invented it. 

Feel free to alter, change, modify, correct, substitute, and let your taste buds lead the way.... These recipes are endless and passed down through the generations, once in a while a burnt hair smolders in my kitchen reminding me of the real chefs a long time ago who scratch cooked things and wrote them down...on cave walls, the beginning of the recipe.

After my Mom passed on I realized when I cleared out her belongings for charity, I never found a cookbook, just a few dated notes, in a small index file, it was all in her head, passed down from her mother. 


Have fun in the kitchen, just like the Dean and Duchess of French cooking, Julia Childs and Jacque Pepin used to say. "Bon Appetite”!  French cooking would not be as popular if it wasn’t for these two people.  But there is a small problem...

Between her (Julia's) scratchy voice and Jacque's blurred French accent attempting English, I couldn't understand either of them. I called it “ Cooking by pictures".  I couldn’t understand a word and my ears pained and strained to understand what he was saying.  Thats why his daughter who speaks perfect Engleeeesh…was on his newest series of shows.

On the reruns on the Food Network, I turn on music instead and hit the TV mute button because even on the reruns I still can't understand a word he says, some things are timeless and I like good music. I just look at the pictures and get the drift.

VOILA!  Brilliant…they made a book several books.  They have a fantastic book out available on Amazon and thats an easy read and a way into American French Cooking.  The product number is B00009WO95 and it's called Julia-Jacques-Cooking-At-Home.  In English, you can read it, you do not need an interpreter nor muffled earphones.