ME & HENRY
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Hi! I'm Henry and I'm 6 years old. I'm an English cocker spaniel and I cannot wait to share my adventures.
We had such an amazing trip around the solar system last time it's nice to be home and cosy. We're sat relaxing on the sofa and mummy is cooking our fave supper: fish and chips !
Did you know that fish and chips is the national dish of the U.K. where I live? The first fish and chip shop opened in London in 1860 and was called Malin's that's over 160 years ago! By the 1930s there were over 35,000 fish and chip shops in the U.K.
During the Victorian era it was the main food for everyone - and was a morale boost during the War. Nowadays most people have fish and chips on a Friday (that comes from a Roman Catholic belief that you must not eat meat on a Friday) In Northern Ireland most people have it at least once a month still and in a town called Bristol a third of people eat it by the seaside ! I like it with salt and vinegar but also mushy peas. Yummmmm. But some people have curry sauce, pickled onions, ketchup and pickled eggs.
So that's our National dish. Obviously we eat lots of other food but what about you? I wonder what other little boys and their dogs are eating right now around the world. Let's take a little trip and see...! Some of them you will have heard of and maybe even tried! Some of them look so delicious maybe you need to ask an adult to make them for you...! Where shall we go first.. let's go by alphabet ...
First stop AZERBAIJAN Wow that's a funny name for a country. Can you even say it? Have a look on letter X, near the back of the book, to see where Azerbaijan is! Well guess what their dish is? Plov. Yes really. That's just making us laugh. What a hilarious name. Plov.
So what's plov then? It's actually a dish of rice and meat dating back over 1000 years.
It was very expensive to make and used to be wrapped up and served as the main dish at weddings and important holidays.
At that time it was only the rich that could afford it and for others it was an option only on feast days. There are actually over a thousand different recipes for plov and guess what - traditionally it's always cooked by men! It always has meat on top of a pyramid of rice although it used to be served on bread. Usually it's eaten with salad and green tea.
BELGIUM So their national dish is called 'moules frites' which is basically mussels and fries. Mussels live in lakes, rivers, and are called molluscs. Sometimes they live attached to rocks you might have seen them at the beach?
People have been eating mussels for thousands of years. They can be cooked or eaten raw. Since the 1600s mussels have been prepared in Belgian homes, especially during the wintertime when there was a shortage of fish. There are tonnes and tonnes of mussels along the coasts of the North Sea and are seen as a cheap dish. Usually they are cooked in wine with garlic and herbs and steamed. The shells open up and you eat the mussel in the middle.
Over 60,000 tons are eaten every year in Belgium and they are available to order in almost every single restaurant. Sometimes they're tricky to get out so people use another empty shell to use like a fork.
It's a yummy dish and you can soak up all the sauce afterwards with bread. Mmmm
CHINA So there are many amazing things you can eat in China but a lot of them we would say no to! The main dish is one called Peking Duck. It is a roasted duck and it is yummy. Peking is the name of the capital of China. The history of the roast duck can be traced back 600 years. Cooks from all over China travelled to the city and wanted to cook for the Emperor - only the best chefs could enter the palace kitchens and the feasts the Emperor had were amazing.
The duck is seasoned and then roasted. It's then hung up by it's neck and is glazed with a layer of sugar.
It's left to stand for 24 hours, roasted in an oven until it turns shiny brown and then sliced in front of the diners.
It has thin crisp skin and is served in little pancakes with cucumber, spring onions and a sweet sauce.
By the 1950's Peking Duck had become a national symbol of China, loved by lots of tourists who started to visit the country. It's now eaten all around the world and is a great family meal One of the most famous restaurants in China called the QuanJude has sold 196 million ducks in the 150 years it's been open !
DJIBOUTI is our next stop I wonder if we can find all the most amazing countries with crazy names on this trip! Ask an adult how to say this!! Look on the map - it's a small African country and their national dish is called S'koudehkaris' It is a simple stew of meat and rice in a spiced tomato broth. The people of this country used to be nomads - this means they wouldn't live in houses or a permanent place - they would move around all the time with their families, bags and their camels.
They would stop every night and set up camp. This type of dish is filling and warm in the cold desert nights and would keep them healthy in their hard lives. You can almost imagine them, gently stirring a small fire with a pot hanging over it while staring at the stars of the desert at night. Sitting and listening to the sounds of the camels settling in and then savoring a warm pot of stew while singing songs. Sounds lovely!
EQUATORIAL GUINEA Wow so where is this country? It's on the east coast of Africa. The National dish here is something called 'succotash'. If you ask your parents they might know what that is. In fact you might even have had it ! Succotash has a long long history. Corn was one of the most important foods for the native Americans 400 years ago and they would boil it with green beans. Succotash was kept simmering at all times so that any hungry visitor or family member could be fed.
When the pilgrims arrived they struggled with vegetables unknown to them at the time and so the native Americans helped them to settle and shared recipes with them - serving them succotash. The dish became a big part of their eating. The settlers also had slaves back then and used to feed them succotash. When slavery ended some of the survivors returned to their home in Equatorial Guinea in Africa and took the recipe with them. So even though this country is a very very long way away from USA it was a dish they loved so much it is now the National dish!
FRANCE So we love this one. And I'm pretty sure you've had lots of these. Pancakes! But in France they're called crepes. .
Imagine you were a guest at a home in the 13th century that's 800 years ago - in Brittany, France. You are waiting for breakfast and the cook drips some thin porridge on the hot flat iron cooktop in the fireplace by mistake. Ooops. It turns into a crispy pancake which is very tasty! That's how crepes started. A very happy mistake.
Quimper, Brittany's oldest city, is the crepe capital. Place au Beurre (Butter Square!), should be renamed Place aux Creperies because this medieval square is filled with tiny shops that sell crepes (creperies) and they serve up some of the most delicious crepes in the country. The French love crepes so much there is even a special day in France every year - 2nd February is called 'the day of the crepes'. It's also the day to celebrate Spring coming and people see the big crepe as a huge shiny sun reminding them Winter will soon be over.
GERMANY So the National dish of Germany is a meaty dish called 'sauer braten' which used to be made from left over horse meat! People didn't know what to do with old bits of meat without it tasting horrible so they came up with this recipe! About 9000 years ago wild horses were commonly hunted for food. There are lots of countries that still eat horse - in fact about 4 million horses are eaten a year! Would you eat horse!? 'Sauer' means pickled and 'Braten' means roast meat in German. It's a really really old recipe (1200 years old!) It is now usually made with beef, which is marinated with vinegar, spices, and seasonings for a long time before cooking.
HUNGARY This is actually the name of a country! Check the map! But how funny because we are talking about food and it's making me hungry Lots of countries have meaty beefy dishes don't they! Here's another one. It's like a soup and it's called ghoulash. As far back as 1200 years ago cow herdsmen would prepare meat before they left home on journeys across Europe with their cows. It was cooked with onions in an iron kettle over a fire and once once it was dried out it was stored away in bags so that when the time came for a big meal they would heat it up with some hot water! The world's first ready meal!,
Over the years the recipe has changed a bit. At some point, the herders started to put in crushed hot peppers. These red hot peppers from Mexico started to be grown in posh peoples gardens just because they were pretty! The peppers were dried and crushed under foot which would make the dish very spicy! Now it is served with rice or potatoes or just on it's own. You should try it!
ICELAND Ok so this one sounds disgusting and actually many people say it's the worst thing they've ever eaten. EVER! It's called 'hokarl' and is fermented shark. Over 1,200 years ago, Vikings sailed north and started a new country on an island they called Snaeland which means "land of snow." We call it Iceland. The vikings had to fish to find food and survive. Luckily the sea was full of shark but if you eat it fresh it is poisonous! But the sharks are SO big they can feed a whole village so the Vikings kept trying to find ways to eat it. They discovered that if they let it rot for about 12 weeks and then dried it for another 12 weeks it made it safe to eat. Icelanders still eat hokarl and it's now their national dish! YUCK!
JAPAN My daddy has been to Japan lots of times and he always says the thing he loves the most is the sushi. Sushi is made with specially prepared rice and raw or cooked fish. Sometimes sushi is wrapped in a sheet of seaweed called nori. Originally it wasn't even really seaweed but just a slimy substance scraped off the bottom of boats. Yuck! The history of sushi began in China when farmers would wrap fish in rice to protect it. They'd then throw the rice away and eat the fish. But when rice farming came to Japan over 2,000 years ago a different type of sushi was developed in Tokyo and they would eat the fish AND the rice together.
these are the main types of sushi
have you tried sushi ?
Sushi is now one of the biggest selling foods in the world and there are 118,000 sushi restaurants! In Japan, sushi is sometimes sold in "conveyor-belt shops" where plates of sushi are put on a moving belt that passes by the customers. People take the sushi they want as it passes. The color of the plate shows the price of the sushi. Nearly all types of fish are used on sushi except one: the puffer fish and its because it is REALLY dangerous. It has poison on its organs and if a chef accidentally scrapes one with a knife by mistake it could kill you if you eat it.
KIRIBATI Wow where is this country !? Have a look at the map - it's literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It's made up of 33 islands with beautiful beaches and forests and their dish has coconut in it and is something called 'Palusami' which is a 3000 year old recipe!
The dish is always made by men and nowadays corned beef and onions are sometimes added. The coconut is wrapped in the leaves and baked in something called an 'umu' - a type of oven that uses red hot lava rocks from volcanoes to cook the food!
LAOS The national dish is Larb. What a funny name for a dish. Larb is basically a salad made out of meat that is seasoned with fish sauce and served with rice, herbs and chillies. The recipe dates back thousands of years.
Everyone from poor to rich eat it. Usually it's with beef but can also be chicken or even fish. In some villages in Laos there is a version made from raw buffalo meat and blood!!! Eeew Larb is a very important dish - the word 'laab' means good luck so people always eat it at special parties and celebrations. . If you go to a restaurant or any street market you will see it being made. It's often served in little lettuce leaves to create a wrap.
MALTA This is a tiny island - can you find it on the map? It's a very small, hot, dry island which makes it hard for cows and pigs to live on. Historically, the only meat was rabbits - and lots of them. The Romans introduced them to the island when they settled there. Can you even see me amongst all these hoppity hoppy rabbits?
In 1775 there was a ban on hunting and only the rich people were allowed to eat rabbit meat. The poor were only allowed to eat fish and bread. Eventually the ban was lifted and people started to hunt again and make this tasty dinner which is now the island's National dish Its called Fenkata which means rabbit stew. And it's actually TWO dishes not one. The first dish is a huge bowl of spaghetti with a rabbit meat sauce , wine and herbs. The second dish is the actual rabbit meat cooked in a sauce served with peas and fries.
NEPAL In 1767 a great battle took place in an ancient town called Kirtipur. The soldiers burnt down the city and farmland and then stole all the riches from temples and monasteries before leaving. To make sure not all the food was taken the farmers buried their harvest of radishes, mustard leaves and other food so far down it wouldn't be found. When they dug out the buried food after a few months, the radishes and leaves had fermented into a fragrant, sour pickle and that's how Nepal's National dish started - gundruk !
Nowadays it's picked, crushed and squeezed tightly into a container and kept in a dark warm place for about 20 days.
Then it's taken out and dried in the sun and then usually made into a soup.
Still today everyone loves it so much and it is served with every meal.
OMAN This is a very yummy dish which is now only served for special occasions, like weddings or the Eid holidays. It takes hours and hours to prepare and is called SHUWA. It's a big chunk of meat like beef, lamb, goat, or even camel and has oil and lots of spices rubbed into it.
The meat is then wrapped in banana leaves and stuffed into a bag made of palm branches.
It's then placed into an underground hot pit called a shuwa pit, where it smokes and cooks for at least 24 hours. Most people do not have their own shuwa pit, so the preparation is a big family and friends event.
It's then served on top of a massive pile of rice and everyone shares it
PERU Apparently over 2000 years ago the original people of Peru used to put cubes of seafood in a sauce made of fermented banana and passion fruit juice and they discovered it 'cooked' the fish without using heat. They called it 'ceviche' Once the Spanish colonists arrived in Peru in 1526, they brought lemon and limes with them and these juices were then used with the fish. That's when ceviche really started with lots of different versions being invented.
take some raw fish served on tortillas
citrus cooks the fish Now on June 28th every year it's 'National Ceviche Day' - restaurants and hotels offer special menus and invent new ways of making it. There are food fairs and ceviche competitions especially in the capital Lima
QATAR Did you even know there was a country starting with the letter Q? How cool! And they have a very cool National dish too called 'machboos'. It's a yummy rice and meat dish. A little bit like risotto and a spicy curry. Machboos can be made with chicken, lamb or fish. There are lots and lots of different spices in machboos and most families go to spice markets to make their own secret recipe. The meat can be cooked in various ways. One popular way is called mandi. This is an ancient technique where the meat is barbecued in a deep hole in the ground that is covered while the meat cooks.
RUSSIA This is a really big country and everyone eats and loves 'pelmeni' which means 'ear bread' and when you look at them that's exactly what they look like! It's basically a type of dumpling with a spicy minced meat filling served with lots of sour cream. Pelmeni have been around for 600 years and is a recipe from the Komi people in northern Russia. In Siberia, the dumplings are generally frozen outdoors and preserved through the winter, and then taken on long journeys to cook later. Making pelmeni is something grandmothers pass down to their grandchildren. Rraditionally all women would gather to make pelmeni!
SWITZERLAND The National dish here is called Rosti and it's basically potatoes!! They're grated and sliced and cooked in butter until they look like a fritter. Basically it was the very first hash brown or tater tot. It was originally a breakfast dish for farmers who would be tending to the cattle in the mountains all day. Sometimes it is served with sour cream and a little bit of spring onion on the top.
TIBET This tiny country is very very high up in the mountains and only one grain can survive up there - it's called barley and has been part of the food here for thousands of years. The National dish is called Tsampa which is made from roasted barley flour and served with butter tea which turns it into a sort of porridge ! Many people eat versions of it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At special festivals and rituals the Tibetan monks throw tsampa grains into the air asking the Gods for protection.
Uruguay Guess what the National dish of this country is. A sandwich. Kind of. Called a chivito! In 1944 a lady from the mountains of Argentina was on her way back home and wanted to order something quick. She stopped at a restaurant called El Mejillon and she asked for baby goat (chivito). The kitchen did not serve goat but the chef was really wanting to please her.....
He buttered a bread roll and made a sandwich with a slice of ham on a quarter-pound slice of steak. He called it chivo (baby goat) and the lady loved it so he called the sandwich a 'chivito'. Over time more and more ingredients were added including cheese, tomato, lettuce, ham, bacon, egg and olives. And now everyone eats it. For breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.
whats usually in a chivito? white bun melted mozzarella fried egg bacon tomatoes lettuce ham steak white bun
Vietnam Now this is a funny word. Their National dish is Pho. You say it like this: 'fuh' and it's a yummy beef noodle soup Originally, pho was sold by street vendors who would carry bowls of broth on shoulder poles. It was an ideal breakfast for those who worked in the rice fields.
It comes from a french beef stew 'pot au feu' which was popular in the 1880s when the French occupied Vietnam. Back then the Vietnamese did not eat much red meat but the French love steak so slowly more beef was used in cooking. Lots of leftover bones and meat were used to create a beefy soup. Then people started to add water buffalo meat and rice noodles.
Nowadays you can have chicken pho , vegetarian pho and in different parts of the country they add lots of different things like lime and basil and cilantro. You eat it with chopsticks and slurp up the soup afterwards.
Western Sahara The Sahara is a very very big desert - nothing else - just sand and dunes and sand and dunes. People who live here are largely nomadic. That means they are always moving about. And they use camels to carry their belongings from stop to stop People are nomads for many reasons. Most nomads are family men herding their animals and they move around because of the weather. They usually live in tents with just a few things inside.
Meifrisa is their traditional dish. It's a stew usually prepared for holidays or special occasions and it's made with rabbit or lamb but usually camel meat, onion, and garlic,
It is normally served on top of bread which is made by cooking it in the sand.
X marks the spot There are no countries in the world that start with X.... so instead how about you use this map of the world to put an x where each country is that we have talked about in the book!
Yemen The national dish here is thousands of years old and is called 'saltah'. People often have this as their biggest meal of the day and eat it as early as 11am. It's still a very big part of Yemeni life, connecting families and friends - everyone eats from the same bowl enjoying the flavours. Its a kind of soup and it used to be made from leftover food donated by wealthy families who had huge feasts.
The leftovers were then served as this soup to poor people in charity homes
It's a traditional broth with meat and vegetables but is topped with a special froth called hilbeh. It's always served with bread and in a bowl made from stone.
Zimbabwe This African country has a very very old and unusual dish as its fave which would be cooked for a long time in a big stone pot. Its called 'sadza' and it looks like this:
It's very much like a super thick porridge but its made from maize or corn meal. It doesn't really taste of anything but people like the texture of it with meat and fish.
Everybody in the country has sadza every day for lunch or dinner and it is also the first food babies are fed!
AND THAT'S IT Another crazy but fabulous journey we have been on together the A to Z of national dishes - wow that has made me feel hungry and think about more interesting things than bones! What was your fave dish? Isn't it amazing that everything we eat has an interesting history and so many of the dishes have been around for thousands of years! Maybe its time to try one of them...I love fish and chips but which one will I choose...hmmm...
follow the real Henry on his adventures in london @realhenrydog @meandhenrykids @meandhenry ...and buy the new collection of clothes available at a store near you and www.meandhenry.com written by Mark Jeynes
illustrated by Carolina Torres Carmo