"Exploring how food is a part of an ethnic group’s or nation’s material culture has always been a private interest of mine as well," her website notes. "Everywhere I went, I saw connections between cultures in their foods and big sweeping patterns of ingredients or methods of preparation sweeping across the Old World. How the land and maritime routes of the Silk Road brought about an early period of globalization became the theme to express these ideas about food and the world."
Her recipe calls to mind an old favorite recipe from New England: roasted chicken with apricot-nut stuffing. The comparisons are not so outlandish considering that Kelley herself writes about "How Colonial Americans Were Inspired by Asian Spices":
"When we think of the diets of our founding fathers and mothers, we imagine porridges, breads, fresh and preserved fruits and vegetables, and gently flavored roast meats. What most people don’t realize is that the colonists had a taste for exotic fare from all over the world and would pay dearly for delicacies from India, China, Indonesia and other places far from the shores of North America. In addition to buying authentic food items, the colonists tried to recreate these dishes based on taste and the ingredients they had on hand."
The connections are constant in Kelley's work. Check out her blog for more recipes - and you won't be able to resist trying the entire collection! The love and attention that goes into her writing and research are inspiring.
Photo of women at an Afghan meal, courtesy of Wellcome Images and Wikimedia Commons.