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a week's worth of international menus

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The extended family is getting together next week in southern Maine at a rental property, and we have decided to share the cooking responsibilities. Each night a different person is going to prepare a dinner representative of a different country. We have all ages, from 16 months to grandparents. We need the food to be accessible for everyone.

What would your suggestions be for summer menus from France, USA in general, Italy, Mexico/Southwest, Asian, Spanish...

Any other potential country representatives?


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  1. asian? really? do you mean afghanistan or japan or someplace inbetween?

    1. Since you'll be in Maine, that should be your USA meal -- seafood, corn in any number of ways, tomatoes, and whatever berries are in season right now. Wild blueberries if you can still find them, simply with cream and a little sugar if you must.

      With that age diversity, not everyone is going to love everything. So if someone doesn't want salad nicoise, just have extra eggs and tuna so s/he can make a sandwich. It's vacation time -- relax and enjoy!

      1 Reply
      1. re: nemo

        you're way ahead of our seasonal curve. corn, tomatoes and blueberries are not yet in season locally.

        but lobster is dirt cheap this summer, so steam up a bunch with small new potatoes and lots of butter.

      2. Italian night could be a make your own pizza night - provide the pizza basics and standard toppings - mozzarella, basil ect... and then some fresh local ingredients as well....I'm thinking about a pizza topped with chopped lobster meat, bacon and corn...maybe some grilled onions....

        For another theme night you could do Caribbean

        1. Spanish- I would do a Tapas party-check out recent threads
          France- A salad with goat cheese, pate and french bread, ratatouille?
          Asian-vietnamese summer rolls, pad thai, exotic fruits
          Italy- could do a vegetable lasagna and an Italian salad.
          Greece- chicken soulvalki, greek salad, hummus and pita, roasted lemon potatoes
          USA- I agree with the New England Clambake idea
          Mexico/South exotic salsas and chips, guacamole, a fix it yourself taco bar.

          1. Sounds great! You could also do a Middle Eastern mezze and an Indian night with dhal, chana masala, lamb karahi, samosas, rotis/paranthas and some chutneys/dips.

            1. This isn't terribly "international" or exotic but for a multi-generational group, a taco bar with ground turkey cooked with onion and taco seasonings, beans, rice (or beans and rice), the usual cut up veggies, guac, sour cream or mexican crema, jalapenos, black olives, etc. is loved by all. I use corn tortillas softened in a bit of oil and folded in half and/or warmed up flour tortillas that can be rolled up burrito style.

              1. Spain: Pan con tomate, lamb meatballs in saffron white wine sauce, fideuĂ  with a beautiful Maine lobster in the center, artichoke hearts and roast asparagus with aioli and for dessert perhaps crema catalana.

                Middle Eastern: grilled halloumi, baba ghannouj, loubieh, feta, olives, roast lamb, rice pilaf, melon with cardamom syrup or date ice cream. Drink mint iced-tea.

                Thai: calamari with sweet chili sauce, red curry roast chicken with apple jus, apricot pilaf, coconut pudding

                Filipino: fresh lumpiang sariwa, shrimp and scallop kilawin, chicken adobo, barbecue pork, macaroni salad, roast eggplant salad, rice, leche flan

                Caribbean: shrimp-stuffed alcapurrias, canoas, pernil, arroz con gandules or cilantro rice, coconut flan

                Argentine: Asado of flank steak, beef ribs, chorizo, morcilla and vegetables with chimichurri, polenta with cheese sauce, garlic bread, spinach and cheese empanadas, alfajores,

                1. A Scandinavian buffet is nice in summer: Swedish meatballs, dilled cucumber salad, pickled beets, boiled potatoes, Havarti and other Scand. cheeses, 2 or 3 flavors of pickled herring, sardines, Swedish brown beans with cinnamon, deviled eggs, various rye breads and crackers, Carlsberg beer. It's easy, can be made in advance, and makes good leftovers for lunch the following days.