My name is Marilyn Weissman. I am a wife, mother and grandmother and my family remains my passion. Food and traveling the world to discover new cuisines is my second love. I didn’t start this journey in an exotic locale as I spent the first twenty-three years of my life in Iowa – not exactly a culinary Mecca. I luckily had a mother who cooked every meal from scratch, and my favorite childhood memories include holidays watching my aunts huddle in our tiny kitchen. Smells of savory roasted chicken, freshly baked bread and cinnamon-scented apple pie filled the house and the family table was filled with countless delicacies. To this day, I still count matzo ball soup and chopped liver among my favorite dishes to prepare.
My love of travel – and exotic cuisine – started in my early twenties. After living in England for a time I toured around Europe and my fascination with foreign flavors and global cuisine grew with every country I visited. Over the years, as I traveled from Zambia to Croatia to New Zealand, I came to realize that my infatuation extended beyond just the food. Whether I found myself stumbling upon a strongly flavored new cheese or luxuriating with a basket of freshly baked pita bread, bonding with natives in these distant and foreign lands transformed me. Chatting with fish mongers in open air markets made me feel alive. I quickly came to appreciate what is important to me – living in the moment, learning about the world, and connecting with people.
Today, I often find myself sauntering down dusty roads, seeking out farmers markets and striking up conversations with vendors, cooks and fellow diners – constantly searching for new ingredients, cooking methods and recipes. I’ve seen dried llama carcasses hanging from stalls in Peru and have been invited into family kitchens in Belize to learn how to make chicken tomalitos. When I return from a trip, my suitcase often contains foreign cooking utensils and jars of exotic spices.
My friends think I am a bit crazy. In my former life I worked as a nurse educator then owned a successful catering business for over fifteen years. Today I find myself “on the road” nearly six months out of the year. I spend a great deal of time in Belize and I now see this part of the world as my second home. Rather than eating in the best restaurants in town, I prefer cooking in a tiny, rustic kitchen in the neighboring village of San Ignacio. In locations like this, with narrow streets and markets teeming with plantains, papaya, pineapples, mangos, coconuts and avocados, I truly feel in my element.
I am living my dream. I find inspiration everywhere I look. I hope to encourage you to enjoy this world of travel and food as much as I do: to have fun, to try new things, and to make your kitchen your own Global Kitchen.