Cooking

Passport in a Box

Culture Kitchen boxes give the gift of global flavor

Grandmothers always win.

That, at least, was the idea that inspired Culture Kitchen, Jennifer Lopez and Abby Sturges's new San Francisco-based organization. After all, we know better than to pit our favorite pad Thai place against a family recipe from a Thai friend's grandmother.

Culture Kitchen connects immigrant women who have stellar home-cooking skills, aka "master cooks," with people who want to learn more about specific cuisines.

The master cooks go through a vetting and training process, then teach their tried-and-true recipes to a group of students. The cooks share history, family jokes and--of course--culinary techniques during the intimate classes.

The sessions are currently available only in the Bay Area, but Culture Kitchen has just launched a Culinary Explorer program for the rest of us. Each month, subscribers receive a box ($35) that contains a master cook's recipe and her preferred dry ingredients for preparing it.

This month, boxes include all of the ingredients needed to prepare a western Indian feast, including chicken tikka masala kebabs, moong dal, spiced vegetables and saffron rice, from the home of Suchitra.

Next month, the box focuses on Thai food. Soon, we bet you won't miss that pad Thai place much.

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