Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When It Comes To Falafel, The Flavors Of Home Can Vary

In 2012, I got the chance to feature my own mother on a story for NPR. I feel this is significant because it may be one of very few instances when a Sudanese woman's photo is on major media without being involved with war or poverty stories.

So, here it is.

Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.

But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.

So I set out to investigate in my backyard — going on a Falafel shop hop around the Bay area, in California.

Listen to the story on NPR here.