My Lucky Tummy

My Lucky Tummy

Early Thursday I hurried into work, mind on the ten things to be done by noon, and stopped short at the bulletin board between the elevator and the men’s room. “My Lucky Tummy” proclaimed a poster hanging there, letters scrawled across the fat belly of a spring robin. “1,000s of refugees & immigrants call Syracuse home. Many come from places where fast, easy food doesn’t rule. Food takes time. Food takes tradition & care. WE WANT THAT FOOD.”

I frowned at my lemon loaf and grande Americano. I, too, wanted that food.


Advance tickets for this international cuisine cost $20. It would be held at the Alibrandi Center, with service at 5, 6, and 7 p.m. The menu was a secret until the doors opened to the first wave of diners. All we knew from the website is that we would eat from Burma, Cuba, Somalia, Thailand, and Iraq; each dish would contain no more than 5 ingredients, and most of those would come from local, family owned markets (a fact that grew exponentially significant as we consumed dishes made from, among other things, camel meat).


The lady at the door shared protocol: grab a plate and join the throng. My Lucky Tummy is not a sit-down affair. Mingling is the point, particularly with the cooks. The Chef from Burma watched closely my reaction as I shoveled into a pile of noodles, and broke into a wide grin when I approximated ‘Hmmm! Delicious!’ straight through my mouthful. And so it was at each subsequent table, food-as-common-denominator, a tie that binds.

We ate:

  • Thin Baw Thi Athoke from Burma, made from green papaya, prawn, peanut, and chili
  • Quimbombo from Cuba, made from okra, beef, plantain, tomato, and cumin
  • Sambusa from Solalia, made from camel, potato, and piri piri
  • Kao Pad Gai Gra Pow from Thailand, made from holy basil fried rice, chicken, and egg
  • Kunefe from Iraq, made from broken noodles, pistachio, and sweet cheese

Somalia     PeekaBoo


The cash bar featured something new: Griffin Hill Farm Brewery beer, a Saison brew out of Onondaga made not from water but from maple sap. Cheeky. The Husband, himself a home brewer, declared it delicious and as such made Griffin Hill Farm the [unsuspecting] target of a future OGR post.

Griffin     Cross

And what of these family-run food markets that cater to our local refugee and New American communities, supplying the ingredients that make My Lucky Tummy’s international cuisine possible? These are the inconspicuous heroes, proving there is still much to discover on the Northside of Syracuse.

A new collection of international dishes will be presented in October 2014 when My Lucky Tummy pops up again at a TBD place and time. In keeping with the tradition of surprises, the only tidbits to be gleaned about the event from the website are that the menu will include a herby fish dish from Indonesia, will otherwise showcase vegetarian cuisine, and will feature produce from Salt City Harvest Farm. See you there.

Connect with My Lucky Tummy on Facebook and on the web.








Football Food for the Forty-Six Percenters

Like forty-six percent of women in the United States I love American Pro Football. Especially the Super Bowl. I love crowding with my peeps around a spread of tasty morsels. I love lively conversation straight through the big plays. Which is why I/we dislike watching ball with our guys. Their flailing elbows are a hazard, their flying mouth crumbs super gross. Plus they’re know-it-alls who think we don’t ‘get it’ and shush us during two point conversations. Fun fact: chatting during the play doesn’t impair anyone’s ability to SEE the  screen nor does it impact the outcome of the action.
We do get the game, btw. We get the blitz schemes. The trick plays. All mostly stupid. If the offense hadn’t mishandled the ball for the last six possessions an angel stunt wouldn’t be necessary. Kay? Kay.

Savory Turkey Tart

This savory tart will have the family vying for the last crumb and demanding to know when you’re preparing it again. Turkey acquires new flair when smothered in cheesy kale and feta filling and topped with a layer of twice-baked caramelized baby carrots. The pastry shell is a tried and true recipe that pairs just as beautifully with savory fillings as it does with sweet.

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Chicken Treat Recipe

Homemade Chicken Treats Homemade Treats for Chickens

Oh words, how they matter. Example: when you type “homemade chicken treats” into a search engine you’ll get an altogether different result than when you type “Homemade treats for chickens.”  In one case the chicken is the treat and in the other it is the recipient of one. An important distinction, particularly from the fowl’s perspective. Or is that foul? This recipe speaks to the latter: a winter treat for your backyard hens involving categorically non-chicken ingredients.

Thyme Infused Dinner Rolls (with homemade cultured butter)

These herbed pull-apart dinner rolls, with their rustic crust and fluffy sweet interior, possess exactly the right density and flavor for sopping up pan drippings and gravies at Thanksgiving. The dough comes together like a velvet symphony when ingredients are allowed to reach room temperature and the mixing bowls warmed before combining. The secret to the light and fluffy interior is to add only as much flour as necessary and not a pinch more.

Shortening the Path from Pasture to Plate.