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Take Taste Buds on a Trip Around the World This Holiday Season

DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Ethnic fusion cuisine is one of the year's hottest trends(1). Whether it's Chinese ginger, Jamaican jerk or Indian curry, international flavors are filling Americans' plates. And because it is versatile, easy-to-prepare and pairs well with many flavor profiles, it's no surprise that pork is consumed globally more than any other meat(2). For these reasons, the creators of The Other White Meat(R) campaign partnered with Common Threads -- a non-profit that fosters an appreciation for cultural diversity through cooking -- and celebrity chef/reality TV star Stephanie Izard to help American families unite world cultures in the kitchen this holiday season and beyond.

"With so much emphasis on family and food, the holidays are a terrific time to celebrate different heritages by experimenting with ethnic ingredients and recipes," said Izard. "I'm a fan of pork because I can use it to prepare almost any international dish, plus there are so many cuts to choose from and it's a great value at the meat case."

While the traditional ham is commonly found at a holiday feast, another great option is the pork tenderloin, which is as lean as a skinless chicken breast and a great option to incorporate into heavier holiday menus. As consumers watch food prices soar and tighten the purse strings on holiday spending, pork also is priced more economically than some other choices in the meat case, making it a cost-efficient way to please a hungry crowd.

Pork Around the World

From traditional to exotic, Izard shares two signature pork recipes that are ideal for enjoying with family and friends. Her Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Apple Butter, Rapini and Rosemary Vinaigrette uses apple butter, a colonial American favorite, to infuse savory flavors into the classic pork tenderloin.

Want the best tastes of all worlds? Izard's Pork and Peanut Ragu marries Indian and Chinese ingredients into a preparation that's traditionally Italian. Guests can practice their diplomacy as they serve themselves and have fun "making" the dish, by mixing up their own noodles and ragu topping.

From Africa to Asia, there are dozens of internationally-inspired recipes that can turn a "hum drum" traditional soiree into an international affair. Take taste buds on a trip around the world with a "pork passport" stamped with delicious dishes like these:

-- Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hocks (Africa) -- using traditional African ingredients such as beans, rice and ham hocks, this dish is perfect for Kwanzaa, a week-long holiday that celebrates the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce and self-improvement.

-- Hallacas (South America) -- a lunchtime Latin Christmas feast finds South American families gathering to enjoy "hallacas," similar to American tamales or fajitas. Hallacas are composed of pork, olives, raisins and spices in a long bread.

-- Jiaozi (Asia) -- a type of dumpling that typically consists of ground pork, the hallmark ingredient during the most important Chinese holiday, Chinese New Year. Because its shape resembles the Chinese Yuanbao (form of money used in ancient times), eating Jiazi means wealth in the coming year.

Invite the World Home

The National Pork Board, Common Threads and Stephanie Izard agree that creating ethnic dishes at home is a fun way for families to spend time together, learn about other cultures and even start new family traditions.

"Food unites us," explains Izard. "Simply preparing and sharing a meal with others, particularly at the holidays, is a powerful way to bridge cultural boundaries and strengthen our bond as a global family."

Try these inspiring tips for international global cooking cheer:

-- Holiday homework -- Many great cookbooks include recipes from around the globe. During the holiday season, flip through cookbooks as a family and select cultural dishes to prepare together.

-- Family affair -- From filling Chinese dumplings to kneading Indian naan, include the whole family in the meal preparation. This will ensure a cultural appreciation and a lifetime of memories.

-- Eat and educate -- While the family gathers to enjoy the meal, ask one person to explain the international dish and describe a tradition from its country of origin.

These recipes and tips are perfect for the upcoming holiday season or any occasion throughout the year. For more global recipe ideas and holiday tips, visit Photography for the suggested recipes is available for download within the Internet Press Kit and/or upon request.

About Common Threads

The mission of Common Threads is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. Common Threads helps bridge cultural boundaries and strengthen our global family by teaching children about their similarities and differences in the warm comfort of the kitchen. Through the simple process of preparing and sharing a nutritious meal, children who participate learn to connect with their bodies, their neighbors and their world in bite-sized lessons.

    1. National Restaurant Association. "What Hot, What's Not" chef survey,
       Dec. 2007 (survey addressed hot cuisine for 2008)

    2. USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, 2005

SOURCE The National Pork Board
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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