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Why I Cook The World

As traffic scratched and clawed its way north on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, I studied my fellow travelers and wondered how much this daily experience defines us. Even if our landscape doesn’t completely define us, it shapes us. We take it all in, voluntarily or not. As our immediate world seeps into our consciousness, it becomes part of our makeup, one that we reflect back to the world. Which got me thinking about food.

Under the immense, geographical umbrella called Los Angeles, we are a courageous world bazaar of cuisine. Many current Angelenos have traveled thousands of miles to get here, ready to face any challenge in order to have the possibilities of a better life. These possibilities often include struggles with cruel fortune combined with social and economic deprivation. The unpredictable nature of humans and weather can often be our tormentors here. We are, however, a hardy, hungry, and optimistic bunch.

Belief in these possibilities is served up daily in family-run restaurants across my city. What comes out of these kitchens is a deep spirit of fortitude in the form of some of the world’s most delicious foods. Celebrities and Disneyland aside, our magnificent culinary scene should be the biggest tourist draw to Los Angeles. Crave a different point of view? Just change your cuisine. Check out the Peruvian restaurant, around the corner from the Chilean restaurant, down the street from the Cuban restaurant, just blocks from the Ethiopian restaurant.

I love that, most days, Los Angeles is the successful model of a truly international city.

I wanted to bring even more of the world into my immediate landscape by cooking food from every country and territory on earth. Can I become a better citizen of the world just by creating, eating, and sharing these dishes? I hope so.

If love won’t conquer all, perhaps love of food will.

Denise Fondo

Los Angeles, California

Contact me at

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca Van Jura (McNatt) or Hibbard! permalink
    October 12, 2009 9:51 am

    Denise – I love this! I have been checking this out finally and you’re writing is fantastic, so intriguing – and the photography is wonderful. this is so much fun you i’m sure. i hope you are well. i am going to try the algerian chili!

    hope you are well.


  2. November 4, 2009 9:32 am

    Nice blog. I’m looking 4ward to your recipes (me, not a cook) and restaurant recomends!

    • November 16, 2009 2:30 am

      Thanks for dropping by, CO!

      I’ll be adding some Antiguan recipes this week. They are very simple and any level cook can make them.


  3. November 5, 2009 12:28 pm

    I love the last line of this post: “If love won’t conquer all, perhaps love of food will.”
    I am a believer!!
    This is a great idea. I look forward to seeing where you take us!

    I found your blog through a post on Jamie Oliver’s website. If you haven’t already, you should also post your food adventures there!

    H ~ Swigs and Grinds

  4. MICHAEL DANBOM permalink
    June 16, 2010 12:04 pm

    Nice web site, think i’ll try the shrimp dish.
    My Best

  5. Ardy Kassakhian permalink
    January 18, 2011 6:31 pm

    Thanks for the Armenian recipes and the beautiful poem. Armenian cuisine is complex and rich and it is often overlooked or lumped with Lebanese, Greek, Turkic, South Russian, Persian or other regional dishes. It’s nice to see someone who takes the time to explore and expand her horizons through food. Try Barbara Ghazarian’s book “Simply Armenian” for some great Armenian dishes as well as her new book about cooking with the fruit Quince. It also has a lot of uniquely Armenian recipes. Cheers and happy new year!

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