Whenever I travel, which honestly isn't as often as I wish it was, I love to enjoy authentic food - hand patted tortillas in Guatemala, hand dipped chocolates in Switzerland, even a hotdog from a street vendor on Coney Island in New York. Food has such a way of allowing you to make a connection to a place and the people. Different spices, textures and combinations; from simple beans and rice to a multi-course meal that goes on for hours.

While my number one recommendation is to get out there, travel and see the world as you experience their unique cuisine, here are just a few ideas to bring those flavors into your life on a more regular basis and share flavors from around the world with your family. Sometimes it might be fun finding the country or region on a map, perhaps do a brief study about their culture and history, and then do what you can to experience the food.

Try a new restaurant

Sometimes it's tempting to stick with what you know and love. But there are a lot of options from many different countries, right in your own city. Some of those small restaurants in the back corner of the block may be their own sort of hidden treasure. Don't be afraid of hard-to-pronounce items on the menu or new ingredients. It's all a part of the adventure.

Invite people over

Take a look around your workplace, your circle of friends, your neighborhood, even your kids' friends from school. Is anyone natively from another country? Tell them you are interested in learning a bit about where they are from and ask if they'd be willing to share some authentic recipes with you. Invite them and their family over to cook the meal together. Ask for an ingredients list beforehand so you'll be prepared. Then spend a fantastic evening together. Take the chance to ask what life is like in another country or what traditions they have. See how many different languages you can learn to say a phrase like "thank you" or "I love you."

Use the Internet

These days, it's easier than ever to bring the flavors of foods from around the world right into your own kitchen by doing just a little bit of research online. From blogs to YouTube, you can find all sorts of ideas and recipes to try at home. I was pretty intimidated the first time I attempted to make real Mexican tamales for Cinco de Mayo. First, I found a number of YouTube videos with all the instructions, easily laid out. Then I found a recipe with some good reviews. Often times, there are even more tips in the comments so read those, too. Sometimes you may have to find a specialty store or market to find the correct ingredients. A Mexican or Asian market is a fantastic place to find real ingredients. Some things can even be purchased online for a reasonable price. Many recipes will use foods that you already have, or that can be found at your local grocery store. Just ask around and be willing to explore new territory as you put together new combinations or use different spices than you may be used to.

I am certain that you'll find foods you love. Have some great experiences as you take your own trip around the world without ever having to deal with going through customs. Bon Appetit!

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