Connection is the self-proclaimed theme of Rita Golden Gelman's life. She hearkens back to a time of yore by calling herself a modern-day nomad. In Female Nomad and Friends, she is in hunter-gather mode collecting recipes from around the globe via submissions to her website. They are meticulously blended with real-life stories of 41 women who take a leap of faith and reach out to another human being - whether across town or across the world. Every hint of zest is appreciated and recognized in this culinary community of over 25 ethnic dishes.
Golden Gelman upped the ante even further by donating all of the proceeds of the book to a scholarship fund. It will enable high school graduates in the slums of India to attend vocational schools. The funds are being administered through a Maryland chapter of the Rotary Club. With a soul full of wanderlust, she may not have a permanent address, but Golden Gelman certainly does not equate the absence of hearth and home with a lack of responsibility.
The book is divided into five sections: Connecting, Mixed Messages, Language, Passion and Food. The recipes range from the familiar - Grandma's fried chicken - to the exotic - sun-dried worms. However, the downright peculiar are thankfully omitted (Filipino head of the dog, anyone?).
Among the accompanying stories, there are several stand-outs. One woman experiences the ultimate in hospitality when an elderly woman offers to carry her on her back across a flooded Vietnamese street. Another answers a want ad for a housekeeper and discovers a lonely Alaskan looking for a wife. A Swedish exchange student experiences her first Thanksgiving, Texas-style. An American schoolteacher in France is invited to the sumptuous table of her student's family. An orphaned Iraqi girl makes a connection with an American woman before and after the 2003 invasion. A visiting couple who miss their ferry stop are rowed upstream against the current by a kind native in Paraguay.
However, many dangers exist for women traveling alone, and these perils are not ignored. One woman is raped by a hotel manager in India and later returns home to discover that she is pregnant. Another drinks the water on a South Pacific island and succumbs to dysentery.
Overall, women the world over are made up of the same ingredients, it's how they are blended that mark who they are.
Female Nomad and Friends by Rita Golden Gelman is available for $15.00 at Amazon.com and at RitaGoldenGelman.com.
A complimentary review copy was provided by Promo 101 - Virtual Blog Tours with Nikki Leigh.
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