We’ve been fortunate to have friends from many different ethnicities, and our kids have grown up in a virtual United Nations of people passing through our home. One area that has been highly impacted by this diversity is our food choices; we delight in trying the mundane and bizarre from every culture (not that we don’t have our fair share of delicious snout-to-tail delights). When our kids or friends travel, they typically do not send pictures of local landscapes or monuments, preferring instead to document their food choices.

Nearly half our friends are Jewish, so we’ve been exposed to and developed a taste for both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic culinary traditions, not to mention the Roman Jews and their interpretation of Italian cuisine. I have even been to Israel and can claim to at least have a direct, if brief, exposure to the authenticity of that country’s cuisine.

Today’s final pictures from Mr. Italo’s trip to Italy and Israel is a fitting closure to the culinary tour, and reminded me of how traditional cuisine can be simple, nonchalant, and yet amazingly satisfying. Three-quarters of the stuff here, I grew up with, a testament to the Jewish and Ottoman influence on my grandmother’s cooking (our familial home town of Thessaloniki was one of the world’s largest pre-WWII Jewish enclaves, dating back a thousand years).