A to Z the World

By Stephanie Villamor
Published on 6 November, 2023

The library has a variety of databases where you can find information for your upcoming assignments, but did you know you can also learn for your own personal benefit?

If you’re traveling to another country and want to learn about the region, climate, and culture, you can check out “A to Z the World.” And with Thanksgiving coming up, you could also learn some new dishes to add to the table. That’s right—this database even comes with recipes!

Below is just a “taste” of mouthwatering foods you can make from countries across the world, straight from our “A to Z the World” database through the library:

Armenia: Hummus


1 can (20 oz/560 g) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

2 small garlic cloves, peeled

2 Tbsp (30 ml) tahini (sesame seed paste)


Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Taste for seasoning. Add more salt or lemon juice, if necessary.

Chill for 30 minutes before eating, if desired.

Belize: Johnny Cake


4 cups (480 g) flour

2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder

1 tsp (5 g) salt

8 tbsp (120 g) butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces

1 cup (120 ml) coconut milk or cream


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the cut butter and mix by hand until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Add the coconut milk, first stirring and then kneading until a smooth ball of dough is formed.

Divide into balls of about 1 1/2 inch (3.8 cm). Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them stand for 10 minutes. Then, flatten the balls slightly and prick each several times with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake for 10–15 minutes, first placing the baking sheet on the lower oven rack, then baking near the top for the final 5 minutes. The cakes will be done when they are baked to golden brown. Serve hot or warm.

Canada: Poutine


4 cups (950 ml) vegetable oil, for frying

1 can (10 1/4 oz/290 g) beef gravy

5 medium potatoes cut into 1/2-inch thick sticks

2 cups (450 g) cheese curds


In a heavy skillet, heat the oil to 365°F (185°C).

Heat the gravy in a saucepan.

Fry the potato fries in the hot oil until they are crisp and golden, about 5 minutes.

Drain the fries on paper towels.

Arrange the fries on a plate. Sprinkle the cheese curds on top of the fries, then pour gravy over the entire dish.

Serve immediately.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Peanut Soup


2-3 cups (470–700ml) chicken stock

1 onion, minced

1 bell pepper, minced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red chili pepper, minced

1 carrot, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened peanut butter

salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients except for the peanut butter in a medium sauce pan. Simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender. Add peanut butter and simmer 10 additional minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

India: Kheer/Payasam/Payesh (Rice Pudding)


2 threads saffron

10 cups (2.5 L) whole milk

2 tbsp (30 ml) basmati rice

1/2 cup (60 g) jaggery (brown sugar)

2 tsp (10 ml) rose water

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) freshly ground green cardamom seeds

1 tbsp (5 g) pistachios, chopped


In a small bowl, soak saffron in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk, for 30 minutes.

Gently bring to boil the remaining milk in a large, flat-bottomed saucepan.

Lower heat and add rice. Stir to prevent milk from burning.

Cook, uncovered until mixture thickens, about 35-45 minutes.

Stir in saffron, saffron milk and rose water. Simmer on low for 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Serve hot or cold. Garnish with sprinkles of cardamom and pistachios.

Luxembourg: Boxemännercher (Gingerbread Cookies)


2 cups (240 g) flour

1 tbsp (7 g) active dried yeast

1 tbsp (15 g) sugar

1/4 tsp (1.5 g) salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) warm milk

4 tbsp (60 g) butter

1 egg, beaten


Sift flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl.

Mix in milk and butter. Knead lightly and form into a ball.

Cover bowl and let rise for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a floured surface. Cut out gingerbread figures. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Cover and let rise 15 minutes. Brush with egg.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bake 25-30 minutes until risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Serve with hot chocolate.

This is, of course, only a brief sample of the multitude of recipes available from each country of the world. Check out the A to Z database, click any country on the map or list, and then select the “Food Culture and Recipes” menu option on the left to get to cuisine overview, daily meals, dining etiquette, classic dishes, special occasion foods, and plenty of recipes to let you try something new. You can make your Thanksgiving dinner multicultural and even more tasty!