Q – That Ethiopian list on the left looks similar to the Nepalese/Tibetan food I had in Madison last year. I’m still convinced that dirt is their main seasoning.
Nathan G – Along the lines of your encounter with your prof, I had an encounter with a cruise ship hostess from Serbia last year. After seeing her home country all week, on the last day of the cruise I mentioned that a Serbian restaurant was one of my favorite places to eat. She said that was the first time anyone had ever said anything nice to her about Serbia while on the ship. She then got really happy describing the food her mother cooks for her when she goes home. So I think the food point of reference is the right one, it establishes a common perspective to start a conversation.