Fall Recipes from Around the World

When I think of fall, I picture sunset-colored leaves falling from the neighborhood trees, cozy jewel-toned turtlenecks, and the sweet scent of cinnamon and cloves filling the air. Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons (who doesn’t love putting together fall outfits?), but my love for the foods of fall tops the list. Having spent the majority of my life in the United States, I associate this season with caramel apples, pumpkin pie, and other classic American fare. However, it’s easy to forget that people from a multitude of cultures, all over the world, also experience and celebrate the autumn season. This season, celebrate cultural diversity in the tastiest way possible by checking out these internationally beloved fall staples:



Maafe is a traditional West African peanut soup made with sweet potatoes and collard greens. This recipe is perfect for anyone who craves the the comfort of a warm bowl of soup on those chilly fall days. The best part is, it’s vegetarian (though it can often be made with beef, chicken, or lamb). Maafe is a very loose term for a large variation of ground-nut stews made across West Africa, and recipes can also include ingredients such as okra, cinnamon, or corn. Not only is this dish customizable, but it gives you the perfect taste of classic fall flavors and spices.

Maafe Recipe:


Pan de Muerto

El Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday (celebrated between October 31 and November 2) where families come together to remember and cherish the memories of their deceased loved ones. The beauty of the holiday is that, instead of mourning the loss of their friends and family, the Mexican people happily celebrate their lives. Music is played as parents and children decorate the tombstones of their ancestors, and delicious traditional dishes are offered to the spirits of the deceased. Pan de Muerto is a traditional sweet bread offered as an essential part of the altars of lost loved ones. Other traditional Día de los Muertos foods include colorful Calaveras de Azucar (candy skulls) and tamales (wrapped and steamed corn-based dough filled with meat, cheese, or veggies).


Pan de Muerto Recipe:



Thai Pumpkin Curry


Who doesn’t love pumpkin this time of year? As you may have noticed, Thai cuisine is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S. for its complex flavors and comfort food qualities. Thai pumpkin curry uses a classic fall ingredient that is often used in American desserts and makes it into something unexpectedly savory through the use of curry paste and coconut milk. While this particular curry recipe includes chicken, the dish can be easily made vegetarian by skipping the meat!


Thai Pumpkin Curry Recipe:




Here’s a suggestion for all of you readers out there that would rather skip the cooking and go straight to the eating! Late September and early October is famously known to be the season of Oktoberfest in Germany and in many German-American communities in the U.S.. It may be a little late to experience the actual Oktoberfest celebrations this year, as the festival ends at the beginning of October. But fret not! If you’re a Chicago local, check out The Radler in Logan Square, where they offer an abundance of delicious Oktoberfest staples such as schnitzel (breaded and fried pork cutlets), bratwurst (one of many traditional sausage dishes on the menu), and classic apple strudel.

The Radler:



Though some of these recipes and suggestions may seem unfamiliar at first glance, we soon realize that many key ingredients and seasonal sentiments are shared across different cultures and styles of cuisine. African peanut soup is made with sweet potatoes, a staple fall crop often found on many American tables during the Thanksgiving season. Halloween falls on the same day as El Día de los Muertos, with many similarities in their underlying themes of spirituality and the afterlife. The majority of our own families and neighbors probably immigrated to the U.S. from a country with its own fall traditions and cuisines. So, this autumn season, switch things up from the usual pumpkin pies you have every year, and maybe bring something new to the proverbial Thanksgiving table.