Travel Optional: International Supper Club introduces food from around the world | Lifestyles

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A love of travel and an appreciation for culture has led Kelsey Bigbee to create a culinary journey for the Mankato area. Launched earlier this month, the International Supper Club features two to three dishes from a designated country each month. Bigbee is kicking things off with a focus on Thailand.

“There’s two main dishes that we’re offering and then a side,” Bigbee stated. Explaining Pad Thai is very popular in Thai street food, she stated the dish has stir fry vegetables, noodles, chicken and a sweet, tangy homemade sauce. Topped with cilantro and peanuts, Bigbee said a squeeze of lime provides a refreshing element.

The chicken satay is a grilled option served on skewers alongside rice and a side of spicy mango salad. Additionally, the spicy mango salad prepared with mango slices, red onion, cucumber, jalapeño, and a marinade can be purchased separately.

Customers begin by visiting Bigbee’s website, caredoulamn.com/supperclub, where the month’s options are posted and orders can be submitted. The prepared meals are then picked up on an established date and time frame at The Beast Foods, which is located at 422 Belgrade Ave., Suite 103 in North Mankato. Currently, pick-up will be on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.

Bigbee explained this month’s salad is enjoyed cold, and both of the ready-to-eat entrees are intended to be heated when the customers are set to enjoy them.

Jamaica will be featured in July, and Bigbee shared they will be serving oxtail with rice and beans, jerk chicken, and beef patties. “August will be Vietnam with beef and papaya salad and Vietnamese noodles with lemongrass chicken and fresh spring rolls. Other upcoming countries are Nepal, Germany, France, and Cuba,” she stated.

The International Supper Club is an added service through Bigbee’s business, Care Doula. The term “doula” is often associated with a support role during birth, and in times, death. What Bigbee has noticed is a gap in services to those navigating other significant life transitions.

Bigbee’s cooking skill set is a notable component of the available services through Care Doula as she provides meal planning, preparation, and cooking. Bigbee has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, a master’s degree in public health nutrition, and is a registered and licensed dietitian.

She is able to assist individuals by offering meal options to meet their food and nutrition preferences and needs, and also shared she would enjoy cooking favorite family recipes that clients may not have the time to prepare themselves.

Other services provided include personal assistant focused tasks and running errands. Bigbee noted she wants the services to be flexible according to what the individual would best benefit from.

Gift certificates are available to give loved ones, and by this fall, Bigbee also hopes to offer meal packages to help those in various seasons of life, such as caring for a new baby or perhaps dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

Originally from Mankato, Bigbee grew up in a family that always cooked and has been cooking in kitchens since she was a teenager. During college she traveled to Europe, and said her experience living in Nepal for two years through her involvement in the Peace Corps opened her eyes to travel.

“While I was there, I did a lot of traveling in southeast Asia and then around Nepal,” Bigbee stated. Especially in Nepal, she noticed people often served tea or food as a means of showing appreciation or an interest in getting to know someone.

Bigbee recently returned to Mankato after time spent in the food catering business as well as traveling.

She sees the International Supper Club as a fun way to infuse her passions of travel and tasting new foods.

She added that trying a dish is a low stakes opportunity to step out of comfort zones and explore something new. She also shared her hope is to help build community.

“Obviously, food plays a role in our physical health, but we also eat food for community, for our traditions, for celebrations.”

Bigbee’s contact information can be found at caredoulamn.com/contact.


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