I was in my mid-twenties, and passionate about cooking and travel. I had moved on from my students years of traveling often, and was working an uninspiring desk job, so I really missed exploring cultures through their foods. Eventually, I left my job and started freelancing. I remember just scanning my shelves of cookbooks and seeing loads of books by celebrity chefs with recipes that didn't belong to any specific place—the chefs applied their culinary style to foods, but the recipes weren't particularly authentic. And then there were books that were particular to one part of the world, like Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem, but there was nothing that really covered multiple places that provided an entry point. Because I travel via food, whenever I land somewhere, I know where I'm going to eat and what I'm going to eat. I wanted to put that all in book—food and words are the intersection of my interests.