If you had asked six-year old (or even 16-year old) me if I believed I would go on to cook a meal from every country in the world and become a National Geographic author, I would have responded with an emphatic no.
Back then, my world was a beautiful mess. On any given day I had food on my shirt, graphite smudges on my fingers, or paint on my sleeves – and some days all three. I was blissfully unaware of my appearance in large part because I needed to be a mess.
I grew up in and out of many homes, across two continents. This includes living in several foster homes and with family friends. Though I was loved and cared for, I often felt unsure of my place in the world. Creative expression through art, writing, and cooking was (and is) a way for me to feel my way through life’s challenges and celebrations.
Cooking every country was just the beginning.
Cooking more than 650+ recipes from 195+ countries and territories connected our family with people from all over the globe. We were curious, we were open-hearted, and we ate really, really well – all from my kitchen in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The blog I created to document our experience, Global Table Adventure, will always be available as an archive for families and educators looking to spice up mealtimes and spread global understanding.
Writing Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness (National Geographic, 2015) was a fantastic opportunity to connect our family’s cooking adventure with my deeper search for a sense of belonging.
Today, I’m taking my writing and art in new directions.
My interests don’t fit neatly in one box: I enjoy classic literature and fantasy, molecular gastronomy and down-home cookin.’ I am a fan of Dr. Who and Sherlock, as well as medieval French Arthuriana. I love the paintings of Mary Cassatt. I love international cooking. Sometimes all I want in life is to eat my way through a large bag of cheese puffs. My favorite thing is when two unlikely interests intersect, like the time I learned that the Holy Grail was actually more of a fish platter than a goblet. King Arthur meets downhome cookin’ – why not?
Lately, I’ve been calling on the strength of my namesake, Miyamoto Musashi.
Known as the greatest samurai who ever lived, this 17th century warrior never lost a battle — in large part because of his precision and focus. In The Book of Five Rings he wrote:
Step by step walk the thousand-mile road.
For me, the battle is not with the sword, but with the pencil and spoon. My creative journey requires that I walk in new directions, towards new experiences and ways of expressing. I believe that, with each step, our journeys begin anew. Most days you’ll find me sitting at the typewriter by the window or dancing through the kitchen, taking the next step on my creative journey, walking my thousand-mile road.
The nitty gritty:
Sasha Martin was born in Cape Cod, MA. She attended Wesleyan University, where she geeked out on Medieval French Arthurian Legend, wrote 100 pages about the history of artisan bread in France, and played several rounds of midnight Ultimate Frisbee barefoot, by streetlamp. After college, she attended The Culinary Institute of America as an M.F.K. Fisher scholar. She spent her time as the editor of La Papillote, the school paper, and learned to prepare an omelet in less than 90 seconds – though not at the same time. After moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma, she began cooking a meal from every country in the world and blogged about the experience at Global Table Adventure, a go-to hub for international foodies.
Her first book – LIFE FROM SCRATCH: A MEMOIR OF FOOD, FAMILY, AND FORGIVENESS, chronicles her attempt to cook her way to happiness and self-acceptance. It was published by National Geographic and has been translated into multiple languages. Her work has been featured in many places, including Food & Wine, People Magazine, NPR, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Kitchen, O Magazine, Boston Globe, and Food52.
Want to keep up with Sasha’s latest?
Sasha is most active on Instagram, where she shares moments from her day-to-day life, including her recent poetry and other musings.