What I Learned Cooking the Food of Every Country on Earth

4. You'll have to substitute some ingredients

Traditional haggis meal for Robert Burns Supper, a Scottish tradition with cooked sliced haggis, neeps, tatties, onion and carrot on a rustic table
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Haggis is a Scottish delicacy that's banned from the U.S.

You can go into international cooking with every intention of being completely authentic to a nation’s cuisine. But short of smuggling, you won't be able to score every precise ingredient for every traditional recipe you can find.

There can be legal or cultural reasons. Like, did you know that Scottish haggis, which contains sheep lung, is illegal in the U.S.? And, face it, African bushmeat and Central Asian horse meat will likely not be making it to your American kitchen.

Even uncontroversial items may be unobtainable.

For instance, many African nations cook with a variety of fresh, local greens which can’t be imported easily across the ocean. And there probably isn't enough demand for your local market to stock them.