Getting in Touch With Your Cultural Cuisine.

Growing up around majorly different cuisines from most children, Vietnamese food has now been strongly growing as my favorite over Chinese food. Both being part of my upbringing, Vietnamese food takes the cake because of its heavy influence on my life. It is light, healthy, and very foreign to the usual American food. In the past two weeks, I have cooked three different Vietnamese dishes that are not very well known amongst western culture. This has allowed me to have an appreciation for my Mother and the cultural upbringing that I had. The biggest challenge is a test of patience because most meals in Asian culture take hours of preparation to bring forth to the final crucial minutes to execute the dish. It is exhausting, but very well worth the healthy lifestyle.



Pho, the most famous of all Vietnamese Dishes.


Another reason why I am doing this is that I am sick of bar food. It is absolutely perplexing how easily accessible to find burgers, pizza, and hot wings that are ready to eat at just about any place and time. I guess that is just America for you.

There is an education that you receive when you focus on learning dishes from a country’s cuisine, such as different cooking styles, techniques, and the origins of the dish. Learning the origins of the dish is very beneficial because it teaches you the history, etymology, geography and sometimes the political history of the country that you are emulating the cuisine for. That is only if you research the dishes like I do.

Cooking Vietnamese food has restored many values in me that I have lost when I was a kid. It has also brought back many memories of family gatherings and my Mother. I have come to learn that cooking is a relationship because you need to plant the seed, be patient, and watch it grow over time because the more you cook, the better your dishes will turn out.

When you explore a new cuisine, you get to learn about new types of ingredients and what they do and where to buy them. Ingredients for Vietnamese food are very specific and hard to find, so I have been spending much more time at Asian grocery stores to find these exotic ingredients versus commercialized stores like Lunds and Cub.

The other day, I spoke Vietnamese, Spanish and English all within the span of five minutes at Truong Thanh Grocery Store. I have not spoken three languages within that time span since I was five years old. Isn’t that something? This brought back great memories of my childhood.

Most importantly, the only person in the world who can cook these types of dishes for me is either my Mother or Vietnamese restaurants. This is quite the predicament because I do not live with my Mom anymore so it isn’t easily accessible for me. I can’t imagine my future spouse being able to make me Pho, Congee, or Caramelized Pork. Not to mention that there is a very strong divide between people who cook or do not cook. So, if I don’t learn how to cook this type of cuisine, then the odds of having it easily accessible are slim to none.



Banh Xeo, means “sizzling cake”. Similar to crepes, a lesser known Vietnamese delicacy.


This frightens me because if I do not know how to make the food that I grew up with, then I will be losing a part of me. But, I do solemnly vow that I will be teaching whomever how to cook these dishes because it is my duty to show the world how beautiful my culture is. Moreover, it is important to remember that it is a very fun activity to share with people because cooking brings people together.

Henceforth, every week I have pledged to learn how to make a new Vietnamese dish. If I can master the cuisine that I grew up with then I will add cultural cooking to my arsenal of skills. But overall, my biggest goal with this new challenge of mine is to learn how to apply western cooking techniques to Asian cuisine in order for people like you and me, who live in this fast-paced world to be able to cook Asian food in a timely manner.

In conclusion, I challenge everyone to learn about their family heritage’s cultural cuisine. Whether you are Italian, German, Greek, or African, there is a lot you can learn by executing foreign dishes. This can further connect you to your roots and bring knowledge to something that you have been oblivious to your whole life: The beautiful cultures that our ancestors have hailed from.

This is why I am making a strong effort to get in touch with my cultural cuisine of Vietnamese food.

Remember, “The Zos Knows”. 

-David Zosel

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation to either of these links:

Venmo or Patreon

I will give 10% of the proceeds to ONETREEPLANTED, a charity that plant trees to restore life to degraded lands all over the world. For every dollar donated there will be one tree planted. 

A Strategy to Deal With The Minnesota Vikings’ Strain on your Mental Health.

When the nightmare injury of our beloved Teddy Bridgewater occurred prior to 2016’s very promising season for the Viking’s it was inevitable that the Twin Cities most passionately loved sports franchise is cursed. It is official, so accept it.

Every year the same thing happens to me in the following order where I get excited about our draft picks, then the Vikes get off to a good start to the season, and lastly, our heartbreaking Viking’s begin to slip away from any hope of winning the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, we watch the greatest player of all time, Aaron Rodgers and our arch-nemesis, The Green Bay Packers make another Super Bowl run.


As you can see, the Vikings are a manic-depressive tornado. They are not a team that helps ease your mental health if you bleed purple.

I am not the only habitually optimistic one, but I have learned that this team is an impending car crash and us die-hard fans tend to be one of the first ones on the scene.

Last year, I was in Bogota, Colombia when my ESPN app on my phone sent me a notification that Teddy Bridgewater’s leg almost snapped in half.

Teddy was loved by all including the elders, the children, and the new and old generations of our fan’s, who have bled purple since their birth. He was a special brand of quarterback that resonated with our Twin Cities sports market that gave hope to all walks of life for a Super Bowl.

His tragedy added another Viking’s scar on my arms that followed the ’98, 2000 (The Forgotten Season), ’09, and the notorious Blair Walsh missed field goal attempt. This list succeeds all of the previous Viking’s misery that happened before my lifetime. You could technically add the “Great Train Robbery”, where we obtained Herschel Walker in which we resurrected “America’s Team” (Dallas Cowboy’s) from its former glory, but I was just born when that happened.


But, there is great news for you! I have created a full proof system that will not lead the team to drive you insane ever again. With a little determination and self-discipline, you can overcome this impending car crash.

First things first, stop listening to Paul Allen on KFAN. Despite being an elite football mind, his main job is to pump fans up with absurd amounts of optimism to only have to team let you down once again.
When the Vikings go down in defeat, he builds you up again. When they win, he constantly praises the team. Realism and football are synonymous and Paul Allen just isn’t real. I use to be a believer in Paul Allen, following every word that he said. But, he doesn’t help my cause of finding a healthy relationship with my favorite team.


Next, do not listen to press conferences, read articles that are written online by outside sources. Do not pay attention to the NFL power rankings or any matchup analysists that predict outcomes.

Next, we must absolutely stop looking at the spreads that Las Vegas posts. Personally, I buy way too much into this because their predictions are pretty close to the final outcomes of games.

Another approach that you and I can take is by ignoring the entire league around us. This may be difficult because I may be the only one who doesn’t play fantasy football. But still, if you’re a Vikings fan, you are also paying attention to the Packers, Bears, and Lions. That could be six to seven hours of football that could make or break your day depending on the result of the Vikings.

Lastly, stop drinking absurd amounts of alcohol before, during and after the game. I have seen many fan fights in stadiums, tale gaiting, in bars and in the streets because of the result of the game. Also, drinking leads to a major high that leads to hitting a low afterward. Consuming alcohol has its perks, but we all know that it is detrimental to your physical and mental health. Consuming alcohol doesn’t ease the pain for this team or even make any matters better.

The only thing that I will do is to read the Star Tribune. If you stick to this, then you will have a physical copy of Viking’s insight in your hand. This way, there are no voices speaking to you that will influence your mindset going into the next game. The only voice is your’s, who reads the paper which allows yourself to make assumptions versus letting NFL analysts, big media personalities, create opinions for you.

Read what Jim Souhan and Patrick Reusse have to say about the Vikings and their thoughts. These are the last great sports writers in the Twin Cities who know how to tell you how it is versus saying things to get ratings and to stir your emotions.

Reading the newspaper may sound old fashioned but there is something romantic about holding newsprint in your hand while reading the current news of that day. There are no distractions of phone notifications, just the news.

I am just going to read the Star Tribune and I’ll turn on the television on Sunday to watch my favorite team, while I do my laundry and drink my Coca-Cola eating some chips and salsa.

Football is meant to entertain us for the two and a half hours of programming. If there is too much build up and emotional content, it won’t be good for your mental health and with lots of alcohol; your physical health as well.

In conclusion, this may be contradictory because I love the Vikings more than any team. Following this regiment will be an uphill battle to climb for me. But, if you’re a fanatic, that is who you are. I am not trying to change the mindset of the Purple Nation, but this is just my two-bits on how to not get too emotionally involved and torn by this impending plane crash of a team that we have.


Whatever, I am a fanatic and I am going to just do me which is a person who goes absolutely nuts for my team on Sundays.


Remember, “The Zos Knows”. 

-David Zosel

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation to either of these links:

Venmo or Patreon

I will give 10% of the proceeds to ONETREEPLANTED, a charity that plant trees to restore life to degraded lands all over the world. For every dollar donated there will be one tree planted. 

A Minnesotan’s Sojourn to Chicago.

Waking up on a Friday morning, specifically at two, it was September 8th. I realized that it was one day till I turned 25, marking the halfway point of the best years of my life. Suddenly it hit me that this could tell a great story, so I knew I had to play it straight and take my chance. Quickly as possible, I grabbed my adventure bag that I keep in my closet that is filled with a few outfits, my passport,
and some toiletries.

At 2:15 in the morning, I called a Lyft. Yes, I went to the airport with no ticket, plans or any place to stay. I just knew that I wanted to get the hell out of Dodge for an adventure.

A few years back, I got tipped off by a barista who told me that she goes to the airport to wait for free standby tickets. That is exactly what I did. In eager anticipation of the car ride over, I waited and twiddled my thumbs hoping that this would work.

I remember watching the clock, waiting for them to call my name for standby tickets. Three in the morning, three-thirty, three-forty five, three fifty and suddenly there was a seat that opened up thirty minutes before a flight to Chicago.

Just like that, I was on a free plane ride to the Windy City.

After major delays, I finally arrived at 7:30 in the morning. Still, I didn’t really have a place to stay and it was too early to text any of my friends if I could stay with them.

As you can tell, I am a major risk taker. Moving on, I have some friends in Logan Square Park, so my best bet was to take a train going that way. When I stepped off of that train, it was time to go into survival mode so naturally, I needed pancakes, bacon and a pot of coffee.

I had about 18 hours to find a place to stay.

At 8:45 in the morning, exhausted out of my mind, I began texting friends all over the city with zero expectation of having a place to stay.

One of my mate’s, Nigel Hemingway, responded saying that he was in Bloomington, Illinois and that he would be back to his flat at 9 pm. Luckily his roommate was working from home at that point in time, so he linked me up with him so I could take a nap at his place and leave my stuff there before I traversed the city.

After my quick coffee-cat nap it was time to explore the city. Who knew that after waking up at two in the morning that I would be in a city foreign to Minneapolis.

This whole spur of the moment trip was all based on a leap of faith that everything would work out. Why may you ask that I would do something like this? Well, because how are you able to learn perspective in life when you are always in your comfort zone.

Not to mention, I did this same thing going to New York City almost three years ago, but this is another story for another day.

First, I proceeded to wander aimlessly around town with no sense of direction only to stop at every funky restaurant that seemed cool to explore. My main goal was to eat my way through the city. All of the walking that I did made it easy to eat many meals that day. But, the main destination was Smoque BBQ, an eatery that my Father takes me to whenever we are in Chicago. I sure wished that he was there because that is his favorite restaurant.

During this long and magical odyssey, sort of like T.S. Elliot’s famous poem, “Journey of the Magi”, the adventure outweighed all of the pain in my feet from walking so far that day along with the little sleep the night before.

In short, with a “say yes” attitude, I splurged over the supermarkets in Little Vietnam and explored the parks and monuments all over the city. A strange lady gave me a foot massage, ate some ribs, and I even had my first chicken and waffles. I stumbled upon an African clothing store where I bought this vibrant colored shirt and I also ate a burrito out of a food truck. I even got to speak Spanish with a lot of people, which I don’t have the chance to do here in Minneapolis, marking one of my favorite highlights of this spectacular sojourn.

Suddenly, I found myself in Wrigleyville for happy hour.

This was a whirlwind.

Everything stopped when I was hanging out with Cubs fans before their game against the Brewers. The atmosphere was so cinematic that I needed to break down and buy a Cub’s hat so that I could blend into this euphoric environment.

The game was to start at 1:20 pm but got moved to 7:10 pm. What great luck that I had and perfect timing! Night games are pretty special at Wrigley Field because the team is notorious for playing mainly day games. This is because Wrigley Field didn’t even have lights until 1988. Needless to say, I was excited to be part of a unique atmosphere in Wrigleyville.

Wrigleyville is one big party whenever the Cubs play and I just wanted to be part of this historic baseball atmosphere. Obviously, I needed to get tickets in order to prolong my experience.

Gradually, I had a slick idea. Then I proceeded to talk to everyone so that I could get some intel about the tricks and trade of Cub’s culture.

As I studied the crowd and groups of interesting fans, I got word where to get tickets for under 30 dollars.

Scouring through the streets and at every bar, at last, I found him.

“Tickets! Anyone need tickets?!” shouted the Scalpin Man.

I turned my head and studied the environment. Noticing a ticket map of the field next to where he was standing on the street, I felt like I could trust this man.

“How much?” said by yours truly.


“Twenty-five,” I replied.


Just because I showed up in Chicago, I was rewarded. Life rewards those who show up. Certainly, I did not expect to be eating a Chicago style hot dog at Wrigley Field when I woke up at two in the morning earlier that day. I did not expect to even get tickets to the game, especially for dirt cheap. The only thing that I wanted was a fun adventure so that I could tell a really cool story.

Afterall, it is absolutely necessary to take risks and go on spontaneous adventures in life to collect wisdom through life experiences.

Keep in mind that this was only my first day of a four-day sojourn to Chicago. This all happened to me because I woke up in the middle of the night just because I wanted to go on an adventure.

Sometimes, you need to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and to have the ability to say “yes” to new situations. What would life be like if no one ever took chances or went on spontaneous adventures?

I’ll let you answer that question.

Remember, “The Zos Knows”. 

-David Zosel

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation to either of these links:

Venmo or Patreon

I will give 10% of the proceeds to ONETREEPLANTED, a charity that plant trees to restore life to degraded lands all over the world. For every dollar donated there will be one tree planted.