Today, we introduce you to Monda Cunmulaj, a culinary wizard, who’s charmingly capturing the essence of Albanian-American cuisine on her Instagram account, @fortheloveoffoodbymc. Monda’s feed, bursting with vibrant photos and videos of her cooking, is a treat for the eyes and a feast for the soul.
Born in Kelmend, Albania, Monda’s life has been a beautiful blend of two rich cultures. Her journey to the States at a tender age of 9 was laced with dreams and hopes of a brighter future. She recalls her humble beginnings, “We lived with my sister and her husband for the first year… My mother has always been a stay-at-home mom. I remember always coming home from school to a delicious Albanian meal and her homemade bread.” Her mother’s passionate cooking sowed the seeds for Monda’s culinary journey. “I always had a thing for dough, even made my first byrek at 6 years old. We laugh about it now with my family because who knows if it was even any good but my halla swears it’s the best one she’s ever had.”
Her Instagram feed serves as an homage to her cultural roots, mixing the comfort of American cuisine with the richness of Albanian flavors. From homemade bread and ‘buk kollomoqit’ to ‘kos’ and ‘tullumba’, Monda presents a culinary kaleidoscope, preserving the flavors of her home country while adapting to the gastronomic landscape of her new home.
Fusion dishes featuring a blend of Albanian and American flavors are Monda’s forte. A standout recipe that perfectly illustrates this union is her take on mashed potatoes. “I melt butter and feta cheese… and add that to the mashed potatoes. I think seasoning your food with lots of spices can turn your dishes from bland and boring to vibrant and delicious. I use a lot of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chilly powder, coriander, oregano basil & so forth.” she says, demonstrating how simple tweaks can bring an Albanian twist to a classic American dish.
Monda also encourages the involvement of her little ones in the kitchen, thus passing on her passion to the next generation. “Ever since I can remember, I have dreamed of having a little girl. Someone to share everything with, and so naturally I share my passion for cooking with her” she tells us. Her daughter’s budding interest in cooking is often captured in her Instagram reels, warming the hearts of her growing audience.
Monda’s influence extends beyond her immediate family. Her Instagram page has evolved into a platform for exchange and learning. American women married to Albanian men, Albanians born in America, or anyone with a curiosity for the cuisine are all finding value in her easy-to-follow recipes. Monda says, “The older I get, the more in touch I become with my roots. I hope to instill that in my kids.”
Her cooking journey holds an exciting promise for the future. “Sharing this version of myself has been the hardest but most rewarding experience, and who knows, maybe one day a collection of my recipes will be part of your coffee table books but for now I am just enjoying this journey, wherever that may lead me.” Monda adds.
Follow her culinary journey on Instagram at @fortheloveoffoodbymc. Enjoy the vibrant celebration of Albanian-American cuisine and maybe, just maybe, find inspiration to create your own fusion recipes. We have no doubts that Monda will continue to inspire, delight, and unite us all through the universal language of food.