Friday, April 17, 2020

Food glorious food -- sure cure for anxiety in Covid's troubled times

This produce stand in Bangkok also offered beautiful flowers for our hotel room -- and fruit for a midnight snack.
 This array of Dutch cheese tempted in an Amsterdam market.


"....there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
when we all close our eyes and imagine
Food, glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood -- cold jelly and custard!  
Peas pudding & saveloys; what next is the question?  
Rich gentlemen have it, boys -- 
--from "Food, Glorious Food," the musical "Oliver"


Here's a seafood feast, on a terrace in our Barcelona hotel. 
To combat Covid angst, we're replicating it, including the roses.
WITH OUR TRAVEL completely stopped, and its future in limbo, it's time to draw from memory our favorite trips, sights and tastes. Some of our happiest, most memorable travel impressions have to do with food. Sharing a meal with old friends at a reunion in a foreign port. Enjoying a leisurely feast in a new venue with new friends. Striking out on our own, finding a splendid meal featuring local specialties in a neighborhood taverna, probably family owned.
This little shop on the Gulf of Naples offers dried fruit,
nuts, candies and several varieties of limoncello.
These discoveries on the road leave lasting impressions. One can conjure up the very smells of that extraordinary puttanesca sauce or lamb fresh off the grill, dripping with olive oil pressed just up the street and garnished with a hint of lemon and mint leaves.
So we call on those beloved memories now, as isolation makes us yearn for those easy-going, fun and food-filled trips of yore.
Those days will come again.
MEANWHILE, remember how much fun it is to shop for a picnic, beverage or snack in a foreign market. How lovely to enjoy the displays, the fragrances -- perhaps lemons, clumps of oregano or thyme, a bouquet of roses -- and to watch the locals shopping -- gentle squeezing the avocados or tomatoes for the perfect one, tapping the melon, touching, eyeing, weighing the produce, picking out flowers to grace the dinner table,  asking advice on cheese, olives or wine.
If you're lucky enough to be invited to dinner while in a foreign port, how exciting to help prepare a meal with friends, sharing a glass of wine or two and mutual love of travel and culinary adventure. Chopping, dicing, sauteing, searing, putting a lovely feast together on a pretty table. What could be more pleasurable?
Bruce Keller takes
a home delivery
so we can make
a Mediterranean
crab feast. Fresh
flowers included.

Finally, sharing it, enjoying the presentation then the tastes, textures and compliments.
While we can't sit down to a meal in a Paris bistro right now, picnic in a park above Barcelona or admire the bounty of a rijsttafel table in Amsterdam, we can recall some of our favorite meals on the road. Go ahead, try to replicate a favorite far-away meal at home. Delightful antidote to Covid anxiety.
Friends Shula and Yosh Wickman enjoy an al fresco feast
at a favorite Israeli fish restaurant. Dining with locals at  
places they love is a time-honored traveler's treat.
Our hosts toured us from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee.

ONE OF OUR favorite meal memories is of an al fresco lunch with friends Yosh and Shula, during a day of touring their beautiful Israel.
Today, our "food for thought" photos give a look at our feasting on the road.  Next week, we'll share tips for finding wonderful food and restaurants while traveling -- whenever you find your hungry self the new kid on the block in an unfamiliar venue.  
Here's a feast we shared, created from memories of southern European
tapas and small plate dining.  Wine,cheeses, berries, nuts, olives, pate,
  anchovies on the side, salad and warm nut-grain wheat rolls. A simple
flan with more berries made a beautiful, light dessert, all with white wine.
And here are a few of our favorite "roadie" snacks, suitable for picnics, train or plane travel, or for quick hunger fixes on the road in a rental car. If you're on a tour bus, you may have to wait until you're at a viewing promontory or off the bus for a quick cuppa or potty break.  (Some tour companies don't allow food on the bus.) We bring those little bags of unpopped corn and heat them in hotel microwaves.  Also carry a stash of protein bars and a six-pack of string cheese, which can stay a couple days out of the frig.
Grab a couple hard boiled eggs at the breakfast buffet for a quick energy hit on tour. (Make sure you peel them before you leave your hotel room, and consume within a couple hours.)
Carrots, grapes, hummus, celery and the local olives anywhere in southern Europe are great picnic fare.  Pick up a bottle of wine, a chunk of cheese, a baguette and local chocolate or fudge, and you've got a poor man's feast.

Whether you're looking for a good old hamburger after three weeks of
rich French cooking, or a lively tapas bar in Barcelona, we have tips.
UP NEXT:  Inquiring minds ask: how do we find consistently good restaurants on the road. Years and years of looking, asking the locals, taking notes, and eating! The best way to find a great restaurant is to ask someone who has lived there for awhile. We'll give some insights into finding the right place for you -- whether a kid-friendly family style eatery or a posh romantic bistro with live music. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh spin on nature, travel, the arts, being human and staying sane in Covid Times:


  1. Foodies from San FranApril 18, 2020 at 7:03 AM

    This lifted my spirits and made me hungry! More, more!

  2. Pasadena Pantry RaidersApril 18, 2020 at 7:10 AM

    This is a nice diversion for the times. We enjoy your pretty photos and commentary from all over the globe.

  3. Fun times even in Covid Era.

  4. Fun idea, to get us out of our Covid slump... Great story and fun photos.

  5. It's interesting how many of our fondest and finest memories are food-connected, as you so nicely attest. Interesting and engaging read and photos.

  6. Abilene AdventurersApril 22, 2020 at 4:19 PM

    Always fun to see what you two are up to. May we all be traveling again soon.