heidi swanson’s super natural every day + giveaway


We have been waiting for Heidi Swanson’s latest book for so long.  Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook was finally released on April 5, and soared immediately into the top 100 books on Amazon!  Just between me and you, it is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I own (and I have LOTS).  Heidi shared her favorite recipe from the cookbook with us on the In the Kitchen With column earlier today.  Now we’ll offer five readers the chance to win a copy of it, but a little more about how to do that after a mini-interview with Heidi on how she weaved together the aesthetics of her blog, 101cookbooks, and her lifestyle to create her most recent cookbook.

D*S:  The images you share on 101cookbooks are every much as inspiring as the food.  How do you decide which images you will post to illustrate recipes and your travel?

Wow, thank you! I try to keep the framework of my site in mind. Each post I do is about how my life intersects a recipe in some way – either through a book, or an ingredient, or a restaurant I visited, or a place I’ve traveled to. I do my best to illustrate that in a personal way. So, in addition to what I’m cooking, I like to show the little details of places I’ve been, the ones I’ve found inspiring – colors, textures, architecture, fonts. I also tend to pick the photos I don’t want to forget. The site works a bit as a scrapbook in that regard.


D*S:  You’ve written a bit on your blog about how super natural every day started with a notebook of ideas, recipes, photos.   How did you decide what made it into the book and what didn’t?

I had all the early shots in a box initially – starting with the ones I used in the proposal for the cookbook. I added to that collection over time. Over a few years I’d just keep shooting and adding to the box – film, and also printouts of all the shots. Every once in a while I’d put them out on a big table, or tack them to a wall, and take a look. I’d get rid of some, make note to reshoot others, that sort of thing. I shot as I was writing the book, and submitted the photography with the manuscript to Ten Speed, and we went from there. I was lucky to be working on this book with Toni Tajima, who designed my last book. She’d design sections of the book and send them to me. If she wanted other photo options for a page or a recipe, I could go back to the black box, or do something on the fly for her. In the end, she actually made the final call on which shots went in, and which ones didn’t.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the interview and giveaway details after the jump!

D*S:  How is this book different than super natural cooking, your last book?

This one is a look at my day to day cooking. I highlight many of the same ingredients that were in Super Natural Cooking – lots of whole grains, whole grain flours, natural sweeteners, fresh produce – but these recipes are quite a bit more approachable. The chapters are structured – breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. – so, for example, the breakfast chapter has a lot of doable breakfast ideas, the dinner chapter has a good amount of weeknight friendly recipes. It’s a collections of things I love to cook, or throw together without a whole lot of fuss.


D*S:  When you were working on this cookbook, did you find that you needed any special equipment?  A new lens?  A new camera?   Did you travel or visit any special places in order to find visual or recipe inspiration, or to match an image with content?

I ended up shooting this with a hodge-podge of cameras. A mix of film and digital, 35mm and medium format. And I primarily used the cameras I’ve been using for a long time – a Fuji 645, Pentax67, a Canon dSLR. I keep a little 35mm Ricoh in my purse or pocket as well. As far as inspiration and travel, I wanted this book to have sense of place. I wanted it to visually capture what I love about cooking and living in Northern California, where I live. So that was my focus. To that end, I tried to tie it into my day to day, and my daily rituals, places I go. As much as I love to travel to far-away places, that wasn’t what I wanted to explore with this book. I took shots walking around San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, hiking the coast, around the house – that sort of thing. And I used our everyday pans, dishes, plates and whatnot in the photos.

D*S:  Do you find yourself coming back to a particular ingredient or cooking method more than any other?

I love a good one-pan or one-pot meal – curries, stir-fries, soups, stews, frittatas.

{All photography by Heidi Swanson; Photographs of Heidi by Wayne Bremsen}

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Heidi’s beautiful new book, tell us about your most memorable food experience while on vacation/travelling.  The five best memories will win!

*Update: the contest is now closed and Heidi is choosing her favorites…

Katrina

My favorite food experience would be this place where all local fresh ingredients are used. They only serve breakfast, brunch, and lunch. I really began to appreciate breakfast foods!

Hailey

Oh man! In China. Small restaurant. Guide tells us not to ask what we’re eating, “just eat, enjoy! we’ll talk later!”
We talked later. Fried pork skins (hair included), and breaded/fried goldfish. eww. but yum…
Promptly went to the next store for a big bowl of rice to take the edge off. much better.

Jennifer

For our two year anniversary my boyfriend and I took a trip to Glenn Ellen (near Sonoma) to explore Jack London’s house and go wine tasting. We stopped at a Nepalese restaurant for lunch and were so pleasantly suprised by a very affordable four course meal. We savored every bite as we sat out on the patio in the warm spring sunlight. There were a few other tables filled with people laughing and enjoying their food. It was absolute perfection and ended up being my happiest memory of the trip. Mostly because of who I was with, but partly because of the divine food.

Amy

Last summer, I tagged along on my husband’s business trip to Australia. We were at Manly Beach and stopped at a cafe for lunch. I ordered something that seemed a bit unusual: a warm chicken salad with roasted pumpkin. It was the best meal I’ve ever had. Everything about it was perfect, including the ocean view while we ate.

Sherpa

My last night in Peru, we decided to eat at a restaurant overlooking the sea. We ordered ceviche and it was incredible. The flavors, the texture..I get hungry just thinking about it.

Rebecca Ringquist

The best thing I ever ate on vacation was a triple scoop gelato in Rome. Pineapple, Raspberry and Champagne. No ice cream will ever live up to that transcendent experience. It really was one of the best things I ever ate.

Stephanie

My most favorite thing, or at least what stands out most on a trip, is a foiod expereince in Israel. I just happened to wander into a small cafe and wound up ordering a fried Halloumi sandwich; a cheese I had never heard of before. It was amazing. Kind of sad that that sticks out the most from my trip, but I still love Halloumi cheese, even though I have never fried any at home or found it anywhere else.

LisaD

Most memorable meal on vacation: spit-roasted salmon, new potatoes cooked in the coals, salad of foraged greens, great Canadian beer, and wild berry cobbler for dessert. Cooked and eaten outdoors overlooking the Bay of Fundy, under an breathtakingly beautiful starry sky, on Grand Manan Island.

Erin Noelle

My husband and I went on a trip to Thailand last year. We were in a beach town named Kamala on the island of Phuket, and while going for a morning walk saw that there was a cooking class that we could take that afternoon at a local restaurant. The price was very inexpensive, and we were skeptical, but decided that since it was so inexpensive we would give it a try!
We came to the “class” at the scheduled time, and were given a fruit juice cocktail and waited for the chef. We were the only two people in the class and were given a chef hat and an apron and met the Chef. Chef Watai was an executive chef at many J.W. Marriott hotels in Thailand and South Africa, and his English was amazing. He gave both my husband and I notebooks with all of the recipes we’d be cooking (4 in all) and all of the ingredients so when we went home we’d know what we needed. Then we started to cook. We made dishes, sweet and sour chicken, tom yum goon, green curry, and spring rolls. And then, we were allowed to sit down and eat it all, just the two of us, there was so much food!
The truly amazing part of the experience happened in the middle, all of a sudden it started to downpour. Not just rain, the heavens literally opened and dumped water, but we just kept cooking. People were running around getting off their beach chairs, going back to their hotel rooms, but we were out on a covered patio. Even when the power went out, it was ok, since everyone cooks by propane at the beach. When it was time to fry the spring rolls, we went back into the kitchen, by flashlight, watched the oil being heated and put in our spring rolls.
It was in all honesty one of the best meals I have ever eaten in my life, and by far the most memorable!

Joan

In England in a little town we were cold and damp and stopped for tea at a cozy, but not fancy place and had the most glorious scones with clotted cream and jam. It was the right food at the right time.

Rachel

My favorite food memory is eating nsima, a corn-meal porridge, with a bean/tomato stew in Malawi. Nsima can have a gritty texture to some. But, it is immensely filling and rich. It also perfectly scoops up the leftover stew bits on your plate. That day, it was made my some of the older woman in the community who were cooking for a school we were visiting. Concerned that we were not used to eating without utensils, the women were worried that we were not going to be able to eat it all. We tried at first to eat with what we had–old insurance and ID cards found in our wallet. Eventually we gave in, and found it more enjoyable to eat without forks, just our hands. We ate the food off of old worn metal plates overlooking a beautiful mountain view.

Heather

Wow, it’s hard to pick just one! I think I will have to go with Dominican Pad Thai.

My boyfriend and I took a trip to the Dominican Republic a few years ago. We were staying at a small bed and breakfast, and we were told that there was an excellent Thai restaurant just up the road, so we jumped in our car and drove off to check it out. After navigating some dark and bumpy side roads, we came to a small house, the backyard of which was a Thai restaurant run by a Thai woman and her German husband. It was equal parts beautiful and bizarre – we were surrounded by small twinkling lights and blooming flowers, along with some sort of Thai dancing playing on a small TV, as our food arrived.

We eat Thai food pretty regularly, and love Pad Thai especially, but this Pad Thai was like nothing I have ever tried before. The flavours were absolutely spot on, and left me wanting more. We still hold that Dominican Pad Thai as our standard for all Pad Thais, and nothing has ever lived up to it. Who would have thought that we would discover such an amazing dish in a country with notoriously average cuisine?!

Emily

Eating queso y fresa ice cream in a freshly-made cone in Mexico City. (Super Soya, on Republica de Brasil, just behind the Cathedral in the Zocalo.) Possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

Becky Lippert

My family used to take two-week camping vacations every summer. One year we decided to go to out west to Wyoming, Montana, etc. It was my dad’s habit and pleasure to have us taste the most bizarre foods we could find when dining out on these trips.

After watching a cowboy shootout reenactment, we had lunch in a saloon. I was probably 8 years old, my brothers 11 and 7, probably. My habit was to look for chicken fingers on the menu and not read anything else.

My dad however, located a dish called Rocky Mountain Oysters and said we were all going to try some. I protested loudly, I hate oysters and seafood!

Well, being in the mountains, my dad said, “These are a different kind of oyster.”

They came to our table, round, flat-ish and fried. I was forced to eat one and hesitantly took a nibble. It was chewy and tasted like paper.

After they were gone, my brothers found them edible, my dad calmly announced that these were not sea oysters, but bull testicles.

Apparently, cowboys, being resourceful, use ALL parts of the bulls they castrate, and eating the testicles is not uncommon.

I was mortified and proceeded to wipe my tongue with my napkin to remove the taste and residue, to no avail. My brothers simply shrugged and my mom rolled her eyes.

I will always remember this experience and probably tell it a hundred more times in my life.

I do not recommend bull testicles for fine dining.

Becca

While on our honeymoon in Maui, our hotel had an amazing breakfast buffet at one if it’s restaraunts. I know what you’re thinking…buffet shmuffet. But this was posh, anything you would ever want to eat including made to order belgian waffles and omelttes with a million toppings. The best part? the most fresh and juicy maui gold pineapples you’ve ever tasted. I think I ate my weight in them! Oh and did I mention we had a perfect view of the ocean?!

jackie b

It was my junior year in college we traveled to a small town outside of Paris, where Van Gogh rests & died. We took the same walk as he did after he shot himself in the stomach (wow it was hard enough not being shot) & returned to the inn that he had been living. At the inn I had the most amazing duck stew. Served in large clay pots family style the stew literally melted in my mouth. The flavors were out of this world. If the stew wasn’t amazing enough we finished the meal off with chocolate mousse to die for. It was divinely rich & sinfully good. I remember the cloudy day like it was yesterday! Ok my mouth is watering now :) P.S. beautiful book & truly inspirational on many levels.

Marcia

I recently took a three month internship in Switzerland and was fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling on the weekends. The food was amazing no matter where I went but I think the one that stuck out the most during those months must have been the pizza place all the interns lived above, especially the pizza nono. A thin, crisp and chewy crust topped with cheese, slices of tomatoes, big dollops of mascarpone cheese, and topped with handfuls of fresh arugula. The peppery bites of arugula mixed with the rich and creamy mascarpone was a perfect combination. It was hard not to order it for dinner every night when I had to walk through the restaurant to get up to my room after work. I think I’m going to have to make it soon! Thanks for bringing back this delicious memory!

Theresa(Miss Charlotte)

When we first moved to Portland, OR I was 5 months pregnant with my twins. Friends of ours took us to this fabulous restaurant (of which the name escapes me 14 years later) to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I had this unforgettable sea bass with morel sauce, sauteed veggies and this amazing mocha dessert. About 20 mins. after dinner, I felt my little babies dancing away (probably from an over caffeinated meal!)…I want to say it was the first time the lusty woodsman felt his little babies move…that meal was amazing!

Megan

It’s so nice to see a cookbook with natural but very doable recipes! Can’t wait to check it out!

As far as my favorite food memory, it would definitely be when I was studying abroad in Italy. It was a small program (about 23 students), and we had lunch and dinner at a family owned and operated restaurant every day (except Sundays). Every meal was memorable. One Sunday afternoon, three other girls and I decided to stop in at the restaurant for a glass of wine. Mauro, the owner, brought us the wine along with dolce (dessert) as a special treat. After sitting and talking for a long time (and another bottle of wine later), we asked Mauro for the bill, but he insisted everything was on the house. Their business was struggling but in true Italian fashion, when you’re family, you are fed very well! His graciousness on that day and throughout the semester is something I will never forget and cherish forever.

Leigh

One of the last vacations my husband and I went on before we had kids was to New Orleans (pre-Katrina). We went to The Court of Two Sisters for brunch on their outdoor patio. – the best I’ve ever had. I’ll always remember the shrimp Creole omelets and mimosas in the French Quarter before the shadow of Katrina hung over the horizon. The restaurant is still open – http://www.courtoftwosisters.com

Oh, and I love, love, love Heidi’s website – I’ve used her recipes for 50%-75% of my lenten meals. Thanks, Heidi!

Véronique

I have had many great food experiences while traveling but one that stands out is eating shrimp rolls in Bergen, Norway. We went to the store to get some sweet rolls and mayo, as we were told do. Then, we went to the fish market and chose some live Nordic shrimps that they cooked in sea water in front of us. We left with that, walked a few meters and sat down on the pier. We made ourselves little sandwiches with the rolls, the mayo and the fresh warm shrimps. We had to be patient because we had to shell each shrimp but it was worth it and delicious.

Glenys

The most memorable one would probably be eating seafood steamboat when all around me the weather is really cold. I like it cause there’s all kinds of sea creatures to eat and the food will never grow cold. Everyone’s like putting stuff into the pot and offering everybody cooked ones to make space for more raw food. It was really hilarious and fun. There’s always more than enough and everybody is overloaded at the end. It is also quite healthy I think. Great book btw and gorgeous pictures. I want to be super natural everyday.

Stacy Marie

in college, I lived in Spain for five months (extended travel, I guess–does that count?). while there, I tried shrimp brains and coagulated chicken blood. now a vegetarian, these are not things I like to dwell on, but I refused to be known as the American who wouldn’t try the food in front of me! since this seems an inappropriate food memory to pair with Heidi’s lovely photographs and food, I’ll note this as well: in Spain, I also consumed plates of paella prepared in enormous quantities by my neighbors, discovered the joy of afternoon toast with jam and a cafe con leche with my 72-year-old host mother and tried tinto de verano for the first time (I know Heidi has a recipe for that in her new book!).

ashmastandrea

I took a catamaran tour of The Grenadines and had the BEST seafood feast on board! I will never forget that savory, fresh meal!

Kristina

A couple of years ago, my parents rented a villa in Tuscany (to celebrate my brother’s safe return from Iraq) and my entire family when and stayed there for about two weeks. My aunt had made reservations for a cooking class in Siena, which was amazing – we made dinner (all I remember is freshly made ravioli and biancomangiare) and then got to eat it on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. If your life flashes before your eyes when you die, that evening will be one of the scenes I’ll see.

Cat K.

I LOVE Heidi’s blog and her first book, and I have been waiting quite anxiously for this one to come out! I live in Asheville, so even though the food here is amazing, I guess I can’t count it as “travel”…

But when I was studying in Europe we took a weekend trip to Rome, and the dinner we had in this tiny restaurant off a tiny piazza was amazing. We were the only people in there who didn’t speak Italian, and they were playing the soundtrack to Grease on repeat.

Charlotte

I have been to many different parts of the world, but my most memorable food experience was in Moscow, Idaho. My husband and I were visiting friends there, and they told us that we had to try the local Hawaiian place called Loco Grinz. We weren’t expecting much, but it blew us away. The pulled pork was so flavorful, and the sticky rice was perfect. Now whenever we have “Hawaiian” food, it never quite measures up- we may need to take a trip soon!

Kate

While in France, my friends and I were staying in a house in the country. We solicited advice from the caretakers for a place to have dinner. They told us about a restaurant and described it as their favourite place to eat, some of the best food they had ever had. With such a glowing review we decided to check it out. The experience was less than pleasurable only made more so when we ordered chocolate mousse for dessert and were presented with disposable pudding cups with the wrapper still on the top. It was by far my most memorable food experience!

RH

Last year I visited Chicago. It was a wonderful trip, but as a vegan it was absolute hell trying to find well-rounded meals to enjoy in a very meat-centric city. Ever a fan of Rick Bayless, I popped into XOCO and discovered that there was one vegan option on the menu: a vegetable and black bean soup with masa dumplings. Having just come in from the pouring rain, it sounded perfect and tasted just the same. It was hands down the best bowl of soup I have eaten in my life. I actually whipped out my notebook and took notes on the ingredients I detected so that I could try to recreate it at home, but I’ve had no success.

It’s been over a year since that soup passed my lips, and I still write to the folks at XOCO every few months requesting the recipe. No luck yet!

Lynn Russell

Four and a half years ago, my husband and I went to Florence, Italy for the first time. We were able to leave our son, Liam, with friends in Cambridge. This is kind of a big deal because Liam has a neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy and he uses a power wheelchair, so we’re unable to leave him with many people.

Anyway, the most memorable meals in Florence were really the simplest. This often tends to be the case with really great meals – good ingredients treated with care.

One favorite was fresh buffalo mozzarella, torn to pieces with arugula, prosciutto and extra virgin olive oil. The other favorite is the soup called ribollita – basically a minestrone laden with cavalo nero kale, thickened with stale bread and topped with a generous dose of extra virgin olive oil.

So delicious, so pure and simple.

Dom

I was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Italy with my mom two summers ago. It was fantastic. As art buffs, we were in HEAVEN in Florence. As foodies, it was the climax of our lives. All 25 years of my life were prep for this experience. Amazing art, amazing food, amazing architecture. It was an awe-filled trip. It was the first time we spent any good amount of time with each other since moving out for college, and we spent our time eating our way through Italy: pasta, pizza, gnocchi, risotto, gelato, you name it. As two vegetarians, we were in heaven. We even found vegan restaurants in Sienna. And the yougurts for breakfast? To die for.

However, after three weeks of eating such rich foods, we were exhausted and sick of it. We would have killed for some tofu or maybe a little collard greens. Even mashed potatoes would have been epic. I dreamed of them. Honestly. Desperate, I’d given up on eating anything different on the remaining week of my holiday….

And there it was.

After a four hour trek through Rome, we saw the most beautiful site. Glowing neon lights shone our salvation: a chinese restaurant! Immediately, we dropped our plans, touring the city, and rushed in. We were so excited. Completely dressed inappropriately, and too early for dinner, we ordered mounds of tofu, spring rolls, bok choy, eggplant, and noodles. It was the most greasy typical American chinese food experience that we could have asked for. Fortune cookies and all.

And it was AMAZING.

For all the food that I ate in Italy, all the pastas, gelatos, funny shaped sodas, and bread, it will always be the look on my mom’s face as we ordered the entire left side of the menu that I will remember.

Sarah

Once I traveled with a team from my church to Juarez, Mexico to assist the missionaries there with a summer Vacation Bible School. One of the stops for our VBS program was at a neighborhood elementary school. We made so many friends and connections at this particular location. When we were wrapping up the program, one of the women approached us and asked if they could make us a meal before they sent us on their way. Of course we agreed, so right there on the playground they grilled up homemade beef and chicken fajitas in the traditional style — I love Mexican food, but this was unlike anything I’d ever tasted! It was rich and delicious, and a humbling “thank you” for our service that day. I think the thing that made that meal so memorable was not only how delicious it was, but the fact that those people spent their hard-earned money and took the time to extend the hand of hospitality through food. That was the first time I’d experienced food as more than just something to eat — but a way to connect with other people in love. :)

Maggie

I have two to choose from, because I can’t decide!
My freshman year of college, I went to Hawaii with the swim team. One of the nights we were there, we went to a luau and had pork, poi, pineapple and a slew of other foods. The biggest thing I remember is that they slow-cooked the pig in volcanic rock and banana leaves under the beach!
More recently, I went to Utila, Honduras, and did a live-aboard trip and went SCUBA diving for a week. On the last day, to get us acclimated to land again, we had dinner at Laguna Beach Resort, which included conch soup. My sister and I and two other guys from our group sat around the table and spent the time it took to get to the bottom of the bowl making “conch” innuendos and cracking each other up!
When they had the conch episode of “Top Chef Masters,” it brought me right back. I couldn’t stop laughing the whole episode!

courtney

favorite food memory: eating breakfast while hiking in the himalayas – fried eggs and something like tortillas. nothing special, per se, but i can still conjure that memory and makes me feel so happy.

Jessica

One of the most memorable food experiences I ever had was in the Besiktas neighborhood of Istanbul, where the fish market is and the restaurants all serve incredibly fresh fish in a variety of ways. My friends and I shared a delicious salt-baked bluefish and a variety of delicious little marinated salads. They brought us a free dessert, which consisted of fresh banana, kiwi and apricot chunks covered with blobs of thick tangy yogurt, drizzled with honey and then covered with very finely chopped pistachios and almonds. The neighborhood consists of tons of restaurants right next to each other with balconies and tables that spill out into the large pedestrian street. It was lively and magical, truly an amazing meal.

erin

every year at christmas instead of presents our family goes out to eat at a fancy restaurant. neither of my parents drink, and after ordering the flaming bananas foster, my father accidentally ordered spanish coffee for he and my mother. when it arrived–we all knew it wasn’t the simple cinnamon infused coffee he thought he was getting. so, we had a good laugh, shared the two coffees all around, and drove home giggling about getting pulled over–a christmas meal we won’t soon forget.

Alexia

My favorite food memory has to be in Italy on my honeymoon. I know, I know Italy may be a cliche but this was on an Agritourismo farm outside of the village of Montalcino in Tuscany. We met a very friendly young farmer and his girlfriend at a cafe in the village. They invited us to come and stay on his farm where they had a very lovely three room bed and breakfast. His mother was the head chef of the attached restaurant. Since we were friends of her son we had an amazing feast, with her serving us every single course herself, and with a homemade wine pairing. And though the whole meal was amazing there was a very simple but unforgettable handmade pasta called Pici in a sauce made with local Pecorino and black pepper. It is impossible to forget the chewy deliciousness of the pasta with that gorgeous salty pungent cheese sauce. There is no mac n’ cheese that could ever match it! We gushed over this pasta in our broken Italian as best we could and she sent us home with 2 packages of her pasta, dried, so that it could be transported. I tried in vain to recreate that dish when we got home…but to no avail. Just one of those dishes that is so perfect in the moment.

StephCat

One of my favorite food memories was when I was youth hostelling by myself around Italy after I got out of the Army (I was stationed in Germany.) In Cortona,
I met some wonderful gals from England & we went to dinner at this little place — outdoor seating, of course, this was early summer. I remember the bread didn’t have salt, so you had to salt the olive oil before dipping. I had gnocchi with braised lettuce, and it was delicious. I’d never tried lettuce in anything other than salad before, but I’ve always remembered how good this was & occasionally do this with slightly bitter lettuces.

Another memory: husband & I went to Belize for a scuba trip. I remember sitting on the beach around a bonfire one early evening, drinking frou frou drinks, and eating the most luscious conch fritters….we were with some other guests & the shareholders of the lodge, and the shareholders started telling us about how we could get in on the deal if we referred people…it was a Ponzi-esque sort of scheme, and we just laughed later — but it was definitely a bit surreal!

amy mcisaac

After spending almost 8 hours in the car (detours + getting lost on skinny back roads) we had finally made it to the seaport village of Kinsale (Ireland). My husband and I had left Dublin that morning, and were famished and ready to eat by the time we arrived. We happened upon a seaside pub that was traditionally Irish. I decided on the crab cakes with ‘slaw and a pint of guinness. I’m sure it doesn’t sound very extravagant, but holy hell they were the bestest-evah crab cakes I’ve ever had. The guinness was also tasty, as it is far fresher on that side of the pond. We headed down the way after to find some dessert at a wee cafe – warm crepes with a butter-rum sauce topped with fresh cream. Definitely one of the best travel meals I’ve had.

This cookbook looks divine, what a terrific give-away. Thanks D*S!

Emily

My most memorable food experience takes place in Peru. I was traveling with my parents, both of whom had never traveled abroad. This is where I was first introduced to quinoa. Who knew that it would soon explode into the US market so quickly after our travels?! It was also the first time I tried ceviche and had an egg white in a cocktail (thank you, pisco sour!). The most memorable moment had to be when we ordered a cuy chactado and we were presented with a fried guinea pig supine on a plate, claws and all.

Jeannie

My most memorable food memory would have to be while I was in Australia. I travelled to Brrisbane for school (from Canada) for 6 months. It was there that I fell in love with curry. It was during a time when I was find out who I was, the first time being away from home, and meeting amazing people. We would always get take out from the same restaurant in Mount Gravatt called Mughal Palace. My favorite dish was called Dahl Sagwala and I’ve yet to find a restaurant or recipe that makes it as good!

Vivian

The most memorable food experience I’ve had while traveling was our first meal in Malaysia. We landed, checked in, tired and hungry. Whil shopping we found a place that sold the most delicious, spicy, tangy, flavorful noodle soup the hubs and I’ve ever had! The broth was a fiery red with bubbles of hot oil covering a mound of clear noodles and veggies and seafood. As you swallowed each mouthful, you could feel the surge of the warm soup making it’s way through every part of your body and warming you up from inside out. Till this day, 4 years later, we still often fantasize and long for that noodle soup!

Carleen Uribe

My family and I were in Mexico on vacation. My dad and my aunt LOVE spicy food, and until this trip had both stood up pretty well to any that boasted to be the “Hottest in the World”. They, of course, ordered the spiciest salsa on the menu, thinking they could take it.

A few minutes later the rest of us are watching them as they keep dipping their burrittos in the salsa, literally crying and agreeing about how good the salsa way because it finally got both of them. I don’t think either of them made it through their whole mean with the salsa on every bite. And I don’t think either of them felt too great the rest of the night, haha.

Laurie

I will never forget my first slice of real New York pizza. Walking down Manhattan streets with a slice in your hand, perfectly seasoned and folded. Simple & wonderful.

Jennifer C

having a ramos fizz cocktail in a dark, basement speakeasy bar in New York

Eadaoin

Lovely interview, much congratulations to Heidi, I wish her lots of success with this book!

My most memorable experience with food on holidays was with my husband (then boyfriend!) in Berlin several years ago. We had spent a beautiful sunny morning wandering the streets of Berlin and at lunch time found ourselves starving and in an un-touristy section of the city that only had menus in German.

We have barely any German, so we took our chances in a quaint looking pizzaria and ordered what we thought to be pepperoni pizza. When our dish arrived the pizza was covered in huge, long green chili peppers!! Not being very adventureous in terms of food we told our waitress that this was certainly not our pizza, only to be (rather firmly!) told that ‘peperoni’ in German does not mean what we thought it did and in fact we had ordered a chili pepper pizza!

We were so hungry we didn’t dispute any longer and instead pulled the peppers off the pizza and ate the cheese and base alone while a very disgruntled chef looked on in disgust! We felt like such silly tourists at the time, but we laugh about it now!

If only we had known then that ordering a salami pizza would have been just what we wanted ;)

Jeannie

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My most memorable food experience would have to be while I was in Australia. I travelled to Brisbane for school (from Canada) for 6 months. It was there that I fell in love with curry. It was during a time when I was finding out who I was, the first time being away from home, and meeting amazing people. We would always get take out from the same restaurant in Mount Gravatt called Mughal Palace. My favorite dish was called Dahl Sagwala and I’ve yet to find a restaurant or recipe that makes it as good!

Rebecca

This past summer I was traveling in Uzes, France and the most memorable/amazing part of the trip was the farmer’s market. I could not get over the spices, vegetables and fruit. All the colors were so lovely – I wish I could attach photos. It also forced us to practice our French. After a day at the market I made a huge spread of cheeses, bread, olives and fruits. We brought home wine and enjoyed it outside. At night we each made individual pizzas with our loot from the market. One of my favorite days ever.

Danielle

Waking up next to the ocean on the Big Island/ Hawaii & being treated to the lushest, juiciest, fresh & local fruit & juices for bkfst. While sitting next to the water. So relaxing & beautiful.

Andrea

Last summer, my then boyfriend and I went up to Oregon for our dear friends’ wedding. We stayed in a fabulous little Bed and Breakfast, where they greet people with freshly baked cookies on the nightstands. They were oatmeal-raisin-chocolate-chip-butterscotch cookies; one bite and I knew I *had* to bring some home with me. At breakfast the next morning, I asked the B&B manager/chef where I could find the bakery — he confessed they baked them right there, in the kitchen, from a secret family recipe. We got to chatting about cooking, and family, and weddings, and by the time I finished my coffee he had written down the secret family recipe for me to take home with me! Needless to say, lifelong friendship was born. The wedding that day was truly magical, and my now fiance and I ended up getting engaged just months after that sparkling trip to the Pacific Northwest. Now, I’m planning on sending my wedding guests home with cookies baked from that exact secret recipe! Love is truly sharing food and meeting new people, and renewing that cycle over and over again.

Hannah

In February, I went to the Bay to visit friends. It was especially chilly and rainy day, and my other friend who was also visiting and I were trying to find our way from the Golden Gate Park to the Mission. I desperately wanted to stop at Tartine Bread to try their famous loaves. Since busing wasn’t an option, we decided to take a cap. Well, it took about an hour of waiting in the cold to get one. But it was so very worth it. I’ll never forget how delicious that bread is.

Laurie

I don’t think I can speak highly enough of Coquette, a little bistro and wine bar located in New Orleans’ garden district, where I enjoyed one of the best lunches ever. They have a three course prix fixe for $20 with two to three choices for each course. I had the oysters, shrimp and grits and blood orange panna cotta with a glass of white wine. Each dish was incredibly nuanced and rich. The chefs have perfected French cooking techniques, merged them with contemporary flavors while using traditional New Orleans ingredients. Both the oysters, and shrimp and grits exemplified that perfectly. It was the creamy citrus flavored panna cotta with the candied fennel and mint that punctuated the entire experience. Bravo! For photos…
http://takinglongway.com/2011/03/30/the-food-of-new-orleans/

Emily

I was determined to study abroad when I was in college, and after taking my brother’s advice to go somewhere as exotic as possible, I landed in Madagascar. We spent a week on the north part of the island camping on a secluded beach, and my bucket list has always included picking and eating a coconut from a tree. Neither an experienced tree climber nor lover of heights, I found a conquerable looking tree in a rather recumbent position. I took a deep breath and climbed. I grabbed hold of my coconut, dropped it to the sand and shimmied down back to solid ground. I had no idea that coconuts came in green husks, so I walked over to our cooks and asked them in French “what do I do now?!” One of the men took out his machete and hacked a hole the top, and with some hand waving told me to drink. When I had finished, he took back the coconut, shaved off more husk, cracked it open to reveal beautiful, white, buttery flesh. It was a week of firsts and a trip of a lifetime!

Susan

A year ago my boyfriend and I traveled to Japan, went to a restaurant without an english menu, pointed to some random dishes. A vegetarian in the states, I decided to eat whatever came out, which ended up being something vaguely fishy, utterly indecipherable, and… incredibly delicious!

Rosie

My friend and I were spending the weekend in Prague- the first night we had a horrible dinner, taken advantage of by the waiter, bad food, etc. The second night, we were on the street and ran into the man who checked us in to our hostel. He was late to work, but took the time to lead us through a maze of streets to a restaurant, then took us downstairs and let us go. The best hidden restaurant I’ve ever been to. So so so delicious; its been about a year and the business card of that restaurant has survived moves from Germany back to America and now sits in my scrapbook. Thank goodness for the kindness of locals ;)

kayla

i studied in paris the summer after college. while i had many memorable meals while i was there, the one that sticks out most is from our last night in the city. i made some great friends while i was there and on that last afternoon, we went to the market and got figs, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, a piece of dark chocolate, a fabulously crusty baguette, and a bottle (or three) of champagne. we took a picnic blanket down to the banks of the seine and sat together, enjoying our simple meal and reminiscing on our time in paris. it was one of the most simple meals, but between the company and the location, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Nora

Two days after our wedding in Amalfi, three of our good friends and my husband and I were traveling to our next stop: a vineyard in Caserta that also had room and food. We’d already gotten a very late start because we’d gotten lost dropping off another friend at the airport in Naples. On the way there, the GPS took us to the piazza of this tiny town on top of mountain instead of the vineyard. Two old men proceeded to argue over which directions we should take to get there in a thick local dialect, so the fact that I speak Italian didn’t help us much. Needless to say it was pretty late by the time we got to the vineyard. We hadn’t eaten except for a light breakfast, and were looking forward to a feast at the restaurant with local food and wine. When we got there, the chef said, “I’m sorry, we’re closed for the day – I have no food prepared and I have work to do for tomorrow.” After much cajoling he finally relented and/or took pity on us and said he would see what he could put together, but it wouldn’t be fancy.

Grateful, we started by opening up a bottle of their local wine and having some of their homemade, crusty wheat bread. The chef brought out a plate filled with thin slices of their own cured salumi, olives, cheese, and salad. The chef came out and chatted with us afterwards and had us try some of their other wines.

It sounds basic, wine and bread and cheese and salumi, but the ingredients were so fresh and carefully crafted that four years later, we still talk about it as best meal we’ve ever had.

Beth

Traveling though Western Europe as a 19 year old student proved to be an exercise in balancing frugality with frivolity. The journey started at the tail end of my sister’s 3 months abroad in London, and despite our long separation within a few days we continued our lifelong tradition of grabbing each others throats at every opportunity (literally and figuratively). By the time we made it to our last stop (Italy), even the Tuscan countryside couldn’t squelch our squabbles, and morosely we picked our way through Milan and Florence before heading to Rome for our final destination.

While in the tightly wound streets of Florence, we escaped to a nearby hillside town seemingly created to only exist in picturesque perfection for tourists. A plain white plaster building built into the rocky hillside looked promising for our allotted one-nice-meal-per-city, and despite the lunching hour the cobblestone streets and dining room seemed to be almost completely deserted.

We sat ourselves near a window overlooking the ancient sprawl of the city below, and indulged in some Italian wine from grapes squeezed just outside. Generally, I turn my nose up if any dining companion happens to order a duplicate dish, but we made an exception for the tender beer drizzled with strawberry jus plate.

Garnished simply, we felt like queens as the small waitstaff offered us cracked plates and well-used silverware with no bells and whistles needed to amplify the quality of the country meal. The berries exploded with ripe perfection, and the meat dripped with absolute tender ecstasy. I don’t remember any discussion, small talk, or argument during this meal of silent bliss, and despite the thunderous relationship storm before and after it, for this small window of time we were able to look out the window, mouths filled with succulent simplicity, and smile together.

Kelly

Hands down eating the most amazing mussels in a pub right next to the water in Charlottetown PEI on my honeymoon with my husband. The taste of the butter and white wine sauce and the smell of the sea can always take me back to that moment.

Tracy Osborn

One hour after my boyfriend and I got to Rome, I had my backpack with all my electronics stolen by some clever thieves in a train station. A day later, after stressing, getting police reports, calling credit card companies, and generally having the worst of time on our big vacation, we finally strolled to a neighborhood hosteria for some fresh pasta and wine. At that moment (with red wine and spaghetti carbonara) we realized that it was just money that was lost, and we finally felt able to relax and be on vacation. One of my best memories from our trip.

Mark

I spent a summer in Mombasa, Kenya, and had the most amazing steak grilled on a corner spit and served simply with tomatoes, onions and parsley. It was perfect.

Kayla

While on our honeymoon in September in St Martin, we found the island almost deserted, it being hurricane season and all. One of the few restaurants still open on the French side was an Italian place. Intrigued we went in and ate the best meal of our lives. The chef and his wife came out and sat at our table to talk to us. We found out that his family was Italian but he was born and raised in France and the meal definitely showcased the best of both culinary traditions. Even better than the fresh wheat pasta and tomato cream sauce with just from the sea shellfish, was the homeade limoncello that we all sipped while discussing the island and food heritage. It’s amazing how something so simple as an after dinner drink can be a catalyst for amazing conversation. To me, that’s what makes food great, it’s ability to transcend the ordinary and create memories of surrounding and taste and smell that are so cherished and intertwined with the experience surrounding it.

Ma Bell

Living as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay and my 3 sisters came to visit. As we were walking around, visiting families I gave them strict instructions: Eat everything you are offered. It’s impolite not to. With that in mind, we sat down to lunch with the Aquino Family. Fransisca proudly showed my sisters the live “chicken-duck” before she killed it and cooked it. Midway through our meal my sister, Beth, was pushing food around her plate and smiling and saying how delicious everything tasted. I asked her what was going on. Still smiling she said, “There’s a foot in my bowl!” I said, “Eat it.” We continued to smile and nod and she said, “Okay, I’ll do it. How though?” Thinking fast I decided the only way to get out of eating the foot was to offer it to our host who gladly accepted it and daintily chewed at the tendons leaving the rest of the foot behind. I was so proud of my sister for her willingness to eat chicken duck foot and for the generosity of the Aquino family-feeding 4 guests as well as butchering a live animal was not an everyday occurrence and the meal was fun and greatly appreciated.

abigail neal

My best vacation food experience has to be from our trip to Florence Italy. While visiting a friend who was studying abroad, we cooked up the most amazing feast of fresh vegetables and other delectables from the local market, San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale. Fresh pasta with spring peas & favas!…bread…a couple local cheeses….fresh wild strawberries and cream. It was a so much fun. My friends and I scoured the market together, which is in this huge, old rustic stone building…picking things that were perfectly in season and seemingly jumping off the cart at us. We brought everything back to my friends tiny, tiny apartment and got to work. Everyone helped to make that meal. We sat and ate with the big shuttered windows flung all the way open, warm breeze drifting in as we looked out onto the terra cotta roofs across the way as the sun faded. I swear you could taste the italian countryside in that meal though and though. It has stuck in my mind for a long time.

Kristen

When traveling in Rome, I felt like I’d walked all over the entire city and stopped into a tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery for a mid-afternoon snack. I ordered a slice of potato-rosemary pizza, and the gentleman handed it to me folded in half, tucked into a little paper envelope. I walked down the street to Piazza Navona, and sat on the sidewalk by one of the fountains to take my first bite. That pizza changed me. As I sunk my teeth in, all of these incredibly fresh flavors burst on my tongue. I couldn’t believe how something so simple (dough, cheese, potatoes and rosemary) and typically bland could be so delicious. I savored every bite, watching people pass through the piazza, grab seats at cafes. I can remember every bite and flavor of that pizza. Sadly, I haven’t yet managed to replicate it at home. That was 3 years ago, and I still think about that pizza today!

Simonalisa

Recently, while in Montevideo, Uruguay I checked out this restaurant recommended by the Lonely Planet, Cafe Baraclay. Being in Uruguay, the land of beef, I found it difficulty to take the recommendation of ordering the fish, but thought I would give it a try. Nothing could have prepared me for the exquisite experience that followed. Seasoned with decadent Limoncello liqueur and a side of sticky coconut rice and rocket, I couldn’t stop myself from drooling thoughout the entire meal. We had to go back the next night so my boyfriend could order it (because I didn’t dare share any of mine with him). Next time I’m in Uruguay I will definitely make time to stop by Cafe Baraclay!

kim

Japan was always on the top of my must-visit list, and when I did go in ’08 I was a bit afraid it wouldn’t live up to my (monumental) anticipation. But boy it did, and the food was a big part of this. Most memorable meal I had was in Tokyo: after visiting the Tsukiji fish market at 6 am we went for breakfast in one of the nearby sushi places. It was the first time I ever tried sushi, and on an empty stomach, and it was GREAT. Minor problem: I’ve never been able to find any sushi that comes close to what I had there.

mamichan

My first memorable food experience – when I was 5, my family traveled to Nagasaki to say good-bye to relatives before we moved to the U.S. We all went to dinner together in what seemed like a traditional Japanese castle. The first floor had bamboo tanks full of live freshwater eels.

One course was tiny glassfish – still alive! – that were served in a bowl of seawater. You scooped up 50 or so into a smaller bowl, added yuzu and soy sauce, and drank them down. I remember letting the fish swim around in my mouth and they bit my tongue. I could feel them squirming around as they went down and still when they were in your stomach.

Another course was live octopus and squid – the tentacles reached out at us from the plate. I gave them the chrysanthemum garnishes and my chopsticks to hold. Dinner theater.

I remember it being a totally new experience and really fun. My adult relatives later told me that I was the only person who ate everything without reservation. They were freaked out by the live things.

Kelsey

My most memorable meal was one I enjoyed on an unforgettable trip to Italy. My best friend and I trekked out to Assisi, a tiny, beautiful town perched atop a lush green hill. We enjoyed a traditional Umbrian feast at the fabulous restaurant Trattoria Pallotta. Our bellies grumbling from a long day of hiking and enjoying the scenery, we left chock-full of regional delicacies: an antipasto that included local salami and pancetta, fresh pâté, olives, and mini quiches; fresh pasta with black truffles and cream; and pork chops with roasted potatoes. To top it all off was a tasting of wild boar, a surprisingly delicious treat neither of us had ever tried. I never expected to enjoy such a rustic and yet indulgent meal in the birthplace of St. Francis!

Whitney

I have been a follower of Heidi’s blog for a couple of years now and am so excited for her new cookbook!
Trying out new cuisine while on a trip is always at the top of my list. I love experiencing a local culture through the foods they eat. One particular meal that sticks with me was when my family and I took a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia to visit a close family friend. On our first night in the city, our friend took us to a local cafe that served a variety of pirogis -a yeasted pie dough filled with either savory or sweet ingredients. The spread on the counter was gorgeous with so many pies to choose from. We each ordered a savory pie, and a sweet pie for dessert. My favorite combination was a cabbage and egg filling, while my sister loved the ground beef and onion. The dessert pies were heavenly, filled with fresh local fruits -apple, lingonberry, and blackberry. We all enjoyed the pirogis so much, that we had our friend take us back there three more times over the course of our trip. Looking back, the locals must have thought we were crazy, there we were cramming six people around two small cafe tables with twelve plates of pie!

Ashtyn Douglas

I recently spent a week spoiling myself in Italy. Spoiling myself with amazing food, beautiful people, and unforgettable sites. I purchased a solo adventure for my college graduation gift to myself and wandered around Rome, Florence, and Venice with my polaroid, a map, and a ready stomach. One night, I splurged on a glass of red wine, a pizza, and an affogato al cafe. As the waiter gave me mini Italian lessons every time he passed by, I ate every single bite of that meal.

Brittany

I’d love a copy of this book! I love 101CB. Some of my best go-to meals come from Heidi!

On to the memories! Day 1 of our honeymoon in Paris, we grabbed a meal in the hotel restaurant (the Westin), not realizing the price. While it was the BEST club sandwich and chicken ever consumed, the 90 euro bill was not! Determined to eat “cheap” that evening, we stopped at McDonald’s and walked out having spent almost $30! haha! I must say- some of the best food I have ever eaten was in Paris (even McD’s was good!). The Roasted duck at Cafe de Olympia was my favorite, and we found the BEST gyros -ever!!- down by Notre Dame!

charmaine

I won a trip to Chicago (just me, myself and I) and decided to really take advantage of the monetary prize and eat really well. I went to Rick Bayless’ restaurant, Frontera. I told the waitress I wanted to really have an amazing eating experience and asked her to help me with my order. Years later I still remember taking the first flavorful bite of gazpacho and savoring the apple-wood smoked chicken empanadas. No dessert has rivaled the passion fruit tart with chocolate crust nibs and the chocolate cappuccino that accompanied it.

The entire experience made me more adventurous and try new things.

Kayshin

blackberry pie in arizona! it was mentioned in a travel guide, and so delicious. unfortunately can’t remember the name of the pie house. but converted my mom into a pie fan :)

Matilda

While I was in Japan with my husband, I ate the best things I’d ever had in my life as well as the worst. One evening, we went to a Korean BBQ-style restuarant which served local beef, which was so tender and flavorful, it was like beef serrano ham or beef bacon. One lunch, we strolled into a tiny place that specialized in fried food on a stick. There were no English menus, so we ordered the lunch special. Easily identified item after item came (asparagus, shrimp, sweet potato, etc.) until a rectangular mystery item landed on my plate. I took one bite of it and it was filled with an intensely fishy, fish-eggy, revolting substance. I declared it the worst thing I’ve ever eaten and my husband couldn’t summon up the courage to even try one bite!

Jenny

Two years ago, I traveled to all of the Baltic States as part of a choral tour and singing with 30,000 other people in the Estonian National Song festival. The power of their patriotism and dedication to their national songs that provided them with a glimpse of light through their Soviet oppression was enough to work up a rather incredible appetite. Eastern European food tends to be heavy and full of meat. No complaints here. My friend and I went to a restaurant known for its “Pig Snack.” Over the course of our hours long meal, we had pig prepared at least 12 different ways, including two preparations of ear and one of tongue as well as nearly every other delectably, juicy pork cut imaginable. Both of us needed several breaks throughout the meal and had enough leftovers to make it through the rest of our 12 day tour on pig and pig alone. At some point during one of those breaks, he looked up at me and said, “I don’t know how it happened, but somehow my lace-up shoe is no longer on my foot.” And whether as a result of the nature of this meal or the porcine intoxication, this made complete logical sense to us both.

Clarkie

My most memorable meal traveling was when I studied in London for a semester in college. I went with a group of about 20 other students from my university, and over the course of the few months together we had grown rather close.

It was around Thanksgiving when we decided as a group to host it right at the student house and celebrate together. For most of us, myself included, it was the first family holiday we had spent away from home.

The head cook at the student house took it upon himself to try and prepare a “traditional” American Thanksgiving dinner. When he showed us the menu we gasped when we saw “rutabagas”. Apparently a student a couple years back had said he had it every year and the cook assumed that was on the menu at everyone’s home.

After clarifying the menu a bit the cook came back a couple days later and said he was having a hard time finding pumpkin pie filling for the pies. Our group searched all over London but could not find them in any store.

Our American professor who came along on the trip came in the day before Thanksgiving holding two cans triumphantly in his hands. He found them at a department store in Oxford Street that was ironically started by a man originally from our home state back in the U.S.

Even better then how the food was prepared (which was superb) was the meaning of it to all of us. We were far away from our families, but had created our own across the pond.

Even eight years together I consider them to be apart of my life and a part of one of my favorite food memories.

Mary Catherine Stone

I spent two months in West Africa after college – I lived with an African family on the coast, so there were a ton of crazy food experiences. The most memorable, however, happened one afternoon when I was playing with some kids on the beach – all of a sudden they all started screaming with excitement and running towards the water. They came out with a whitish/grey blobby looking thing, and as I watched they literally started tearing it to pieces – ripping off whatever they could get their hands on. From what I could tell, it was a squid, and apparently they are quite the delicacy. The kids from my family rushed us home and roasted their scraps of squid over the fire. Of course I had to try some – it tasted horrible, but I was in Africa!

Sanghee

While on vacation in Japan as a kid, I tried fresh octupus tentacles. And when I mean fresh, I mean fresh. These bad boys were still moving after being cut by the chef. We all had to dip it in a spicy sauce that eat it while it wriggled in our throat. But let me tell you, it was worth it! So delicious.

Jamie

In college, a friend and I always drove by this hot pink hotel with a restaurant attached. One evening, after scouring a local art supply store, we figured we HAD to stop for dinner in the pink hotel. at the time it was an Ethiopian restaurant. We walk in and are the ONLY people in this small place. The waiter was attentive, sat us & set the menus out for us. (Mind you there is a huge wallpaper mural of a forest on one wall, and then just stucco pink on the other walls.) There is a bar, with some dusty soda cans perched high on the shelves.

We cannot really understand the menus- they have the dish’s listed in English, but no real descriptions of the food. we each pick what seems like a tasty (but fairly safe) meat option meal that comes with some sides. When the waited comes back- we each order our dish. His eyes open wide, and he mouths “Two?”… we clarify that yes, we each would like to order the same meal. He says OK. And takes our drink orders. Quickly he brings over the dusty soda cans for us- with a straw. Deluxe.

While we enjoy our lukewarm beverages, we notice that on out table, on top of the tablecloth, but beneath the glass, is a little paper with what appears to be a warning. We can’t read the writing, but the warning symbol is a picture of a shark with the red circle with a line drawn through. Basically the international symbol of- DO NOT EAT. We laugh to ourselves that perhaps we just ordered the exact dish this sign is trying to warn us about.

Our food is about ready, and the waiter comes over to set out the place settings. Then… inexplicably, he pulls the empty table next to us over, and sets that table up for us as well. My friend & I just look at each other puzzled. As the food starts to come out, we quickly begin to understand why the waiter was so shocked when we ordered two items. Whatever it was that we ordered was a serious “family style” menu- multi course with HUGE round plats at least 14″ in diameter. And here the waiter is loading two of everything on our tables.

We have never laughed so hard in our lives. We gleefully sampled our many many plates, and took the rest home… hoping to share the story (and the food) with friends back at school.

Jeannine

A few summers ago my husband had a business trip to Versailles, France. I was lucky enough to be able to accompany him. I made it my mission to try every pastry shop in Versailles to find the best one. I tried a different shop every day. They were all okay, but none were worth a trip to Versailles for….until Bastille Day. Oh, Bastille Day! I bought a selection of pastries from a very cute little shop to have at a dinner picnic on the palace grounds with my husband while watching the fireworks. These pastries echoed the beauty of the palace lit up by the fireworks. I have never tasted anything like them. I took photographs of the ones I had left so that I would never forget them. I loaded them onto my computer and promptly forgot them. Fast forward a few years and I have a 19 month son called Julien. Just the other day a friend of mine asked me for the name of the pastry shop I had raved about in Versailles. I couldn’t remember the name. My husband reminded me I had taken photographs of the pastries. They had the name of the shop on little chocolate discs. I am so embarrassed to say that on looking up the photos I was reminded the shop was called Patisserie Julien. I must have subconsciously named my son after a pastry shop!

Amy Kokta

My husband and I traveled through New Zealand for our honeymoon. We went to this amazing restaurant called Fleur’s place in Moreki, a small fishing village outside of Dunedin. The menu was handwritten because it changes everyday based on what fresh fish is caught. Some of the highlights included: scallops in a bacon creme sauce, smoked eel, and this incredible chocolate cake. The decor of the restaurant was cool and eclectic. Fleur, the owner, was also there doing everything from seating guests to busing tables. Impressive!

katie chirgo

ah yes. a fabulous cookbook!

my first trip to europe was to stay with a expat bestfriend in Florence, Italy. one night we went to this tiny pizza trattoria, no more than four tables in the whole place set near a rustic, radiating stone oven. the waiter and pizza baker were one in the same, and he picked up pretty quick that italian wasn’t my native tongue. he eyed me wryly and tried to give me the run around, but i fought bravely and gestured wildly to get my point, or request, across. all in the context clues, right? finally he let it alone and headed back to the oven, leaving me flustered with mildly ruffled feathers. 15 minutes later our perfectly blistered, fragrant, basil studded margherita pies came back to the table – the one set in front of me in the shape of a heart. he winked with a “ciao bella” and refilled my red wine glass. i beamed back at him just long enough to say thank you before eating the whole.entire.pizza.

Rachel

On of my favorite food memories (and wow when you start to think about it traveling and food memories go hand in hand!) was when I was hiking on the Inca trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu. We had been on the trail for I believe four days, and on the next day we would finally reach the ruins. There was an air of celebration in the camp, and all the porters were playing soccer on a little strip of flat land they had found here on the top of the mountains. My mom and I were walking around taking in the view before tea when suddenly the most delicious smell of popcorn came wafting over to us! Our cook had been saving it as a special treat, and I’ll never forget eatting a huge bowl of yummy popcorn on top of a mountian out in the wilds of Peru.

BethP

Mine is eating an amazing langoustine dinner while on my honeymoon in Iceland. We couldn’t even attempt to pronounce the restaurant’s name but their motto was “By the sea… and a delicious lobster.” !!

Joy

I went on a trip with some of my classmates to Carrara, Italy. We went to this middle of no where restaurant where they just kept coming with the most delicious food. I’ve never ate so well! We finished off the huge meal with Lemoncello which was a great finish to a perfect meal.

Irene K

On a family trip to Kona, what excited us most were the huge, golden papayas being sold at the Kona farmer’s market at a $1.50 for 5. We’re a famly that absolutely loves a perfect papaya and we left the market staggering with heavy bags of papayas. Even though it seemed like we had papayas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we still had 4 left when the day came to go back home. We couldn’t bear to leave them behind so packed them in our carry-on but completely forgot about the TSA agriculture restrictions. So all of us sat around the security check point with plastic spoons from the McDonalds nearby and happily had a last, beautiful moment with those papayas.

Nicole Hughes

My favorite food memory is from my trip to Italy last year.

I went there thinking about all the pasta and bread I would eat… but I ended up being addicted to tomatoes when I got home. This was a huge deal for me because until that trip, I thought I hated tomatoes. I’d eat tomato-based sauces, but the thought of raw tomatoes or chunks of tomato in chilis and stews made me wrinkle my nose.

One of the first nights we were in Rome, I tasted a friend’s caprese salad and I fell in love with tomatoes (and basil) that day. I even had Sicilian cherry tomato sorbetto and liked it! Now tomatoes are an integral part of my diet and I eat some sort of tomato every day!

francesca

Visiting my grandmother in the tiny post-Soviet country of Moldova, where she cooked traditional foods like my mom ate growing up in an Eastern European village! Like flaky rolls made with yeasted dough and stuffed with cabbage (like a mild sauerkraut, different from German) and onions, or fluffy farmer’s cheese called tvorog with dill (delicious!), or with sour cherries picked from a neighbor’s tree (better than cherry pie!). Also, her homemade walnut cake, and fresh eggs from “real” chickens- the yolks were so bright! And fabulous produce- endless fresh raspberries from the garden (and a delicious raspberry cordial she makes with them), sour cherries, cucumbers with a distinct flavor (not just water!), some of the best tomatoes, and the nutty and subtle flavor of sunflower oil in cooking and salad dressings.
Salads were also the best- cucumber, tomato, onion, peppers, and a dash of sunflower oil made something pretty magical when your ingredients were the best!

Grace

During my sophomore year of high school my sister, mother and I went to Nassau, Bahamas. This was my first trip out of the country and first real vacation as we didn’t have enough money to travel growing up. My mother had a friend from college who lived there and helped us take this vacation. He showed us all around the island and knew the best local food places. My favorite food memory from the trip was being introduced to Bahamian Baked Macaroni and Cheese. It was incredible!! To this day I have not tasted a mac and cheese to rival the true Bahamian mac and cheese. After trying it, I ordered it every chance I got during the remainder of our stay.

jo notkin

Isn’t it hard to pick just one memory?? I’m going to go for a trip to Italy that I took by myself in my twenties. The sad part of about traveling alone is nobody to poke in the arm when you see something amazing and the best part is getting to eat the entirely of something so delicious you think about it for days, weeks, months, years!
While in Verona I stopped into a bakery/pastry store. I spoke no Italian and had to just point at the desserts I wanted. I got an entire box full… pistachio cookies, cannolis, meringues, hazelnut cakes etc…
I took a long walk as far as I could up a mountain on the other side of the gorgeous river that runs through the city of Verona and I found a beautiful castle with the gates open ( This is no joke!). So I sat on a bench next to the towering Cypress trees, overlooking the fast moving river and the historic city while I ate almost the entire box of cakes, cookies and sweets! I have eaten my fair share of sweets in my life but these were like NONE OTHER! If I dug around I’m sure I could find a photo ( Ah, the days before digital photography!)

Alyssa has Pink Antlers

My husband and I love to spend time with our family – one summer we spent time at a lake house with friends and family and we made steaks on the grill, drunken mushrooms, steamed aparagus, fresh berry and peach cobbler and ice cream – we laughed talked and enjoyed the sunset while cooking and eating al fresco – it was such a great moment and the food was just the icing on the cake.

Colleen Schaeffer

Roasted guinea pig, hands down. I was back in Cusco after hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and had to complete the experience by eating the famed”Cuy” as the Peruvians call it. The little guy was served entirely cerimonisouly and intact. He was leaping over a roasted potato with a carrot in it’s mouth wearing a tomato hat flourished with parsley. I was relieved when the server took the platter back to the kitchen after the presentation. Unfortunately, after he returned, the cuy had merely been quartered and was still very recognizable as your standard American household pet. The meat was actually very good–similar to the dark meat of a game bird. Very memorable!

Beste

When I was living in Turkey, we travelled to this little town called “Safranbolu” famous for historic houses, however our secret agenda for the trip was to taste every little local deliciousness we could find. After two days of endless eating it was our last night and we went out, when we came back to the hotel it was almost 4:00 am (yes, those were the days) and we were sitting in the lobby thinking what should we do next. One of my friends suggested this little place famous for it’s yogurt and homemade bread. There was a thunderstorm and it was pouring down, we drove 19 miles and arrived at this place which actually is a shabby roadside restaurant whose clientele is mostly truck drivers. We ordered eggs sunnyside up, and homemade fresh breads and yogurt.. It did worth all the drive in the narrow and dark roads in the rain at 5 in the morning:) It was a fun trip I still remember to this day.

Margaret

The first time my family went to Rome, I was in 3rd grade, and my brother in 2nd. We had grown up practically inseparable, but, by this time, we were mostly antagonistic towards each other. One day we found some restaurant with a second floor balcony. I remember how bright and golden the light was, and how happy we all were. Sitting next to us was a policeman who kept making silly faces at my brother and I, and even let him try on his helmet. We were enchanted. Transformed. Totally delighted. And, though we ate many more delicious things on the trip, I still have dreams about the little pastille soup we are: clear, warm chicken broth with teeny tiny little pasta stars, and a light grating of parmesan. For years we’ve tried to recreate it and its happy intensity. Someday we’ll get it.

Sarah Grace

The first day of our honeymoon, we were travelling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Due to some very bad planning (I picked up the wrong birth certificate!) my husband and I missed our flight and ended up spending 10 hours in the Dallas airport. By the time we got to the hotel it was past 11pm and we were both exhausted. However, the hotel staff had left us a bottle of wine and a cheese, fruit, and bread plate to celebrate. We took everything out on the balcony and sat, my first view of the ocean ever (even though it was pitch black) and just listened to the waves as we enjoyed our little feast.

Iylana Nassiri

Last summer my husband and I backpacked Europe. While in Spain, I convinced him we should trot down to Marrakech for a few days. It was the most magical place I’ve ever been! We ate at a place called Earth Cafe, where all the ingredients were grown on their farm just outside the city. We had something that looked like an egg roll, but was made with squash, pumpkin and cheese. It was by far, the most delicious meal I’ve ever had. After that we went into Jemaa el Fna square and ate street food—second best meal I’ve ever had :)

Nora

My daughter and I traveled to Ferrara, Italy and stayed in a little home that was also a tiny restaurant. The owners spoke no English at all. The restaurant was off of our bedroom and had a tiny fireplace with a single log burning all day and night. Dinner came without a menu and you just ate what they had. Lovely cheeses, figs, breads, chicken, pasta, asparagus…with a glass of wine. Sigh. It was a wonderful time.

Courtney

While my best friend and I were vacationing in Spain a couple of years ago, we had traveled from Barcelona to Madrid, on a day when we were feeling a little rough from far too many pitchers of sangria the day before.
When we got there, we found a small pub/restaurant near our hotel, and were surprised to find out that no one there spoke any English at all.
So in our broken Spanish, and in search of comfort food, we ordered what we thought was fries. But what arrived at our table was a plate of battered and fried minnows. (I’m vegetarian so I was not going to eat the fish, hungover or not…)

With the help of our Spanish-English dictionary we eventually explained our mistake and got some fries – and our server spent our whole meal laughing with all the locals about it!

A close second would be eating with my family in a small family-run restaurant in a tiny town outside Florence, Italy, where again no one spoke English. It was by far the best pasta I have ever eaten!

Jordan

This past fall, my husband surprised me while on our first trip in Rome. He led me into a beautiful neighborhood restaurant and introduced me to the owner. They had arranged a private cooking lesson with the head chef at this traditional Roman restaurant. As a chef wannabe, I was in heaven! I threw question after question at the owner, learning about the history of the dishes we prepared and the importance of ingredients in traditional cooking. We learned how to make a simple tomato and pasta dish called Amatriciano and a delicate egg and ricotta starter. I tasted and savored each bite while flavors that never met before melted in my mouth with each forkful. Standing in that restaurant kitchen in a crisp, white apron, my husband smiling at my giddy excitement, and a world of flavors before me, is a memory I will retell until the day I can no longer talk. It made our honeymoon even more memorable.

Whitney

handmade, well-loved meals beat white table cloth meals for me, everytime. i love the feeling of walking into an eatery and knowing you’re going to have a special experience. my favorite one was in Tortola. the place had six table covered in sticky vinyl and a cheeseball picture of a black panther on the wall. but, the smells were almost as mezmerizing as the meal itself. we got lamb roti, which are basically a curried lamb and potato burrito (but so much more special than it sounds). my husband and i love heat in our food, so we dabbed on some of the special homemade hot sauce, it was clear, and i had never seen anything like it. all the flavors, the open kitchen, the sweaty cooks, the waves, the simplicity of it all…this was perfect.

Nicole Frances

I was studying abroad in Florence & 3 girlfriends and I rented a mini-cooper (Italian style) and drove to the hills of Chianti to
Solociccia Restaurant by Dario Cecchini in Panzano, Chianti.

Hands down the best meal and food experience I have ever had. We sat a large table with an Italian family and shared about 8 courses and wine.

We ate Spicy meat ragu on toast,
Batter fried meats and vegetables, marinated beef, raw garden vegetables, Homemade focaccia della Simonetta – just to name drop a few!

Worth every penny!

Check out the website: http://www.solociccia.it/

City Chic - Jamie

In Negril, Jamaica for our wedding week we went into town, near the cliffs to a small outdoor gem called Three Dives. This place has the most generous helping of grilled lobster, rice and peas, and callaloo. I know our family was a bit nervous when we took them there, but after some Red Stripe and talking with the locals everyone felt welcome. The price, portions and atmosphere cannot be beat! It was a great place to experience and take in the sunset. *sigh*

Christen Krumm

While on my honeymoon in Florida, the Lover and I visited an amazing little German bakery. The breads, pastries, and coffee were all so authentic and so wonderful tasting!! I wish I could have brought the whole bakery home with me!!

xo,
Christen

Leigh

The best meal I have ever had was in a no-frills hostel in Catania (Sicily). The fare was a simple as the accommodations: roast chicken, potatoes with rosemary, and roasted vegetables. While this is a meal I have had many times in my life, the dish I had in Sicily was prepared to absolute perfection–the chicken was moist, the potatoes crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and all of it with just the right balance of olive oil and salt. While I love an elaborate meal from time to time, I am always most impressed by a basic dish that has been exquisitely prepared, and that meal has lingered happily in my memory for over ten years.

ps: The book’s release date, April 5th, was my birthday. Coincidence? I think not ;)

Nicole C.

I had planned a trip to Napa Valley to soften the blow of my 30th birthday. We were there for a whole week, but on my actual birthday, we rented bicycles and toured through Calistoga, stopping at different wineries and enjoying the scenery. We decided to stop by Sol bar, the restaurant of Solage Hotel & Spa and had an amazing spa-style meal sitting outside on their patio. They had a fire going, and we had some really light, fresh food, which was exactly what we needed on a day bicycling through the wine country. I had such an amazing day that I didn’t even stress turning 30 at all that day!

Lucy

Last summer I took a trip to the Maine coast with two of my very best girlfriends who I’ve known since we were kids (going on 20 years now!). We spent two weeks driving up the coast, camping, hiking, swimming – I have never been so relaxed in my life! One of the most incredible parts of the trip was spending two nights on a privately owned island off the northern coast, almost at the Canadian border. The island had no running water and no electricity. It was completely peaceful and silent, besides the sounds of waves lapping the rocks in front of the one-room cabin, birds, seals, and the occasional fishing boat that would go out to sea very early in the morning. The owner of the island, a part-time lobsterman, took us out to the island on his boat. On the way there he pulled up some of his traps and gifted us with a bucket full of lobsters to enjoy our first night there. We cooked them over a camp stove in seawater and ate them while sitting around the campfire while the sun went down. They were incredibly fresh and delicious! Along with some grilled corn, and some beer we’d chilled by tying the six-pack to a rock and sticking it in the water, it wasn’t a fancy meal by any means, but I’ll always remember how simple, fresh, and delicious it was.

Brooke Bristow

Grilled Swordfish on the beach in Puerto Rico. I can still taste it, feel the breeze on my face and the warmth in my heart. Some food stays with you forever.

Lyna

I have been taking cooking classes and one of my instructor’s mentioned that she has been going to Oaxaca, Mexico annually for the past 15 years. Her most recent trip was this past February so I jumped at the opportunity to tag along. We visited local women around the city where they taught us how to cook traditional Mexican food from their kitchens.

One afternoon we all made lunch, which involved taking a trip to their local Molino to grind corn to make masa. We headed back to their home and all made fresh tortillas which were cooked on their Comal, and made Mole (Oaxaca is ‘the land of the seven mole’s’ after all!). The hostess’ brother in law stopped by and made us hand churned canela cinnamon ice-cream.

I will never forget the warm hospitality of that family. Everyone loved to cook, and was great at it! Pretty hard eating Mexican food here again- the food was so DELICIOUS!!!

Morgan

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Tahiti about 5 years ago, we ate so many delicious foods. The most memorable meal though was “dinner” our last night. We had just gone on a sunset boat ride, just the two of us, and we came back to eat dinner. We had had a late lunch so neither of us was very hungry so I suggested we just order desert as our dinner. That was the best chocolate mousse I have ever eaten.

Ruthie

My favorite food memory is learning to love coffee in Paris when I was 15. I didn’t speak French, and when the restaurant waiter offered me a cafe au lait, I nodded mutely. It came out on beautiful china, a little crock of hot coffee and a little crock of steamed milk for me to mix together. I poured some of each into my cup, sipped it, and felt instantly cosmopolitan and so grown up. I still remember those heady feelings when I sip my morning cup of coffee.

Kaylynn

In Athens, just off the Plaka, a weathered man assembled lamb gyros in fresh pita for us, topping each off with tzatziki sauce, a dusting of paprika, and steak fries. I’ve been trying for almost a decade to recreate that Greek food experience!

andrea @ chocolateandoranges

My most memorable food experience was the Fresh Sourdough Express in Homer, AK. I had driven down from Anchorage and was tired, hungry, wet, and cold when I got there. I had an amazing cup of black bean soup and possibly the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life. It was totally comforting and relaxing and got me back in the vacation spirit. I followed up my warm starters with an amazingly fresh salad which was even topped with edible flowers. The contrast between the warm comforting soup and hot chocolate which put me in the mind of fall and winter and the fresh summery salad was great- especially since I was eating it in early September in that transition point between summer and fall!

Chris

It was in Kyoto, in the height of cherry blossom season, and I was a broke college student traveling and studying in Asia. Four weeks earlier, I had met a fellow traveler, and in the blink of an eye we were engaged and giddy. I speak Japanese, so I enjoyed showing him around my favorite spots and discovering new ones, including a small temple off the beaten path. It turned out the monks there ran a small shoujin-ryori (vegetarian temple food) restaurant, with four-course lunches priced at a song. It was a sunny, crisp spring day, and we were immediately seated outside on cushions perched on flat rocks, surrounded by emerald moss and shaded by cherry blossom trees in full bloom. The food was indescribably delicious: fresh, clean, local, pure. The food was prepared so simply, too, but I remember the mushroom-infused, earthy intensity of broth as clear a water; of the sweet green taste of ferns and mountain vegetables… all beautifully presented and happily accented with cherry blossom petals as they floated along the breeze onto our table. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to find that restaurant again — I half expect it to have been something from a dream. More than 10 years later, we still talk about that memory of a wonderful meal, with wonderful company.

Caroline

My husband and I stayed at a small bed & breakfast owned by a professional chef. Every morning, he would surprise us with the most delicious German meals. Some mornings the cheese was the main show with more cheese selections than I knew existed. Other mornings he would serve shrimp omelets with crunchy breads and marmalade. It was a perfect way to start our day! Magical!

Amy

My aunt and I had been traveling for 72 hours, train, plain, and van to get to central Vietnam. We finally arrive at our hotel at just before sunset. Exhausted we drop our things and head out to the little balcony over looking the river and the neighboring fields. Once out side we discover 3 little stools, one with a basket of green oranges sitting on it. So my most memorable food moment is sitting on a stool in central Vietnam eating sour, refreshing oranges watching the sunset on our first night in Vietnam.

Alicia

Although my abroad travels have always maintained a focus on trying different foods from around the world, one of my most memorable trips involving food was spent on a fishing boat in the North Atlantic for 12 days with a crew of Portuguese men. I actually had to pretend to be vegetarian because the quantity of meat these fellas ate was incredible. I loved watching them cook everyday and picking up on techniques rarely seen here in the US. I tried everything they made including skate wings, blood sausage, and whole silver hake. I think they were so thrilled to have someone interested in their cooking that they were happy to show me how they prepared every meal and share their recipe secrets. It was truly an experience I’ll never forget. My favorite meals were their fish (something I rarely cook at home) – baked whole Acadian redfish and seared halibut steaks. I don’t think it gets any fresher than that.

Val

It is always the simple things that stand out, for despite the many memorable feasts I’ve had in Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Croatia, it is grabbing a hunk of cheese and bread and having a picnic along the Adriatic sea that ranks as one of life’s best hours.

Ashley S

I’ve had a lot of great food while traveling, but the most memorable times to me are always when I’ve tried something out of the ordinary.

This brings me to my trip to Peru when I was working at a camp in a small mountain town outside of Trujillo.

A popular dish in Peru is Cuy, or what we call Guinea Pig. My friends decided that my first experience with Cuy would have to be authentic. So we went to a restaurant which was 4 walls and a dirt floor run by one woman. Oh, and I can’t forget about the clothes liner with a shirt and guinea pig bones hanging above our heads.

The woman cooked my Cuy in a pot over a fire behind the restaurant. My meal finally came out and it was great! Not a ton of meat though…as you could imagine…

This was my first time out of North America, so what I loved most about this experience was breaking all my ideas of what a normal meal should look like, but I have to say – I haven’t had Cuy since.

Lynnetta

In October I got to go to Epcot for the International Food and Wine Festival. Oh my goodness! Food everywhere. My favorite? It was actually the heirloom tomatoes at the American pavilion.

leslie

I went back home to Beckley, WV to stay the weekend with my parents. My mom taught me the long-passed-down recipe for spaghetti sauce. My great-grandmother (born ON the boat from Italy) taught her daughter; her daughter sent the recipe in a letter to my mom when she married my dad.

Kerry

My husband and I shared a coconut cake with pineapple coulis and red chili sorbet on our honeymoon in Bali. The sorbet was perfect-spicy, yet cool and refreshing at the same time. I’ll never forget it.

Kara

Morocco! The spices are piled so high, in all different colors. It’s beautiful. Now, everytime I smell curry or cayenne pepper, all I can think of is walking the souks in Morocco.

Jessica

As a wedding gift, my husband gave me a copy of “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine” by Elizabeth David. It changed my expectations for food and pleasure.

Three years ago we took a trip to Paris. We ate well throughout, but my favorite meal was at Laduree. My husband and I shared a wild mushroom omelette, green salad, and a bottle of dry rose while the elderly woman at the table next to us enjoyed a pastry. Her dog—asleep under the table—kept her company.

My memory of our egg and salad meal is that it was sensual and brought us pleasure. I wish all memories were like that.

Gwendolyn

My most memorable food experience was when my mom and I were in Provence after my summer of studies abroad. We stumbled upon a small farmers market and bought some raspberries, bread, and cheeses and used the glove compartment as a makeshift table as we drove around exploring the beautiful countryside.

Lindsay Orr

My favorite food travel memory has to be a week I spent in Washington DC as a brand new (especially picky) vegan eater. My dear friend whom I was visiting suggested that we visit restaurants that varied in cultural backgrounds each day. I was flabbergasted by how much I had been missing out on, just by leaning on pastas and burgers for so much of my life! That visit opened my eyes and palate to new food adventures even with a restricted diet. What a delight!

Britt Elise

While traveling through Europe a few years ago, me and a friend were on a pretty tight budget so we decided that at each city we would only eat one meal out, the rest we would cook on our own and just travel with our left overs.
While this was a great idea in theory the execution of this stroke of genius was not so great. One thing we did not really account for was our lack of refrigeration. After several days with a large ziplock of pesto pasta in Paris I started to notice it’s sour smell and taste, as well as the toll it was taking on my stomach.
In order to counteract this quickly approaching illness we ditched the pasta and headed straight for a local provencal restaurant. We were welcomed in and even with the language barrier the owner was very gracious and worked hard to understand us. We had coq au vin and finished off the meal with a perfect creme brule. The cook, owner, and all the other kitchen staff sat next to us and ate with us. They seemed like a family which they most likely were. It was not until me and my traveling partner had left that we had noticed, we had not even come within the hours of operation and yet we were not shoed away but instead welcomed as one of the family.
I don’t know if it was the contrast from the spoiled food we had been eating before, the welcome we were offered, or the delicious meal, but it was the best meal of our entire trip.

ellen

working in italy recently, i had the amazing opportunity to experience typical sunday family-style seafood lunches in sicily, and what seemed like most of the culinary fabulousness rome has to offer. during the final couple days, however, i had the chance to spend time with family in my grandfather’s village (my first visit there) and our meal together had the genetic blueprint of family meals of my childhood. we were meeting for the first time, these relatives and i, and while most of us didn’t share a language in common, the home-made salami, the fresh pasta rolled moments before it was dropped in the water, the seasonal puntarelle tossed in anchovy vinaigrette wasn’t foreign or new to me or them. it was a family meal, shared within walls of a tiny village where my family began, 5000 miles from where i grew up eating eerily similar meals in my grandmother’s eerily similar dining room.

Jewel

My best dining experience was when I was in Spain. I feel in love with all of the amazing foods the country has to offer. Call me weird but the dish I enjoyed the most was the Chocolate and Churros.

Stephanie

On my most recent vacation I traveled to visit my brother and his new fiance in Augusta, GA. This was a time to meet his fiance’s family and they prepared special dishes for us – all southern food (my fam is from the Midwest). It was a great to try new things, lots of shrimp and grits, okra, red beans & rice, Brunswick stew, etc. My family and I felt spoiled all weekend and couldn’t get enough of the Southern goodness.

natalie d.

In 2009 I went on a trip to Peru with my college to study archaeology. We spent our last night on the island of Taquile on Lake Titicaca.

The vast majority of the food available was either grown on the island or caught in the lake. We stayed with a host family and they cooked us a lunch of trout, rice and tubers. All of the food was so fresh; I knew the fish for our lunch was caught that morning.

The people of Taquile sustain themselves with fresh food that grow and catch themselves. Since coming home from Peru, I’ve come to truly appreciate local food, have started cooking at home more often, and grow my own vegetable. One really can change a life.

Amy Elizabeth

When I was 5 years old my family took a trip to Hawaii. After a long day of hiking and swimming in waterfalls we went to an all you can eat buffet where I gorged my little 40 lb self on ribs bigger than my face. Needless to say I had bbq sauce from ear to ear, literally. My mother captured the best photograph of my messy face too!

charlene

I was traveling in Italy (Sicily) when I was around 20/21 years old. I was a super-picky eater… I disliked tomatoes, eggs, onions… the list goes on. I was having a hard time finding anything I was willing to try other than bread. At one point, we stopped at a restaurant on our way to ruins in Arigento. On the menu I found a mushroom risotto that I was willing to try, it was the most wonderful thing I have ever had. From there I fell in love with risotto and started to try all the food even those with ingredients I did not like. I learned that I didn’t like certain foods because of the way they were made, sorry mom! I now cook all the time and love to experiment in the kitchen. This book would be a welcome addition to my growing cookbook collection!

torrie

best food memories are the ones where my husband has found little hole-in-the-wall places on our way up north to visit my grandparents. we’re newlyweds, so the ability to travel together and explore together has been so much fun. no matter where we go, the food and the experience is so much sweeter when you’re doing it with someone you love. those little hole-in-the-wall places are my best food memories, not only for the great food i’ve been able to experience, but also because of the company i get to share it with.

Anna

My most memorable food experience comes from Thailand. Me and my husband had the most delicious and exquisite Thai food at the Celadon restaurant. The restaurant is located in the Sukhotai hotel and it’s design is as beautiful as the food. Another delicious food experience was eating a hot plate of Pad Thai from Khao San street vendors – I never succeeded to recreate this simple dish at home, no matter how hard I tried. Thai cuisine is definitely one of my favorites!

Samantha

My senior year of high school I took a trip to London with about thirty other students from my school’s theater organization. We saw a lot of great shows and I fell in love with the city. Traveling in such a big group limited our dining options, but the most memorable food moment for me didn’t come from one of the scheduled meals on our itinerary.

Being a theater trip, we of course toured Shakespeare’s Globe. After the requisite picture taking, we had some free time to browse the gift shop. Some people did some shopping, others ventured across the street to a coffee shop, but a handful of us spotted a café up on the second floor of the visitor area. It was mid afternoon, so they were serving lunch items along with a tea menu. A friend and I decided to split the high tea, which came with sandwiches, a huge piece of cake, and of course scones with clotted cream.

Everything was so delicious, and beautifully presented. Deciding to get the traditional tea over a burger or sandwich was a turning point for me. At seventeen, I began my love affair with the simple joys of life that so many people overlook in today’s fast paced world – like how lovely it is to pour yourself a cup of tea out of the perfect white teapot, or how a scone with clotted cream can be exactly what you were craving, even if you’d never had it before.

Mary Kay Rott

I grew up in land locked Kansas, but my parents and all my extended family was from Seattle. When we traveled in the summer to visit we would dig clams and have a big clam bake. What an adventure for a city kid from Kansas to be a part of finding and preparing the food…especially something that seemed this exotic. If I even smell clams it takes me back to my childhood. I love the way smells do that!

Ellen

Oh, I love her blog and have been waiting for her book!

I remember a magical creme brule on the second day of our honeymoon. We were in Quebec City and it had been brutally hot. That evening we both dressed to the nines and headed out for dinner, then for coffee and dessert to the Chateau Frontenac, a majestic old hotel and THE place to be in the City. It poured rain on us on the walk going in, but we sat at a bank of windows and looked out over a perfect seascape. That creme brule was perfection, as was the moment. We didn’t know it then, but my husband would get brutally ill the next day and we’d have to end our honeymoon early… it took him weeks to recover. But I am thankful for that evening, for our conversation, for the beauty of grey skies and tumbling water, and for my favorite dessert ever!

Whitney

A few years back, I took a missions trip to Kenya where my pastor had grown up and taught school. For a few nights, we had the privilege of living with a Masai tribe and they honored us by slaughtering a goat. I can’t say I ate the following as I’m sure I’d probably be dead by now but the kids promptly stuck a stick in the bowl of blood and swirled it around until they had a ‘coagulated blood lollipop.’ They loved it. Another tribe member grabbed the lungs and trachea of the goat and blew into it- filling up the lungs with air! Although I ‘missed out’ on those delicacies, the chai tea and ROASTED goat they served later was far better than any US bbq! The food plus those unique experiences really opened my eyes to what different cultures consider ‘normal’ cuisine!

Kris

My favourite food memory was when I was 12 years old visitng my family in Greece. Many people do not know about the the beautiful mountain villages in Greece, that’s where my family is from. A memory I will always treasure is the first taste of homemade Greek mountain honey. My family has honey bees and the honey they produce is deep, dark and looks like liquid toffee. I remember sitting at a table overlooking the mountains at sunset, with a peice of fresh home made bread, salted butter, and my family’s honey. Even though that was many years ago, I’ll never forget the feeling of the connection to my family’s heritage, from those few bites of bread with honey.

amanda calton

We lived in Belgium when I was a child. We travelled extensively throughout Europe and I vividly remember eating frog’s legs and caviar at a restaurant when I was 6. 6! I’m so impressed with my young self, as I won’t even touch flan as an adult because of the texture. Here’s to raising kids with bold palates.

margalit

This is a no contest question. In La Paz Bolivia we ate Penis Soup. Yes. Exactly. Whole Peni boiled up with several varities of Bolivian potatoes and other vegetables. It was delicious, but difficult to eat.

Katie Murphy

I decided at the last minute to tag along with my then boyfriend to New Orleans for an environmental conference. Before departing, we surveyed some friends and family for ideas on the best places to eat – the places locals eat! For three days we gorged on gumbo, oysters, and po’boys. To top it off we ended the trip with gelato in Jackson Square Park where, to my surprise, my boyfriend produced an engagement ring and proposed. Full bellies, full hearts, can’t lose!

Inga Petra

When me and my boyfriend were in Spain we ordered a “house special” the chateaubriand and it came with 3 sauces – a roquefort – bernais & Pepper
My boyfriend waited with excitement for the big steak – I´m not a huge meat person so I kept my calm :)
A while later walks in a very old man – from which I understood, this was his purpose in the restaurant, with a trolly with this huge tenderloin and the sauces and all those incredibly delicious side dishes ..yummm my mouth watered a little bit there !!
and sliced the thing onto our plates … mmmmm we still mention that dinner once in a while it was so delicious :D

Amy E

Food has always been a part of my travel adventures! One that touches my heart every time, though, takes place in England. A first date with my partner of almost five years: we met studying abroad and had not spent much time together alone. We were in Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare’s King Lear. Before the play, we slipped away from the group tours and found a bottle of wine and a local fish ‘n chips shop. We asked for paper cups, and they opened the wine for us. We took our picnic by the river to watch the swans, and I remember the beautiful afternoon sun on the water. But what has always stayed with me is the fish ‘n chips! They were wrapped in newspaper, perfectly salted with just the right amount of vinegar.

Thanks for your wonderful blog and for the chance to win one of these beautiful cookbooks!

Daria

I traveled to India for a wedding just a few months ago- and every food experience was an amazing one – from the street food, to glorious wedding buffets with endless food, to sit-down meals – even at the side of the highway! At one very casual, almost buffet style restaurant that is famous in Delhi, I decided to take on nearly the entire menu – a huge thali, chai, lassi, and some Puri. The two of us filled a four person table with all our food! My first experience having Pani Puri was interesting – I had no idea how to put together all the pieces. A waiter going around came over while chuckling at my struggles! He poked a hole in the rice puff for me, added the potato mixture into the center, and then the tamarind/mint sauce for me, and handed it over. It was an amazing bite, with the various textures and flavor combination I had never experienced. I had also mistakenly not taken it in a single bite, and made a mess of myself. Soon after other tourists came over asking what it was I was eating! I put together puri for them, now a puri pro!

naomi

While studying abroad in Oxford, my college roommates visited from the states and we spent a week in Spain. We went out to a small, cozy tapas bar in the center of Madrid.

Rebecca

My husband and I spent our honeymoon on Vermont and Massachusetts. While we were touring Boston one day, we discovered the Italian District, full of restaurants and lots of men that looked like they were in the mafia. It was about 3 o’clock and we hadn’t eaten since early that morning, so we decided to get a late lunch/early dinner.

We searched and searched until we found the perfect restaurant. A “home-y” establishment that one would miss if you blinked while walking past it. We wanted to eat somewhere where we knew the food was good and real, not just a location that had white linen tablecloths and crystal glasses. This place was it. We were the only people in the restaurant, so we got LOTS of attention from the wife (our server) and the husband (our chef).

I ordered spaghetti and meatballs and was in heaven the entire time I ate through that huge bowl. It was amazing. Their red sauce was just what one would imagine to eat in Italy: simple, slightly sweet, and soaked perfectly into the noodles. And the meatballs…words can’t even describe. I need to learn how to make mine taste like that! Anyway, we must find that restaurant again, if we ever find ourselves in Boston once more.

Gina

When sailing the Grenadine Islands with my family, our local new friend caught a fish with his bare hands wading in the ocean, fileted it on the spot with a machete, and cooked it over our beach bonfire, paired with local veggies and his (now) famous rum punch, it was a meal to remember!

Michaela Klein

I was fortunate enough to travel to Chang Mai, Thailand with a friend of mine. After a day of traveling we were hot, sticky and exhausted. We stopped at a tiny little place down the street from our Hostel for lunch where I ordered a Papaya Salad. That salad was probably the most delicious and refreshing thing I’ve ever had. I still remember the fresh, juicy papaya coupled with the crisp lettuce and carrots and subtle spices. It was the perfect meal, light, fresh and energizing, and so flavorful. It will always represent that city to me and I’ve never found anything that quite matched up to it again.

Stephanie

My favorite memory involved great food in an unlikely location.

When we left for Florence and Rome, I was in heaven. Two weeks of pasta, pizza, and all my favorite Italian foods. However, by middle of week 2, we grew a little tired of tomato sauce.

The first experiment: Chinese food. I was skeptical about the quality of Chinese food in the middle of Rome but game for something different. It was just as bad as I thought it would be – like the worse Chinese food in that food court in the mall.

The second night, I convinced my husband to try Ethiopian food. I love it and hadn’t had it since I moved to the South several years early.

The food at that little restaurant was amazing. We were so sad we were leaving the next day and couldn’t go back. Since then, we’ve had Ethiopian food on all our visits to the East Coast.

Chelsey

About 3 summers ago I studied abroad in Australia. A few days after I arrived, we began our unit on Aboriginal studies. As part of our welcome ceremony we tried the local cuisine which consisted of kangaroo stew and grilled kangaroo. I had decided long before my travels that I would embrace every opportunity and experience available to me. Kangaroo stew was no exception. I must say, kangaroo is quite delicious and I indulged in the exotic meat every chance I got. I definitely recommend trying kangaroo if ever given the opportunity.

Carolyn

When I was 17, our family took a week-long trip to the South of France and Monaco. My favorite part of the whole thing was spending hours at the outdoor market in Nice (eating fresh foods I couldn’t pronounce) and buying fruits, breads, and all kinds of goodies with my then high-school level French.

Vanessa Villarreal

I was staying with a host family in Bangladesh and there we ate a lot of fish- not my favorite, one evening I asked to have some chicken. In the morning I came to breakfast to find my lunch clucking happily under the table as she was tied to my chair with a string. I had to sit with her all morning knowing she was going to be my lunch. that was the first time I ever had to reconcile with my food. But fresh it was!

christie

The summer after my sophomore year of college, I spent some time in Costa Rica. I didn’t know how to cook American food (much less Costa Rican), so every day I would take my pen and notebook and sit in the kitchen while my host mom would cook, explaining the process to me in painstaking detail. One day she even brought the neighbor over to teach me how to make patacones (fried plantains)! I love to cook now, and much of my cooking style still reflects the Costa Rican traditions I learned from my host mom.

Shana

Imagine having the best food experience ever after an hour of unbroken motion sickness. It was more than divine — it was transcendent.

So … on our honeymoon cruise (a nice spin around the Adriatic and Aegean seas), I convinced my new husband that off roading in Corfu would be the most amazing thing ever. He skeptically agreed (because, after all, who’s going to say no to his new bride …).

Five minutes into the trip, I wished he had vetoed it. Windy roads + next-day champagne stomach = internal jumping jacks and mountain climbers.

It was a discombobulated newlywed who got out of the car in the place I only know as The Village on Top of the Mountain. At first I was immune to the smell of lavender flowers and olive oil, but as we walked toward the small restaurant up the street, my senses started coming back to me.

And to my amazement, I was suddenly hungry. Starved. Raring to go.

The plate that was put in front of me at the restaurant was nothing less than a symphony. Creamy, lacy bricks of feta, silky red tomatoes sliced into perfect nuggets, globs of olive oil decorating the plate like peridots … I didn’t even have to ASK if it was homegrown, homemade.

And it really was like a concerto — every ingredient was good by itself, but when combined with the other pieces, it was pure, transporting magic. I ate all of mine and half of my husband’s, then asked for seconds.

And I didn’t puke on the way back to the port — even further proof that good food is magic!

Susan

In 2009, I embarked on a year-long travel experiment across the United States. It was an exploration in traveling in the flow, trusting my intuition & exploring food and community. I WOOFed (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) on organic farms all over the country, volunteered in community gardens, work-traded at a raw food retreat center, visited farmers markets all over the US, and connected with locavores & healthy eaters all over the place. Everything I ate was the freshest food I’ve ever had. Most days were spent going straight out to the land to harvest what my soul felt called to prepare that day – picking the bounty straight from the earth. Fruit trees in Sedona, AZ created homemade coconut milk peach ice cream; a variety of both planted & foraged greens at an urban homestead in Asheville, NC created the most delicious wild salad; homemade farmers cheese in Maine melted on top of roasted garlic & rainbow chard gave us warmth when the sun went down; a feast shared with a community of 60 people in Savannah, GA deepened connection through nourishment of the body & the soul. There is no one memory – the entire year was full of the most amazing meals I’ve ever tasted or created, loads of new information about new ingredients and a continuous adventure into farm-to-table freshness.

elle

Wow such a good turnout on this comment thread!

My most memorable food experience while travelling was on my first trip to Europe, in 2007. It was one of those whirlwind “taste tester” trips – in other words we crammed in the major tourist destinations of 5 countries in two weeks! (I actually managed to lose weight due to the crazy pace, despite the fact I was indulging in treats all day long – Mmm gelato!)
Anyways, one of the days on the trip I will never forget because I ate EACH meal in a different country!
Breakfast was simple: cold cut meats, cheese, and bread in (you guessed it!) Germany. Then lunch was one of the best slices of pizza I’ve ever had (thin crust with fresh tasting tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and herbs) in Austria (I sat outside on a street curb to eat it, taking in as much of the city of Innsbruck as I could during our short stopover). Finally we made it to Italy in time for dinner, which was (no surprises here) pasta! Actually, there was a surprise when I realized the huge plate of spaghetti they had served us was in fact a starter course, and a chicken parmesan dish followed. Needless to say I was very full by the end of that meal!

Emily Fisher

In high school, I took a few trips to rural Mexico to work with a medical team. We would set up a small clinic in the middle of the desert and spend long, hot hours checking small children, old couples, and pregnant moms.

One night, we were tearing down and the woman who owned the home we had set up the clinic in told us she would cook for us. We were always a bit skeptical of food cooked in Mexico, but we did not with to be impolite.

She began pulling out cast iron skillets and large bowls. She mixed her own tortilla batter and mashed some cooked beans in a large skillet. The meal quickly and amazingly came together.

This woman – who lived in a tiny home in the middle of the desert – fed us some of the most incredible food I have ever tasted. Warm, fresh tortillas, beans, rice, and cool, crisp Coka-Cola – made with real sugar, as all Mexica cola is – on a hot Mexican night.

Someone gave us what little she had in order to do what she loved – feed people good food.

karli

Almost four years ago, I was blessed to travel to South Africa and work in several refugee camps on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The people had nothing-they lived in shacks, wore the same clothes every day, got their water from one small tap in the middle of their ‘village’. One woman that we visited, so excited to have special company, cooked us all the best meal that she could muster from her empty pantry- some rice, potatoes, a few spices. It was only enough for us each to have a few bites, but just sharing that meal with her taught us all so much. It unified us-showed us that we are all the same, though our circumstances may be vastly different. It was truly beautiful, and an experience that I will never forget.

Theresa

When I was younger, my parents loved to take us camping. We would borrow my aunt’s camper and head out to a campground. My favorite food memory was realizing that everything tastes better skewered on a stick and roasted over a fire. Like hotdogs, marshmallows, twinkies… :)

Ariel

On the trip down the coast of Taiwan, the train stops for just a few minutes at the small town of Jiaoxi and everyone runs to the door. I followed them and saw everyone reaching out to women on the platform, handing them 50 kuai (2 dollars) and getting a little paper lunchbox in return.

I dug into my pocket and got one too. Best little bento box I’ve had for the rest of the ride down the coast.

Paula

When traveling alone in Korea I met a few locals who wanted to practice speaking English and offered to take me to dinner. They also had an amazing sense of humor and decided to order all kinds of foods that they thought an American would freak out at. I tried them all. From the spiciest kimchi soup I have ever tasted to live baby octopus that literally stuck to my tongue with its tentacles. Afterwards we washed it all down with delicious pearl rice wine. Today I’ll try anything and I always try to turn my favorite dishes into something a bit ethnic and more healthy.

Leah D.

I spent a week in Los Angeles in March (it seriously was only a few weeks ago and is already such a treasured memory!) and planned as part of my visit to host with my friend and her husband a dinner at their house for several dear friends from college. Even though many live only minutes from each other, it had been years since we’d seen each other, let alone sat together for a long stretch of time, talking and laughing (like we’d done so often at our college cafeteria). I brought along my recipe for pulled pork that has been a hit at many a dinner party back home and once again it didn’t let me down. Over taco after taco, we all enjoyed and feasted, “I don’t even like pork, and I love this,” my friend declared! It was a beautiful picture of worlds colliding, my love for food, my love for these people, past and present all rolled up into one dinner.

Congrats Heidi on such a lovely book!
Look forward to bringing people around your food.

Melissa

The summer after I graduated from college, a group of us traveled to Poland and Latvia for two months. One particular restaurant in Krakow, Poland, we had Barszcz czerwony (beet soup), Pierogis, and Bigos (stew). The best part was, our table was in the center of a giant bed! The bed was sawn in two and benches were made from the headboard and footboard. A long table was placed right down the middle and filled with delicious, authentic Polish cuisine!

Lindsay

My husband and I walked from inn to inn along the windswept, raggedy Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales last March. When we got to Fishguard, we happened into a small cafe that advertised its daily soup on a large chalkboard behind the counter. It was pea and mint, and never was I more ready for a warm bowl of soup. I had never thought to pair those flavors together, but the nutty peas with the fresh blast of mint was so soothing and reenergizing at the same time. In general, the food in Wales blew me away. I was expecting fish and chips but we ate a lot of local, fresh, and organic food. I’m so excited that pea season is practically here in the midwest, so I can try to recreate that soup.

Amber

Studying in Cairo, Egypt a few years ago, I had the privilege of frequenting a nearby koshari shop. Koshari is Egyptian peasant fare, the kind of food that everyone eats and knows, but often isn’t given the appreciation it deserves. A combination of pasta, rice and garbanzo beans topped with a spiced tomato sauce I have yet to conquer at home. Though simple, the flavor is diverse and delicious and will forever bring me back to the Egypt I love.

Kate {domestikatedlife}

Gorgeous photos, looks like a great book!

My most memorable food experience was having pasta with meat sauce while camping in the Australian outback — I finished a huge portion by campfire when I overheard someone mentioning how delicious the Kangaroo meat tasted in the pasta sauce. Guess I know now that I like Kangaroo!

Jina

Street vendor food in Seoul, S. Korea / fresh sushi for breakfast in Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Japan / baked goods with espresso in Paris, France / Fetuccine with simple Ragu sauce & Florentine Steak in Florence, Italy. It is what we ate at each place that we remember the most… :)

lavinia

while on a sailing trip around the Greek islands on a small boat, our lunch every day consited of freshly caught fish, and local ingredients that we picked up at the market each morning before we boarded.

sheila

last june, my husband and i travelled to paris for the first time in our lives, for our tenth wedding anniversary. i had done some research before we left and we had made reservations to eat at a little restaurant called ‘Pramil’ , 9 rue du vertbois, in le Maraïs the night we arrived, since it was on a quiet, parisian side street just around the corner from the apartment we had rented. it was really a magical experience. i can’t remember what my husband had, but i started with the fois gras which was nestled in pastry and it just melted in my mouth. For the main course, I had their perfect rabbit with a gorgeous black olive reduction. we had a sublime argentinian malbec with our dinner, as well as champagne – their wine list is incredible. all i remember about the beautiful lemon dessert was really the chantilly cream. i wanted to cry it was so gorgeous! the atmosphere was upscale without any pretention and the staff were really friendly and professional. to finish what was already a perfect evening, the lovely, burly french chef came around to each table to make sure his patrons were pleased with their meals. i struggled a bit with my school french enough to say, ‘i feel as though i am eating with angels’, because it really was a divine evening. he pointed at my husband, and i shook my head, ‘not him’. we had a good laugh. we ate there on our first night in paris, and again on our last. just a gorgeous culinary experience, within a perfect, quiet, romantic, delicious atmosphere.

jenni o

Almost ten years ago, my friend and I traveled to Greece to visit our college classmate and friend, Babis, who is from Athens. One night, we were invited out to dinner by his uncle. Since dinner often does not start till at least 10 pm, we started the evening at a coffee house with Babis and his friend, eating appetizers and drinking coffee and wine. Then we drove across town to his uncle’s favorite restaurant. It was small, inviting, and unpretentious. Babis’ uncle ordered an incredible feast for us. Slow-cooked marinated lamb, roasted chicken, rice pilaf, marinated vegetables, and many many more dishes, so much we didn’t think we could possibly finish it all. His uncle would speak long, rambling speeches to us two young blond girls, and Babis’ translation was always just a sentence long. He refused to tell us the (obviously romantically inclined) things his uncle said. We ate and drank for hours, and before long, musicians had started to play music, and his uncle insisted we all dance in the middle of the restaurant. It was a fantastic night—one of my favorite memories, and I’ve never experienced anything like it since.

Kim K.

It was the first time I’d visited my boyfriend’s family and hometown outside Cleveland, and one day he said “We can either go to the art museum… or we can get a meal you’ll never forget.” Duh, I chose the meal! We went to Melt Bar and Grilled and it was exactly what I needed. Outside it was cold, snowing and icy, but inside it was dark, warm, and inviting. Tons of beer on tap, the most enormous artery clogging and imaginative grilled cheeses, fries and slaw. Everytime we go back to Ohio, I make him take me there– my goal is to try every sandwich on the menu!

Lee B

When I was 20 I went to italy with a good freind of mine, to visit another freind who was studying there for a year. She was staying in Bolognia but took us on a train to see Venice. The trip was fantastic, but it was also in late December and it was POURING. If you’ve ever been to Venice then you know that their little alleys and walkways are, many of them, too narrow to open an umbrella in! Which means that by the time it started raining we were totaly lost, in the dark, in the pouring rain, with 3 useless umbrellas. We got our soggy selves into a little mom-and-pop place, and ordered some fantastic rissoto. It was my first time eating rissoto, and I loved it! It was so good that even though all 3 of us wound up with horrible flus and were throwing up shortly after getting off the train home, I still remember it fondly! not the most picturesque food travel story, I admit, but it takes some pretty amazing food to be remembered with such reverence when it was eaten while I was cold and soggy, and i got sick off of it later!

Caitlin

Barcelona, on my honeymoon. We spent a lot of afternoons napping in true Spanish style, and would emerge at night to the splendor of a thousand food possibilities. One night, in the old city, we found a traditional Catalan cafe. I ordered a salad with warm goat cheese, honey, and nuts, and it was the best thing I’ve ever had.

Ashley

My husband and I took our honeymoon in China a few years back and most of the time we were supplied meals through the tour group we booked through. however, I was intent on having a real Chinese meal, one that wasnt being catered to westerners which I had a feeling was happening with the meals we were served. One evening in Beijing, I took my very nervous new husband through some dark back streets of the city in search of some authentic Peking duck. After 10 minutes of searching through dark alleys, we came across a wonderful little restaurant and had probably the best Chinese food I had ever had. In the end my husband agreed that the adventure was worth it, after all we both love food. It brings us together every day.

Laura G.

Once on my study abroad in Germany, I was eating pretzels with my host family. I happily started putting mustard on mine, and I won’t ever forget the looks on their faces! They looked at me like I had just dropped from Mars! Evidently, they never eat mustard on them–just butter! Whoops!

Marla

One of my favorite food memories happened in Dessau, Germany when I was studying abroad for the summer in school. A couple friends and I got together at a local Greek place (they’re big in Germany!), ordered some crazy meat dishes, and settled in to wait. Little did we know, in the Greek restaurants they serve you Ouzo, an odd licorice-flavored liquor, every half hour that you take as a shot with the whole table. It was definitely an experience! And we went back many times after. :)

Amy

I’m a vegan now, but my favorite travel food memory involves fresh caught seafood! I went to Turks and Caicos when I was 16 and my mom and I went on a Conch Tour around one of the islands. Midway through the tour, our captain anchored the boat, dove off, and came back up with giant conch shells. He pulled the slug-like conch out of its shell, chopped it up, and made ceviche right on board! It was so fresh and delicious but the experience of seeing it caught and prepared right in front of us was the best part!

Kathleen F.

When I was 20 I spent two weeks traveling through Italy with one of my cousins and my youngest Aunt. As you can imagine, we had lots of memorable eating experiences. However one particular meal stands out in my mind above all others. We were staying in one of the five fishing villages known as Cinque Terre which is on the Italian Riviera. Our “hostel” room had a balcony that hung over the tip of the marina. The first night we were there we descended from our breezy room to a small water front restaurant. There were no more than five tables in the place. Everything we had was wonderful, the wine, the pasta, but my Aunt’s order took the cake. It was a firm white fish encrusted in fresh herbs. The fish was flaky and succulent and had definitely been caught in the last 24 hours. We ate as the sun set over the Mediterranean. Wow do I want to go back there!

Janna

I was in Vietnam with a group of students. One evening I was with four other people standing in a square. We were approached by a large group of people that wanted to practice speaking English. We were individually surrounded by an eager group that were trying so hard to communicate with us and so excited to be doing it. After a while my group told me they would like to take my friends and I somewhere special. We followed them down the street and into a small ice cream shop. They treated us to a simple and perfect ice cream treat. They found a common link between us. Everyone loves ice cream.

Kay Clark

When I was in high school, I spent 10 days in Japan as part of a student program. We were coached before we left to try everything we were offered to eat so as not to be impolite, and I did. At a picnic with our host families, I was served a small, gray, gelatinous-looking cube along with other, more recognizable dishes. A million things went through my mind, but what stuck? Whale blubber. Like a good student, I tried it, but I couldn’t swallow and the more I chewed, the bigger it got (at least in my mind). I finally had to spit it out. Rather than being offended, my host family tried diligently to explain what it was. Turns out the whale blubber was actually a pickled potato. I think of that memorable experience now whenever I’m faced with something exotic … I try to assume that it’s not so foreign and unknown, just a different form of something I probably already known. That early experience has opened up a whole new world of food to me!

Abby L.

When I was in 5th grade, I traveled with my family to Shanghai, China for a month while my dad was teaching a short course at a university there. Our very meal off the plane was with my father’s colleagues – they had arranged for a HUGE family style dinner. Jetlagged and exhausted by being dropped into a new culture, I could barely stay awake during dinner. However, my eyes opened in shock as a new dish was passed to me – chicken feet! Straight off the chicken with skin and claws included. My ten-year-old self was not going to be that daring on the first day, but I felt relieved when our hosts said, “We don’t eat those either!” Thankfully, a feast of flavorful meats, colorful veggies and fluffy rice was within an arm’s reach. I’ll never forget my first REALLY foreign food experience!

Katy

I had a fantastic meal at a really nice restaurant in London – seared scallops, several mini creme brulee flavors. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the restaurant or the hotel it was in, but I do remember how yummy the food was!

Julie @SavvyEats

In October, we cycled through Italy for our honeymoon. After one of our long rides, we went on a truffle hunting demonstration just outside Alba, then enjoyed a truffle-filled meal paired with local wines. The absolute best course was the fresh tagliatelle with shaved truffles, which they shaved directly onto our plates at the table!

Steph Craft

I’m a grower, I have a garden almost every year and grew up on a farm. You would think that I would have a fix on farmer’s markets, but up until 6 years ago I didn’t.
It was my honeymoon in Hawaii, the second week of two when we hit Kauai. I had researched some off-the-path places and discovered the Sunshine Farmer’s Markets; I had the itinerary for the week just in case we had a want to go.
We landed Kauai, checked-in to our condo and went straightaway to the Sunshine Market in Kapa’a.
Oh glory be! So much produce! There’s a guy opening up coconuts with a machete–can I have one? Ooh, apple bananas are so good. Look at the size of those avocados!
Needless to say, I (my husband joined in as soon as he tasted those apple bananas) ran amok and stocked our rental kitchen for the week with plenty of fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the cost I would have spent at the grocery there.
Wherever we went we always had fresh snacks, and when we ran out of bananas there were always roadside stands we could hit to restock.
That was the start of my obsession with vacation-time farmer’s markets.

Mari

I’ve been several times by my friends’ summer cottage in northern Finland, but the first time was the best. We drove there for several hours, stuffed in a car with two big dogs. When we arrived, he started to heat the chilly cottage, and I went to the forest with my girlfriend. That autumn there were wild mushrooms everywhere. We already knew which ones were edible, delicious or poisonous; so we started collecting them. In some hours we collected 6 big buckets full. In the evening we sat in front of the fireplace, chopping the mushrooms, cooking them, and putting them into huge glass jars with salt. My friend roasted some ducks and made some awesome pillao rice with extra veggies. It was the best duck I’ve ever got.
I got so much wild mushrooms that I could eat them the whole winter, and I also gave them to my friends and relatives. I “invented” several new dishes because I used mushrooms in pretty much everything that winter!

Aušra

My best memory about food is from Germany. It was about tree years ago. I went with my boyfriend to Dresden for visit his brother. It was very romantic trip, but we didn’t eat anything specials. I cook a lot of Lithuanian dishes, because I didn’t eat anything what I didn’t cook by myself.

It was last day of our trip. We went to old town. Weather was very sunny and warm. It was Sunday, so it was a market day in Dresden. People were buying fresh-baked bread with fresh made and roasted frankfurter poured with mustard. The smell was wonderful. The first time in my life I wanted to eat something, what I didn’t make by myself! Vilius (that’s my boyfriend name) bought two frankfurter with fresh bread and we went to eat it by the Zwinger. We sat by pond, ate frankfurter, drank some riesling wine (which we had bought earlier). Sun was so warm and shiny. I looked to my boyfriend and I understood that I could do anything in my life if he will be with my. After a year we became husband and wife. He is love of my life, my best friend. I tried a lot of different food after that day in Dresden. I discovered many tastes, many new dishes (before that I ate only traditional Lithuanian or diet food). I never forget that fresh-baked bread with frankfurter poured with mustard taste. It’s so simple, but so inspiring. :)

That’s my story. :}

Stephanie

I remember the smell of the oven burning in my grandmother’s home in Belgium. It had a rustic smell that begged for some bread or tarte to be placed in it. Bonne Maman spoiled me us (me and my two older sisters) whenever we came to visit. Our times there were short and far between, living in Texas, but our memories are long lasting. She would treat us to making bread shaped in letters of our names, and twisting the dough for the lattice top of her famous tartes. Years later, I now consider myself obsessed with baking. I like to think of my hobby now as not a penchant for something sweet, but rather a gift I inherited from Bonne Maman.

Ammy Belle

Hm … back in 2008, my parents decided to bring me and my two sisters back to the homeland to see it as a family, for probably the last time before we all leave for college and work and such. So we started off in Lisbon and went towards the coast of Portugal where my dad grew up. Along the way we stopped at Cabo da Roca – the South Western Continental Europe – it is so windy but so beautiful – the waves just crash beneath you, and you stand under the lighthouse and look up towards the horizon and just remember how big the world really is.
Being as it was about … oh, 8 or 9, my parents drove us down to the little village on the edge of the cliff next to Cabo da Roca, and we got out of the car and went in search of a restaurant. We found this white washed stucco little house that was built into the side of the cliff wall, and went in. Inside the whole thing was lit by lanterns and the atmosphere was beautiful. We were ushered into the dining room pretty quickly (it was, I think, a Wednesday or Thursday night, so it was rather empty) and we were seated next to the lobster tank.
My sisters, unadventurous and Canadian to their core, ordered beef and frites. My parents and I, however, much more Portuguese then I realized, opted for the grilled octopus and onion potatoes.
I suppose why this is such an awesome memory about food is because, when it came, I kind of crinkled my brow and stared at it, trying to figure out why there was a huge octopus on my plate – I was used to North America, where the octopus was grilled or fried until it no longer resembled anything but a brittle piece of driftwood. And let me tell you – with a little lemon and some olive oil – it was divine! Divine!
Thanks for letting me share! :)
And thanks, too for the contest! :)

marydougherty

on our honeymoon in the bahamas it was also my birthday and we went out to this little restaurant called tippy’s. It was a perfect beachside place where the wind blew in and the food was so fresh I probably could have walked down and seen them pull the fish out of the ocean. We discovered the most amazing meal in basic dishes – bruschetta and fish and chips – but it was cooked to perfection. I know that some day we’ll go back to that island and whether we are able to go to that restaurant again I’ll never forget that perfect meal that defined our honeymoon

Dana

I just got back from New Orleans where I had the most amazing culinary experience. I spent two days there and ate pretty much the entire time. My favorite part was the culinary tour we took. We ate things from turtle soup to beef brisket. It was truly divine and wish I were back there right now!

Brinn

I have been OBSESSED with cooking ever since i was just a little girl:) When we were about 7, me and my sister tried to make cupcakes all by ourselves for the first time. but we didn’t understand the concept of measuring the ingredients! We thought that all you had to do was throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together…..Well, when the “cupcakes” came out of the oven, they were flat and sticky (and there was too much baking soda in there too i think:) haha….We were so proud of ourselves though!

Lindsay L.

I lived in Italy for 6 months when I was a Junior in college and I have more experiences from that time alone to even count!

This one was one of the most memorable however:

It was towards the end of the semester, so mid-May, and my roommates and I had made a last ditch effort to go on one more trip before we were actually broke. We planned on Capri, Sorrento, Positano, and Pompei in a long weekend. We ended up staying at a campground on the water in Sorrento that over-looked Vesuvius, and ohmygosh it was amazing in one of those it’s-so-rustic-but-that-doesn’t-even-matter kind of ways.

On the last night in Sorrento, in our broken Italian we asked the campground owners where we could get some good seafood, and he scribbled us a little map and scratched a vaguely legible restaurant name. We zig-zagged down the side of a cliff highway terrified for our lives, for what seemed like ages, when a van pulled over asking if we needed help. Our immediate reaction was to ignore him or flee, but we soon realized the same restaurant we were trying to find was printed on the side of his van and he indeed was the owner!

He drove us the rest of the way to his restaurant on the beach and then didn’t even let us pick our meals, but spent the next 5 hours bringing out plates and plates and plates of local muscles in a simple white wine and garlic sauce, fresh pasta, homemade limoncello, hot crusty bread, and never-ending pitchers of house white wine. As we feasted with our feet in the sand and the stars up above, a dozen local kids had come down to the beach to let off what seemed like a million sky lanterns…it was a truly magical experience.

Sorrento, Italy with my best friends, amazing food and wine, the stars, and the sand between your toes…it really doesn’t get much better than that :-)

Lori

For me, it’s a toss up.
# 1: wherever we travel, we always seek out a street/farmers market for local cheeses, breads, fruit, and sweets of some kind for an on-the-spot picnic. A really fun travel tradition that we talk about long after we have returned home…comparing the same menu from different parts of the world..
#2 – Cafe Paradiso in Cork Ireland, the most amazing guest house and vegetarian restaurant. Brunch: perfectly creamy scrambled eggs over sourdough bead with purple potato hash and roasted tomatoes. Dinner: carrot, goat cheese, almond terrine followed by a white bean risotto, followed by the most incredible chocolate and olive oil cake. We often talk about going back to Cork just to visit this one place!

Jessie

I had the most amazing coconut red beans and rice in Belize a long, long time ago. It was a dish I’d never even imagined before- but it was so simple and delicious. I’ve tried to recreate it a few times since, but just haven’t quite achieved it :( .

Tamsin

Visiting my family in Cornwall, England every summer and biting into the first pasty of the summer. So many of my memories of Cornwall center around food: baps from the bakery in the park, fish & chips on the beach followed by ice cream cones (with a Flake bar!) on the walk home.

I’ve eaten lots of crazy and fantastic food in crazy and fantastic places since then, but nothing beats the childhood classics!

Donut Girl

Being a vegetarian on vacation in Mexico is harder than you would think. Luckily we stayed at a great little eco resort with awersome breakfast and 2 other small hotels within walking distance that served dinner.

They both boasted “vegetarian menu options”, but one simply listed it as “the vegetarian special” on the menu. I was skeptical, but didn’t have any alternative except trail mix in the hotel room.

I was wonderfully surprised with an amazing dish of diced papaya, onions, and other veggies, seasoned with coriander and such. It was served in the papaya, baked with melted cheese over the top, and with tortilla chips for dipping.

All of this was served under the moonlight while overlooking the ocean. Good times!

Courtney West

As an archaeology major in college, I had to do a “field school”. I chose to do mine on Easter Island and the best meal I had on that trip was a freshly caught fish roasted on a small make-shift fire near the rocky coast of where we were working.

A local man named Cacho would come work with us everyday and one friday he decided to catch us all fish (our work site was right on the coast), and then roast them up. After we all chowed down (and figured out how to eat a whole fish with our bare hands), Cacho made a small offering to his ancestors, thanking them for the fish. I think that was the first we all realized what an amazing place we were in.

I could not even tell you what type of fish it was, and maybe it was really the awe of being in such an amazing environment, but that fish was one of the best meals I have ever had. It tasted fresh with a tinge of salt from the sea water and also slightly smoky from the fire. It is hands down one of the best meals and memories I have.

Barb

My boyfriend is Lithuanian and I’m American. My most memorable food experience was traveling with him to the small Lithuanian town where his mother lives. She doesn’t speak English, but she communicated through her food. She showed me her goat, milked it and then served it with a plate full of homemade goat cheese topped with raw honey made by her neighbor’s bees. The honey was not like the pure liquid honey I was used to. It was also my first time having fresh warm goat’s milk! So delicious, and it does not compare to the store-bought American milk I grew up on. After this snack, she served her homemade version of “Cepelinai”, the Lithuanian national dish made of grated potato dumplings filled with meat. She also made a version stuffed with a type of cheese. Everything was so satisfying, and it seemed to fit their climate. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal since it was very Lithuanian and it showed me how their people eat locally grown food from their land.

Nikki

My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to snag a table @ Le Chateaubriand in Paris a few weeks ago. It was everything that I dreamed a Paris dining experience to be and more. Classic small bistro setting, freshly prepared food, great wine, & impeccable service. The 5 course dinner was quite experimental and delicious in every bite. We also talked to a couple behind us in line waiting for a table, and now we are friends.

Nicholette Tilghman

My most memorable food experience was in South Africa, visiting my then boyfriend for two weeks while he was doing missionary/video production teaching work. He had a friend at the seminary who lived in a town called Paarl, very close to where the beginnings of apartheid originated, further inland from Cape Town and close to the mountains. Shayne is colored, which is what they call the mixed races there. We planned on spending a day or two with him. The first night we were there he had invited all of his friends for a get-together at his friend’s parent’s house to hang out with us two white American kids. While we all spent time playing charades, listening to his friends telling jokes, and laughing and singing songs, they slowly made what is called a “poike pot”–a big cast-iron pot over an open, woodfired ,filled with layers of vegetables and meat to slowly steam and cook. I will never forget that intimate time with so many people I had just met. The food was delicious, but most incredible of all was the experience of sharing that time, waiting for our meal, with those people–people who rarely spend time with whites, let alone Americans (racial separation is still the norm there). The next day Shayne thanked us for spending time with him and his friends when there were so many other things we could have gone to see or do, but I don’t know if he or his friends will ever know how much that night together touched me and my now husband. It was probably the best example to me of how food can bring people together in a way nothing else can.

Andi

One of my most memorable meals was in the sacred valley of the Andes in Peru. I ordered trout cooked on roof tile, and that’s exactly what I got: a whole fish, stuffed with garlic, herbs, and butter on what looked like a tile taken directly from the lodge’s roof.

The next morning for breakfast there were these tiny mountain strawberries that tasted like someone packed the flavor from a whole pint of regular strawberries into one little bite. I can’t wait to go back.

Julie

While backpacking around Mexico we woke up at dawn on Xmas Eve (my birthday) to stumble across the fishermen at the fishing collective as they came in from sea with their morning catch. Impromptu and at sunrise, my memorable meal was a kind of sashimi tostadas. We made them on the beach, and with no utensils. We had bites of delicious raw fish, tomato, avocado, jalapeno, squirts of lemon, and fried tostadas. Next, we cleaned our messy hands and faces with a swim in the ocean. Finally, we took a morning nap on warm beach. Thank you!

Christine

I have a food/travel memory to share…

I was traveling to Naples, Italy in High school for a language exchange class. Our student group was staying in a converted monastery and it still employed some of the nuns who had once worked for the church. They provided our meals but they, I’m sorry to be blunt, we very bad cooks. I supplemented my meals with ample gelato but it wasn’t till our class went out for Naples style pizza complete with super fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, and homemade italian tomato sauce did I realize all that I had been missing! I was stuck by how incredibly delicious yet simple this pizza was, and how even though I was eating pizza the freshness of ingredients made it a pretty healthy meal.

God, I crave that pizza!

Natasha S

Years ago, I took my mom to Paris for a mother’s day gift. We were touring Notre Dame Cathedral on a beautiful sunny spring day and mom got restless. Being indoors on a sunny day (even if it is one of the world’s most famous cathedrals) is not her cuppa tea. So a quick glance at the Rose Window and we left to enjoy the blue sky. We wandered onto the Ile Saint-Louis and I dragged mom to the cutest bistro. Sitting in the window we ordered omlettes and were surprised when a very simple dish was brought to us. We were used to American omlettes, big, greasy, overstuffed & oozing with cheese. These were light, fluffy, with just a sprinkling of fresh herbs and a yummy buttery taste, accompanied only by a side of lovely fruit. OMG….this was the best tasting egg dish we had ever had! Mom was in heaven! Sitting with daughter in a sunny window in a Paris bistro, eating a decidedly delicious french egg dish, overlooking the Seine and Notre Dame…..best Mother’s day ever!!

megs

When I was in the Kyrgyz Republic, my sweet hostess prepared me a ‘sandwich’ consisting of thin, fried bread, oil and freshly-clipped grass from a nearby field. She told me that it was special type of grass, suitable for human consumption. Let’s just say that my system did not find it so digestible…

Thanks for a chance at this amazing cookbook. I love Heidi’s blog and am running out of new recipes to try in Super Natural Cooking. :)

Katie

We took an ill-timed, long-planned trip to the Oregon coast to stay in most-awesome, state-park-provided yurt with some old friends. The unrelenting rain finally ceased long enough for us to throw our (thankfully) dry wood into our campfire, get it alight by starlight, and roast some foil-wrapped, chocolate-stuffed BANANA BOATS! They become caramelized, melty and marvelous–miracullous mood lifters, especially in this kind of situation. :)

Brianna

My favorite vacation meal has to be the dinner my husband and I shared the first night of our honeymoon.

It had been a long day of travel getting to Aruba and we were both completely drained from the excitement and the rush of what still is my favorite wedding of all time- ours.

We knew that we were travelling during Aruba’s rainy season, but everyone assured us that it wouldn’t be much more than 30 minutes a day, so we weren’t too concerned. Turns out, over the first 3 days of our honeymoon, the island got more rain than they had in the previous 3 YEARS, combined.

Quite a few things weren’t open because people couldn’t get to work. The rain had been so bad that roads all over were flooded.

We wound up sitting on the beach at the only restaurant our resort had staff to open, and having a random sampling of the appetizers and some of the dishes that they were able to prepare- kind of a samplig from all the restaurant styles across the resort.

We sat at our table and laughed and relaxed. We enjoyed everything we ate- no matter how random it seemed, and just watched the clouds roll by and the storms continue to roll in.

It really was a wonderful start to a fantastic honeymoon.

sam

my husband and i absolutely love food and when we travel our goal is always to have an amazing meal that represents the city/country in which we are visiting. one of our favourite food experiences was during our very first trip together to canmore, alberta. it was our first experience with tapas-style eating and we ordered one plate at a time, devouring every little bite and sipping wine in between plates. after 3 hours of constant eating and drinking we were completely satisfied.

to this day, 7 years later, we still talk about this restaurant (it still exists!), ask every person who mentions canmore if they’ve been there (or tell people who are traveling to go there!), google it and look up the menu on occasion, and loosely dream of opening up our own tapas restaurant.

mmmm…my mouth is watering just reliving the memories!

(p.s. i love heidi’s blog!!)

Kayley

While studying abroad in Mexico during my undergrad years, I was visiting a home in the country. This may be a bit too much information for some, so bear with me on this next part. The only bathroom was outside, literally a deep hole dug into the ground with a shed built around it. Cringing and perhaps cursing in Spanish, I began to the do the lady squat when I hear a noise below me. Freaked out, I jumped back and ran out of the “bathroom” to be followed by a pig! A pig! That next night, there was pork for dinner. Talk about an interesting meal. :)

This book looks divine! Congratulations to Heidi on her accomplishment!

Vanessa

It was years ago, but my family and I traveled to Cancun my junior year in high school for a family vacation. Our second night there we went to a restaurant which had a balcony right on the river. Despite the heat, we sat outside, watched the sunset, heard the animals begin their chatter, and enjoyed the warm breeze. It was there that I tried my first scallops (which were out of this world), and we all enjoyed platefuls of fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients. The food and setting was absolutely incredible, and it’s a dining experience I will never forget.

Elisa B.

My most memorable food memory are actually a collection of memories. For as long as I can remember (because it all started with my dad gong there in college), when driving the 11 hours from our home in Southern California to my grandparents’ home in Northern California, we have stopped for ice cream at Fenton’s Creamery in Berkeley (the very same Fenton’s featured in the movie “UP”). It is a bay area institution, with the same 50s soda shop feel. Some of my fondest childhood (and adulthood) memories has been at Fenton’s, with an enormous ice cream sundae dripping in hot fudge and caramel sauce all to myself, with an even bigger sundae in front of my dad (he ALWAYS gets Swiss milk chocolate as one of his flavors). He would tell me stories about how he and his friends would go there all the time while in college, and how the ridiculously large banana splits were even BIGGER than they are now (they were the size of footballs, no joke).
My favorite story is the one where he was dared to eat TWO banana splits in one sitting. Against all odds, he did it. You would think anyone would feel sick to their stomach after so much ice cream but my dad swears that the most shocking feeling upon completion was how cold his insides felt. If you ask me, he is an ice cream god. Haha.

Koko

Finally, one out my two most awaited books of the year is out :)

Here’s mine: It’s not from a holiday, but as I can’t go back, it might as well be!

I grew up in Jeddah, and our family and friends would frequent a tiny little Turkish restaurant, on a non-descript street full of shops. It was the least fancy place we ever went to, but the most memorable. For us it was THE Turkish Restaurant.

You could barely seat 4 families there.
It was tiled floor, fluorescent lit, dinky tables, undesigned, colourless, seemingly staffed by only 2 people, unpretentious and awesome.

The moment we sat down they’d start bringing baskets of fresh bread, cut in strips and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Does anything beat fresh bread? The first crunch, then the softness…You could see the stone oven on the other side of the room divider. Along with this was a giant platter with more than 8 different dips/garnishes/salads for the bread, like a colour wheel.

We wouldn’t even get through one basket of bread when they’d run in, and take it away, replacing it with fresher, hotter bread. I could never get enough of the appetizer!

So, being a kid, I’d usually get a variation on it – a pizza of sorts. I have no idea what was in it, but the salty cheese, herbs and thin, thin crust were amazing!

My dad always ordered a meat (beef?) and veg dish that would arrive in a black, stone dish, sizzling. And just as it was placed on the table, the waiter would drop in another knob of butter and the whole thing would hiss like crazy!

I can’t imagine getting food like that in Toronto (and we have some amazing food here). We’d go there because it was a fraction of the cost of the American fast-food joints that were starting to spring up.

I wish I’d paid more attention to food as a kid. Every now and then I find myself scouring the internet trying to figure out the recipes from that place.

Richy Mc Cusker

So many fun food experiences to pick from…rabbit stew in Romania, swordfish in Sorrento, Italy, gelato in Rome, haggis in Edinburgh…my favourite though has to be a more simple measure…one cold wet rainy day in ireland, my wife and I were on the way to visit my sister when she called to say she was held up and was going to be an hour later that planned…as we were already on the road we decided to make a stop for a cup of tea somewhere…We stopped at Bellinteer house, Co Meath, ireland and ordered tea, coffee and scones…The tea and coffee arrived in big pots, with creamer, milka nd sugar…and the scones arrived on a wooden chopping board, with pure butter, fresh clotted cream, and homemade strawberry jam! It was just awesome, the scones were hot so the butter oozed and melted and the cream and jam was just divine…Hmmm…it was so good

Mira

Last summer while travelling in Belgium we visited an ice cream shop which was located in the farm where all the milk came from. The best and the most memorable thing: it smelled like cow inside the ice cream shop! :)

Brittany

I remember sitting on a bench in Salzburg, Austria with a pastry, watching the sun rise and the city coming to life. Our train had come in soooo early, so we were forced to just sit and enjoy and savor. It was fabulous.

Amber

I believe I have been a foodie since birth. I was the girl who would make potato doughnuts with friends in grade school, tabouleh for sleepovers in middle school and Persian teacake for breakfast in high school. Before I went to college I spent a year in Northeast Brazil discovering new cultures, foods and learning a new language. I couldn’t believe the flavor in everything I ate; the grilled cheese and meat stands, the flaky pastels and fejioada, even the fruit had a richer taste. But all of these paled in comparison to the conchina de frango. It was what I ate for lunch almost every day. I have never been able to recreate it or had it recreated here with the same flavor. I guess that means another trip south!

rochelle

I have a few –1st – Chestertown Maryland in a random restaurant on the water on my first ‘roadtrip date weekend’ with who wold later become my husband. The most amazing crab soup served with sherry (ah-mazing) to pour over the top. 2nd – Siena, Italy with my (now) husband, mother and father (my parents first time to Italy) on thanksgiving. I could have eaten the white beans with sage and olive oil til I was sick. Couple it with cozy atmosphere and the lovely people and it was a perfect holiday meal. and 3rd – Again for thanksgiving, this time with close friends and my two children celebrating the christening of my son in burgundy, france. I had never eaten beef tartare before but it was a celebratory night so I went for it….now it is my gold standard for french restaurants…how good is the tartare? now I’m hungry…..

mllep

Years ago I went to Taxco, Mexico for a month. My friend is a jewelry designer and had to visit her silver makers, so I came along. We ate excellent gorditas made on the street in front of the one Episcopal church in this very Catholic area, and they made some with Jumil (sp?) which turn out to be chopped up little bugs! Really there was no obvious bug taste to them once they were grilled on the homemade bbq, but it was exciting to be in a new place with bats whirling overhead in the evenings, and donkeys milling about the local tourist board (I never saw any people there). The trip was such a high-low mixture of food – homemade cactus tacos, mangos on a stick, and many cokes and Pinguinos – a sort of Mexican cing dong.
I hear things are much changed now there so I am glad to have the memory of how it was – food is so tied to an entire atmosphere around it sometimes.

Stephanie

My partner and I recently took a trip to the Sierra Madres in Mexico. The food was constantly outstanding with nothing but organically grown vegetables. On one of our last days there we made a trip out to a local village where we had freshly made tortillas and churros. We eventually stopped to eat at a cactus farm where we dined on corn tortillas made on a clay stove, beans that seemed to melt in your mouth, guacamole, pico, and cactus salsa, which was sweet and savory. We also had papaya and watermelon. Everything was so fresh and delicious but there was also a deep sense of tradition. I have been trying to relive the experience in my home ever since.

Nancy Smith

I went to India on a study abroad one summer in college. We ate at the most amazing place while in Delhi. It was our first dinner in India. After arriving at the restaurant, we all lounged in hammocks and on fluffy daybeds in the most beautiful patio, under a canopy of trees, drinking cocktails and Kingfisher for a couple of hours while they made our food (they only would start cooking as soon as your group showed up). When it was time to eat, we moved to a rooftop overlooking the city. The meal was served on banana leaves stitched together. And the food and flavors were amazing. They brought us about a million different dishes, breads, and sauces, and simply dolloped everything on the banana leaves, and we ate by hand, sitting on the floor, slowly savoring every single flavor, drinking in the food, company, and views of the city. It was my first dinner out in the city, and it was amazing. I will never forget what an amazing experience it was. I think the meal lasted something like four hours! I have gone to many Indian restaurants since returning, and nothing has ever come close to the flavors I experienced in that one evening of truly ethereal Northen India cuisine.

Meghan

We were on our honeymoon in Italy, in a super small town, and the concierge at our hotel told us we had to go to a restaurant called “City Pizza” (not translated- that was its name) in an even smaller town down the road, and he immediately made us reservations. We had no problem getting a table anyway, because there was a local soccer team playing a game on TV, and the ENTIRE TOWN was watching it. We know this is true because the restaurant was open-air, and every time something happened in the game, the whole town would cheer or boo. Since traffic was light in the restaurant, the chef just kept bringing us food. Pizzas, fried squash blossoms, salads, and the most AMAZING pasta dish I’ve ever had. It was a “fruita de mare” with mussels, and shrimp, and clams, and I don’t even know what else (and everything was still in it’s shell.) The red sauce was UNREAL. The pasta was handmade, handrolled, and hand-cut (we could tell because the widths varied widely, even from one tip of a strand to the other.) When the chef carried it out from the oven, it was all wrapped up in tin foil, which he folded into a swan shape for us. As he was manipulating the swan, the residual heat of the foil actually ignited some of the oil in the dish, and it was FLAMING while he was folding it. (He didn’t bat an eye though, just moved his hands more quickly.)

It was the most amazing meal we’ve ever had, in the most inconspicuous little town, in the most humble restaurant (with it’s plastic chairs and tables), but I would eat there every night if I could.

Leah

When I was 7, my family went to Ocean City, Maryland to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins. After a fantastic day at the beach, my Uncle Dan took my brother and two cousins to a nearby boat ramp, and taught us how to catch crabs using string and a bit of bait to lure them in. We spent a couple of hours catching our dinner, and then took the crabs over to my Uncle’s neighbor’s house to get them steamed. We spent the night eating a long, leisurely meal, telling stories and jokes, and enjoying each others company. I had never eaten crab before, and was surprised at home much fun it was to use the little hammer and pick, and at how yummy it tasted. For some reason, my aunt and uncle always ate dinner late, so some of the appeal came from staying up past my bedtime, too!.

Aside from the food, the memory sticks out for me because of who I shared it with. Less than a year after that trip, my mom passed away from breast cancer. During this time she was in remission, and this was one of my last memories of her being healthy. 15 years later, we lost my aunt to cancer. too. To this day, crab always reminds me of that wonderful trip, and how happy our families were together.

Willy

The details of one of my favorite experience are a bit blurred since it occurred when I was only 7. My family went to a divey seafood restaurant where I had the most amazing fried shrimp in my life. But that’s not my favorite part of the experience. My parents ordered a slice of lemon meringue pie for dessert and being the curious taster that I am, I wanted to try it (thinking it was just like a lemon cool whip pie). My 7 year old taste buds were not sophisticated enough to enjoy the flavors so I slyly spit the meringue into my glass of water. This proceeded to questions from my family of what was wrong with my water followed by fits of laughter after i told them i spit my pie into it. Luckily, my manners (and taste) have vastly improved.

vina

i pulled a julia roberts/eat love pray and traveled to peru by myself. couldn’t speak a lick of spanish so i tried dishes that sounded the prettiest (often were indeed beautiful dishes). but my favorite and most memorable meal was on the way to an incan ruin, we were in the middle of nowhere in a valley surrounded by mountains and the entire bus of tourists had reservations for lunch, so i walked off alone to what seemed like someone’s house. they made me a simple grilled chicken sandwich but picked tomatos from the vine and lettuce from their farm. it was so tasty and fresh and knowing that it was from the very land i came to see was just beautiful.

edie

My friend Janet and I were backpacking in Italy. One night we saw a long line up outside a little ‘hole in the wall’ ristorante. The line up was full of italians, so we knew that was our spot!
We took our place at the back of the line, but a group ahead of us motioned to us to join them. We joined this lively group of Nepalese folks for dinner. Janet and I with our minimal Italian and they with their sparse English communicated with eyes and gestures and broken ‘Italish’
They ordered for us: Insalata, Pasta Carbonara, apples and cheeses, and mineral waters. When the bill came, they insisted on paying…it was a wonderful meal – a true Italian experience!

Karin

I was 18, the summer between high school and cooking school, on vacation in Italy with my family. The trip was filled with incredible food, but the meal that stands out above all the rest was a tiny restaurant on a cliff outside of Vernazza. The walls were open to the ocean view and the whole restaurant was connected to the owners house. The man of the house was our chef, his wife, our waitress, and every so often the kids and dogs would run through to show various treasures to their parents. We had spaghetti with mussels, garnished with a sunset over the ocean– simple, delicious and full of magic.

Ana

Easily has to be on a trip to my home land in Portugal. As we travelled through the country, one night my boyfriend and I stopped at a tiny restaurant in the middle of a tiny town. The place was owned by the cutest and most loving elderly couple, who treated us to a simple but delicious home made sausage and potato dinner drizzled over with local olive oil. With marinated olives and fresh bread, all cured and baked in house. As the only ones in the restaurant at that time (locals eat very late in Portugal, we were early) they led us to sit in their private terrace that overlooked a beautiful valley as the sun set. Absolutely breathtaking and the best food experience to date.

Cristin

In this country, tequila shots live up to their hypodermic namesake― quick, painful fluid injections. A mix of salt and tart lime terrible tequila; not something to be savored.

Compare that to mezcal, a traditional tequila-type drink in Oaxaca, Mexico. This February, traveling alone to Mexico, I asked my waiter Roberto for a lesson in the “right” way to drink mezcal.

He grinned. “Poco a poco,” he instructed. A little at a time. Sprinkle some salt on a slice of orange, then alternate sips of mezcal with sucks on the salted orange. Eat a chile-roasted peanut every once in a while. It’s a ritual, undertaken every day in homes and restaurants and from quiet doorsteps, watching the blaring colors and busyness of Mexico. Smoky mezcal chased by the salty-sweet of the orange.

I commented on the salt. “It doesn’t taste like regular salt,” I told Roberto. “What’s the deal?”

We had been speaking in Spanish up until then, but here Roberto decided he needed to emphasize his point to me in English. “It is… how you say… worm salt?”

He said this quite clearly, but I was hoping I hadn’t understood.
“Come again?” I asked. “Qué?”

“De gusano,” he clarified, and this time there was no mistake. The gusano, the worm, that you may have seen floating at the bottom of mezcal bottles and the source of countless dares made by college students, is sometimes ground and added to the salt shaker. Roberto explained that the worm imparts a unique flavor to the mezcal; whether that’s true or not, it certainly flavored the salt with a rich smokiness, while tempering the sharpness of the salt against the orange.

Roberto left me to finish my mezcal in quiet, and I sat at the table directly in front of the door― my proverbial doorstep, if you will. But before he left, he revealed this Oaxacan saying:
“Por todo mal…Mezcal…Por todo bien…tambien!”

“For all things bad, Mezcal… for all things good, also!”

Leah

Primo in Maine; I was like 14 at the time, so over 10 years ago. My dad was looking at a boat in maine and we spent the weekend. We were driving around looking for a place to eat dinner and stumbled upon this beautiful little house in the woods. I remember going down to the kitchen to meet the chef after an amazing meal and she let us test her home-made marshmallows! Quite the magical experience.

Sara

Most of my best travel memories are around food! You learn so much about cultures, make wonderful connections and memories, while experiencing local foods.

While traveling in Thailand after college, I fell in love with som tom, Thai papaya salad. It was cool, spicy, tangy, sour, nutty, and utterly delicious! I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, so I had learned how to ask for it without the dried shrimp in it (and pretended that the fish sauce was vegetarian). I was wandering around Bangkok looking for a snack and found a street vendor selling som tom who understood my broken Thai.

I was desperately trying to pick up on how to make it. She noticed me taking notes as she prepared the salad in front of me and proceeded to give me an impromptu lesson on proper som tom preparation. She showed me how much she added, the way and order in which she added the ingredients, and how to properly pound and toss the ingredients using a traditional mortar and pestle. It was delicious!

I’ve never forgotten the uniqueness of the experience or her generosity of spirit!

Emily

I have many wonderful food memories from traveling, but I think my absolute favorite was in Finland (not a place that well known for its cuisine!). My best friend got married in the winter in Northern Finland and I was able to fly over to participate in the wedding. We spent the entire week leading up to the wedding skiing around all the gorgeous nordic ski trails through the woods. Tucked away alongside the trails every 20 kilometers or so, there are huts that you can stop at, and in the huts there are little old ladies making hot black currant juice and fresh cardamom scented donuts called munki. They are sublime! With all the cold fresh air and exercise, each time we stopped at a hut for fresh, pillowy donuts I was in heaven!

Katie @ Chai Thoughts

The last day of our honeymoon (which we spent on a secluded island in the Bahamas), it was Christmas Eve. My husband and I went to a little cafe on the beach. Not thinking, he ordered something called a “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” We KNEW it was a bad idea to eat red meat on a tropical island, but somehow we both had temporary amnesia.

Needless to say, he had horrible food poisoning. There was no doctor on the island, and we were terrified to be all alone with him so violently ill. The only people on the island were all at a drinking party about a mile’s walk away, and our cell phones didn’t work. The preferred method of island communication was a CB radio, and we were thankfully able to reach the local dive shop owner. He gave us advice and told us he would take us by boat to the nearest doctor if it became necessary. He was an angel of relief to us, in that panicked state.

Though the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” really ended up being the cheeseburger from hell, it’s a great story in retrospect. I was scared to death, but the experience made me value my husband even more than I already did.

From now on, we always eat the local cuisine when we travel! No more old, imported beef for us. So I guess it ended up improving our lifestyle in the long run, and it reminded us of how much we just insanely want to be together.

juliette

When I was 13 my family was living in Copenhagen, Denmark on a 6 month assignment for my father’s job. I was the oldest child and was moody and basically too cool for everything and everyone, so I took every opportunity to plug into my Walkman (this was a while ago, lol) and ‘check out’. We often ate out in restaurants and quickly made a hole-in-the-wall Italian place our favorite.

So obviously I was totally embarrassed when, at the end of our first visit, the waiter mentioned he would be bringing out enough kiddie desserts for my siblings AND myself. It was the first time any of us had seen spaghetti ice cream and we thought it was the.coolest.thing. They also stuck these simple little lollipops in it to decorate each little serving. It was awesome! I insisted on the children’s menu every time thereafter and to this day my parents often laugh about how I wasn’t ‘too cool’ to eat spaghetti ice cream w/lollipops.

It’s not a crazy and far out story, but it’s a meaningful one. We traveled a lot as a family and we all still talk about that Italian restaurant and the good times we had there (and at the Mongolian BBQ in CPH, but that’s another story!).

Christine

Ultimately fresh sushi: pieces of raw tuna (yellow fin), eaten in the little fishing boat 2 min after it was caught off Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos.

Melissa

I lived in Mexico City for a while in college, and my host mother was an amazing traditional cook. Because I’m a vegetarian, I sometimes got different meals from the rest of the family and one night she made me the most incredible vegetable soup I had ever had. I asked her over and over how she made it, and she would just looked at me puzzled, and say “I put the vegetables in the pot, and I made the soup.” It was all so natural to her. To this day, that simple vegetable soup is still one of the best dishes I’ve ever had.

Kalyn C.

I could go on and on about paella in Barcelona or fish and chips on the English coast, but my favorite food memory always takes me back to Florida. Every year my family and best friends spend a week in Tarpon Springs, FL. I look back fondly on days spent fishing for our dinner in the Gulf and then ending the day with a fish fry in the back yard. We’d start with Greek salad and fresh fried green tomatoes, eat various types of fish and then finish with delicious baklava and pastries from the local Greek bakery. There’s nothing better than food procured on your own and then lovingly prepared by friends and family, especially when you combine Southern and Greek cuisines. It makes my heart sing and my stomach rumble in thanks. :)

Michelle

Last summer my boyfriend and I spent a month in Italy (he is a teacher and I between jobs). In Rome there is the most amazing gelateria. It is tucked down a little courtyard and has the most amazing flavours – cherry tomato and basil, peach and lavendar! It was so amazing I refused to eat ice-cream anywhere else in Rome. Make sure you try it out of if you go – Gelateria Del Teatro off via del Coronari.

John

With the earthquake last month, i keep thinking of a wonderful trip to Japan years ago. So many exotic things but i’ll never forget the carefully cut fruit on the breakfast trays…. apple skins cut and peeled back to look like a cicada – Banana peels that came off to look like art… PLease visit redcross.org and help how you can !

kstobias0385

My friend and I had been busy all day doing errands and we both were hungry and tired by the end of it. On a whim, we stopped at this little Vietnamese restaurant (Anh Hong) that neither of us had ever heard of or seen before. It was AMAZING! Everything was grilled fresh, all the vegetables were nice and crisp, and they gladly substituted tofu for meat for my friend (vegan). The staff stopped by to talk to us often and worked on showing us how to hold chopsticks the proper, Vietnamese way. Apparently, we hold them the Japanese way. I never realized there was more than one way to hold them. Now, any time I’m in the Orlando area, Anh Hong is one of my first stops.

Melissa

I visit New York every year during the winter, and it’s the only time I leave Texas annually. I’ve had a lot of great sit-down meals, notably the pork belly at Fette Sau BBQ in Brooklyn: an amazing meal to share with pitchers of beer and a large company of friends.

But the best is getting a chicken gyro from my favorite halal cart in Rockefeller Center. Very “unglamorous” but hot & delicious street food that I eat sitting at the same spot next to the fountain with one of my best friends, people-watching. I look foward to it all year until I’m back again.

Sarah

My family was never very adventurous when it came to food during my younger years. My mom had never heard of tostadas until a neighbor brought them by once while my mom watched her kids. So we were more along the lines of a meat and potatoes, casseroles, and pasta kind of family.
When I was twelve my family traveled to Europe with my dad for work, and the local managers in the Netherlands took us all out for Thai food. Talk about food culture shock. My favorite food in the world up to that point was chips and salsa, so during this dinner where we had to be uber-well-behaved, I’m sitting there thinking ‘Who knew peanuts could be made into a SAUCE? What’s a curry? How can the same ingredients in all these dishes taste so different?’ (Little did I know the joys of a well-stocked spice rack.)We had a lot of eye-opening moments with food on that trip, but that was the first–and that’s what has started a lifelong loooooove affair with world cuisine (and with spending time experimenting in my own kitchen).

Sandra Miller

I recently got to vacation in Charleston, SC with some of my favorite ladies. We had a great time…taking photos, visiting historic places, enjoying tours and shopping! But when we got back all we could talk about was the food. We ate at so many great places, we have become the go-to for Charleston dining amongst our friends. None of us live there and none of us have been more than once, yet we are often called upon for suggestions. Often we will call each other and invite the other to dinner at one of those restaurants and just relive the memory.

Isabelle

In 2007 I went packpacking in Italy. My favorite stop (amongst many many many!!) was definitely Florence… And my most memorable food experience also happened while I was there! My friend, who had been living in Florence for a year, brought me to his favorite dinner spot. So off we went through dark back alleys in La vieille ville… We ended up in a little restaurant called I’ che’ c’e c’e (my Italian spelling/grammar might be way off here), which I believe means “what there is, there is”. This little place had 3 long tables that could sit about 12 patrons each and the waiters and chefs were all family. Mamma and papa were the waiters; they were friendly, loud, and absolutely lovely. The company at the table was also wonderful… There was people from all over; Australia, the United-States and even some fellow Canadians! As the name of the restaurant dictates, you had the choice between 3 meals prepared for dinner that night, and that was it – no modifications, no substitutions. I chose pappardelle noodles with cream truffle sauce and it was the most delicious meal I have ever had. The pasta was home made by Mamma and the cream truffle sauce was to die for… I will never forget my food experience at l’ che’ c’e c’e and it will be my first stop next time I make it to Florence – in the very near future I hope!

Andrea

So many of my traveling memories have been about food and about trying new foods and dishes in whichever country I’m in.

One of the ones that has always stuck with me is from when I was younger. I went on a farming tour with my parents throughout Ontario, Canada. One of the farms we visited was a goat farm. We got to walk through the goat barns and see all the baby goats and pet and feed them – such a fun experience! Then we walked further through the barn, and saw all the adult goats. Then we left the barn through the back door, and set up outside the barn was a BBQ, cooking and selling goat burgers – !

Talk about traumatizing for a kid (no pun intended)! From baby to adult to burger – the full transition. This memory may have subconsciously contributed to why I’m vegetarian today :)

katie

My favorite (and, let’s be honest, dearly loved) memory of a food experience while traveling is also one of my silliest and most simple. The first time I went to Paris, I was 21 years old and traveling with my best friend Stephanie. We had been traveling for some time and were, by that point, pretty broke – NOT the ideal situation in a city where you want to buy every delicious thing in sight! Because of that, we treated ourselves to only one meal and one coffee out each day – usually a late lunch rather than dinner, since it was so much cheaper. We’d eat the small meal provided at our hostel for breakfast and then have a picnic for dinner.

One day in particular stands out. We were there in July, when the sun stays up so long that you can’t quite believe it’s night and then suddenly it’s 10pm before you realize you’re hungry. We found a street market just closing up and were able to buy a bag of gorgeous tomatoes, herbs, bread, cheese, and wine for incredibly cheap — and were thrilled, of course. We walked down along the Seine and found a spot to sit and eat and people-watch. We were delighted and rather unnecessarily proud of ourselves, feeling so romantic and European and all that jazz — then realized we had no knife. Or fork. Or utensil of any kind. And we were in public, in the middle of incredibly beautiful people that we thought (mistakenly) might be paying some modicum of attention to us. Yikes.

Steph and I looked at each other, mortified, then finally decided we didn’t care. We ripped off hunks of our bread, broke off bits of cheese, and ate our tomatoes like apples. We were not graceful, not pretty, not refined – but the meal was delicious and fresh and simple and perfect, and no one gave a damn what we were doing, and we finished our picnic in the moonlight completely happy with the world.

layne

When I visit my parents’ home (usually over christmas), my mother serves “pear salad”; pear halves (from a can), a dollap of mayo in the pear seed divit, shredded chedder cheese over the mayo and a cherry on top. It is – apparently – a traditional southern appetizer. My mother’s home isn’t exactly an exotic vacation locale, but the food is always interesting and laden with southern history.

Allison

in ireland—free rounds of guinness coming faster than you could drink them. table filled. triple fisting. laughter.

Mathias Burton

My wife and I had gotten a puppy from our local humane society a week earlier and found out that he had parvo. The vet thought he was going to die and they offered to take our money back but we refused. After a week of Winston, our pup, not eating or drinking anything. he woke us up at 4 am eating all the food we would give him. It was the best moment in the world.

I was so happy I got up the next morning and made a vegetable omelette for my wife and I. It was the greatest omelette I ever had.

Tracy Fontaine

Almost ten years ago now, my now husband and I spend two weeks travelling around Italy. It was an extremely fly by the seat of our pants vacation – we booked rooms in pensiones with the airport and train station concierge’s as we arrived in each city and just took the luck of the draw. There were definitely some misses, but mostly hits. On the first night of our trip, we arrived in Milan late in the evening on a Sunday. By the time we got to our hotel on the edge of the city, all the shop grates were down and it appeared we were going to have to wait until breakfast to eat. We just wandered and wandered and finally stumbled upon a little restaurant called L’Orologico – The Clock. My Italian was very rusty, but we worked our way through the menu trying to choose our entrees. A grandmotherly woman came over to take our order, and everytime we asked for something, she would say, “Non, non, non…”, shake her head, and point to something else. When the most heavenly wood-fired buffalo mozzerella pizza and the creamiest arthichoke risotto arrived, we couldn’t have been more thrilled. It was absolutely the best meal of our trip, and we had some amazing food. These sorts of happy accidents are my favorite moments in life!

P.S. – I originally found my way to DesignSponge via Heidi’s Favorite Sites list on 101 Cookbooks! Talk about your happy accidents…

Betsy Wilson

I am currently in Ireland wwoofing and learning about sustainable agriculture. This evening my host family made a huge stew with local veggies, potatoes on the side and fruitcake for dessert. Mid-way through eating my stew I became aware that there was chunks of lamb in it – the lambs that we could see out the window. I’ve been a long time vegetarian but I must say, I did continue to eat the stew even after I found out about the lamb! Here’s to the full Irish experience!

Cheers!

Jaclyn

I travelled with my dad to Japan about 6 years ago. I’m originally from Hong Kong, so we stopped by there for a few days. I love everything noodles! I had my first fastfood-standing-only-noodle-bar. The whole space (including the kitchen and standing room) was probably no bigger than 5×5′. It was awesome! The guy cooked it right in front of us–plopped the noodles in the hot soup for a few seconds, put in bowl with soup and veggies, cracked an egg and dropped it right in the bowl, added some shredded seaweed paper and viola! I took a photo of it because it was so beautiful (my first food photo). Then I had to eat super fast because more people were stopping by for the fastfood. I think I burned my mouth but it was all so worth it.

Annie

My friend and I were stranded at a train station somewhere in Jersey and needed to get some dinner. Being the middle of nowhere, the only place that was open was an overpriced sushi restaurant. We were hungry enough to still check out the menu though. When we walked in, there was only one family in the whole place waiting for their food. Once we saw how expensive it was, we walked to leave, but before we could hit the door, the father of the family told us to join them! We sat down and the family just started asking my friend and I questions and the subject of kosher came up. The chef, eavesdropping, brought over a special ‘kosher’ roll for the table, on the house. Of course the father insisted on paying for us as well. Not only was it a surprise, but we had a great meal with great new people… Now if I could only remember what made that sushi so tasty.

Carlie

A few years ago I doing an exchange abroad in Germany. Starting my time off during the winter I yearned for long summer nights. Once those long summer nights came a group of my friends and I went out one evening to grab a bite to eat. Strolling through the streets of Freiburg we finally stumbled upon a quaint restaurant near the local cathedral. Wanting to try something new I ordered a warm spaetzle dish with champignon mushrooms, normally I am a creature of habit but something about this beautiful historic city told me to try something new. When the plate was set down in front of me I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The sublime mix of summer air, sauteed mushrooms, and street music inundated my senses. Ever since I have been unable to stay away from mushrooms, and to this day the smell of one reminds me of my unforgettable experiences in Germany that year.

Yvonne

In the extreme heat of an italian summer in 2007, my husband and I lured our two young sons through an adventure on two town-to-town buses, a small motor boat and one teetering romp down an old wood ramp to reach the tiny coastal outpost of Da Adolfo in a Positano cove on the Amalfi Coast. We sucked the juice from the heads of the plumpest little langostinos, ate fresh grilled fish while my eldest son swam and the proprietor propped my youngest up on his shoulders. My soul searches the photos and recipes of every new cook book to recreate that coastal Italian summer. Check out their web site and you too will smell the salt and hear the waves. http://www.DAADOLFO.com

erin

I have eaten both death and life in the same meal!

While living in Japan, I was taken out to a rather upscale sushi restaurant with some friends. The whole experience was remarkable, but there were two pieces of sashimi that stand out in my memory. The first was a live scallop. The chef fished it out of a tank, opened and released it, and held it out to me. Right before I placed it in my mouth, he smacked the scallop, which made it… tighten up in my mouth. Very disconcerting. And yet fascinating.

At the same meal as the scallop, I tasted death and found it to be rather bland. I was served the famed Fugu, the poisonous blowfish that sushi chefs have to study for years before they are qualified to prepare. I was given a piece and placed it in my mouth with some apprehension, after all I had heard that you could die very quickly if it was improperly prepared. However, it was rather anti-climactic: bland in taste and texture.

All in all, while death sounded like a cool dish, life was much better:)

lane

a few years ago i stayed a summer in kenya with a sweet native family. my friend and i bumped along in the back of a pickup as we first pulled up the drive of the family farm and saw *baby* everything! baby chicks! kittens! piglets! a puppy! calves! baby goats! we were in heaven. we met the family, pranced around with the animals, naming our favorite little goat, “sammy,” and went along through the afternoon when, later in the evening, the elder son called my friend and me over to a circle of men surrounding…something. i had a bad feeling. we peered between shoulders and saw none but our new friend sammy being prepped for the table. oh. so. devastating. my friend and i managed to choke down dinner with forced grins, giving raving thanks to the family for such a supper, later nearly laughing and crying, both, over such a scene! needless to say, i’ll never forget the day i had poor sammy for dinner.

Meagan

Trying horse tongue and intestines in the mountains of Kazakhstan washed down with some fresh camel milk was definitely a unique experience (and taste)! It certainly didn’t taste like chicken…

nicswife

August 5, 2005 – Montreal
It was a Friday night, I was 20 and a super picky eater at the time, on a trip with a small group from church. We had just wrapped up a concert outreach and were super hungry, so we just found the closest restaurant to the church and got right in.
I looked down at the menu and saw that they had an apricot-glazed chicken dish which was weird because I had just experimented with an apricot chicken recipe {found in a Martha Stewart Living mag} right before I left for the trip and loved it. Score!
When they brought my dish, the guy across from me {bass player of the outreach band} was super impressed at my choice – which was delicious – and started chatting it up… little did I know that following year ‘that guy’ would become my husband. :)
I’ll never forget that meal and how it served as the kick-off to our awesome love story… and lots of awesome meals together. :)

Sabine

I have many very good food memories from various countries. One very special meal I had in Thailand, directly on the beach at a small bamboo-cabana. The floor of the restaurant was the sandy beach and there was just one small propane stove. Our meal was a Thai Omelet and some fresh caught fish with a sweet and sour sauce. It was absolutely amazing and I wish I could go back there some day and eat there again.

kelli

As a college student I backpacked with my younger brother thru Ghana West Africa. Towards the end of our trip we were in a small village and made friends with a native family. They wanted to have us over for dinner for their traditional fufu. We went to the market and bought all of the ingredients ourselves including a live chicken. We went back to their small courtyard and for 3 hours prepared the meal traditionally. Once it was finally ready we joined the family around one communal large bowl and ate with our right hands. I will never forget the generosity of the family as well the amazing flavor of that natural and traditional meal.

Morgan P.

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2004… loving all the hot food, but needed a break — found a sweet tiny Italian restaurant with the best Panna Cotta I’ve ever had in my life, cooling my taste-buds, soft and white — pure perfection.

Zoë

I went with a group of art students and two of my favorite teachers on a trip to Paris. Our last night together, we had a pot luck where we spent the night cooking in the Universitaire kitchen. Everyone made something: we had two different versions of potato salad (my teacher mixed this with her hands and she was up to her elbows in french mayo!) chicken from “the chicken lady” aka the best chicken you could buy off the street, breads, sausages, cheeses, homemade soup, cucumber salad, 16 different flavors of beautifully colored lemonade, chocolate from the best place in the city, macarons, beer and champagne etc. Everything was beautiful and we had a picnic outside together. We all stuffed our faces until we could no longer move.

The best part was that we had no serving dishes, so the day before we went to the market and bought white china specifically for the feast.

I loved how everyone brought their own little piece of Paris that they had discovered over the past month to contribute and enjoy. Some was bought at open air markets or special places we had discovered, and some were made with ingredients we bought at the grocery store–adapting our own favorite dishes with a French flair.

Christine

My favourite food memory is eating fresh warthog meat in a safari camp in South Africa. It tasted amazing eating under the stars on our honeymoon. A close second would be the delicious picnic we had in a treehouse on the same trip with baboons running around below us!

Amanda

Firstly I must say how much I enjoyed reading everyone’s stories! So much joy and happiness and amazing food!
When I was studying in Italy for a year we were visiting some ruins in Sicily and outside was an old Italian man with a small truck FULL of bags of blood oranges for 1 euro each! We all bought them and spend the entire week munching away. They were UNBELIEVABLE, just the most amazing fruit. When I returned to the states I saw some in the grocery store, got really excited and bought one – it was terrible :( And I haven’t had one since… Sicily is definitely calling to me!

Pei

My favorite traveling food memory is of making fry bread with the ladies of the house outside of a traditional hogan on Navajo land. Simple, delicious and humble food, theirs perfectly formed while mine were both lumpy and holey (quite an achievement!) with life moving at a slower and quieter pace and the whole family coming together as the sun set.

liz

oh, Italy. Just a few months after we were married, the husband and I took a trip to Italy. The first night we were there (starting in Rome) we were walking from the Colosseum back to our quaint little hotel and we passed a true Italian restaurant. The owner was outside singing in Italian! As we approached he stopped singing and invited us in to eat “the best Italian meal” so we did! Since it was so late we were the only ones in the restaurant. They waited on us hand and foot and we had THE most delicious meal. With real bruschetta, spaghetti and meatballs. Mmmm.. we hope to go back someday when the little ones are grown.

Su

One of my fav food experiences was at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market, which is where the sushi restaurants bid for their fish in the early morning, fresh off the boat. The bidding is now closed off to tourists but we lined up in front of a sushi restaurant at 7 a.m. to eat sushi. The line was long and customers made sure that no one got ahead of them. The sushi restaurant was the tiniest place ever – we were right in front of the sushi chef, and behind us was the wall to the restaurant. Only about 10 people could fit in the restaurant at one time. Of course, the sushi was the freshest and best I ever had!

Kate

I’m so excited about this cookbook! What a wonderful giveaway, thank you for the opportunity.

One of my most memorable meals was late last summer with my boyfriend. We traveled to the Virgin Islands for a rather spur of the moment getaway, which is hard to do with both of our jobs. We picked an Eco Resort with platform tents which each had its own stove and sort of makeshift kitchen, extremely basic but it had everything we needed. On our first day we spent the entire day hiking through the woods, snorkeling, swimming and having a wonderful (but exhausting!) time. We came back to the tent, lit several bug-repellent candles, and made some homemade mac and cheese. One of the best meals of my life. Simple but delightfully perfect. Sometimes all you need is to get back to the simple joys and enjoy being with each other.

Christa

My last year of college, four friends and I took a trip to France and Italy over spring break. Our daily fare was fresh baguettes, tangerines, and camembert cheese. Not to mention all the chocolate tarts and gelato eaten out of doors in beautiful parks or snacked on while staring out train windows at the Swiss Alps. Since we were poor, poor college kids we only treated ourselves to one luxurious meal in each city. After walking all over Paris (we calculated that we had hoofed it 15-20 miles that particular day, depending on who was counting), we were lost and starving. We then came across this small, classically Parisian restaurant which proved to be our spectacular meal of the trip. We collapsed into our seats only to be revived by the tantalizing scents wafting from the kitchen. All five of us ordered the same dish (which I am sure was very uncouth), beef stew. It was melt-in-your-mouth, Julia-Child-is-your-fairy-godmother, served-in-your-own-le-creuset-pan delicious. Not to mention the red wine and fresh bread that accompanied it. It was a beautiful, picturesque evening with good food, good friends, and good conversation that I will always remember, even if I will never recall where the restaurant was or what it was called.

Katherine

In Peru, on the train from Cuzco to Machu Pichu, I had roasted corn on the cob sprinkled with chile and salty crumbly cheese. So delicious!

Hilary

My most memorable food experience comes from a trip i took to Cambodia with my boyfriend a few years ago. we had a connection to a local family there and were lucky enough to stay at their house in the remote cambodian countryside for a few days- like most farmers, the family was quite poor, even for Cambodian standards, but so incredibly hospitable. They cut fresh coconuts for us and we tried to communicate with smiles and hand gestures. When we all sat down together for dinner, cross-legged on the wooden floor, they wanted us to eat first but we insisted that we all eat together. They proceeded to bring out more food than they would probably eat in a typical month: we were delighted by the fried fish with cilantro and chilis and the fresh cucubmer salad with mint and glass noodles, and a little scared of the cow tongue, and the eggs and organs of the fish (they eat all parts of the animal, obviously). But of course we ate it all and were incredibly grateful (the fresh peanut dipping sauce made the fish egg-sack go down easier). It’s funny because I probably never would have eaten these things at home, but somehow, in the heat of the Cambodian evening, by the light of the stars (the roof was partially open) and a few candles, with the locusts and geckos singing up a storm outside, everything just felt, and tasted, magical. I will never forget it.

Rachel

My favorite food experience was eating at La Boqueria in Barcelona. Before sitting down, we walked all around the enormous food market seeing all the fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Then, right in the market we sat around a food stand and ate delicious tapas cooked right in front of us from all the fresh food. It was delicious!

ivey patton

two days of long hard labor ended in a c-section and the most gorgeous red headed baby boy. my sweet doctor came in my few room a few hours with two brown paper bags. one was full of hot greasy fish and chips, the other a cold bottle of a local dark ale. let’s split it, she said, it will help your milk come in. will never forget that lovely day or meal!

Susanne

My husband and I traveled across the north of Spain for our honeymoon. His family is from Spain, so he was enjoying introducing me both to his favorite places and the freestyle, no reservations necessary mode of travel he favored. We stopped for dinner at a small restaurant somewhere between Santander and Bilbao. J had been telling me all along how good the squid in its own ink is in that region, and I kept saying ‘mmmhmmmm’ like I was going to try it with him. I am a fairly adventurous eater, but the thought of rubbery (in my previous experience) calemare swimming in ink just did not appeal to me.

So the time came, they put the earthen plates of arroz con marisco and chiperones en su tinta in front of us, and I took it all in. The chiperones (calemari) looked more appetizing than I expected, so I picked up my fork to dig in when my husband said, with great delight ‘Oh, these are the really good kind, where they stuff the heads back up inside the body! You’ll love them!’

Fork went back down.

In the end, I did try the calemari, and they tasted great, which put a nice finish on one of my more enduring honeymoon memories.

The best thing I ate on that trip was chorizo cooked in cidre, just down the road in Asturias. YUM.

Heidi, I love your site, I often turn there for inspiration!

s.s.

I sat at a teeny tiny little table on the cobblestone street in front of a restaurant in Copenhagen. I ate a simple salad that featured cheese and seeds, but it was the atmosphere, not the food, that is imprinted in my memory. The late evening summer sun was hitting the street at an angle that was blinding, but all that light gave the meal an almost otherworldly feel. The heat, the light–it was like being perched on the top of the world.

Steph N

The half-dozen times I had roast chicken and frites when I went to Paris with my mom in high school. My French wasn’t good enough to decipher half the stuff on the menus, but the chicken was delicious everywhere I had it.

Katie Probandt

My favorite memory of food while of vacation was when I was studying abroad in Italy. Every single meal was an ‘experience’. It was a chance to savor the taste of Italy. The fresh vegetables grown right outside of our beautiful dormitory in Tuscany and the way the ladies would cook just made it all special. It wasn’t just a meal it was a chance to enjoy something new and authentic. I loved all the fresh ingredients they used! But one of my fondest memories of my time in Italy was at the gelatto shop :-)

Katie Probandt

Melissa Bahen

When I was in college, I did a 2-month marine biology field study program in Monterey, CA. It was one of those life-changing experiences, not because I became a marine biologist or anything, but because it was just 2 magical months. Anyway, a bunch of us got all dressed up one day and ate the the Sardine Factory near Cannery Row. It wasn’t crazy food, just a ceasar salad, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted chicken, but I’ll never forget it. My husband and I have eaten there since, and I always get the same meal; it’s just magical for me!

Meghan

A born east coaster that used to crab everyday of every summer in Maryland I was the only at our crab dinner that was eating a burger. Now a west coast transplant and a few years older I still am not a fan of crab, or seafood for that matter.
Got a chance to go on a trip of a lifetime to Maui and figured the fish would be pretty good there! To my surprise I ate 3 different fish dishes in one week! It was true bliss!

stacia

On a cross country trip that my best friend and I dubbed Art Across America (our primary mission was to visit as many art museums as possible) I ate the best sandwich of my life in the most unlikely of places. The cafe at the Museum of Tuscan I could tell was going to be a crap shoot when I walked in. It was decorated in a faux-Parisian theme (really in Arizona!) with white painted lattice on the walls, fake ivy and disturbing stenciling. I had a hard time choosing from the menu and my confidence to having a ½ decent lunch was slipping quickly. It all seemed to not fit the location and heat! I decided on a chicken sandwich served on a croissant (risky I know) and mango lemonade. When I received it I was worried. It was chicken salad style, all chopped up and sauced. I hate mayonnaise, how could I have mis-ordered like this? But it was served with a side of mango chutney so I dared take a bite. WOW I was blown away. The croissant was fresh and perfectly moistly flakey. The chicken must have been in some kind of yogurt sauce because it was definitely not mayo, and the seasoning was amazing. The mango chutney was fresh with a bit of sweet and tang, a perfect complement to the sandwich. The mango lemonade was obviously all fresh ingredients that were perfectly balanced. I’ve had a lot of great sandwiches in many different cities. But that chicken sandwich at the Museum of Tuscan is still the most memorable 10+ years later.

Kelli Sampson

My best food memory from vacation happened while camping on the North Coast of California. My husband and I went into the local fish shop and purchased scallops. We seared them over the fire and ate them with fresh-made peach salsa. Everything was fresh and local. Cooking it over an open fire and enjoying it with wine while watching the sun set over the Pacific was sublime. It reminded me to slow down and enjoy life, which isn’t that what vacation is for?

Molly

My husband and I honeymooned in Paris – it was our first time in France, and we were looking forward to enjoying the history, art, and most of all, the food. Once in Paris, we realized we were both a little timid about ordering food in a restaurant – our limited French, combined with our notions of less-than-friendly French waiters, made it difficult to dine with confidence, but we became experts at ordering pain chocolat. We rented an apartment in the Marais, and our street was home to a boulangerie with a yellow storefront and windows filled with croissants and baguettes. Every morning, once of us ran downstairs for ‘deux pain chocolat’ and left the shop with a breezy ‘merci au revoir,’ running the words together like a Parisian. We apparently convinced the boulangerie owner that we were French – One morning she attempted to engage us beyond the monetary transaction, and was shocked to discover that we were American. Apparently all the pain chocolat we ordered really improved our French pronunciation, and it gave us the confidence to dine at traditional brasseries. This woman made the best croissants in the city (at least compared to the *many* others we tried). So flaky and buttery, with just the right amount of chocolate. We ate them in our apartment with a cup of coffee as we planned our days of sightseeing.

Laura

My favorite food memory happened last week. I was in Brazil and I had the most amazing salmon ever. Surly it had been caught that morning! But the memory is the best because a friend I was with choked and another friend gave her the heimlich! She was so quick while the rest of us stared. And it was my birthday and the bar tender made me a special drink from fresh fruits for my 21st birthday. Quite the evening and quite the memory!

Betty

Back in March, I visited Budapest for spring break and paid a visit to their famous Great Market Hall, the city’s largest indoor market. One of the stalls sold cookies by the kilo and I jumped at the chance to sample some Hungarian sweets. I asked the woman at the counter if I could buy 1/4 kilo of some of the cookies, but she told me I had to buy 1 kilo. At that point, my sweet tooth must have taken over because the prospect of buying 1 kilogram of cookies seemed like a perfectly reasonable plan to me. So reasonable, in fact, that I purchased 1 kilo each of two different types of cookies. It wasn’t until I saw her scooping heaps upon heaps of cookies into a bag that I finally turned to my friend and said, “wait, how much is a kilo?” Of course, by that point, I had no choice but to buy the cookies, which is how I ended up packing approximately 4.5 pounds of cookies into my suitcase. The cookies were great, but it definitely became a chore trying to eat them all and give them away to friends. In fact, I think I still have some left…

Stephanie

My favorite food memory is going to Myrtle Beach with my family when I was really young. We were wading in the beach and my dad told my sister and I to reach down and find these little shells–what were actually baby clams–and collect them in a bucket. I had no idea what we were doing but later that night my dad cooked them in the hotel, and that pile of clams was so delicious! Nothing fancy or far away but definitely memorable :)

Stephanie

my high school sweetheart and i reconnected a few years ago while we were living in different provinces. we started dating again long distance, him making trips back home throughout the year. on my first trip to see him out west, we did a two week road trip through the mountains. i will never forget the night we spent in golden b.c., eating greasy, delicious cheese pizza together at our hotel (supposidly golden’s greatest!), drinking shirley temples and laughing all night together.

Jess

Macarons at Laduree in Paris. I went in and bought a bag of 3 macarons. When I got back out onto the Champs Elysees I pulled a pistachio macaron out of the bag and took a bite. I literally stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk it was so good. Then I stood there with a big goofy smile and finished the cookie.

Kari

Sometimes your most memorable experiences with food don’t include extravagant places or tastes. My most memorable food moment happened while camping with family and friends. For breakfast my dad had us all poach eggs in a ziplock bag. We all lined up in Ford fashion, assembling our bags and dropping them into the boiling water, one by one.

Kari

Sometimes your most memorable experiences with food don’t include extravagant places or tastes. My most memorable food moment happened while camping with family and friends. For breakfast my dad had us all poach eggs in a ziplock bag. We all lined up in Ford fashion, assembling our bags and dropping them into the boiling water, one by one. Suddenly, the water became cloudy. It turned out that my bag had tiny holes in the bottom where the egg was escaping. Everyone pulled their beautifully poached eggs out of the pot while I fished mine out with a slotted spoon.

Kari

Sorry, I accidentally pressed submit halfway through!

Missi

5 years ago I backpacked solo through New Zealand at the tender age of 25. I planned multi-day hikes through various regions, where I met some of my favorite people. One hike took me up a mountain one day, down it the next, across a plain, down to the coastline, ending at a bus shelter.

While I had set off on this hike myself, there was a group of mid-aged hikers on a guided trip. While I ate dehydrated soup and crackers every night, their guide had packed in fresh fruit, beer, chocolate, and other delicious items too heavy for my backpack. I would sit beside them with my crappy soup and be SO jealous.

On the last night of the trip a new guide hiked in from the back end of the trail with salmon, strawberries, wine, and salad. I just about DIED. My fellow hikers – now my friends – forced their amazing food upon me, and I accepted it greatly. The salmon was seared to perfection (the bones removed with the guide’s girlfriend’s tweezers), and after a glass of wine all I could do was laugh and share and offer up some severe gratitude for my life.

melanie

I had a series of memorable meals in Italy about 7 years ago – it was a trip with two girlfriends and when we were in florence, we had the best bolognese with boar meat and fresh noodles. It was just the first course, but we ordered it at every restaraunt we saw it on the menu afterwards. Soooooo good. Luckily we found a close match at Dino, an intalian restaraunt that opened here in DC shortly after out trip!

Shelley

While living in South Korea as a teacher, my school when on a field trip last summer. Many of the students’ parents made the food for the teachers’ lunch. I had been feeling quite homesick, particularly for some western cuisine; the past few months of river snails, baby octopus tentacles, and fermented cabbage had grown stale on my tongue. When it was time to eat, I opened one of the lunch boxes to find several neat rolls of dumplings. I found out that one of the mothers had asked to specifically make something for me. I tried one, and they somehow tasted just like my mother’s perogies. It was such a wonderful feeling to feel so at home when I was so far away. I did my best in my broken Korean to explain what it meant to me and give my thanks. I’ve since been committed to learning how to make Korean cuisine myself so I can share it with my friends and family when I return home.^^

fleur

My partner and I have been camping our way around Australia. Recently we stopped at a little bush camp at the back of Crescent Head (NSW). We set up a fire to cook our nightly pasta and tomato sauce when a local fisherman walked over and asked if we’d like a fish he had caught. He gave us a great big fresh Salmon, he even gutted and scaled it for us. I have a great photo of my boyfriend, beer in hand cooking it over an open fire. Everytime i see the photo it makes me smile and remember how the generosity of a stranger can make such a big difference when you are roughing it in the bush.

dawn

my kids and i still talk about the fantastic mole in cabo san lucas at a tiny little cafe. unbelievable.

thank you for this giveaway. my daughter would love this book!

happy weekend to you!

Susan

My best food memory was a near-disaster of the minor variety. I moved to Jerusalem as a graduate student & a writer working on a ms. It was difficult to go out to dinner as inflation was near 1,000% (not a typo: one thousand). So even more than a cup of coffee was NOT casual. The second week I went to dinner with a few new people I’d met from the university. To a highly recommended Italian place. This was before there were very many good Italian places in Israel – at all.

I ordered pesto – what could go wrong, really. Um. Everyone was served, they had other pasta. It was OK. Not great, but ok.

Thumped down in front of me was a mortal & pestle w/the usual basil, pignoli, olive oil, etc. But it was not smooth. It looked just like it was to be photographed for a recipe photo shoot.

I was really very tired & things were not going well & then this…I tried to explain what was wrong. No comprehension. No nothing except “this is how we serve it.”

Finally, I picked it up & went into the back kitchen from the patio where we sat. I finally convinced them to let me show them how to finish the dish. Charades were involved. I finally got my pesto ’cause I made it.

I met a few more people that night who admired what they thought was gumption. Basically, I was massively hungry, craved pesto, & it was clear this was the only way I’d get it. It was probably funnier than I’m making it now but I’m also really tired, craving pesto & sadly, will not be having that tonight.

Cheers.

shannon rivers

so, it was like this: my boyfriend(who later became my beloved husband) and i had a silly fight while in Venice, more than 30 years ago, and i stomped away, getting totally lost, and finally just ventured into a warmly lit cafe. i sat at the bar and order a glass of wine and the special, which ended up to be squid in black ink with pasta. honestly, it was terrifying to behold, but as i took the first bite i felt a breath on my neck, and realized my guy had somehow found me, in this one nondescript cafe in all of Venice. we shared the dish, and now these long years, a life.

amy

Last summer my husband and I went to italy for a regatta…just the two of us…no children. it was wonderful. he sailed almost every day and I got to sit on the beach with friends or go exploring in the country

On their day off from sailing, one of the italian sailors invited us to visit his vineyard. We expected that we would spend an hour or two, taste a few wines and leave. We didn’t want to intrude…it was a working farm and we didn’t want to get in the way.
after we arrived and toured the vines and wine making equipment, our host, Umberto, delivered us into the tasting room and we tasted every wine they bottle, both ‘new’ and ‘ready to be released’ and some even from the cask.
he also set up an amazing spread of local specialties. cheeses, meats and balsamic vinegars. We ate, talked and drank the afternoon away.
it was a great trip….memorable for so many reasons….but that was by far the best day

Lindsey

Several years ago, I went on a whirlwind three week trip to Europe with my family. We planned the trip ourselves, and typically ate whatever delicious food crossed our paths on a given day. However, there was one gelato place in Rome that we’d heard of before the trip and made special plans to visit. After walking all day in the heat, San Crispino – tucked away in an alley – appeared almost like a mirage. We walked up to the door, salivating. Unfortunately, that particular Roman block was suffering from a power outage. Devastation ensued. We decided it was worth the wait and killed time until the power returned (not hard to do while sight-seeing in Rome). I reaped the rewards patience with mouthfuls of honey gelato, grapefruit gelato…icy treats from heaven. Good food comes to those who wait, right? I would go back to Rome just to taste that gelato again.

Teph

My best food experience was while I was traveling in Turkey. The local Turkish food was amazing! We ended up eating a first and second lunch, as well as a pre dinner, dinner, and post dinner. I only had a week there and wanted to get as much of the amazing food as possible!

Jessica

When I was nine, my family took a road-trip through California, stopping at various sites to watch my older brother’s drum corps performances.

Despite being in Monterey, California, during the middle of summer, the peculiar weather drove my mom, sister, and I into a little coffee shop where I experienced my first fancy drink: hot cocoa served in a clear, glass mug topped with mint whip cream and chocolate curls. “Oh my…”, I remember thinking.

Sitting at a little cafe table in this small shop, I remember feeling oh-so-sophisticated as I sipped on my afternoon treat. It was, by far, so much better than the hot chocolate concocted out of the yellow Nesquik cartons at home.

As a 27 year-old Seattle-ite, I have had more than my share of warm beverages. None of them evoke as much nostalgia, however, as that fancy hot chocolate in Moneterey.

c

We went to N.Y. one summer and stayed in acottage in Water Town, they had little roadside stands that sold live lobsters, the caught them each day, we had fresh lobsters at least 4 times in the week we were there…i live in Colorado and it was amazing, i had never had a lobster that fresh! Truley the best food experience for us!

C

sarahjane

While in Osaka, Japan in 2005, what we thought was supposed to be a quick stop into a lobster restaurant for a beer and an appetizer turned into an hour-long, four-course, THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR meal!

When the waitress lifted the sheer partition to reveal the first course–a freshly-halved lobster still alive, writhing, and waiting to watch us consume its lower half–there was an audible gasp from our table.

And we realized that we had not, in fact, ordered a small appetizer for our table, but a live lobster that would continue to return in various forms with each course.

molly

One of my favorite food memories is sort of an odd one. I was traveling through rural Arizona and ended up visiting a Greek Orthodox monastery outside the town of Florence, AZ. It’s mainly desert there, and the monastery has an austere but beautiful atmosphere. When we arrived, I had to don a skirt and headscarf before I could enter. We spent a lovely afternoon exploring the grounds, the building, and the orchards. As we left, a monk handed us two lemons. The simplicity and perfection of the gesture and what it signified — hospitality, self-reliance, and generosity in a dry land — have stayed with me to this day.

Meg S

This is depressing, but my most memorable food/travel experience is eating bad seafood in northern Brazil and getting sick for half of my vacation. Fun. I think I need to replace this memory with something better!

Ethel Louise

Oh gosh. This is the stuff of a cheap romantic comedy, but nonetheless: Two summers ago I was in Lyon, France taking language classes to fulfill a requirement for my PhD. One day on a field trip to a wine tasting, I found myself sitting next to a student I hadn’t met. He was American, too, but we spoke French together. And it turns out he was a private chef at a vineyard in the Beaune region. He was also trained as a butcher. Oh, and he was drop-dead gorgeous. Anyhow, it’s clear where this is going, no? However, the catch: I was (am) vegetarian. But I decided that when you’re in your twenties and in France and a chef is wooing you by cooking you elaborate meals, you just go with it. And so I did. I sold my ethics for a love affair. (Boy was it worth it.) And I tried foods I’d never have dreamed of otherwise, including (forgive me…) horse sausage. Heck, I’ll even send you pictures to prove this isn’t made up. ;)

Lisa

My favorite food memory is from a trip to the island of Santorini in Greece 20 years ago. I had been wandering Europe for a couple of months after college, making all sorts of interesting connections along the way. In Santorini I happened to meet a young newlywed couple — he a Greek, she an Australian of Greek ancestry. The two of them took me and a few other travelers to an out-of-the-way little family restaurant perched in a nook overlooking the Aegean. Mom was the waitress, Dad, the cook, and son the busboy. We had freshly grilled octopus, a salad of locally grown and produced tomatoes, olives, and feta, and of course Ouzo! For dessert we enjoyed yogurt from island goats and honey. The food was delicious and the companionship convivial. I can still remember the fresh simplicity of the food, the rawness of the island climate, the warmth of the people I was with.

Jennifer S.

Great Question!

My husband and I went to San Fransisco a few years ago for our honeymoon. One night, we decided that we wanted to get Indian food for dinner and set out wandering the nearby streets until we came across a place a couple blocks from our hotel.

From the outside, the restaurant looked like a bit of a dive, but (we hoped) maybe like a place where locals would eat.

Inside was a tiny little room with six or seven tables, one waiter, and a variety of promising aromas. At this point we were hungry and tired of walking. Even better, there was an empty table (no waiting!?).

Too bad that ended up not being the case.

After we took our seats, it took 30 minutes just to get a menu. It took another half hour to put in our order, and finally another HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES to get our dinner (which arrived without any of our side dishes).

I have no idea why we didn’t just leave, but it was the best decision we made during that trip. More than two hours of waiting and it was still easily one of the top three meals I have had in my entire life.

When we each had our first bite, my husband and I just stared at each other for a moment. It was beyond words. We were so hungry and the food was sooooo good.

I still dream about that place.

JG

My husband and I took a week long vacation in Barcelona. We really got into the eating late in the evening after a siesta mid-day. One afternoon though we stopped at a sunny, windy, waterfront restaurant and ordered fresh seafood paella. It was the first time trying it and it was amazing. The sangria didn’t taste too bad either. I would love to enjoy that moment again now!

Angela

My all time favorite vacation food memory was when my family celebrated my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary in Marbella. My mom, dad, brother, cousin and I flew from PA to Spain and my grandparents who live in Portugal met us there. We all took a ferry to Tangier, Morocco for a day trip where we ate in an authentic Moroccan restaurant. Eating with our hands and listening to live music was so incredibly memorable. I’ll never forget the Arabic writing on the Coca Cola can or the hot mint tea they served us!

Krista H

I suppose the food memory I chose is not very glamorous, but very memorable. When I was younger and taking a family trip to Hawaii, my parents (for SOME reason) decided that ostrich sausage, cheese and bread would be the main sustenance. So, we stocked the fridge full and went on with our vacation. Hah! It’s so ridiculous, but I distinctly remember slicing the sausage and cheese and layering it on the bread to eat every day. We got sick of it really quickly, but had to finish it. Ohhhh, family vacations!

Amanda G.

I loved trying new things while I was a student in Spain, and our host mother loved shocking us by waiting until the food was in our mouths to tell us what we were actually eating. She made squid pretty often, and I loved it! Of course, the first time she made it, she waited until we chewing and then went, “It’s been cooked in its own ink,” like nothing was happening and went back to eating her own dinner. You know, she did the same thing with pig testicles and garlic-fried worms. It made us scared to eat, but everything that came out of her kitchen was always so good!

Chris C.

Ooh, I loved Heidi’s first book. I’d love to win this one!

My most memorable travel food experience was in college. I spent a few weeks one summer living on a sailboat with my boyfriend. One day, we sailed from Long Island to Connecticut and docked at this little fish shack right on the water. We ate lobsters and raw oysters practically straight out of the water. It was my first experience with oysters, and they are still one of my favorite foods for the memories they bring back!

Kirsten B

One of my most memorable food experiences was at Pure Food and Wine in NYC. It’s a raw, vegan restaurant and the food was AMAZING! Not only was it visually stunning, but it was remarkable what those “chefs” were able to create with raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts. My favorite dish was the cashew cheese stuffed zuchinni blossoms. They were almost too beautiful to eat. I dream about going back there again…if only I didn’t live so far away!

Mei

My most memorable food experience has to be chili/pepper crab at Boardwalk Seafood in Singapore. Trips to Singapore are all about food & family. It is where my parents met, where I was born, and where my mom’s entire family (her mom, 4 siblings, a dozen nieces and nephews, and lots of their babies!) live. Going back requires 24+ hours on an airplane and adjusting to both the 12-hour time difference and the sweltering heat and humidity. Spending time catching up with family is nice, but so much more so over a 6-course meal around a 12-seat round table. Always a lazy susan in the middle; scattered bowls of peanuts to nibble on while waiting.

Great food is such a big part of the culture in Singapore. The discussion at every meal is centered around where you will go for the next one. My favorite dish, ever-fresh crabs caught that day (from down the street) cooked in chili and pepper sauce until the juicy goodness of it all seeps into the crab meat. French bread to dip in said juicy goodness. Mouth on fire and watering-but in a good way-from all the pepper and spices. Sitting outside with the breeze coming from the ocean a couple steps away. Spending sunset eating a wonderful meal with wonderful people, in a wonderful place. It’s a meal that I will fly across the world for.

Alexa F.

When I was in 8th grade (13+ years ago), I went on my only big international trip and went without my parents. I went to Italy and France for two weeks. I absolutely loved roaming the side alleys in Venice and finding eateries along the canals and shopping the daily markets in Paris for a picnic next to boccé ball matches. It was all about the simple delicacies that made that region unique.

Imani

Once while in Germany, we went to a pizzeria and ordered what we though was hamburger. It was the first and last time I had tuna fish pizza. Hey, you said most memorable, not best!

annemarie

My favourite food memory is sitting on the patio of a 150 year old bakery in Oslo, eating pastries and drinking the most decadent hot chocolate the world has ever seen, and squealing inside to think that I was BEING EUROPEAN while IN EUROPE.

LeeAnn

I studied in Moscow, Russia in college and lived with about a dozen other American students. 3 blocks away from the university was an Asian restaurant where all the waiters spoke Russian and we, well, were just learning the language. So in the end we would sit at a large round table with the biggest lazy susan in the middle and just point to different menu items with no idea of what we were ordering. We had a contest to see who would get the wildest reaction from the waiter when we ordered. We had some amazing dishes, as well as some things not so loved but it was a fun experience every time!

D P

My friend and I spent a summer exploring the Italian Rivera by train. Before each train ride, we’d hit the local farmer’s market and buy salami, olives, fresh basil, cheese, a loaf of bread, and a bottle of wine.

Then we’d hop on the train, find our sleeper car, tuck into our food and wine, and spend the evening playing card games – all while speeding toward our next destination. The food was simple, fresh, and amazingly good. Molto Bene!

Jennifer H.

Second day in Barcelona by myself, and nervously anticipating starting a new internship I made my wait down to the street for dinner. Over the paella de verdura which followed, the charming waiter chatter me up. Two and a half years later we got married. I cannot take a bite of golden, fragrant paella without thinking of him, and the little meal that changed my path forever.

Nicky

last winter My Fiance and I were backpacking through Nicaragua. We were In the City of Granada and looking for great local place to have dinner.After finding mostly larger restaurants that were filled with tourist, we took a turn down a random back street in search of something off the beaten path. Luckily we found a charming little Local restaurant, It was an open dinning room filled with young backpackers and locals having a good time! It smelled great and i could tell we had found a real gem. We approached the young man greeting people at the front door and asked for a table. To our disappointment he said that they were full and that they would be closing soon, because they only do one seating for dinner a night! Sad and hungry we turned to walk away destined to eat at one of the overpriced gringo places. As we started walking he called us back saying that his Dad said there was room ! we were confused but very hungry so didn’t think twice. The young man lead us through the dinning area where everyone else was eating and then through a door into his house! The restaurant was in the front of their home and we were lead into their personal dinning room! The young mans mother instructed us to sit down, we tried to tell them that this was too much and that we couldn’t possible intrude in on their home! She shook her head and said sit! our Spanish wasn’t amazing and she didn’t speak any English, so we did as we were told :) she gave us menus and we ordered, we could see her and her younger son (i presume) preparing our dinner! I cant remember what we ordered exactly but it was a selection of typical Nicaraguan dishes prepared simple, no frills no fancy plates just the way they would of enjoyed dinner with their family.We couldn’t of dreamed of a more authentic Nicaraguan dinning experience ! How can you beat being invited into someones home and enjoying a delicious home cooked meal when your in a different country backpacking! I cant even explain how much that meant to my fiance and I. I’m so great-full to that family for giving us that amazing memory! Its something we will never forget.

Laura

Definitely eating fresh baked (made from scratch) cinnamon rolls out in the Arizona desert on a winter backpacking trip. Nothing like hauling flour and butter in your backpack for many miles for a super awesome breakfast.

alicia

We were in Hawaii on our honeymoon. Family friends recommended a Japanese restaurant where we had the most unbelievable sushi with tuna and mango in it. A taste that’s never been replicated in my mouth. After dinner the waitress told us that our bill had already been paid and we were free to go at our leisure. Great food and a great gift!

Hap

Not getting to go home for the holidays is a real bummer, but a couple of years ago, a bunch of friends were also not leaving town. We decided to do a fancy Christmas dinner with glazed carrots, prune chutney (so good), homemade biscuits and a roast goose. Goose is seriously amazing. No one in my family is willing to stray from tradition, so I haven’t had it since then, but I dream about it every year now.

Ari

My boyfriend I went to Taos, NM recently for a relaxing getaway where I had the most memorable restaurant experience of my life at a place called the Love Apple. It’s a tiny little natural/organic restaurant in a renovated adobe chapel. It looks sort of dilapidated from the outside but once you get inside it’s a very special atmosphere…contemporary art on the walls, candles burning in the stained-glass windows, a giant mirror on the old altar. We sipped Malbec wine, ate the 1st local greens of the season, and had some really tasty and uniquely flavored gourmet chicken tacos. The dessert was the crowning touch….a panna cotta served with raspberry sauce and the cutest heart-shaped sugar cookie on top.

Jacqueline

While my husband and I were traveling in Europe, we rented an apartment in Sarajevo for a couple of months. We lived next door to a family run hostel and ended up becoming friends with them. One day, the husband came by and invited us up to their apartment and taught us how to make Bosnian stuffed peppers. He was so happy to teach us and we were just as happy to learn. It was such a joyful and memorable experience. And the peppers were delicious :)

Celia

My (0ur) most memorable experience was our honeymoon in Italy in 2006. We tried so many different foods over there and thank goodness we walked to much we actually lost a few pounds. We tried anything and everything we could. If we didn’t like it, we’d switch plates or throw it away and try something else. It was so much fun to try new things that we cannot get here in the states. True, authentic Italian! YUMM. :)

sydney85

My husband and I had been in Asia on a business trip for six weeks covering Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei. We tasted many delights in these countries but the most unusual dining experience was in Taipei. We went to a italian restaurant and had the most delicious food ever. We tasted pumpkin ravioli, a pear salad and crepe suzette prepared at our table. We really had to pinch ourselves after we finished our meal to realize that we were in Taipei and not in Italy and had just finished a remarkable meal. By the way, the entire staff of the restaurant were Italian!

Abby - Bright Yellow World

My favorite food memory: taking my New York-bred fiance home to southwestern Virginia’s Homeplace Restaurant. They make the all-time best fried chicken and biscuits, served family-style. Watching his eyes light up as he gobbled down piece after piece of chicken, biscuit after biscuit, reminded me why I love southern food so much. It was like tasting fresh fried chicken again for the first time.

Kristina

We decide to trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge in a remote part of western China where 3 great rivers run parallel and divide the earth. Our guide was a young Naxi man named Dragon who assured us the 3-day trek was “very easy.” After the first day of grueling hiking along breathtaking cliffs above the Yangtze, we stopped for the night at a guesthouse and Dragon ordered our dinner: some of his favorite local dishes, including yak meat, yak butter tea, and bitter, spicy greens which he said there was no English word for. The food was amazing, but we were captivated by Dragon. Over dinner he told us about his 2 dreams in life. The first was to own a car. He saw this as a symbol of importance and wealth beyond his humble upbringin. His second dream was to become a tour guide. He was working very hard to improve his English so that his tour operator of choice would hire him. He said he loved trekking with foreigners through the Gorge and showing them his homeland. Suddenly the power went out in the house. (It being very high up on a remote cliff, this was apparently not usual). Dragon fetched candles and we continued the meal by candlelight. “Do you have a 3rd dream?,” my husband asked. “Oh that’s my secret,” Dragon said shyly. He had a glimmer in his eye and, after a little encouragement, admitted he hoped to marry his girlfriend by the year’s end. We asked about the lucky woman, who he described as “not beautiful but very friendly.” He went on to give rapturous descriptions of the way she cooks tofu that is particular to her family’s minority ethnicity. We asked what the wedding would be like. He said the whole village (2,000 people) attends the wedding and we would be welcomed as honored guests if we were still in China and could attend. I hope all of Dragon’s dreams have come true. I will never forget him.

Joy

I grew up on Long Island. My mother was not a great cook. Just thinking of her chicken now makes my teeth ache. So I was always happy when my parents wanted to eat out. There was this Chinese restaurant about 30 minutes from our house- so we didn’t go often, but it made it a real treat. There was an air of mystery about the place- some urban legend that a person had been murdered on the nearby lake. (Not exactly appetizing, but it added to the allure of these evenings out.) My brother and I loved the woman who played the piano while we ate. She sang pop songs while we slurped our wonton soup. On this particular night, she sang La Isla Bonita by Madonna. We loved that song! My brother and I got up and joined the piano played and sang along. When the song was over I returned to the table where my Lover’s Nest entree with shredded veggies was waiting, piping hot and all mine. It felt like a really grown up dish for a little girl and I was proud that I had selected such an item for myself. It was delicious. Later on, as the check was placed in front of my father, we heard drums in the adjacent dining room. I looked up and saw dancers beneath a huge dragon costume, dancing a traditional Chinese dance. It was Chinese New Year. We watched for a few minutes, taking in this authentic and colorful celebration. Reflecting back in that night I have very vivid sense memories. It doesn’t matter that the restaurant was silly (an American piano player at a Chinese restaurant?), it only mattered that I was with my family that I felt safe and loved and satisfied. It was one of the best and silliest meals of my life.

stephanie

I hated pizza growing up. HATED. And of course, it was served at every birthday party, was the reward for good behavior at school, reading a lot, everything.

Until I went to Italy with my aunt and cousin when I was 13, and had my first taste of real pizza. No cloying sauce or gummy bread in sight. Instead bright tomatoes, crispy, flavorful crust and real cheese changed my perception. Liking something I thought I hated prompted me to try more new foods–and transformed me from a picky kid to a woman with a sophisticated palate. At least in my head.

brittany

My whole family used to take week long camping trips together. Aunts, uncles, grandparent, cousins, everyone! So, my best food memory has to be sitting around the camp fire making s’mores. Every kid had a homemade coat-hanger roasting stick hovering in the fire while the adults handed out grahm crackers and a piece of caramel filled chocolate. Chocolately s’mores and sticky marshmallow fingers, food doesn’t get better than that!

Sarah

On our honeymoon in PEI, we went out on a lobster boat, helped pull in traps all morning, and then bought a huge bucket of the smaller lobsters. At our B&B, the host cooked it up, and we indulged ourselves.

Also on that trip, we discovered this beat up old trailer with a boat tied out back. The owner would go out fishing, and his wife would fry up whatever he caught. It was amazing.

Lindsita

Countryside of San Cipirello, Sicily 2007 on my birthday…I come back from the beach with extended cousins to find my dad, Zia, and Zio have hand-made pizzas (with buffalo mozzarella!) in an outdoor oven and half the village came to share. Zio was bare chested and beat everyone at foosball. The company was vibrant and the food was amazing!

Lisa O

On our honeymoon, we traveled around Southeast Asia, and for several days hiked around the remote hills of Laos with a guide. We walked for miles through beautiful jungles, up barren hillsides, across rice paddies, avoided ten-inch-long centipedes, waded through leech-filled waters, and met amazing people in isolated hill tribes. Our guide made us a simple meal of seasoned vegetables and sticky rice that had been grown right on the hills we’d climbed. He showed us how to prepare the rice the traditional way, steamed in a beautiful hand-woven basket over a hanging cauldron and a fire pit, and then ate it along with our generous host family. It tasted amazing and was a beautiful way to end the day.

annie

i’ve just returned from a dreamy weekend in a woodsy cabin in big sur with 3 of my favorite ladies and our pups. without planning anything in advanced, we each brought TOO MUCH fresh, delicious produce. we cooked like crazy and ate some of the most delicious meals of all my days: fritattas, roasted veggies, sauteed greens, leftovers for breakfast w/baked eggs, and onwards and upwards. ’twas THE BEST.

Mellie

Last Christmas season my husband and I visited my family in NJ. We spent a few of those days in NYC. There is a wonderful teahouse there called TeaNY. Their tea was very aromatic. I had a cake called The Peanut Butter Bomb. It was so flavorful! It was vegan, but you couldn’t even tell.

Carissa

When I was 11, my family spent a few months living in the small town of Mitla in Oaxaca, Mexico. We had no car, and would walk around town and to the markets several times a week. One day my sisters and my mother and I were at the market and smelled the most delicious smell. We followed our noses and came upon a tiny bakery making pan dulce. We bought a dozen and started walking home with them. Well, by the time we’d gotten a block away, the bag was almost gone. We went straight back and bought another bag! We ended up becoming friends with the owner, and she let us come in and taught us how to make the pan dulce, including baking it in the huge wood-fired oven. It was one of the most interesting things I’d ever done. The experience was memorable for the food, but also because it was a moment of true freedom and letting go for my mother who was usually extremely strict about what we ate. We talked about that pan dulce for years!!

Le Man and Wife

When I was in college, my boyfriend (and now husband) and I studied abroad in Austria for 2 months of the summer. My wonderful host parents, Edith and Helmut, would make these amazing European breakfasts that far outranked any lunch or dinner meal I had on the trip. Edith would go out in the early morning and pick fresh currants, and then return home and bake them into a delicious pastry with homemade whipped cream. She also made her own muesli with whatever dried fruit she had on hand (picked of course by her) and would serve it with cold milk out of a cute little pitcher. Along side the sweets was always a plate of ham and cheese and a shot of espresso. Talk about starting the day off right! It was just so refreshing and such a great way to experience the Austrian lifestyle.

Rebecca

So it has to be the pizza in Naples–two choices: sauce or sauce and cheese. And hurry and order and sit down. The pizza is bigger than the plate on which it comes. It is piping hot with the fresh tomato tasting sauce–with cheese, of course! Yummy!

Jenny

I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, a city of great food. In a small hole-in-wall trattoria, well off the map, I had my first experience with a menu full of words I didn’t know (I knew basic Italian, but these were words for strange cuts of meat that were beyond my vocabulary). I asked the waitress, what is “polpo.” “In English you say halibut,” she said. “The fish?” I said, just to be clear. She confirmed and I placed the order. About 1/2 an hour later my meal was served: bright purple mass of tentacles. A whole octopus.

Jessica Albarran

A weekend wedding in Napa, we had lunch one day at Bottega Ristorante, Michael Chiarello’s place. Calamari, ricotta gnocchi, and mozzarella burrata. Yum!

marie

i was in marrakech having the most amazing 7-course dinner in one of those hidden treasure restaurants with the gorgeous palace decor. it was tucked away off a side alley and we almost didn’t find it. i still remember the taste of the pastilla…

then a cockroach fell from a rafter onto my head and bounced into my then-boyfriend’s lap.

it was still one of the best meals ever.

kristi mcintyre

i have to say one of my most memorable experiences with food while on vacation was not exactly the best memory…when i was in seventh grade, i went on a trip to england with my church youth choir. we stayed at some kind of convention center that prepared our meals for us. we ate a hot (& very diverse…i had never seen fish & tomatoes served for breakfast before) breakfast there & then they sent a packed lunch with us since we were usually touring the country during the day. one day for lunch they made us chicken wings, however they were unlike anything any of us had ever seen or would dare to eat! the wings & legs were marinated in some weird red sauce, were stone cold, & the chicken still had tiny hairs or feathers all over it! it was disgusting & strange & nobody even tried to eat it. (i think we ended up taking a collection of money on our bus so our leaders could buy us a lunch & bring it back for us.) we called it “hairy chicken” & pretty much made fun or it the rest of the trip! to this day i’m sure if you asked anyone who went on that trip about the food, they would immediately remember the hairy chicken.

abby

My trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2003 came at a perfect time: I was in college, just out of a long relationship, and ready for something NEW. Everyday in Mexico featured a new amazing and delicious food experience: Oaxacan mole, queso fresco, squash blossom quesadillas, a bag of $0.15 pastries, bowls of coffee, and fried grasshoppers, not to mention the local mezcals and tequilas. I’ve had many amazing meals since then but these will always be my best, first, and most memorable food moments because they came at a time when I could really appreciate them.

Nina Pelaez

When I was studying in France last year I traveled around the countryside of France to study some of the major Romanesque cathedrals. While traveling through Burgundy, we stopped in Flavigny-sur Ozerain, a gorgeous medieval town which seemed to be preserved in time.
Our group had lunch at a small, local restaurant nearby, run by a cooperative of women farmers, which had been around for centuries. Our professor, who was traveling with us and was native to the region, was lucky enough to know about it.
There was no menu– the food was served based only on what was available. Of course, there was endless wine from a vineyard nearby, along with plenty of fresh baked bread, and of course Epoisses, a strong- smelling but delicious, one-of- a kind cheese. And that was even before they brought large plates of cooked vegetables. It was so delicious, we wondered what the secret could be and were surprised when they told us they put apples in with the other vegetables. It seemed so simple, but the flavors were like nothing I had tasted before.
Everything we tasted was amazing–simple and incredibly delicious, but the experience was even more incredible. The cooks and servers came and joined us as we ate, speaking to us about our experiences and telling us about the cuisine, it’s history, and the town. Soon, a few of the locals joined in as well.
After lunch, we walked through the old Flavigny Abby. As we emerged from the ruins of the old monastery, the smell of licorice drew us over to a factory nearby, where we discovered they were making the small anise flavored candies produced by Les Anise de Flavigny. We wandered into the shop, sampling the many flavors– violet, rose, mint, and of course the original, anise flavored candies. It was a perfect end to our visit!!

Homa

This is a tough one!

When I got to go to Europe a few years back after almost 20 years away (I was born in the UK but we moved to the US when I was 3) I kept having experiences that made me feel like I had come home. The ketchup in a tray by the baked beans in a breakfast buffet in London or the vegetarian cornish pastie at King’s Cross station. The little lettuce sandwiches on the Lufthansa flight to Munich. or the potato salad my Grandmother had made when we visited her in Berlin. I remember when she heard I was vegetarian she said “but what will you feed your children?” I laugh when I remember that. She died last February and that visit was the only one I can remember but luckily it is a vivid memory of getting to be spoiled by my grandmother for one afternoon (oh, the wonderful chocolate she had! the giant chocolate bell in the KaDeWe!) What a fun contest idea, I enjoyed thinking about it.

Emily Anne

After my husband and I bargain travelled around Japan we decided to treat ourselves by spending one night in a 200 year-old Ryokan in Kyoto. After a bath in a beautiful cedar tub we put on the provided kimonos and sat on the tatami under a heated silk blanket. We were served the most exquisite meal in about 18 tiny courses. I don’t know much about what I ate but I do know that it was the best meal I have ever had. Every time the server shut the screen after presenting a course I pulled out my camera from under the silk to take a picture of it (tacky American!). The presentation was stunning–truly works of art. In the wake of Japan’s recent tragedies, I have been thinking about this wonderful meal and praying for all the gracious people I met there.

Malori

I visited some friends in Anderson, IN recently and had a lovely food experience with them! Anderson is a SMALL town off the highway which is a huge change from Chicago where I live. For dinner one night, they took me to this TINY restaurant called “The Lemon Drop”. It’s been around for a long time and makes these delicious onion burgers (they chop up onions right into the burger AND put extra onions on it once its on the bun). The food was yummy but the best part of the dinner was the atmosphere. I loved eating in a place with such history. The staff had been around for YEARS (I believe the newest waitress had been there for four years) and you could tell they loved what they did. It was such a fun experience :).

Meghan

While studying abroad in Italy we had a field trip scheduled for the morning of November 1. Being that the group was a bunch of Americans we all partied it up for halloween the night before. Only my two roommates and I were able to drag ourselves out of bed the next morning for the field trip. After taking us on a tour of a few dig sites, the leader of our program told us he had a surprise for us. We pulled up to an older house with plenty of character outside of the small town we were staying in. Once we were inside he introduced us to his mother, Erica, an expat who had moved to Italy in the 1950’s to marry her then Italian boyfriend. For the next few hours we sat around the fire place while listening to Erica’s stories and eating roasted chestnuts, bruschetta, cheeses with honey and different butters and drinking wine. It was a truly amazing afternoon that my friends and I still talk about often.

Clara

We were in the Bretagne region of France and spent two weeks there.. It was the first time I tried crab. It was warm and soft and buttery and had just the slightest hint of the taste of the sea.. It’s just that taste that I’ve been remembering ever since.. I was four back then. It was 15 years ago.

Sarah @ Eat Live Austin

The last time I visited Korea, I stayed at my emo’s (aunt’s) in the small town of GwangJu. Everyday we would visit somewhere new, but often these included drives through the beautiful green mountains. My favorite place we visited was the Boseong Nokcha plantation, or green tea plantation. Perched precariously at the top of a high hill overlooking rows upon row of green tea bushes was a little cafe filled with sunlight. The walls and floor were wood, and the low level tables were slices of grand old trees. We sat on little cushions on the floor and drank fresh green tea out of celadon cups and nibbled on fine pastries infused with green tea essence. I even got to try green tea frozen yogurt for the first time. The whole place was beautiful, calming, and absolutely magnificent, perfectly complimented by fine green tea.

Libby

My most memorable food experience while traveling was my first taste of steamed mussels and true pommes frites in Brussels, Belgium.

I was traveling with a group of other university students on a study abroad trip, and we stopped into a pub for dinner. I asked the server to bring me his favorite (he even taught me how to properly eat the mussels).

Though the memory has become larger than life and I remember a meal of epic and unsurpassable deliciousness (which it was), the true beauty is that it was a meal perfect in its simplicity, and a reminder that great food doesn’t have to be fussy–just start with good, real foods, prepare them simply, and enjoy with friends.

Washing it down with a fresh, floral, foamy blonde Belgian beer never hurts, either.

Meg

On a trip up the coast of california my boyfriend and I stayed the night in Big Sur at Tree Bones resort, a lovely cluster of yurts (and a human nest!) centered around an adorable garden. We were delighted to find that the meals they serve in their restaurant are made mostly of produce from their garden. We had the most delicious beet salad with squash flowers, ginger carrot soup and squash ravioli. The meal was overall glorious; beautiful views, fresh delicious food and of course wonderful company!

Deeba

What a gorgeous book. I love 101 cookbooks, right from it’s genius lasagna tart to the th fresh air it breathes vis ingredients and pictures.
My favourite vacation food memories were those of visiting the ghats in Benaras on chilly winter mornings, and sipping piping hot tea from earthenware cups. This was followed by Indian street food in leaf plates…the flavors of simple delicious food with natural ingredients bear testimony to those days gone by! Thank you for awakening those memories {and many many more}

jenA

While working on an architecture project in China recently, I was taken to a rural tree nursery with my clients (who spoke no English!). We were in the countryside and went for a traditional lunch. My hosts were very proud of their cusine and ordered bowls and bowls of food. I asked kindly, so as not to offend, for vegetables and tofu once the dishes were brought to the table. To my (vegetarian) dismay were hundreds of animals – fried, cut, poached, you name it. A bowl of 100 fried frogs, all parts still recongnizeable, fish heads in sauce, long squishy eels in broth….It was amazing – everything was fresh and plentiful (but I could not eat a thing!) I was most amazed at the ‘waste not’ attitude. My hosts ate everything – eyeballs and all. And my tofu was delicious – everyone agreed!

Louise I

When I was in Norway last summer, my friends and I had walked in the mountains and along the beach the whole day long. Then we stumbled upon a traditional ‘hytta’ with a little café. We sat down outside, with a gorgeous view on the lake and had some hot chocolate and a great Norwegian meal: Rømmegrøt! It’s a sour cream porridge that tastes like nothing you’ve ever had before. Absolutely delicious. We shared one big plate and had more than enough (with heart-shaped waffles and fresh raspberry jam on the side, I admit). I know I’ll probably only have it again when I go back again, which is the lovely thing about special local foods! And I don’t think I could have it if I hadn’t hiked all day long…

Gabrielle

When I was a teenager I stayed with a family in France for 6 weeks. Once we visited their grandparents for a few days who lived in a very small village in Normandie just next to the coast. We were invited to a small fish restaurant. A huge pot of mussles was served on the middle of the table and we all dug in. I love eating mussles but it was also the whole rusticness of the village and restaurant and eating with your fingers thing that made the whole experience so lovely. Wish I could to go back there now.

olysiah

I have one of my best food memory years ago, when I was a teenager. I’ve visited my grand parents in Portugal for summer. They are portuguese and they live there, they are farmers. One day, all my family decided to go to the beach, but me and my grand mother not. So we shared a very good day on the capital, Lisboa, and we ate slices of pork and home made fries, with hot bread and a little bit of olive oil on. For dessert, we bought Pasteis de nata, a portuguese pastry , to the oldest shop of the city. It was simple but authentic, and for me, the memory of a special moment shared with that grand mother I didn’t often see.

Hanna

My best food memory is cooking self caught fresh fish on the beach in Cornwall, England. Local organic vegetables and homemade bread to accompany this makes it a perfect sharing dinner with friends. After a long day spent beach combing, kayaking and swimming this is the one and only dinner to be had!

Teresa

The Thai cookery school I went to for a day in Chiang Mai. The tutor took us shopping at the market for the freshest ingredients. We made our own curry paste, and a total of five dishes. So, so good.

ruth larson

My favorite travel food memory took place in France, where I took my stepdaughter for her first trip overseas. She had bragged about being a fearless eater, so I brought her to a Paris restaurant that specialized in innards. After a meal of pig snout staring at her and and some rather mysterious inedible items, she entitled her Facebook entry for the day Awful Offal. My own reaction was to crave a cigarette for the first time in over 20 years, something to cut the taste.

lara

When I lived in NYC my girlfriends and I would escape to a week in Martha’s Vineyard and rent a house for sun and fun. It was the best bonding time, and on our first day, we would do a massive shop and get all the ingredients for the week. Then we would take turns, using the freshest ingredients, local produce and try to impress one another with a delicious dinner each night. It was all served family style with hickory smoked salmons and steamed lobster, corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake…a New England feast each night! A break from the concrete and the glass skyscrapers of the city….Sea and sand and some wine, and lots of laughter, it was exactly what a great holiday should be. I have travelled the world, but still, those are some of my favourite food travel memories.

Dora

Well, I studied abroad in Italy for a full year, so it is pretty hard to narrow down to just one. However, I would have to say that the lesson I attended on the traditional foods of Bologna would be right up there. We ate and ate and ate. Pork products are a huge aspect of the regional cooking in this area, so we learned about how ALL of the pig is used in cooking…and got to sample everything. This was of course followed up with divine pasta and wine. Being there for so long, you learn to appreciate the culture and importance of food, how family life truly revolves around meals together, the art of preparing food, picking the vegetables every day, going to the market, etc. It is a part of cooking that I have tried to carry over into my own life back in the U.S., even if it is not in the exact same manner… I’ve certainly worked to make it fit what is available to me.

Immi

Several years ago, my husband and I took an early spring trip from Minnesota to San Antonio. We both remember vividly how we felt after changing our cold weather clothing for lighter, short-sleeved clothes. (I remember exactly what I was wearing, too.) We headed down to the Riverwalk, and chose a restaurant at random. It was a beautiful, sunny day so of course we wanted to sit outside. The food was Cajun, and we treated ourselves to a lunchtime cocktail. We both felt an amazing sense of relaxation, soaking in the good food and the warmth of the sun. It was such a treat after a long, cold winter!

Reva

A sidrería in a small village in the Basque Country of Spain. Sitting on a bench at a long wooden table alongside enormous wooden casks of cider that towered over the dining room….and eating platter after platter of shared pintxos and main dishes of the most fantastically prepared local favorites….ventresca…chorizo…chuletón a la parilla…tortilla de bacalao…pimientos verdes….revuelto de gambas y ajo….preparaciónes variadas de chorizo y jamón….

Heather

Last July, my husband and I drove from the Adirondack mountains of NY through to the coast of Maine for our honeymoon. While driving through the outskirts of Ogunquit, we passed a small one story restaurant with a handwritten sign out front that read “We have our blueberry pie”. Figuring this must be some incredible pie if it is deserving of it’s own sign, we made a quick u-turn and pulled in. Inside we were greeted by one of the owners, a tall friendly Greek woman who was still wearing her apron and looked like she must be someone’s grandma. The walls were splattered with family photos and the sites of Greece. (My husband proposed to me in Greece only the summer before, so we were soaking in the photos and reminiscing). We heard the specials of the day, perused through the menu. It all sounded amazing, but we were there for one thing. That homemade blueberry pie. …It was almost 4 inches tall, with large fresh blueberries packed in tightly, leaning against a flaky crust that had a subtle hint of lemon. The berries bursted with sweetness and the lemon provided just the right about of tang. …I can still remember the joy that one piece of pie brought. We scraped the plate clean and leaned happily into our seats. …We hope to enjoy it again, for our 10 year anniversary.

A.C.

My best food memory was on St. Maarten. My family and I ate at a beachside restaurant, the sort where the floor of the restaurant is sand from the beach. I ate a lobster salad – the spiny lobster had only been caught hours ago. That lobster, on the beach, with the warm sun and waves of the Caribbean – Perfection!

suki

one of my earliest childhood memories was of my mother taking my brother and i (4 & 2.5 years old) back to malaysia from australia, for the first time (back in the 70’s).

we had a nanny who looked after us as if we were her own children. my memory tale is of her laying the mat on the floor of the outdoor kitchen, in the sticky tropical heat, with a big bowl of steaming fried fish, sambal and rice.

she sat crossed legged with my brother and i balanced on her left leg so she could feed each us directly to our mouths with her right hand (malay style). i felt such adoration for her and the food we were eating because we were simultaneously embraced and fed with such love!

Kristen

On a trip to Peru to hike the Inca Trail spent some time before the trek in the wonderful markets in Cuzco. I love to try new foods and we bought a bright green, irregularly shaped fruit with a highly faceted skin texture– cool! Went back to the hotel and in a teeny sink went through several rounds of washing with tap water and then with bottled water (travelers diarrhea on a 5 day backpacking experience would be no good) then cut it up with our swiss army knife. Delicious! Sweet and a little astringent; creamy with great rough-textured black seeds to suck the meat off of. Later learned that this was a cherimoya– now one of my favorite fruits. Too bad that they’re so hard to get in the US!

heather mcdowell

my favorite food memory isn’t in a glamorous location but i still hold it in one of my more magical experiences. my girlfriend and i had a weekend getaway in galveston, texas and, as foodie devotees, had scavenged reviews for a week prior to find the perfect place. we got dressed up, we walked in, we saw “pirates bounty”, a myriad of fried mess, on the menu and made a giggly (and quiet ridiculous) retreat. surely, there was more to be had in a beach town! so we started a walkabout in downtown, stopping by each possible prospect, stomachs grumbling, evaluating the menu with eagle eyes. we were about to settle for something that we had remembered from another review and were heading that way when we passed a place called rudy and pacos in the opera district. it was small and secret seeming and smelled amazing. we walked in hopefully and the place was exactly what we’d wanted, crab cakes and delicious seafood, packed clientele and no wait. the waiters poured our wine from great heats and synchronized with great drama the addition and removal of every plate. it was magical! and, not to be outdone by theatrics, the food was amazing. it was a fun secret stumble that we still hope to someday outdo but also, partially hope we can’t.

Sara Lenton

My favorite food memory was with my boyfriend in a small town called Tivoli, Italy. We went there with no official plans, but with a picnic lunch in our bags. Once we got off the train we saw this large, beautiful hill ( a small mountain, really). We decided to climb it, and had a difficult time trying to communicate with a local to find the trail. It was very steep, and there were wild horses running around. We got to the top and had a wonderful meal of Italian white wine, a baguette, cheese, blood oranges, and apples. We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset while taking in a breathtaking view of the Italian countryside. Best meal I’ve ever had.

Amanda

A tiny little dive off the Florida coast for our last vacation before our wedding. Mouth-watering seafood and cheddar biscuits. Staring down seagulls who dared get to close. Seafood has never been so good …

Kelly Fannon

Key Lime pie in Key West with espresso outside in the sunshine. Warm, sunny and hot, the sweet, sweet tang of the key lime, cream on top, the crunch of the crust then the bitter punch of coffee. Delicious. I can’t loose that memory, the quality of light in Florida helps me remember how delicious it was.

Allison

I so wish this was available on ibooks or kindle. Any possibility of that happening?

Lindsay-Jean

My husband and I were living in Japan, I was a vegetarian, and whenever we went out to eat, we would carefully explain in Japanese what I didn’t eat. One time I ordered a salad and specified no meat, no fish, etc – only to have it come out sprinkled with bacon. We called the waitress over to talk to her about it and she exclaimed, “but it’s not meat! it’s pig!”

Priscilla

I was a vegetarian for two years (in Texas) before I spent two months traveling through South Africa. I was able to remain vegetarian with only a little difficulty- until South Africa won the World Cup. The family that I was staying with roasted their goat out back- how does one say no to that!? I took park- and it was glorious. I went back to vegetarian when I returned to the states, but the day my family roasted a goat will stand out in my mind as a wonderful day.

Fernanda Rossi

During a three-month stay in England when I was 18 I met and Englishman with whom I truly felt in love with. We went to a small pub for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s day. I’m not sure what to blame: the whole experience of being in the UK, by myself, enamored with an amazing charming guy, but I had the best meal ever. A simple haddock with bechamel sauce and vegetables. Twenty years later and I still recall the smell, the texture and the taste. Unfortunately, after coming back to Brazil, never heard about the guy anymore, but that meal is my “Eldorado”. Even though I went to great restaurants and had terrific meals in this 20-year period, that one is still on the top of my list. Unforgettable.

kate

Every May, my sister and mom meet up to hunt for wild morel mushrooms. My grandfather hunted for morels for years and we have a treasured photo of him with potato sacks full of morels. I travel a few hours to my grandmothers, where we walk in the woods for hours, hopefully to find a few dozen of treasured morels. When we’re lucky, we head back to my 97-year old grandmother who looks over our finds and tells us how our Papa would’ve been proud of our work (usually)! She cleans and soaks them, and then we fry them just like she’s done for years. If we have enough, we’ve made risotto and wild mushroom soup, but deep fried morels is quite amazing in its simplicity and decadence!

Michelle

I struggled with an eating disorder for years, twiddling away to nothing physically or emotionally. I vividly remember waking up from this horrible nightmare in the most unusual of ways. We were coming into Austin, TX from a month long climbing adventure in Mexico. We had to find some dinner, we walked a few blocks and found a hole in the wall taco shop. We pushed the solid doors open to brightly painted walls and a huge meat selection. I usually would never considering eating meat but I stepped up, all 100 pounds of my boney body and ordered three barbacoa tacos. I devoured them, red grease dripping from the warm corn tortillas and rolling to my elbows. It was the most memorable food experience. Food tasted amazing once again, fear and the demons that surrounded it had lifted their grip and I was released into the world in which I find pleasure in food.

sara

I’ve had many amazing sensory experiences with food during my travels in India and Africa…but honestly my most memorable:

After a weekend of camping with friends in the midwest, we happened upon a small-town diner and ordered the best breakfast we had ever had. I still remember it: I think it was called the “farm boy benedict.” Biscuit topped with sausage, scrambled eggs, and gravy. Hash browns on the side. Mmm, makes my stomach growl just thinking about it. :)

Carol

My most memorable dining experience was about 25 years ago on our honeymoon in Charleston, SC. Escargot in in velevety garlic butter sauce. For a young woman from NC, that was the most unusual thing I had ever eaten and they were declicious!

monika rae

It was a plate full of fresh Lake Superior trout, wild rice, and greens tossed with vibrant additions like wild blueberries. I was with a dear friend visiting the lovely town of Grand Marais, MN, at The Angry Trout.

Courtney

My parents took me to this lovely restaurant in Monterrey, Mexico. I saw tacos de cabeza on the menu and thought that they sounded interesting. I don’t really know what I was expecting to see when they brought my plate out. I guess I just thought it was a fun title…it was quite literal though! I was surprised to open up the blue corn tortillas and see little pieces of seasoned brain underneath a pile of cilantro. I felt uncomfortable trying them (cow brains look just like I would expect my brain to look like), but decided that I needed to live the experience! I squirted a couple limes on it, and sprinkled it with chopped jalape;o and took a bite. They were actually really delicious as long as I kept the “cabeza meat” covered up.

Kelli

A bottle of sparkling wine, shopping in an Italian deli (without speaking the language), fruits and veggies from a street market, amazing views of the local castle with my fiancé. Best picnic ever.

Kate

I am an American expat living in the Netherlands, and is so often the case here, I miss many thing from home. Since I’ve moved, my favorite meal experience was when I was visiting my parents in the U.S. last summer. Being back on the porch of the house I grew up in, surrounded by my family, laughing, talking and eating (grilled asparagus, corn, and tomato salad, grilled freshly-caught fish from the bay, and homemade strawberry shortcake). But to be honest, it wasn’t the food (although my dad is the best chef I know!), it was being surrounded by my family. When I think of these meals, I am also reminded of how wonderful my family is, and how lucky I am to have them, even if they are 4,000 miles away.

Diana

During my first year of college, my dad and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon together. We spent the day eating lots of granola and trail mix and drinking electrolyte drinks. After hiking for almost 10 hours, we made it to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon, where we would be staying for the night. After settling in our cabins, we went over to the commons area for dinner. We had beef stew, and I swear, it was the best beef stew I ever ate. After eating trail mix and granola and fruit all day, it was amazing to eat something warm and rich and filling. It still makes my mouth water thinking about it.

Lily

While this isn’t an exotic memory, its absolutely my favorite.

When I started graduate school my fiance and I drove cross country from California to Maryland. While we were driving through Louisiana, we pulled off the highway crossing our fingers that there would be something to eat. We were lucky to find a little diner that let us take a seat. We were the only people in the restaurant and both got the lunch special. We had chicken-friend steak, black eye’d peas, mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots, and had a fabulous conversation with the cook, the two waitresses, and the cashier, and after our meal were led across the street to the Bonny and Clyde museum, we had stopped in the town where the man who had caught them had lived, and got to talk to his son about the incident!

We had great food, got to meet wonderful people and learn about their lives, and got a piece of local history to boot.

Robin

While in Kyoto with my parents and my sister, we went to a restaurant/bar late at night. It was a tiny restaurant, where we sat on the pillows on the floor around the table.
The kind of food we ate was typical Japanese bar fare – small dishes of pickled or sauteed vegetables, grilled whole fish, and rice porridge, ramen, the list goes on. It was especially cozy on that winter night, where there was nothing better than sipping hot gen mai cha, nibbling on bits of grilled salmon and pickles, and slurping up soupy noodles.

Jasmin

I was an exchange student in Sweden, left to my own devices for the first time. I didn’t even know how to cook. On my first attempt, I spilled a tin of pepper all over the broccoli I attempted to fry, then burned the rice I was simmering in a pot. I made a game attempt to eat the ruined meal before chucking it in the garbage chute.

Nichole

The first time I was in Italy we were wandering around on the little islands around Venice. We’d get on the water taxi and just get off and explore whereever we felt drawn.

Around lunch we ended up in a small square where there was a bar that was bustling. It turned out it was a small restaurant where all the locals went to eat lunch.

I had the best plate of spaghetti alle Vongole, it was so good I probably licked the plate! One of the most simple meals I’ve ever had but also the best :)

Alyson

I lived in Japan for two years, working at a junior high school. One weekend, all the teachers took a trip together to Kyoto and Osaka. Because I’d given up red meat and fowl for Lent, they were kind enough to arrange a trip to a tofu restaurant in Kyoto for lunch. It was, hands down, one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had. It was kaiseki (a series of beautifully presented dishes) and in the room next to us, a group of geisha were also having lunch and entertaining. So, I got to both experience kaiseki for the first time AND got to meet some geisha. In my mind, the whole experience is just such a lovely photograph of the traditional element to Japanese culture.

Paula

Franny’s in Brooklyn is a wholesome and delicious experience. It smells and looks cozy (like wood and herbs). Their food is heavenly–every ingredient is thought out carefully. You know this because on the back of the menu it says where everything came from (including their electricity supply). Best meal I ever had!

Lindsay L

My favorite food experience while traveling was in Paris. My sister and I woke up very early the last day we were there because we both couldn’t sleep. We went to a laundrymat then decided to find breakfast while our clothes were being washed. We stopped at the first boulangerie that was open and had the best crepes and coffee ever. Afterwards we sat on a bench by Notre Dame and watched the sun come up. We both will never forget that morning.

tscharner

After graduating from college I was given a trip to Europe as a gift. The tour took us through England, France, Germany, Austria and Italy. While in Italy the group was fed a traditional meal…and the most memorable part was the “appetizer” plate of fried polenta, freah figs and anchovies. I had never experienced this kind of food before and I ate every bite! The other tour members were dubious about the plate so I ate theirs too and let them enjoy the american french fries that were also served. I think that was an “aha” moment for me in how food would become such an important role in my life.

Sarah Molyneaux

While this may not contend as travel for some, for me it does…

My fiance and I have, for 5ish I think years, been living away from home in Vancouver, BC, Canada while I make my way through university(graduating in 4 weeks!). While I could sit here and tell you all of my amazing experiences in Italy (gas station sandwich… misty morning and a perfect cappuccino… yaddayadda) every time we go home to Penticton, BC I’m really excited for one thing. Sunday Morning Legion Breakfast. Its not amazing food, but heres whats great: his family has been going for a while, so has my family, and then we started going once in a while. After we had gone for a couple times the 2 families would start sitting together. Now its a fairly common occurrence. The food is nothing-too-special diner type breakfasts served by the older men and women of the Legion, but this is our Sunday morning ritual, something to be looked forward to, something to be excited about. I love watching our families grow together over time, bond over some simple eggs and pancakes, its a wonderful reason of why I’m so excited to marry this boy. In doing so I’m extending my family by leaps and bounds and am all the happier. :)

Sarah

As a college student, I spent one year in Florence, Italy. We had many field trips to various locations around the country during that year, including one to Cortona–amazing!–in Tuscany. While walking around the little streets, some friends and I came across a food vender selling “nervi d’angelli” or nerves of the lamb. They were chunks of nerves, taken from the inside of the spinal cord, cooked with garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Reminiscent of chewing on a bouncy ball (we all did this as kids, right?). Don’t know that I’d eat it again, but I really appreciate cultures that find a way to consume (often with relish and delicacy) every part of the animal.

Therese

One of my favorite dishes to this day is fish grilled on an open fire. This is first and foremost because it is delicious, but also because it brings back fond childhood memories of camping with my father. My father is not known for his cooking skills. In fact if my mother is not at home he prefers cereal or takeaway and seldom uses the stove at all. However, when I was a child my father and I would go to a small cabin in the mountains each summer. This is a very basic cabin without electricity and running water. Every night we would put out a fishing net in the lake, and every morning we would rise with the sun and go out with our little boat and get the fish. Later the same day my father’s cooking skills would miraculously appear. For lunch he would prepare, on an open fire by the river, the most delicious fish I have ever tasted to this day. Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside. Simple, natural and so full of flavor it makes my mouth water just to think of it. For desert we would each evening pick berries in the forest, and, being children, put it in jello to be eaten the day after. I have outgrown my fondness for jello, but fish grilled on an open fire is still a favorite. And with a dessert of berries to complete the meal….mmmmmmmmmmmm I am hungry ;-)
Very much looking forwards to checking out your new book, Heidi. With two little children, natural and approachable sounds exactly like the kind of thing I am looking for to inspire my cooking.

Siouxzy

My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Half Moon Bay. We stayed in the Half Moon Bay Inn. Every morning we would get up and eat waffles with mascarpone and honey and crab meat omelettes, ginger pancakes, etc. We would order four entrees at every meal because the menu was so delicious and we knew we would soon return to the life of poor Ramen-eating students. Never have there been such fat, happy and in-love people as we were that week. (p.s. please pick me! I would love this book.)

Shannon

I’ve been lucky to have so many great food experiences while traveling, but I’ll tell you about the first one I remember. When I was still a kid (about 9 years old), my parents and I traveled around Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Israel one summer. We stopped for a few days in Pamukkale, Turkey, to see these amazing hot springs, mineral deposits that resemble snow they’re so built up and Roman ruins. For breakfast we headed into town and found a little shop that sold these incredibly thin, light, buttery and large omelettes. We ate them every morning we were there they were so fantastic. As someone who had grown up with my dad’s thick, rubbery omelettes filled with canned cheese, it was a revelation. They were the first food I remember really being impressed by- that someone could take something as simple as an omelette and make it completely amazing. The traveling I did when I was younger and my life in the Middle East is probably why I am such an avid cook today– I’m always seeking those incredible taste experiences that are probably not replicable– omelettes in a beautiful Turkish town down the mountain from one of the world’s natural and historical wonders.

Kyley

My husband and I took a trip to Corn Island in Nicaragua for our honeymoon. Daring for a pair of people who had never been out of the country before – let alone “on our own”.
One of our favorite memories was sitting over a pier eating homemade conch coctail dip.
The food was amazing on this tiny island only accessible by small charter plane. And when we reminisce about the trip our mouths start to water as we remember the ripe veggies, freshly caught fish and lobster, and old school soda in a glass bottle.
Perhaps someday we will get to return. :)

April W.

My most memorable food experience was in Verona when backpacking with my then bf (now husband.) We decided to have a fancy dinner, but weren’t prepared for when the waiter came out with the wines in order for us to swirl and sample. He poured a bit into my husband’s glass, and Husband looked at me with “what have I gotten into?” eyes asking me what on earth he was supposed to do. He sipped, and we accepted the wine, and still laugh about how ridiculous we must have looked trying to play that part at a swanky restau.

Sarah

I went to Zambia last summer and we spent a week in a rural village sleeping in a tent. The women in the village would never let us help prepare the food because the Muzungu (white people) just didn’t know how to do it. They made some of the most delicious fried chicken, kale, dough balls and…goat I’ve ever had. We all remember oggling over how cute the goats were and then wondering which one of them we were eating.

Lauren

I recently studied abroad in Bra, Italy, where SlowFood was founded. My first taste of Italy my first night there was salsiccia de bra (fresh ground beef and pork fat sausage eaten raw). It was intimidating but surprisingly light and refreshing. This is my favorite food story that never fails to make people cringe.

Betina

Last year I went to Bahia (in Brazil) for the first time. I was working on a film with my boyfriend, who was born there, so it was really special for us as a couple so he could show me things that were important for him as a kid.

We stayed in Ilhéus for only five days, so he couldn’t show me around all that much.

So, everyday we skipped lunch and dinner with the crew to hop around looking for tipical food that he loved and wanted me to know too.

Bahia has a lot of tipical food that are diferent from the rest of Brazil. I still remember the smell of acarajé that we bought in tents near the beach.

The best meal i remember was on our last day. We stayed in a hotel that was in front of a really traditional but simple restaurant in Ilhéus. It is famous for being the favorite restaurant of Jorge Amado, a brazilian writer that lived in Ilhéus and wrote amazing books about Bahia. We invited some friends that we made on the movie to share a crab moqueca with us. Moqueca is like a really spicy stew, traditional from the Northeast of Brazil.

This restaurant was in front of the beach. So at night was really beautiful to sit in the tables outside as you could see the sea and the moon while we were having this awesome dinner with our friends, and all of that while making a movie! I really love travelling and love working with cinema because of the experiences we can have. It was a really meaningful trip for me in many ways and made me love my boyfriend even more.

It is really good to know that we share the same passions: travelling, cinema and food! hahaha

meaghan

my husband and i spent a year volunteering in cambodia. i worked in two very rural villages. one of our projects was working with an amazing local eye doctor. there were a number of villagers with serious eye problems. an older woman had lost her vision years before because ‘scabs’ had grown over her eyes. this is a common condition called pterigrion. i was invited to share a meal with her and her family a couple weeks after the surgery. i expected her to exclaim how wonderful it was to see her grandchildren and be able to be productive. but with her sight, she said the best part was now being able to grab the good food during the meals. and she was serious. she was very quick grabbing all the food while i politely tried to find something that wouldn’t make me too sick, bird eggs, insects, root vegetables. the joy i felt in seeing her proudly be the lead women of the family instead of the disheveled, blind, old lady in the corner was so memorable. not the food, but the people. even though everything looked different from my neighborhood, the similarities ran deep.

tamsin

It’s got to be in Barcelona, two years ago. None of us spoke very good Spanish and we were struggling to get our vegetarian friend anything to eat – much like France the concept of veggie isn’t really that popular! We eventually came across a bar/restaurant where the waitress recommended he try the asparagus dish. He was so pleased to get something interesting to eat and we all sat back and waited for our food. While the rest of us tucked into a huge paella, he received a piece of asparagus. On a plate.

Cathy Lane

I’ve had a chance to travel and eat at some of the most expensive places in the world but my food fantasies always go back to my childhood. I was raised on a western ranch where we had our own grass fed beef, milked a cow (Mom made butter and we had cream on our oatmeal in the morning) and my mother thought a half acre garden was a good start. Imagine how great it was to walk out to the raspberry patch and pick a bowl for breakfast. My father used to remind us “you can’t get food this good at the best restaurant in New York City.” I think he may have been right.

Lindsay

My boyfriend and I took a trip to Ireland this fall over Thanksgiving. For some reason, I was a little sad about the thought of not having our traditional, home-cooked style Thanksgiving dinner. The thought of not having my grandmothers crab cocktail or my mother’s home-made pumpkin pie made me feel a little homesick, even though I was having an amazing time in a beautiful place. Thanksgiving day arrived and we spent the day exploring the Aran Islands. It was a wonderful day and we hadn’t even thought about dinner, turkey or gravy. We stepped off the ferry and were famished, so we walked into town and found a restaurant that we had heard about from a travel website. We sat down, ordered some drinks and I opened the menu only to find out that the restaurant was featuring a “American Thanksgiving Dinner” for the nights special. This made me smile, and we asked our waitress what the meal featured. It was definitely an Irish take on Thanksgiving; turkey, stuffing, pickled vegetable, fried potatoes, french-fries, mashed potatoes and gravy. This little gesture made me feel better about missing the meal at home, but instead of ordering the special, I ordered an amazing lamb stew that was delicious! Just the thought of home was all I needed.

K

When I was 17 I visited Argentina (with a school group rather than my parents!) and spent some time treking in the Andes. The most mouth-wateringly delicious meals I have eaten were on that trip. Following 9 hours of breath-taking walking under clear blue skies with eagles soaring overhead we stopped at a tiny house where we ate empanadas, little folds of vegetables deep fried inside a thin pastry-like casing, freshly cooked until crisp and flavourful. The delight of the food was intensified by the extreme hunger from walking (with an unintentionally tiny breakfast and lunch) and then waiting for what seemed like hours for the women who were to cook our food to return at sunset from tending their sheep. Never have I been so hungry, and never has food tasted so good. The same holiday includes memories of dulce de leche (from a huge supermarket package) smeared thickly on flat breads that we had bought from local people, carried until lunch time and then eaten at the highest point of the day’s walk. The view of the folds of the mountains beyond made it easily the best dining room I have visited and the bread had been freshly baked that morning. The combination of fresh air, exercise and a wonderful first taste of real adventure made these meals memorable.

julie kostina

Last summer, my boyfriend took me to the Dominican Republic, where his family is from. We rented a car and drove around all over the place. We didn’t have one bad meal while we were there, but the most memorable one was one of our first.

We started our trip in Punta Cana where we stayed at an all inclusive resort. Neither of us is into the all inclusive dining experience (even though the food was actually pretty great at the super fancy hotel), so we drove out to see what was happening in town. We passed a woman selling river crab by the side of the road and made a mental note to check in with her on our way back. When we got back to her spot, she was gone. We asked what happened to her and were directed to her home, where she sold us a couple of dozen crabs and then prepared them for us with fresh coconut and spices. We sat in the yard with her family and their dogs and chickens (and a pen full of river crab!) and had a few beers and chatted and waited for the food, which was amazing. We took it back to our hotel (it was dark by then and there was no way to see in the yard), got some beers to take back to the room, and had a feast.

Definitely a meal I’ll never forget, enhanced by the warmness and hospitality of the Dominican people.

C. Kingston

I was backpacking Italy with a friend. We both really wanted to stay in the Cinque Terre. Without any acccomodations booked, we showed up late in the evening and asked for directions to the hostel. We arrived and gulped. It smelled like cat urine, was dark and run by a creepy dude. But it was 10pm and what else could we do?? We ended up at a cafe that evening thinking “this place sssssuuuucks”. The bartender overheard us and told us to shop up the next morning. He handed us a key to his family’s rental. It was lovely – clean, nice smelling and it opened to the mediteerean ocean. Later than evening, the bartender invited my friend and I over for supper. He and his friend made us risotto, giving me a step by step lesson in Italian. I don’t know Italian at all but with the my eyes and his sign language, I was able to grasp the process. The best part is that the asparagus was picked by the chef that day on his way home from work. (From the sign language I understand the asparagus was “borrowed” from a house farm on his route home.) That trip took place over 15 years ago and every time I make risotto, I think of these two fellas and this awesome authentic spontanious risotto making lesson.

LeeOr Meyerson

I stayedt a hotel in Tuscany. It used to be a monestary, but they transformed it into a small hotel. They had their own restaraunt with all local ingredients. The 1st thing I ate there was a Baked Goat Cheese. It was yrs ago but I still remember that very 1st bite!!!!

Trish

The new book looks, and sounds wonderful!

So many memories to choose from… Candied chestnut gelato in Venice, while resting after a long Sunday afteroon stroll through the empty canals, with the person I love most.

Tiffany

Mine isn’t a particularly beautiful memory, but it is definitely unforgettable. I had been traveling in Japan for the previous month with a group of 5 friends. We had mostly been surviving on cheap noodles and the hospitality of friends we met along the way. We were about to leave Tokyo for Chiba, and decided to mark the occasion by going out to a nicer sit-down restaurant for dinner. We all ordered things off the menu that looked pretty safe, but my one friend decided to go for some sort of octopus soup, complete with whole miniature octopi. I guaranteed him he would end up sick. And sure enough, he turned quite green on the train ride home and hopped off on the first stop in search of a bathroom. We lost track of him for the next hour until he came back to the platform with a look of such shame on his face. He hadn’t made it to the squatty potty in time, and the octopi had exacted their revenge. We had the pleasure of his smelly company on the ride back to the hotel, and spent the night trying to wash the shame of his clothes.

Sara

My favorite food-related vacation memory is one of the simplest ones: I spent a summer in the south of France and every Saturday I would go the outdoor market in Ceret. I’d pick up a freshly baked baguette, a perfectly ripe avocado, a juicy, summer tomato and a bag of the tastiest cherries around. Using my pocket knife, I’d assemble a little sandwich and enjoy the cherries for dessert while I took in the amazing scenery.

It was a wonderful weekly ritual and it’s amazing how the such a simple meal (albeit one of such fresh, homegrown items) can be remembered so wistfully.

Mellisa H.

We were gritty with dried sweat from days of camping and hiking in Great Basin National Park. The high desert had been kind to us with warm days, golden aspens, and deep, azure skies shining through the gnarled branches of bristlecone pines. Hiking for most of the daylight hours in one of our favorite places creates quite an appetite, but there are only so many days that trail mix and Coleman stove top meals can be tolerated.

Down the windy road out of the park we went one dusk, seeking sustenance in the incredibly small town of Baker, Nevada. We weren’t expecting much. We just craved something different. The one, wee place open was called The Silver Jack Inn. Charles and I looked at each other, shrugged, and said, “Why not.”

We entered a tiny cafe, its walls bright, primary colors. The room glowed, as if by candles, though only ordinary lights were visible. Our campfire musk was immediately drowned by the odors of gourmet food. We sat down and were immediately greeted, told the specials, and were left to ponder the fancy dishes displayed on paper menus before us. I opted for a hearty beef stew accompanied by a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon. It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten, and not because my appetite was whetted by days of roughing it. (Though that was true.)

We stumbled upon a chef in a town populated by 160 people. It felt like discovering a sapphire on a deserted dirt road. The amazement, joy, and utter bliss of that meal is still an experience I hold dear to my heart.

Lena

Imagine the soft mood from strands of twinkle lights, the warmth of freshly baked bread, the explosion of flavor baked into a quiche, the aroma of sauteed garlic, and a sweet melody coming from a street violinist. This, my friends, is my most cherished food memory. My husband and I travelled to Serbia before our marriage, so that he could meet my family. Serbian people adore intimate conversation over delectible food and so of course upon our first night there, we found ourselves at one of Belgrade’s best kept secrets, a small restaurant owned and operated by the same family for over 100 years. We arrived as the first table to be seated (Americans eat much much earlier than Serbians) and closed down the restaurant, being the last ones to wander out the door. It was a night filled with the joy of my fiancee (now husband) connecting with my family through laughter, love, and of course, food. No meal will ever carry the abundant joy and meaning that this sweet night in Belgrade does.

Ashley

My most favorite memory is when we used to travel to the Lake of the Ozarks and used to go to this place that sold mostly pies. TONS of different pies. My Dad (and I) have such a”sweet tooth”. He would talk forever about this place in the weeks before we’d go and would insist upon going there once ever day for the whole time we were there!

This also ties in with one of the cookiest things about my Dad, which is him substituting flurries and or ice cream for a real, more substantial lunch.

Jennifer Ward

A most recent and fabulous food/travel experience was the wonderful breakfast crepes at the Cafe Des Amis in Paia (Maui), Hawaii. Crepes filled with organic eggs, local tomatoes, and cheese, sided by local greens and a dollop of sour cream. The atmosphere was perfect local Maui. The smoothee was cold and tropical, the coffee strong. My little family enjoyed our little meal on our last day on the island and expect that we will return, and will return several times to this quaint, friendly, tasty cafe.

Erin

Fresh made gelato in Italy. An otherworldly experience. I can still remember the giddiness I felt when I was handed my first scoop of gelato, eating it in the street, unable to wait for a table to open up. Yum.

Sarah

My favorite food experience would be a small restaurant I found while living in Italy. I had the best meal there. Homemade raviloi, with fresh parmesan cheese, bread and olive oil. I had a red wine that was made local and of course tiramisu for dessert. Perfection.

Andrea

When I was 16 I volunteered in a tiny village up in the mountains of Oaxaca. The first week I was there was the celebration for the patron saint of the village — which meant a week-long huge communal meal in a giant open kitchen as the village worked its way through an enormous cow! The dear cow’s head greeted everyone to the kitchen, and we were served bowls of a stew that you would scoop up with these phenomenal 2 foot across, 1/4 inch thick homemade corn tortillas. The tortillas were my favorite part, but if you left a drop of stew in the bowl, the ENTIRE village would be asking you why you didn’t like your last meal! So I would so carefully scoop my food up but try not to eat the tortilla piece until it was way too soggy to last another scoop — the strategies of a 16 year old in Mexico :-)

lissa rice

My most memorable vacation food experiences all revolve around my childhood summer vacations at the ocean in Maryland. Like everyone else, I’ve learned to eat better these days, but as a child at the beach nothing was farther from my mind. From sunrise to sunset all of the children and many adults of our extended family spent laughing in the rough salty waters of the Atlantic ocean. For hours afterwards and long into the night our heads would still be swimming.
In those days we rarely took a break to eat for lunch but breakfast was always a treat. There were “stacked-high pancakes with lots of melted butter & sweet maple syrup” or “Taylor pork roll sandwiches” on white bread with mayo (I can feel my arteries are clogging just thinking about it). For these we would wake up “extra” early to go to the boardwalk before the crowd arrived. Milk would invariably be spilled as we kids would endlessly spin on the stools at the formica counter. The salty pork and salty ocean air where just what we needed to start the day.
But our all time favorite breakfast treat (both children & adults would agree) were “Josh’s Homemade Donuts”. This was another early expedition. To have the best variety and the shortest wait time we’d need to arrive before the crowds. All of us kids would fight to come along to the little grocery store on Ocean Highway & 46th Street that housed the most magnificent donut-making contraption. The smell of hot dough, chocolate and sugar would make us swoon as we entered the shop trying to remember the long list of favorites that we were expected to bring home. We’d run to the donut machine to watch the donuts move on the belt through the oil. The summer-hired teenagers would grab the hot donuts and pour glaze, sprinkles, chocolate chips or cookie crumbs on top. In our young minds of course this was the best job ever and one we all aspired to one day be able to attain. You could special order any combination and as kids we’d always push this option to the limits. Some of our favorites were orange glazed chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, raspberry glaze with coconut & chocolate, and of course, rainbow sprinkles. And don’t forget the ice-cold milk!
Whether it was the wonderful food or just the wonderful memories of all the people we loved, playing, laughing and eating, those times and tastes will stay with us forever.

A. Fraser

It’s not one meal in particular, but several that all blur together. When I was a kid I’d spend most of my summers with my Godparents at their cottage on the West Coast. There are no roads to this place, and no electricity. The water comes from a mountain creek. My Godfather would whip-up the most amazing multi-course meals day after day over an open campfire; from buckwheat pancakes and homemade huckleberry jelly, to freshly caught-then-grilled lingcod with steamed green beans, cold beet salad and smashed potatoes + roasted garlic. His resourcefulness and creativity in this crude out-door kitchen was limitless! He taught me how to appreciate and experiment with food. Those summers were devine!

Robyn

Growing up my grandfather had a sailboat and every summer we’d sail from Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket.

This one particular summer, we went with my cousins (4 kids – 7,8,9 (me),10 years old and 4 adults – all parents!) When we got to the Vineyard we went into town for dinner. Us kids ordered a typical kid dinner, spaghetti with butter, while the adults got more exciting things, like the homemade clam chowder, the catch of the day, etc. Our spaghetti came out and we loaded it with parmesan cheese from the shaker on the table and dove into our meal. A few minutes later our mouths were on fire and we thought they had given us spicy spaghetti by accident. Well it turns out that the shaker on the table was horseradish and not parmesan cheese! The waitress felt so bad she brought us each out a big bowl of ice cream to calm down the spice! Needless to say the four of us always test the parmesan cheese shaker at restaurants to this day!

Nichola

HiWhile traveling on the train from Bangkok down to the islands we ordered dinner from our waiter thinking it would be probably be another westernised meal. The next thing we knew the train stopped breifly at a tiny village in the middle of no where where a a couple of ladies quickly jumped on and then off the train delivering our meals. The most authentic thai we could have imagined – chunks of ginger, lemon grass, massive prawns! All natural authentic flavours made authentically – no western twist on this meal. My husband and i still talk about the memory to this day.

kjerstiye

favourite travel food memory: eating scallops the size of my head (maybe a slight exaggeration) from a roadside stand in Nova Scotia, Canada!

Kara

I’ve been able to travel a bit within these past couple years: New Orleans, Hawaii, and Tennessee and even though the food there was an amazing experience, the very best has been visiting my mom’s house in rural Oregon. The way my mom cooks is magic and with me living here in Seattle when I visit her I get to enjoy all the lovely meals I fell in love with as a child and all the new recipes she experiments with. She’s given me a love of cooking and try as I might to replicate her recipes they never quite taste as amazing as when she makes them, which makes visiting her even more worth while.

Katie

In college I went on a medical mission to Belize. While backpacking through Caye Caulker- we came upon a shack where a local rastafarian was cooking seafood over a fire pit. This place was extreme local- the dishes were even being washed in an iron tub next to his house! After convincing us his shack was actually a restaurant, we sat down to the best grilled shrimp I’ve ever had in my life. And not one of us got food poisoning- hurray for local flavor!

Aubri

I think my favorite meal was a totally unexpected picnic with my honey on the Coronado beach: fresh baguette, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and a nice chardonnay enjoyed together while the sun went down over the horizon. I remember thinking how perfect those moments were. I’ll never forget it!

Shayna Roosevelt

A few years back, my husband and I went to Mexico for a 10 day winter vacation. We’re not big on making plans ahead of time so we went with a vague idea of spending xmas in Oaxaca and somehow winding our way over to the beach for the end of the trip.

We spent some days working our way up the coast through little fishing villages and ended up in a town called Corralero. From the beach you had to beg a ride on a fishing boat for a 10 minute ride through the mandrake groves and across the lagoon to get to the town. We were the only tourists and stayed in a bunker style room in the back of the only “grocery” store in town. It was owned by “Mama”, her sisters and their visiting brother in-law. Neither my husband nor I speak spanish and we were at a bit of a loss to figure out where to eat (no restaurants in town and the “grocery” store had cigarettes, chips and soda.
We somehow managed to convey our hunger to the brother-in-law through sign language and miming. He smiled, disappeared and came back 5 minutes later to tell us something which we took to mean “wait right here”. Thirty minutes later he came back, gestured for us to follow and took us to the neighbors’ home. All of the homes have kitchens outdoors because it’s too hot to cook inside. We were seated in the middle of their outdoor kitchen/living room/dining room and served the most amazing and freshly caught fried crab, fish, guacamole and handmade tortillas. It was pretty amazing meal and an awesome deal. The husband and little boy hung out in the hammock while we ate and the wife brought out plate after plate. The only downside to the experience was that there were insane sand flies that bit the bejesus out of us while we ate. We had happy bellies but red, swollen and itchy legs for the next week.

lissa

My childhood summer vacations at the ocean in Maryland held some of my best food memories. I’ve learned to eat better these days, but as a child at the beach nothing was farther from my mind. From sunrise to sunset we’d played in the rough waters of the Atlantic ocean. For hours afterward & long into the night our heads would still be swimming.
Breakfast was always a treat. There was“Taylor pork roll sandwiches” on white bread with mayo (my arteries are clogging just thinking about it). We would wake up early to go to the boardwalk before the crowd arrived. Milk would invariably be spilled as we kids would endlessly spin on the stools at the formica counter. Salty pork and salty ocean air were just what we needed to start the day.
But our favorite breakfast treat were “Josh’s Homemade Donuts”. Another early rising to have the best selection & the shortest wait time, all of us kids would fight to come along to the grocery store at Ocean Hwy & 46th St that housed the most magnificent donut-making contraption. The smell of hot dough, chocolate and sugar would make us swoon as we entered the shop trying to recall the long list of favorites that we were expected to bring home. We’d run to the donut machine to watch the donuts move on the belt. The teenage workers would grab the hot donuts and pour glaze, sprinkles, chocolate chips or cookie crumbs on top. In our young minds of course this was the best job ever & one we all aspired to one day attain. Each flavor was a special ordered. Our favorites were orange glazed chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, raspberry glaze with coconut & chocolate, and of course, rainbow sprinkles. And don’t forget the ice-cold milk!
Whether it was the wonderful food or the wonderful memories, those times and tastes will stay with us forever.

lisa

I just returned from a trip to London and all I can think about is the wonderful gozleme I ate at the Up Market. I was immediately drawn to the booth when I saw someone rolling out fresh dough! The first step to a delicious gozleme is a thinly rolled piece of dough. Then, they sprinkle on the filling, mine being veggies, feta, and sausage. The sides of the dough are folded over the filling and it goes onto a hot grill. After a few minutes on each side they transfer the gozleme to a sandwich press (to get even more melty and crispy!). After the press they throw in lettuce, tomato, and a special sauce and roll it up. Heavenly! Definitely worth the wait! I was even stopped by people asking me where they could buy one.

Becky

When I was 13 I was an exchange student in France for three weeks. I was really excited to be there, but it was my first long trip by myself, and I was a little homesick. The first meal my host family made was a kind of spaghetti with beef and peas, and I teared up because it was almost exactly like something my mom cooks on a regular basis. I was immediately transported home. Ever since then I’ve associated food very strongly with memories.

jessica

My mom moved to Japan two years ago, so my aunt and I headed over for a six week visit. I’d heard about Koyasan, a secluded little town at the top of a mountain that’s been the center of Shingon Buddhism since the early 800s. In this small area, there are over 100 temples and the most beautiful cemetery/mausoleum where wandered for days. We stayed at a small temple where we slept on futons that the monk’s rolled out for us each night. They brought us two meals a day, prepared under their dietary guidelines – no meat and no “strong” vegetables, like garlic or onions were used. Each meal was a served in a bento box, each square holding the most beautiful presentation of food: little jewels, unidentifiable jewels. The most memorable item was a pretty little fried tofu-skin pouch tied with a seaweed bow. Inside was a half moon of white gelatinous goo. It was beautiful – and totally inedible to us. The most I could muster was an absolute appreciation for the care that went into creating the dish, hoping it wouldn’t appear on the next day’s menu.

Thera

Unfortunately my husband and I started our family while we were still very very young, so neither of us has traveled outside of our province. But as a nod to my Aunt, when visiting her one day, she graced us with her Jam Filled Muffins and homemade Iced Tea. So we sat on her front porch, at dusk, in a small town in Northern Ontario, listening to the peepers, watching the sunset and filling our tummies with goodness and love.

mark

my favorite food and travel experience was in france – market day in beaune. fabulous range of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and cheese. then off to the caves for wine tasting.

adrian

mine was actually during a staycation. my husband and i had a rough year last year, so at the beginning of this year, i decided to take some time off and devote time to enjoying life and healing wounds from the past. anyway, i found myself falling in love with cooking from whole, nurturing foods. it nourished my soul and brought me back to myself. i can’t wait to travel to paris and pick foods from their famous markets and cook up a feast!

Jillian

I can’t stop thinking about a caprese sandwich I bought from a street vendor in Cinque Terre ten years ago. We had just got off the train and were starving. Even though it was one of the simplest meals I ate on that month long trip though Italy, Spain and Switzerland, it was one of the best.

Britt

This is kind of a random one but one of my most fond food memories happened when I was about 9 years old. My family traveled to Arizona every year for vacation and went to the same restaurant. I was a kid who was not adventurous with food at all (only chicken fingers, please!) My dad ordered me some popcorn chicken and it was so chewy and delicious. Turns out it was actually rattlesnake – I remember being so grossed out at first, but then I realized that it didn’t really matter that it was snake because it tasted good. I’d like to think I was a little less picky after that and now I am so much more adventurous with what I cook!

Emily

Street vendor Crepes in Paris! I spent a month in Europe with my brother and a group of friends and have many many food memories to choose from, but the one I miss the most is the crepes in Paris. You could always find them. We stayed in a cute little hotel right by the Eiffel tower and would walk down the street and around the corner to a great street market. Everything you could imagine was there (we picked up food for many a picnics there). Every morning we would get those crepes, and we had them before getting on the train to Belgium too. I miss them all the time, cannot wait to get back and have them. Nothing I find here even compares.

Carrie

I recently traveled to New York, part business, part pleasure. On my second day there the day’s stressful events plus a lack of sleep had worn me down and and my friend and host came home to me in a spell of melancholy. She poured me a glass of wine, scrapped our dinner reservations, and as we caught up on life’s ups and downs, she cooked the perfect dinner: a spicy pasta with shrimp and peas. As our lives exist 2,000 miles away from one another, our phone and email conversations usually exist to update one another on big events. That simple, delicious dinner allowed us to dig in in more ways than one.

Monica Fernandez

Few meals have ever affected me euphorically (maybe i’ve been missing out!) but the one which will forever stand out in my mind is a chocolate desert I had at the now closed, Vints in Long Beach, CA. My best friend and i were catching up after too many weeks gone by over a nice meal, as delicious as i was it escaped my memory after desert. As we giggled and swooned over our conversation, we ordered the dark chocolate biscuits with fresh blackberries and chocolate ganche. The simplicity of this delectable doesn’t usually conjure up ooohhs and ahhs, but i swear this desert was laced with magic which traveled from spoon to my hands while dancing up my arms, flooding my entire body with goose-bumps. My friend and I were speechless and for the 10 minutes we made this desert last, we were speechless and infatuated by the affects. Hands down, THE most sensuous desert I have ever had, thinking about it always puts a smile on my face and remember it like it was yesterday.

marie

short but sweet– but it’s a small place on a very small island, i’m sure you could find it!

the slow food restaurant, complete with hand-painted snail sign, that we found by winding up a set of cobblestone steps in hvar, croatia. hands down.

my boyfriend and i stumbled on it our first night on the island… and went back again on our last night, to our delight as well as the owner’s. the homemade family-recipe dessert pastries, the local croatian wine, the olives marinated in island herbs… yes. please.

Georgeanne Sanford

My Mom is from New England, and we lived in Texas while I was growing up, so we would head back north for a few weeks every summer. The most memorable part of these trips is my mother’s driving need to eat lobster. She says it isn’t the same anywhere else. She once ate 17 lobsters in two weeks. Everywhere we went we had to stop for a lobster roll or fried lobster, or her favorite, steamed with butter. Most of my childhood vacations, and the occasional trip north with her now, revolved around crustacean. I love lobster as much as the next girl, but after a while with my mom, all I would really want was a cheap Mcdonalds cheese burger.

Marlaina Gaspardi

My best food memory would have to be during a 2004 trip to Italy. My family and I ate at so many beautiful places but I think the most delicious day would be sitting outside in Tuscany eating freshly baked bread, cheese with grapes and apples. A beautiful day and a delectable, simple lunch! It is a meal I love re-creating in the summer!

Hannah

I went on a trip in the Caribbean last year, and on the last night, my friends and I went to a nice restaurant that supposedly served three types of chicken: fried chicken, grilled chicken, and chicken cordon bleu.

I had no idea at the time what “cordon bleu” was, so I ordered the grilled chicken while the rest of my friends were excitedly ordering the cordon bleu.

We waited about an hour and a half for our entree to be served, and in the meantime tried not to look at the decor inside. One of the paintings at first glance looked like a landscape of two mountains (it was actually two naked people intertwined). Other pieces of art were along the same lines.

As the waiters served our chicken, we noticed something interesting. Everyone’s chicken looked exactly the same. At first, we asked if they had brought out the wrong order, but they pointed to what looked like baked chicken and said, “That’s the fried chicken.” They pointed to the other baked-looking chicken and said, “That’s the grilled chicken.”

By then, we knew something was off. The best part, however, was seeing my friends who ordered the cordon bleu… they received a plate of chicken, and a plate with a slice of cheese and a slice of ham.

Do-it-your-self cordon bleu, I guess.

Katie

My most memorable food experience–perhaps ever, but certainly while traveling–came to me in Florence, Italy. As a graduate student in art history, I had been studying the art of the Italian Renaissance. Visions of Giotto, Botticelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael danced in my head as my then-boyfriend (now husband… and still boyfriend, really) and I stood in line for a tour of the Uffizi Galleries. Our guide, Elisabetta, was of English and Italian descent, and her appearance of wild gray hair and a perfectly tailored pantsuit reflected the two cultures, somehow. I was enraptured throughout the tour, standing inches away from these masterpieces I had studied for years. I bonded with Elisabetta over a love of Fra Angelico. As the tour concluded and the crowd began to disperse, Elisabetta quietly asked my boyfriend and I if we’d like to join her for a true Italian lunch. Of course we jumped at the invitation, and she led us through narrow streets and alleyways to a small restaurant with red checkered tablecloths, empty except for the two plump ladies behind the counter. Elisabetta ordered and in very poor Italian, I asked to have the same thing. They stopped and stared at me. Did I realize I had just ordered chicken liver soup, Elisabetta questioned? If I didn’t before, their incredulous looks made me more determined to go forward with my unusual order now, probably out of equal parts defiance and curiosity. So out came our substantial bowls of soup, and into my anxious mouth went the first bite: Velvety and pleasantly salty-sweet pieces of chicken liver in herbaceous broth. Heaven. We split a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of wine and in true Italian fashion, we lingered for hours over a leisurely lunch. The whole spread cost only a few euros, and it marked a highlight of a perfect day with Giotto, my love, a new friend, and yes, chicken liver soup.

sangeetha

Italy – even the worst street joint had the best lightest pizzas – was just yummy. Add the gelatos and you want to move there :)

Kaci

My favorite memory was in Italy about two years ago. I was travelling with my family in Venice and we were just wandering around, exploring.

We came across this small deli counter shop. There were no seats, just a small ledge that ran the length of the shop. But it was cozy and softly lit.

In the deli cases were all kinds of fresh fish, cheeses, meats, olives, and other little snacks.

We chose a bottle of wine and then picked one of just about everything in the case to share. The family that owned the deli was unbelievable and incredibly patient as we asked what everything was.

We stood, eating firm, tasty octopus, crispy calamari, salty olives, and a number of other dishes. It was just really cozy, authentic, and fun. The owners talked with us the whole time and gave us some tips about the area.

It was a wonderful experience being in that space, eating amazing food, and being with my family.

hannah

A haiku for hot tempura in cold Kyoto with my husband:

Hot, crispy, tasty
As winter is so bitter
He is holding my hand.

Kelly Iwasko

While studying abroad in Italy my friends and I took an island hopping vacation to Greece. We had been told that when we got to the next island we had to make sure we tried the calamari. Nobody else in our group seemed intrigued by it, but I had always been a fan of the fried calamari, so I gave it a shot.

My plate arrived and on it was a squid, almost entirely still in tact, and stuffed with a rice dressing. My face made it very clear this was NOT what I expected, but ‘when in Rome’….

As I apprehensively cut through the sea urchin I wondered what else I could possibly eat that night. After one bite I realized how wrong I was and why it was recommend – it was absolutely delicious!!

I still look back on the picture my friends snapped of me with my squid on a plate and laugh. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of wondering ‘What on earth did I order?!?’ only to discover something new and amazing!

Judy

One of my most memorable experiences was while traveling in Italy. We met a gracious and kind Greek store owner while wandering Venice. We asked about where the locals eat. He put a temporarily closed sign on his store, walked us about 2 blocks away and through the front of a restuarant to a secluded back room with only one or two other patrons there. Once he left us, we found ourselves treated like royalty with the best wine, bread, cheese and pasta coming non stop for a couple of hours. We are not sure we could ever find this place again but will always remember the kindness of the man from Greece and the great food and hospitality in this small quaint restuarant.

jessicac

In San Jose Del Cabo, 2002. On my honeymoon at a restaurant just a walk down the beach from our hotel. Sitting at an open air dining room, we had the best tableside made guacamole ever tasted. And a lizard ran up the wall. It was perfect.

christiana

One of my favorites was a cozy butternut squash, super food in a tiny hole in the wall in Boston after an entire summer of cafeteria food as a camp counselor. It was a flat bread with brown rice, butternut squash, goat cheese and carmelized onions. I was in heaven eating real food again, and the combination of flavors was to die for!!!

Rhonda Federici

Was in Bratislava for an afternoon while traveling in Europe, and was looking and looking for a place to eat lunch. We followed a sign, down a dark alley and into a small basement restaurant. I had the best pizza of my life there, and while eating watched an elderly woman stretch out dough the size of one of the tables and make fresh apple streudal right before my eyes. Will never be able to replicate that pizza, or the experience!

Ginger G

… eating Boeuf Bourguignon at a little neighborhood bistro near the Pompidou – delicious!

Abby

That 9pm gyro from the street cart in Christchurch, NZ when you’re on a backpackers budget, and you’re so hungry from being on your feet all day- dripping tasty deliciousness.

Tina

My grandparents cabin in Crystal Falls, Michigan and my first ever cooking lesson of grilled cheese and Campbell’s Tomato Soup. I was about five years old and was so proud of making my grandpa his lunch that day. He died later that year, and a photo of me standing on a chair next to the counter, buttering the homemade bread with a look of utter concentration on my face (eyebrows furrowed and biting my lip) while my grandpa watches with a smile on his face is one of only two pictures I have left from that time over thirty years ago, and it’s my most cherished memory of him. My grandmother could never go there again, so the tiny cabin was sold, but that one day became the day I learned how much love could be shown to others through food.

ALICE*

Most memorable experience was the honeymoon in Southeast Asia…. sitting on a street corner in Laos, eating a super simple grilled chicken sandwich. After traveling for 2 days to get to our destination, it was the most perfect meal to finally sit down and enjoy our environs and feast on all kinds of delicious exotic things, walking from stall to stall.

Jen

Getting off a night train in Hanoi, Vietnam at 4:30am, going to Hoan Kiem Lake to watch morning exercise. We joined in walking anti-clockwise around the lake. I am not sure why everyone goes that particular way, there must be a reason. Then at about 5:30am sitting at a street stall on tiny plastic children’s stools, eating hot Pho Bo, (beef noodle soup) with fresh dill and mint (which we just picked from living plants set up on the little plastic table). The Pho cost twenty new zealand cents, and was the best I have ever had.

Haley

When I was in college I took six months off to go to Australia. I bought a van with some other American kids there. We traveled through the outback and saw some amazing things and met amazing people. I will never forget the older Aboriginal women who gave me a freshly roasted grub. With the texture of cheese whiz and sand I couldn’t say it was the most delicious cuisine I have experienced but by far the most memorable.

melissa bauman

I’ll keep this one short!

I was working in a Liberian Refugee Camp in Ghana, Africa. The conditions were harsh! I had been a strict vegan for years when I was invited to have dinner with a family. We had the ‘vegetarian’ conversation and they said, ‘absolutely not meat in this dish!’. Long story short, I was eating cat stew! I will never forget it! Everyone ate cat stew, as it was the only protein around. Oh wait, was this supposed to be a happy food memory?

Jennifer Chong

One of my favorite traveling food experiences was in Southeast Asia. I traveled and taught english in Thailand for a month and was amazed by all the wonderful street food I was able to find. Beautifully crafted meals sold in little plastic bags with sticky rice and fresh squeezed juices.

Dianne Tudor

I traveled to Italy and spent 2 days and nights in the charming village of Vernazza. Our dinner one night was canceled because of a death in the family who owned the restaurant. We ended up eating out side near the boat ramp and the Mediterranean in front of a little restaurant owned by two brothers. One of our entree choices was risotto and fresh anchovies straight from the Mediterranean. I loathe anchovies in the US and was reluctant to believe that these freshly caught anchovies would be tasty. But I was in Italy and decided I must try Italy’s favorite foods. I did and it was a fabulous meal! I love anchovies now….but only in Italy, outside on a summer evening beside the beautiful Mediterranean!

Daphne Collins

Mama Clara, my Panamenian grandmother, on rare special occasions made the most delicious, fresh, homemade donuts fried in a black cast iron vessel. They were crisp on the outside with a delicate lacing of sugar, light cake on the inside. Aromatic of vanilla and warm, they were a bite of heaven. My grandmother died at 97 in 1999. Without her, her vat, and her simple ingredients – ALL donuts disappointed. Until a Saturday field trip visiting an unexplored East Boston neighborhood with my 11-year son and his buddy, we discovered Betty Ann’s, a bakery frozen in time to the early 1900s. Their specialty – donuts. Following the owner’s English grandmother’s recipe brought over by his immigrant father who established the bakery, the donuts are made with the same equipment and oven his father used. The line was long with regular customers waiting with anticipation. I ordered a dozen donuts. 3 plain, 3 sugar, 3 jelly and 3 lemon warm donuts were placed in a brown paper bag. We sat outside on the edge of the curb. There on a cold spring day, in East Boston, after one bite of the warm sugar donut I was transported across place, culture and time directly to Mama Clara’s kitchen in Panama. Vanilla, sugar, cake, crisp, soft and moist. Delicate. Love.

Kristi

As a little girl vacationing with my father in Mexico I was approached by a local man eating something out of a plastic container. He kindly shared it with my father and I and it was my first and only opportunity to try conch.

Amanda

When I graduated from High School, my grandmother took me and my sister to Italy. As a part of the tour, we went to the island of Capri. We ate lunch at a small hotel where they grew their own produce. I had never before (or ever since for that matter) tasted a carrot as flavorful and sweet as those sprinkled on my salad that day. The owner of the hotel thought i was insane when I asked him if I could possibly have more carrot!

Stephanie

My favorite food memory was created in Edinburgh with my French friend and her crepes. We were both students studying in England for a year, with busy schedules and low budgets. Despite those limitations, we were determined to visit Scotland. “Just for a weekend,” we said. So we booked two overnight buses, stayed one night at a hostel, and brought our own food.
I packed mostly sandwiches and trail mix, while she made a big stack of homemade crepes, wrapped in foil. I had never traveled with crepes before and questioned her choice of backpacker food, but my friend assured me, “Yez, they are good,” and I trusted her.
She was right: they were amazing.

That trip was our favorite excursion of the year, filled with laughter and beautiful weather. Now, whenever I eat crepes, I remember my adventurous friend and our travels together.

Although restaurants are nice, they will never be as memorable to me as eating a delicious homemade meal—even if it’s cold, wrapped in foil, and served clumsily in a bus.

Joanna Ruth

Eating abalone in San Francisco. I was in high school on vacation with my family and I had recently read about eating abalone. At this restaurant we were at for dinner, I saw it on the menu. My dad encouraged me to get it. And then our server very politely informed us how expensive the entree would be so that we wouldn’t be surprised when the bill came. My dad was still encouraging for me to try it, and the server offered to give an appetizer portion instead of the listed entree. After the meal, as a surprise, the server had one of the abalone shells cleaned for me so I could take it home as a souvenir. Nearly 15 years later I still have the shell. It reminds me of this wonderful food experience, the constant encouragement from my father, and the kindness possible from strangers.

Just L

My boyfriend and I together with my parents visited Italy last year. When traveling through Tuscany we stayed in a little bed and breakfast just outside Siena, which was situated on a winery. The owners cooked a 5 course meal for all the guests one night, something I will never forget. Serving only their local wines, tt was the first time we tried buffalo mozzarella, cheese with honey and biscotti with vin Santo. Just amazing.

Shauna

I was visiting London and starving, so I bought a vendor hotdog and a Coca Cola Light…bad choice. I felt sick for a few hours, until I was walking over the London Bridge. I tried my hardest, but to no avail. I threw up on the London bridge. It was awful. And I looked like a stupid (drunk) American. From this, I’ve learned, fresh, quality ingredients are best, vendor hotdogs, bad. And the London Bridge will never be the same to me.

Lauren A

a few summers ago I was camping and hiking with two friends along the continental divide in New Mexico. It was a hot and dusty spring filled with wildfires and a lack of showering opportunities. about a month into the trip (after eating a lot of food good for long storage ie. nothing particularly tasty) we arrived in pie town N.M. where we met a one eyed man living in a pony cart, and were also taken in by the namesake pie chef, fed ten different kinds of from scratch pies, and jars and jars of off the grid goat cheese while watching the New Mexico sunset from her porch. Nothing soothes acting muscles and cactus scratches like a mouth full of pie. Wakling into Pietown New Mexico is like walking into a dusty eden.

rebecca

when i was young, my family would travel with my father to different conventions he would attend. my parents would always get excited to go to Baltimore when my siblings and i preferred florida. they loved going to jacks seafood. so, the seafood at jacks is something i will now always tie with my parents.

Shaan

After an extremely long train trip across Vietnam, my two best friends and I arrived in Hanoi exhausted and ravenous. After settling into our backpackers we decided to rush out and find a quick bite. It was late and most of the surrounding places were closed. Since we had not had a chance to get our bearings yet, we were being guided by a recommendation from the backpackers. After a long walk we eventually arrived at the venue, now even more tired and exhausted and pretty much at the end of our tether, and it was CLOSED (as was everything around it and everything that we had passed). I think one of the waiters of the neighbouring restaurants must have seen our pitiful expressions and felt for us. This tiny restaurant opened especially for us (I have waitressed for many years and know that this is a pretty big deal). Not only were they extremely hospitable, it was the most phenomenal food, the best we ate on our entire trip, and by far the cheapest. We sat with the staff and ate mountains of the freshest seafood, accompanied by a lot of beer. I still rate this as one of my top travel moments to date, and it has made Hanoi, and its residents, have a very special place in my heart.

andrea

My best food moment was at a my boyfriend’s parent’s house in the south of France. His family speaks no English and lives in a fairy-tale-like chateau on a large farm. Only half of the house was opened in the winter and it was cold, dark and without a heater. We crowded around the fire, layered ourselves in scarves, and ate the most amazing home-cooked food. Beef bourguignon, potatoes, vegetables, and apple gelee with whipped cream. It was topped off with local wine that was kept in their cellar. It was so much celebration and such amazing home cooking.

Barbara

I was in my early 20s and vacationing in a small Swiss mountain village. A group of us had gone sledding down a 1.5 kilometer track under the stars. It was an exhilarating ride down the mountain on old wooden sleds, rickety in appearance but sturdy. After the ride of a lifetime, (I even got to sled with the guide and squeeze his waist!), we brushed the snow off our faces and sat down to the most amazing cheese fondue in a quaint Swiss restaurant carved into the mountain replete with a fireplace, and a long chiseled table. We shared our star-lit smiles and devoured the hearty chunks of bread dipped in the tasty melted cheese, munched on some gerkins and boiled potatoes and sipped on some white wine. It wasn’t the fanciest dinner I’ve ever had but no doubt one of the most memorable of my life.

Gracia

I think my favorite food-related experience while traveling happened last february, in Senegal. It was only the second day we were in Dakar (staying in a rented apartment with a shared mini kitchen) and my husband and I set off to find something to cook with. When we found a tiny market stall, we started asking questions about the food, the city and everything that came to mind but the man standing behind it could not understand anything other than Wolof. Still, he managed to invite us to eat with his family and despite them being “middle class” for Senegal standards (very very low compared to here) their generosity and the care they put into preparing that meal still inspires me to this day. I’ve tried replicating the yassa poulet I had that night to no avail, but I guess sometimes the context can make a humble and simple recipe become a memorable turning point in someone’s life.

Christina

my best food memories are from a summer spent in morelia, mexico. fresh bolillos and sweet bread from the panaderia around the corner. mango ice cream in a still-warm waffle cone, pressed and shaped before my eyes. my host mom’s homemade salsa on the table at every meal; she asked me every day, “te pica?” (is it spicy?) and i’d say “SI!!” with tears of firey pain in my eyes (yet i’d still douse my food with it every day). and her cheese enchiladas smothered in green sauce, so incredibly rich. i finished them and immediately crawled into bed and sunk into the deepest sleep. i had wild dreams that made me feel like i finally understood the dreamy prose of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Juan Rulfo.

Jerami

I have SO many good food memories, but one of the funniest was during my first few weeks in my Peace Corps site in rural Guatemala. After three months of training outside of the capital city and then thrust into this new culture, I was very homesick.

I thought to myself, “What is more American than French fries??” (haha!) and decided to whip myself up a batch on my little camping type stove. I lived in two rooms on the upper level of a family compound that was modern enough to have locking doors. My rooms each opened outside and not to each other and while waiting for the potatoes to ran back to my bedroom to get a book. A huge gust of wind blew my kitchen door shut and it locked….with my keys inside! I ran to my host mom completely panicked and she informed me that they did not have an extra set of keys. After some quick thinking, we remembered that there was an unfinished wall between my kitchen and their son’s room so all we had to do was move this massive oak cabinet that housed their corn stores. The adrenaline was definitely going at that point.

I got in just in time to save (and share!) the fries. My host family chuckled about that night often :)

Jessica

Our honeymoon involved nearly five months of travel throughout Southeast Asia, Egypt, and Mediterranean Europe. Our favorite food experience during our travels was probably in Hong Kong, where we ventured into a part of the city lined with markets. We found a little dim sum shop, and when we walked in we discovered that it was obviously a local joint, as we were the only tourists/foreigners in the room (and everyone stopped to look at us!) We were welcomed to a table, where others sitting with us helped us order and select dishes as they were brought by in carts. People we met were so kind and generous, and the food was fantastic. It was one of our favorite meals!

Erin

About 10 yeears ago, before our two wonderful, high-energy boys were born, Chad and I fulfilled a dream of traveling through. After a sleep-deprived overseas flight and a frustrating time renting a car and getting directions, we arrived in Santa Margherita Ligure on the coast. After a restorative nap, we strolled around the town and ended up having dinner in a tiny restaurant that held maybe four tables and was perched on a hill overlooking the sea. We were the only patrons and the tiny waiter and cook were wonderfully warm and friendly. The young waiter, who was maybe 19 or 20, spoke a bit of English and explained that he had visited the U.S. once to see Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon (I grew up in the Grand Canyon State!). While the conversation was delicious, the meal stole the show. We had simple red table wine, patsta with a light tomoto broth freshly caught seafood (clams, mussels and some white fish) and some crsuty bread. It was a simpe meal, but it was fresh and featured a lovely cultural exchange in a beautiful natural setting. We’ll never forget it!

Betsey

On a trip to Alaska, my father and brother and I took a sea plane ride to a lake in the wilderness where we were served the most amazing freshly caught and grilled salmon.

I vividly remember the warning signs to stay on the paths and watch for black bears.

Angela

My best food memories are happening right now: the ripest, most perfect tasting bananas and mangos bought from a street vendor who I reach after an hour long journey involving multiple tap tap rides (think rickety old trucks outfitted with wooden benches and roofs), weaving through crowds of people and drifts of garbage to get to her stall. I buy the fruit (30 bananas and 3 free mangos as a thank you) and 3 dozen salty guarina cracker packages and I take my final tap tap to a camp for internally displaced persons. We share the fruit with 30 small children who are wearing their best clothing in honor of our visit. And we dance, and sing, and clap, and laugh. My final week here in Haiti is approaching… and I can say without a doubt that my most memorable meal here is simply fruit and crackers.

Alison

Finding the best pizza EVER in Sorrento, Italy. Down a little side street no less. The kind of place that only the locals know about. Thin, crisp, cheesy neapolitan with anchovies of course.

Chelsea

As someone who plans vacations around food, I’ve had a number of great meals. One of my favorites was while I was studying abroad in London. I had heard of this great Indian restaurant, and I knew I had to find it. After getting off the tube, and wandering through the neighborhood for awhile, I began to wonder if I should turn back. The neighborhood was not exactly the safest part of London, and I had just arrived. I kept wandering, and around the next corner, there it was! A fabulous little restaurant tucked in a corner! This restaurant has set the standard for any Indian food I have eaten since, and nothing has really compared.
Many of my other traveling and food memories are much simpler, of sitting at a cafe and people watching, or sitting at a fountain with a loaf of bread. That feeling of excitement and wonderment is one of my favorite parts of traveling.

Shawna

At home life always seems to be so busy there isn’t time for natural food and homemade – which is very sad. My family and I have become “addicted” to cruising. For most the first thing people associate with cruising is food. And yes – there is a lot of food but oh the choices…..I have experienced the joys of food and have been more daring with allowing myself to taste things I would normally discount as “odd” or “just wrong”. I can say that cruising has definately opened my taste buds and eyes to the wonderful options of food from the basics to the most daring of exotics.

Chantal

Travelling in Costa Rica we stayed in a small town called Puerto Viejo. There was this amazing restaurant there called Bread & Chocolate…we went multiple times during our stay there. They used local and organic goods, directly supporting the farmers in the area and oh my god that food. I still dream about it 2 years later…homemade chocolate truffles, sandwiches, and that bread was to die for!!

Shanley Matthews

A couple of years ago I took a trip to Iceland with my mom, grandmother, and two aunts – my grandmother’s parents were both Icelandic immigrants to Canada, but she had never been. My great-great grandparents were so poor, they couldn’t afford to bring all of their children with them to Canada, so they left some behind with family, hoping to reunite the family after they’d saved some money. Unfortunately they were never able to do that, as my great-great-grandfather drowned not long after his arrival — so we have a whole bunch of close relatives in Iceland that none of us have ever met, descendants of those siblings who were left behind.
They were so kind to us, showing us all around, and one night we had a huge family dinner in a restaurant in Reykjavik – there were about 30 of our extended family there to greet us. The restaurant was in a beautiful old house, where my grandmother’s first cousin lived for 30 years and raised her family, before it was converted. The food was delicious – all super-fresh vegetables and simple, perfect fish — but what made the meal so memorable was to see my grandmother’s tears of happiness at being reunited with her long-lost cousins, to feel the warmth of a new, loving family, and to imagine the history of the house we were eating in.

Blair

It was during a student service trip to Honduras over Christmas break. We were staying with the families we were helping and in return they fed us delicious meals that we got to help make. I’ve never strayed too far from the microwave so making my own tortillas was amazing. I don’t know much spanish beyond “hola” and “si” so when I dropped almost all of my tortillas on the ground, all I could do was smile and make a lot of hand gestures. The mothers were so great and just carried on from there making the rest of the delicious foods.

Jenni

I was in Haiti a few summers back, helping to build a little orphanage near Jacmel. If you have ever visited Haiti outside the boundaries of “winter” (a brief period wherein a total of 10 cool drafts of air might necessitate a VERY light sweater), you know how uncomfortable the 120-degree heat can be, particularly when paired with a level of humidity that completely negates the possibility of dry clothes. Ew.

After 8 days of manual labor and meals that—for me (vegan)—consisted entirely of Luna bars and fruit leathers (neither of which have I eaten since), we packed into the back of an old pick-up truck late one evening and drove into downtown Jacmel, where we climbed the most rickety staircase of all time to a rooftop restaurant that overlooked the city streets.

We were all exhausted, sore, sweaty, and emotionally drained, but the appeal of a meal whose ingredients did not include goat (for everyone else) lifted the mood considerably. Others ordered seafood (aka whole fish—eyeballs and all!) and a miscellany of traditional Creole dishes; I was served a miracle: Just after one long breeze dried enough sweat to allow me to eat my meal without my butt being stuck to my chair, a giant mound of beautiful golden pommes frites was handed me.

Mmmmm!

And here’s a bonus story: Right about that same time, a club truck (made entirely of speakers) pulled up and parked on the street below us and, as sequined Haitians gathered to dance, blasted a Creole version of Usher’s “Yeah.” Hilarious! “Oui, oui!”

Hannah

My most memorable meal was experienced about 2 weeks ago. I decided to take some time off work to head up to Napa, CA to visit a friend for her birthday. For her birthday she decided she wanted to have a picnic at the winery she worked for. On the morning of the picnic we prepared for the pincnic: grill beats, goat cheese and mint, grilled asparagus with mozzarella and hardboiled egg, an assortment of cheese, grapes, crackers, cured meats and of course drinks — wine and some cocktails I made from a previous D*S entry. Once we finished preparing we packed it in a picnic bag and drove up to the picnic bench. The food was simply perfection, every bit perfectly delicious. The company was lovely (old friends from high school). The view spectacular–a view of the entire Napa Valley. And the drinks just topped it off. It wasn’t even my birthday, but it was a vacation and birthday to remember.

Amber Baxley

While visiting Australia as a graduation gift after high school my friend and I went to a little island on the south coast called Kangaroo Island. We spent one day on a tour of all of the different wildlife and horticulture the little island had to offer. On our lunch break we stopped off at a couples house for lunch who volunteered to cook for these tours. I gathered various items from the selection that they had that seemed recognizable and came upon having to choose a meat to eat. The gentleman helping everyone get a plateful informed me that I had chosen kangaroo!! It wasn’t that bad…kind of resembled beef jerky. Though, the kicker, is when we went to pet kangaroos when we were finished eating them for lunch. I was nervous they would be able to tell and possibly kangaroo kick me in the gut!! I felt quite guilty after wards but it was a memory I’d never change! *We also tried some Goat cheese at a local goat farm….can you say DELICIOUS!! : )

Kaitlin

In high school I spent a summer in the Loire Valley. I had never had an authentic crepe. The family asked me what I wanted to try, and I immediately said Crepes! They laughed, and told me they were winter food, but obliged. They taught me how to flip and catch them, and even wrote out the recipe for me (including a glass of oil, whatever that means :)). They showed me that the best way to enjoy them was with a little sugar, some butter (oh French butter!) and a squeeze of lemon. I still make these for friends today, and finally got myself a crepe pan a couple months ago. Totally worth it :)

Emily

A little over 5 years ago, my husband (then boyfriend) was in Reykjavik, Iceland for a whole year with a Fulbright fellowship to study Old Norse folklore for his doctoral dissertation (cool, right?) I visited for a week in early December–they had a heat wave of about 5 degrees centigrade, the wind was ferocious, and it was dark for 20 hours a day, but the city was lit up with Christmas lights and stars. One night we got to go out to dinner with the rest of the Fulbright fellows all doing fascinating projects all over that tiny country. The dinner was a sampler of all kinds of uniquely Icelandic dishes. My favorites were reindeer steaks and, despite my reluctance to try, the cow’s tongue which was so incredibly tender and cooked beautifully. They also had some herring and other fish, lamb, and potatoes cooked in various ways. All served with a shot of ice cold Brinnivin, the schnapps made there. It was quite the experience and a truly lovely evening I won’t soon forget.

Emily

Aw, just browsed through some of these stories–someone should collect them and publish a little zine or something! What a great question to get to mull over, such sweet memories!

Emily Tegan

The first meal I ever ate at a restaurant all alone was one of the best food and travelling experiences I’ve ever had.

At 18, I took off for 5 months of solo travel around South America. I went alone, but met so many incredible people that I was never truly alone until my last night in Buenos Aires.

Everyone raved about Cafe Tortoni, so despite my apprehension, I headed over there alone. I sat in a table against a wall, and ordered the Russian Salad and a pot of tea. I had no one to impress, and no one to pay attention to except myself and my food.

The salad was gorgeously cool, and so tasty after a day of hot wandering around. Absolutely the most mouthwatering tastes. I dont think I’ve ever enjoyed a meal as much as that one! A most beautiful ending to my wonderful adventure.

Tiffany

I was in a small town in China teaching English for 10 days over Christmas break during my freshman year of college. I was with a group of several other students and we were seeking to be adventurous in food and totally submerge ourselves in the culture. We went to a place we saw as we were walking around town that was on the second story of a building. We went up, sat down, and found ourselves in our first hot pot restaurant. As we were sitting and talking, a woman brought out a large bowl and white rice but then never returned to our table. We did not know the language, and did not want to be rude, so we just kept sitting at the table with our rice. A group of women sitting a few tables over kept looking at us and laughing. We sat for a good twenty-five minutes until one of my friends went to do some investigating. The restaurant was serve yourself, as we finally discovered, and all of the food choices were on pre-made skewers in baskets. There was every kind of meat and vegetables you could image… and some you could not… We ate the most wonderful meal that we cooked together in a bowl right on our table. Not only was the food delicious, but it was so much fun cooking food that we did not even recognize and eating it family style. Better yet, the cost of the meal was per skewer, and we each spent about 2 u.s. dollars each!

Tiffany

I was in a small town in China teaching English for 10 days over Christmas break during my freshman year of college. I was with a group of several other students and we were seeking to be adventurous in food and totally submerge ourselves in the culture. We went to a place we saw as we were walking around town that was on the second story of a building. We went up, sat down, and found ourselves in our first hot pot restaurant. As we were sitting and talking, a woman brought out a large bowl and white rice but then never returned to our table. We did not know the language, and did not want to be rude, so we just kept sitting at the table with our rice. A group of women sitting a few tables over kept looking at us and laughing. We sat for a good twenty-five minutes until one of my friends went to do some investigating. The restaurant was serve yourself, as we finally discovered, and all of the food choices were on pre-made skewers in baskets. There was every kind of meat and vegetables you could imagine… and some you could not… We ate the most wonderful meal that we cooked together in a bowl right on our table. Not only was the food delicious, but it was so much fun cooking food that we did not even recognize and eating it family style. Better yet, the cost of the meal was per skewer, and we spent about 2 u.s. dollars each!

cara

My favourite food memory would have to be when I was backpacking through Italy with a friend. I had heard so much about Cinque Terre, a group of five little villages nestled on the hills overlooking the water. We stayed at a relatively new hostel in one of the towns and hiked along the trail that joined the villages to each other. That first night, we were exhausted but happy and settled in at the hostel. We ordered a simple meal of thin crust pizza and pasta with pesto. It was the most amazing meal – the ingredients were fresh and the flavours were bright and delicious. That pesto was so divine! And at a hostel, no less! We ate that fabulous meal overlooking the ocean and I took a picture that I will never forget – looking out at the sea with the ocean framed by an Italian flag and a church steeple. The combination of the fresh ocean air, the stunning view and the amazing food was sublime.

Kristina

The best dining experience that I have ever had was at one of the ritziest Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing. However, the best part of that night was when I went to the bathroom. It was probably the nicest bathroom that I had been in in China (most don’t have TP, soap, or hand dryers), and the best part was how tickled the bathroom attendant was when she saw me (a Westerner) successfully come out of a stall with a squatty potty in it :)

Lydia

My favorite food memory while traveling happened quite recently. Several days ago while in San Francisco, my favorite aunt (who I only get to see at most once a year) and I dedicated one wonderful day to Tartine. We started the day off with a lovely brunch at Tartine Bakery and Café, ordering so many beautifully prepared food items (including the heavenly Morning Bun) we felt we were in a dream. Later that day we ate dinner at Bar Tartine where our previous feelings of dream-like contentment were replicated. Describing the food would take pages, but I can sum it up in one word: perfection.

Maria

My husband and twins and I traveled to Naples as a college graduation gift to them. As soon as we landed, my favorite cousin picked us up and took us to her favorite restaurant. Her friend, the owner, went out back to her garden and picked a bushel of her freshest zucchini flowers. She proceeded to make a creamy zucchini flower pasta sauce to go with her homemade gnocchi just for us. It was the most beautiful golden yellow in hue…and the most mouthwatering pasta I have ever eaten in my life!

Kate

It’s funny, but I can remember almost every detail of my most memorable meal in France … except what we ate! I will never forget the host’s tiny attic apartment or the seven uneven, ancient flights we climbed to reach it! The oversized, rough-hewn table loaded with platters and the slow savoring interspersed with lots of laughter, conversation and wine. The way my french family welcomed my visiting friend, and refused to let us sit out the after-dinner dancing. I’m sure there was cheese, I KNOW there was wine, but most of all, I’ll always remember and cherish the rich, rosy memories of the night we shared in Old Nice

lealou

My husband and I wed in Tuscany and honeymooned down the coast into Sicily. The food was unbelievable as you might have experienced or imagined. On the last leg of the trip, we stayed in a tiny coastal town called San Vito Lo Capo and ate at a tiny restaurant where I had the most amazing seafood pasta ever. The taste is nothing I could describe but it was to die for and I haven’t stopped thinking of it since.

Anne

My friends and I went to Rome. We found this beautiful small restaurant. I wanted to have pasta and decided to take a variation with courgette and something else, but I didn’t know what the word meant. When the waiter set down my plate I regretted that I didn’t ask: I ordered mussels and never having them eaten before, I had quit an experience, they actually tasted pretty good=)

Lizabeth

Without a doubt, having dinner at the Hen in the Woods up in Vermont. The entire meal was the best but the cheese plate of local cheeses and a glass of a local ice cider was the best ending to a meal I’ve ever had. The second best part was being able to buying the cheeses and cider at a local store to take home!

Amanda

As an intrepid 8-year old urbanite, I was certainly shocked to experience life visiting my grandmother in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. The first night there, we popped on rubber wellies, tromped into the back pasture and hunted a hare for dinner. So repelled by the experience of foraging for – and having to shoot! – our meal, I stubbornly resisted eating the rabbit pot pie put in front of me, and have not eaten bun to this day. On the other hand, I can still close my eyes and smell the briny air and the meyer lemon trees in the backyard. I would cut open a lemon, sprinkle sugar on it, and eat it like a sweet-and-sour orange. It was a rural paradise.

Meg

On our honeymoon to Russian River Valley in California, my husband and I took the “no-holds-barred” approach: if it looks good, we’ll take it! My normally picky husband discovered new foods he loved, I didn’t worry about the calories involved, and we got to savor the fresh, local flavors of California Wine County. We had an incredible time and learned a lot of important lessons about good food!

Jacqui

A couple years ago my husband, then boyfriend, and I hoped on a plane to Hawaii. It was our first big trip together and we were going to be staying with close friends that are originally from there. They were the most warm and inviting family I’ve ever met and showed us around the islands like locals.

One particular day, we went out fishing and snorkeling for our dinner. They caught everything with only spears! It was the most amazing feeling to be in a place so beautiful and catching the food we would eat that night for dinner. A stop at one of the large international markets filled in the produce requirements. Later that day we sat around their back yard as the sun was setting, laughing and telling stories while we feasted on our days catch. It was a day and vacation I’ll never forget.

Adrienne

While teaching English in the Northeast region of Thailand (the countryside), a Thai friend of mine took me and a few other teachers on an amazing food-related adventure :)

We drove a few hours to small lake and placed our food order at a little hut by the lake. Next to the hut were several large thatched roof rafts with matted floors. We picked a raft, climbed on and a small boat towed us out to the middle of the lake. About a half hour later, the man on the boat brought us all of the food that we ordered!

We sat for hours eating, chatting, and laughing on this raft in the lake. The food was absolutely delicious- we ordered papaya salad, an amazingly fresh whole fish, and several other dishes. Though we ordered so much that we didn’t need it, we also had a big white flag to hang from the roof of the rafted hut to indicate that we want more to eat!

This is one of my favorite memories from Thailand- the company was great, the food was superb, and the scenery was stunning. I’ll never forget that day :)

Colie

I just got back from a vacation in Paris with my high school best friend. We’re both recently finished with school, both poor, and both entranced & enlivened by food. We treated ourselves to ONE fancy meal during the five days we were there, at les philosophes in the Marais, and closed our eyes through every bight of beef bourguignon, salad philosophes, bread with herbed butter, and CREME BRULEE. Neither of us will ever forget it.

josephine

I always come back to New Orleans…Walking the French Quarter with a Hurricane in hand. There is walk-up ordering there, no need to even go into the bar! But there is this wonderful restaurant that served the best olive po’ boy sandwich I have ever had. Part if was the history of the bar–a former slave auction house–but I will never forget it. (Well, except the name of the place!) New Orleans, one of my most favorite places in the US.

Marcia

My husband and I were on a driving tour of the coast of Scotland. We had so much fun soaking up the views, stopping to take photos, and just driving along talking that we completely lost track of time…..and the level of our gas tank. We kept driving and driving searching for an open gas station, but we were in a very remote area– up around John O’Groats – and the one gas station we passed was closed. It was 11:30 at night and we had been driving for over 40 miles with the empty light on when we pulled into a small town and saw a small red neon hotel sign. As we were checking in, we told the owner about our long night of driving and how hungry we were. She said “go right in the pub and get yourself a beer and I’ll see what I can rustle up.” About 20 minutes later she came into the pub carrying a big steaming pot of homemade shepard’s pie. We’re usually vegetarians, but dove right into one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. Best of all, we ate our food surrounded by friendly, welcoming locals who regaled us with local legends and (most likely tall) tales of shipwrecks and seafaring adventures along the barren, rocky coast we had just traveled. And, to top it off, the owner (and cook) refused to let us pay for anything!

Allegra

My mom is from South Alabama, where her parents (my grandparents) still live. This past Christmas we packed up and headed down to Mobile to celebrate with family from all over the country. All of us come from different walks of life, with different beliefs, families and well…just about different everything. We all love Namaw’s gumbo though. This Christmas was no exception; if anything we enjoyed it all the more knowing that we’re all getting older.
Gumbo is a part of me. One whiff and every childhood memory of racing around my grandpa’s 600 acre farm comes rushing back. A trip to Mobile isn’t quite right without some of that gumbo.

Aodhin

Lying out under the sakura (cherry blossoms) in a park in Japan, an old lady offered me a pink mochi wrapped in sakura leaf. We ate together and managed a broken conversation.

The pink mochi was made using sakura petals and had a centre of anko. The anko was very sweet while the sakura was salty.

I spent the rest of the day watching the petals float around the sky. An excellent day.

Danielle

Last year, right around this time I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I was taking a cooking class while I was there about the foods of the different regions of Italy and the history behind it. I could easily put the entire class as my most memorable food experience, but one day stands out in particular. My teacher took us on a tour of the Mercato Centrale (a huge indoor market of individual sellers of everything from produce, to dried fruits, to fish, to pasta!). My professor, also being a professional chef knew most of the vendors very well and had to freedom to jump into every station and get very handsy with the food, something you normally are not allowed to do in Italy’s markets. He literally picked up squids and showed us how to properly clean it and take it apart! He helped us recognize the freshness of meat and fish, as well as general etiquette with the vendors. It was so informative and fun, I now love getting handsy with my food!

Sam Buxton

I’ve holidayed far and wide, immigrated from South Africa to Australia, and eaten all sorts from twice cooked duck to raw sea urchin… and nothing and i mean NOTHING comes even close to the anticipation and participation of coming home to visit my mum and her home made bobotie… its like wrapping your self in a warm towel out of the drier on a frosty winter morning! :)

Brooke

I’m returning to LA in four days after spending a year and a half abroad for work. Over winter vacation, my boyfriend and I took a trip up to Berkeley and San Francisco, where almost every meal we had was memorable, both because the food was amazing and because when you live thousands of miles apart from the person you love, every second together is special. An absolute favorite was a Cajun place in downtown Berkeley with incredible vegetarian wild mushroom jumbalaya and a bowl of soft beignets the size of my hand covered in powdered sugar. I remember everything about that meal–what we both wore, the funny old character sitting at the table next to us, and the taste of that jambalaya. I can’t wait to get home and try to make it in my own kitchen!

Evie

I’ve eaten a lot of great food on trips. However, the most memorable is definitely Mike’s Pastries in Boston. My family was there on vacation. I was probably 15 and my sister was 11. Instead of eating lunch we got about 6 different pastries at Mike’s. The pastries were delicious and definitely contributed to the memorableness of the feast, but the fact that we ate dessert, and only dessert for lunch is what will keep this meal locked into my memory forever.

Nikki

I was studying in Poland over the summer and graciously invited to another students home to experience ‘real homestyle Polish food.’ I explained to my friend that I was vegetarian and would love to visit with her family but I would prefer joining them after dinner, knowing that almost all Polish meals are meat based. All was lost in translation and as I arrived I realized that her mother had been cooking for me alone and had a sampling of dozens of different types of dishes waiting for me as she was at the stove preparing more!
As a vegetarian for 16 years prior and 4 since I will say it was the most delicious and lovingly offered meal I have ever had, despite being full of meat.

kristel wyman

hmm… this is a difficult question! while this is certainly not the best food experience of my life, it is the most memorable… i was a teenager, and my father took me to new york city for a few days. i’d always wanted to go there and was desperate for some independence. we passed a small market with packages of sliced watermelon and on our last day there, i asked my father if i could walk to that shop alone to buy watermelon. he agreed, and it was so thrilling to me: i felt like an adult for the first time, walking in huge crowds and then sitting at a counter, eating that delicious watermelon, while i watched the busy street.

Carlye

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot in life- through various states, Napa Valley, Europe, Israel and even a semester spent in Florence, Italy attending culinary school. But nothing beats the food memories I have from visiting my best friend in Colorado.

When my friend took me skiing for the first time, we stayed at a small mountain hotel that was also a b&b type place where the owner cooked breakfast to order. The two of us sat in awe as the wonderful woman made us two of the best omelets we’d ever had, along with the most perfect pieces of bacon a girl could ask for. We actually sat there for about 10 minutes silently basking in the deliciousness of our breakfast, only breaking our silence every minute or so to remark “mmm…bacon” like Homer Simpson over a doughnut. The quaint snow-covered cabin surroundings only magnified the hilarity of our unabashed excitement over smoked meat.

That memorable trip also concluded with a delicious stop to the most amazing brunch spot in Denver, where the (badly) cross-dressed servers offered up breakfast sandwiches that would’ve been at home in any high end restaurant. The Bump ‘n’ Grind Cafe closed recently but it holds a special place in my heart, along with our frequent server, Dixie Normous.

Echo

Location is frequently just as important as the food at a meal.
One of my favorite memories of food abroad is breakfast at a local restaurant in the small town of Puerto Morelos in Quintana Roo. The restaurant was right on the beach and we would eat breakfast each morning watching the sunrise over the ocean.
We ate heaping plates of fresh fruit with mascarpone. Delicious Pancakes and glasses of fresh squeezed Mango juice. Their cafe con leche was worth waking up early for. Everything was We ate so many delicious meals in the multi-national restaurant scene in that little town. They were all tremendous but breakfast always stands out.

Brandyn

Whilst in Mongolia, (not a place with a reputation for good food) someone invited me into their ger (yurt) because they felt sorry for me and my dinner of canned peas on the camp stove. The lady of the house was milking goats and the man chased down a large sheep, wrestled it to the ground and butchered it right there. I looked at my friend and said “oh god, I hope that’s not for us. ” It was. They then made a blood soup and gave us each half an onion and we ate it by candlelight. Good thing it was candlelight too, since I just made loud slurping sounds to convince them I thought it was delicious–because it WAS NOT DELICIOUS!!! But, this family with nothing by American standards (no electricity etc) provided me with a meal. That was touching, and made it memorable. Talk about locally sourced meat!

Heather Hicks

My first lobster roll in Boston was delicious! I’m from the south so it was a new experience for me. My husband and I were roaming the streets one night and stopped to eat at a small restaurant and I ordered a warm lobster roll. It was so buttery and tender. I’ll never forget it!

Emily

When I had my first New York bagel…so haunting. I got 2 – a main course savory bagel and a mini sweet bagel for dessert. My friend and I joked that we would become bageltarians. Although the process is lengthy, I’ve learned how to make a pretty good bagel myself – and it’s worth it! :)

Tash

I live in Australia while my dad’s whole family live in Italy. Last September was the first time in 9 years that I had been back to Italy to see my family. That first meal with everyone (around 30 people!) was one of the most memorable.
The first bite of my Zia Emma’s pasta with fresh tomatoes just made me sink in my chair with happiness.. then sink even further as I endulged in another couple of courses.
It’s moments like this that make the hard times in life seem like nothing..

Nej

I was staying with a friend who lives in Mammoth Lakes, CA, and after a day of skiing at Mammoth we had a small dinner that was prepared quickly (we would have eaten anything at that point). I was offered some main dish that I dont remember with a side dish of a simple Kale salad that was dressed with lemon, pecans and parmesan cheese. I had never had Kale before, who eats kale? I thought it was a garnish? I couldnt believe how delicious it was and was inspired to learn more about often overlooked vegetables. While this is no complex creation, It has continued to be one of my favorites.

Amber

Eugene and BBQ. Probably not your first thought for the best barbeque I’ve ever had (and yes ive been to the south). This is a little hidden spot in the whiteaker neighborhood. Its locally owned, very fresh, warm and inviting. The food melts in your mouth and feeds your soul. If you’re looking for great soul food and you’re ever in Eugene, look for papa’s soul food. Make sure to try their pulled pork sandwich or the soft shell crab.

Emily

in first year uni i went on a three week solo trip around hokkaido, northern japan. one sunday afternoon i arrived in a town in central hokkaido to find all the accommodation was already fully booked. fortunately the wonderfully helpful lady at the tourist information centre found me a bed in a rider house out of town. i got on the last bus for the day, got off at a stop surrounded by rice fields an hour out of town and after a 20min walk up a hill i arrived at the wooden building in the forest. everyone else there was a mad keen motor biker and middle aged and male. i had a fabulous time. one afternoon they all decided to teach me how to make soba noodles. the man who knew how to make soba had no english and so he drew me a diagram of all the steps. everyone crowded around – the owner, the other bikers, the local yoga teacher. they all laughed at my attempt, but it was all just good fun. My noodles were referred to as the australian noodles because they were cut so fat.

LoriW

One of my dearest friends came to visit, we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years and she was in the midst of heartbreak (from a 7-yr rlshp) and stressed by a looming deadline for her Masters thesis. She showed up on my door and we went to the kitchen and started talking and baking… we first produced a chocolate cake, then dark chocolate mousse, then white chocolate mousse, we macerated raspberries, whipped cream… next thing you know we were staring at the biggest bowl of layered raspberry/chocolate/mousse/trifle we’d ever seen! Baking is healing and friends are everything.

Alyssa

As a kid, I had the opportunity to travel to China with my Mom, who was traveling for work. On one of our tourist days, we traveled to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. Our driver took us to an open air restaurant on top of a hill, ordered for us, and then taught me how to eat with chopsticks. We have a picture of me staring at the table FULL of food with huge, wide eyes :)

Kathy

A favorable eating enjoyment was in Bali eating Pad Thai. We were sitting in an outdoor pavilion like structure listening to Balinese TV. Just being in Bali (paradise) was a wonderful experience and eating a simple dish of the best Pad Thai I have had made it even more memorable .

Kelly

Just after college I traveled to Greece with a friend that was studying in Paris at the time. During a ‘beach day’ on one of the islands (Santorini maybe?) we wandered into a small take-out sort of place. The salad was the simplest food I’ve probably ever eaten, but so fresh & delicious I’ve never been able to recreate it! Just cucumbers, tomatos, feta cheese, olive oil, YUM!

Nisha

I grew up in a household where trying new foods was a standard procedure and finishing all my food was a requirement. When I visit restaurants at home or abroad its a given that I will order something I have never heard of from the menu. It has worked out well in the past – I’ve had some great foods like sturgeon over braised fennel, blood sausage and sushi with raw quail egg to name a few.

My most surprising experience was at an Armenian restaurant where I randomly picked between a few appetizers with foreign names that had no description. I got a small bowl of meat that was cooked but rather chewy and flavorless. When the waiter came to check on me later he asked if it was ok. I said it was fine with a smile. He then asked if I knew what it was. I said no. He said it was lamb ovaries.

Although I was surprised, I wasn’t disgusted and finished eating. Needless to say, it hasn’t stopped me from trying out new things. It always makes for a fun story later!

Sarah

One week, on somewhat of a whim, my boyfriend and I decided we should take a 10 hour drive to Maine to try their lobster. He had been talking to his parents on a Sunday night and they also mentioned they thought it’d be fun to try Maine lobster, so he flew them on Tuesday to Baltimore from MN, and they made the trip with us. I think we included lobster in every meal for the 3 days we were there: lobster omlette, plain old steamed lobster, seafood chowder, and of course 3 or 4 different lobster rolls.

The food was delicous, and although the trip was out of the ordinary, he was leaving a few months later for a year deployment in Afghanistan, so it felt good to kind of just throw the normal constraints out the window for a “last hurrah.” His mom, of course, loved it. And I’ve been on a search to find a decent lobster roll where I live in DC ever since!

lex

My dad loves oysters more than anything in the world. My mother, however, is not a fan. Whenever we are on vacation my dad and I always go to our favorite divey restaurant to have a couple dozen oysters, just the two of us. It is such a special time and what’s better than a sweet, briney oyster fresh from the Gulf of Mexico!

Erin @ Dear Edna

Last year my boyfriend and I took the trip of a lifetime through Western Europe. As you would expect, we ate at some really amazing restaurants. But the food that I enjoyed and the most were the cheeses, cured meats, fruits and breads we’d pick up at the local market and eat picnic-style in a park. That’s the life!

Amelia

My most recent was a rather bad day we spent in Tacoma Washington. We went to see the glass museums only to find out it was closed for the day. We wandered the town and could not find anything open for lunch. We ducked into one place only to leave after one look at the overpriced menu. What felt like 40 blocks later we came to a small cafe full of wood and local beers, it was great.

meg

I’ve had some good food experiences and some bad ones. Let’s go with bad first, and then put something sweet on top. I was in Hong Kong last summer for work, and was SO excited about food there. My coworker and I walked into a very busy restaurant at lunch time — it was so busy it must be good. We got our food, and it looked good. We were chowing away, and I found a staple in my lunch! Very memorable. But as a follow up, we went for dinner at a fancy place, overlooking the Hong Kong waterfront, sat down looking very sweaty and out of place, and then had the MOST amazing szechuan meal. I hadn’t ever had anything that spicy that still had flavour. It really sold me on spicy, spicy food!

casey

my mom ordering dessert in Italy, asking (she thought) “are there nuts in this?” and tasting it — saying “this flavor is so unusal! I’ve never tasted it before” before the waiter said — “no, no nuts, ALMOND!” as she quickly spat the cake into her napkin. Lucky we had allergy meds and she was ok. We still laugh “no nut — Almond!”

Libby

When I was 8 years old, my family moved from Nashville to Portugal for a few months. I remember so clearly going to a restaurant and ordering shrimp, something that was a big deal to me because I didn’t get it often. When the meal arrived it was a huge plate with nothing but a huge pile of fully intact shrimp drenched in a bright red, super spicy sauce. It didn’t scare me a bit and I sat there and removed the heads, legs and skin from every one of those shrimp and ate every last one. I’m in my 30’s now and I don’t eat meat anymore, but I’ll always remember that meal as one of the best in my life…it was different and delicious and it felt so daring to be eating something so messy and spicy as an 8 year old. And I guess it kind of was! :)

Jessica

When I was in college I went to Britain to study abroad with my best friend. One weekend we decided to take a trip to Paris. Unfortunately we only had one weekend to explore as much of Paris as we possibly could. We spent our days wandering around the city streets and traveling on the Metro. It was fast paced sightseeing, to say the last. After a long day of exploration we were famished. We ended up in a little cafe adorned in red and gold, not too far from out hotel. There was only one thing I had one my mind: onion soup. My absolute favorite soup, it seemed like an obvious choice since we were in France. Out they brought a steaming bowl of the most rich and delicious soup I had ever had. Bold yet slightly sweet, topped with crusty/toasted bread and a pungent cheese…it was the stuff of dreams. Even now, I can almost taste and smells its rich aroma.

jenny

While studying abroad in Rome, I felt adventurous at a small local restaurant one evening and ordered tripe. I mistakenly thought it was an exotic white fish and it definitely was NOT! I’m sure the servers were laughing at me in the back. The experience taught me to continue to be open minded about different foods – because I loved it!

grace

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to leave a note that we are now ending the competition. I don’t want to stop the discussion here so I’m not going to close the comments to everyone, but we will end the contest now and let Heidi start reading through all these. So if you’ve left a comment after this one (11:15 AM EST, April 11th) it will be published but not eligible for the giveaway.

Thank you so much to everyone who left a story, it has been such a pleasure reading through them all.

Grace + Kristina :)

Kimber

oh my gosh!!! Heidi’s Super Natural Cooking is my absolute FAVORITE cookbook… I have recommended it to everyone! I had no idea she was publishing another cookbook but I am so excited, can’t wait to buy it!!!!!! Heidi, you are amaaaazzziiinnnnnggg.

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