The thing with food and its connection to specific places works both ways: there is food you'd only ever have in that one place, and then there's food that will always take you back to wherever your first or best memory of it was. Travelling enables you to find different foods and tastes you'll learn to enjoy and love. But food on the other hand has the ability to make you a time traveller: a certain flavour , scent or just reading about it on the menu will swipe you right back in time and take you to a place far away!
The best example of food you should only ever have in one place is probably tomato juice. Tomato juice belongs in an airplane. Full stop. Try it at home? It will make you gag. Try it in a bar? You wish you could reach the sink and pour it down the drain. You want to look cosmopolitan? Then have one of those with a capital C. But leave the tomato juice for the next flight.
Ever had ice cream in Italy? Then don't even try to attempt to make these sunny days by the Colosseum in Rome come back by grabbing a tub of Häagen Dasz from the supermarket around the corner. Yes, Häagen Dasz is very good - but if you ever found that perfect Italian gelateria and had the pleasure of a fruity sorbet bursting with intense flavours and melting slowly on your tongue, or the creamiest vanilla ice cream paving each and every single one of your taste buds... life will never be the same! And Häagen Dasz certainly can't duplicate this.
But on the contrary there is so much food that just acts like a time machine if it's done the right way. Every once in a while, we'll rock up a Green Papaya Salad - and boom, I'll find myself right at this beach restaurant in Koh Lanta, the night before Nickie's wedding and all the memories of that holiday come right back to brighten my day: all of her family celebrating the happy couple, our diving trips, the Thai cookery school, the rented scooters, coconuts falling from the trees, the massages by the beach, and endless amounts of Thai food.
Navajas à la plancha? Only in Barcelona! Triggering Gaudí, the Boqueria market, a Paella cooking lesson with bottomless Sangria, reunion with friends year after year, a lovely hostel right in the town centre, the street artists everywhere on Las Ramblas...
Moules frites? Thinking of a little beach restaurant in Hossegor! Sunny autumn days parked up by the beach in our motorhome, the Quiksilver Pro surf competition, thunder and lightning, the end-of-season party at the beach bar where everything was free including the wine...
Saffron arancini? The YSE Ski training course when 22 people all make the same dish and you try 22 times the same recipe with 22 completely different outcomes. Anxiousness, anticipation, joy, yellow jackets, friends for a lifetime.
And if anyone let me put gravy and cheese curds on my French fries, this poutine would take me right back to Castle Mountain, a small ski resort in Canada, where this is the best comfort food after a run in -35°C. But clearly this is totally un-PC anywhere else in the world, let alone if you're amongst a circle of chef friends!
This is why we love teaching you how to cook. Not only will you learn new techniques, skills and recipes day by day, it also gives us the opportunity to make you a traveller in time and space on a food journey around the globe.
What foods make you remember a special place or a special occasion?
Comment here or on our Facebook page.
We're curious what makes you travel in time and space!
Chocolate and Zucchini. 101 Cookbooks. The Julie/Julia Project. In the early days of food blogs, these were the pioneers whose warmth and recipes turned their creators' kitchens into beloved web destinations. Luisa Weiss was working in New York when she decided to cook her way through her massive recipe collection. The Wednesday Chef, the cooking blog she launched to document her adventures, charmed readers around the world. But Luisa never stopped longing to return to her childhood home in Berlin. A food memoir with recipes, My Berlin Kitchen deliciously chronicles how she finally took the plunge and went across the ocean in search of happiness-only to find love waiting where she least expected it.
This link will take you directly to Luisa's book on Amazon.