|The Rucksack Foodie herself! (She's the cute strawberry blond)|
I think we are inherently creatures of curiosity and exploration, and to "feed" our needs we must keep migrating. I guess I've always been a bit nomadic but not for the change as much as the challenge to adapt and succeed.
I've been "in" some link of the food industry for 20 years. What attracted me was the enjoyment and pleasure folks receive from a delicious plate as well as that sense of community a table provides. I've always been drawn to the origin and history of food and the communal table, especially after reading Roy Strong’s book Feast: A History of Grand Eating back in 2004, as well as being so curious as to what makes a community: it's history, it's industry, it's folklore, it's people.
Of course I wanted to do all the obvious spots of culinary interest, however I wanted to do it all (and without a budget or job) so I thought I'd try and do it country by country with an actual hiking route in case I had to...but haven't had to hike yet! Ireland was the honestly the best fare, and now I'm in love with the place and finding it hard to motivate myself onward.
The food is basic but the history and people are what has kept me on the Emerald Isle so long. You can't spit without hitting something of great historical significance and interest over here. (Not that I'm walking around and spitting … wouldn't be the best foreign relations policy I'm guessing?!)
The best meal so far was probably on May Hill in west England where I was staying at an old farm and the family gathered every Sunday out in this little hut that had a clay wood fire oven and we would have the most amazing meals all cooked in the most primitive and basic cooking method known to man. The meal was garlic and rosemary stuffed lamb "joint", cabbage & Brussels sprouts simmered in the lamb juices and roast potatoes and whole onions … OMG good!
But then those oysters and Guinness after hiking 4 hours in the Cooley Mountains near North Ireland were pretty damn spectacular as well!
It might sound a bit hum-drum but a pub asked me to come and help with their Thanksgiving dinner (no they don't celebrate Turkey day here, it was just an excuse to enjoy a night of food & pints). I did all the trimmings and desserts (stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potato pie & bourbon pie...all American style which even their gravy and potatoes are much different than ours).
Well so far Ireland has definitely surprised me the most! But haven't gotten too far yet! I knew it would be full of scenic beauty and history but the amount of both is astounding and the people are so "Midwestern" in hospitality and friendliness, just like the folks back home in Missouri
I'm working on an article now about John Boyle O’Reilly (one of Ireland's greatest poets who landed in America and became one of Americas first and greatest civil rights activist). The man I interviewed about this poet has turned out to be an amazing sculptor, painter, and historian, not to mention he is a retired government judge and continues to practice law in Dublin. BUT HONESTLY there have been too many characters to list. Read the blog, you'll get a sense of the eclectic characters I'm coming across.The place you're looking forward to the most
I'm really looking forward to looking for roots of my family tree in Switzerland, thoroughly exploring Italy, (perhaps attempting to journey completely around its coast) and the views and tastes of Croatia and the Adriatic coast.After you conquer Europe, are other continents in the cards? Rucksack Foodie: Asia Edition.
As of now I don't think I'll even conquer all there is to see in Europe...but who knows what opportunity my come my way...stay tuned!