Last bank holiday weekend was the most exhausted I’ve felt in a long time. Why? I launched an online bakery – Kate’s Kitchen – in my village!
As a travel writer I try to focus on relevant food stories and the cultural history surrounding food when I can (you may have read my post on the history of the tagine), so it’s not such a leap to be in the business of baking as well as writing.
Assuming most of you don’t live nearby to me in South Somerset in the south west of England, having a browse of the Kate’s Kitchen menu is unlikely to result in me being able to deliver you a big Mediterranean vegetable-topped focaccia or a loaf of Finnish rye bread — sorry about that! But you can probably spot that a love of travel, other cultures and cuisines is a definite influence, as are local ingredients.
Though I’ve got to be honest and admit that if I could be travelling far and wide at the moment, I would be. 2021 was meant to be a gap year (ok, a second gap year) — so I really, really wouldn’t say no to someone else cooking for me a thousand (or even just 150) miles away, by a beach, up a mountain, in a shack. Much as I’ve enjoyed learning to make my own ‘proper’ Napoli pizza and semi-master a pasta machine.
So I’ll end this brief-ish blog with a related plea.
In the interests of research I’d love to know: what foods and cuisines from past travels (or former neighbourhoods, faraway or not) do you miss and crave the most? Have you tried making your own versions? What worked and what didn’t?
For me I’ve really missed eating out in Italy, anywhere, anywhen, all times of day, preferably with a Hugo cocktail of elderflower, Prosecco and soda close by. Artful artisan creations from French boulangeries (the magnificence of the chestnut-choux Paris Brest pastry, pain au raisin snails meant for kids, macarons — and basically anything else on a counter behind glass). Swedish cinnamon and cardamom buns eaten in achingly Scandi, white-tiled cafés. Bright, fresh, spicy, comforting Thai street food. The really ravishing rotis from tiny Malaysian restaurant Roti King in London. Danish smørrebrød open sandwiches all seeming to end up with a bright smear of beetroot dressing…. Ramen ordered from vending machines in Japan….. giant sunflower seed-fleckled pretzels in Berlin train stations…. sorry, I’m daydreaming again.
I’d genuinely really love to hear what food has been at the front of your mind, on the tip of your tongue, on the top of your list this past year or more.
Feel free to share in the comments below, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, it might be coming to a menu nearer to you than you think…
Have a great week!