Whenever I travel, my mind flashes back to my favorite class at Brigham Young University. As I neared my senior year, I missed taking a class in the nutrition department. The only class that I could work into my schedule was one on foods from around the world. I found it fascinating to study the specialty foods that you find in every culture.
When I turned twenty-three, I went on my first trip across the Atlantic Ocean. One of the countries that I stopped to see was Sweden. When I arrived and saw all the open-faced sandwiches, I remembered that there were more than 400 different types of open-faced sandwiches in Scandinavia. It was amazing to see the variety and creativity that went into each one.
This last week my niece, Mary, went to New York City to see the famous ball drop at Times Square for New Year’s. She asked me if I could give her some ideas of places that she could visit while she was in New York.
Being oriented to food when I travel, my thoughts went immediately to all the delicious food I have had in the “Big Apple.” One of my favorite things is to walk down streets and see the beautiful displays in restaurant windows, gourmet shops, and delis.
One of the most popular specialties in New York is its pizzas. You can find a pizza shop on almost every block in New York. As you’re rushing around the city, it is easy to pop into one of the stores and pick up a slice of pizza for about a dollar.
Another one of my favorites is the corned beef or pastrami sandwiches that you find at Carnegie deli. They are so big that when you buy one you’re getting lunch, dinner, and breakfast at the same time. The sandwiches come with two slices of rye bread with six inches of sliced meat in between. There is also a jar of pickles in the middle of the table and a bowl of mustard on the side.
Boys eating sandwiches in a New York deli.
As many of you know, I go to China at least twice a year. The most famous food that we eat is Peking duck. As we travel around the countryside, we see ponds filled with beautiful white ducks waiting to be a memorable meal in Beijing.
The ducks are carefully roasted and then brought to the table. The chef with a tall hat goes into show mode as he slices thin slices of duck and carefully places it on a plate.
With a spoon, you put a little plum sauce over a small and thin pancake and then place a couple of pieces of duck in the center with a little onion and a thin piece of cucumber. Now all you need to do is roll up the pancake and you are set for a memorable taste of Peking duck.
When you venture to Hawaii, the most memorable food, I think, is the delicious pineapples. At Christmas time one of my good friends gave me a Hawaiian pineapple. It was so sweet and delicious that I was sure I was going to hear some waves come through the front door.
When you board a plane in Hawaii they have cases of pineapple for you to buy so you can take them home and share them with your family and friends.
It is always fun to take a minute and think of the places you have traveled to and the delicious foods that you have tasted on your travels. As I talked to Mary about her trip to New York, she said to me, “The food was at least half of the wonderful experience I had while I was in the city.”
Learning about the foods and the customs of the people is an integral part of any journey.