I have not shared it here, but you may be able to guess based on my Instagram photos that I love to travel. I will fly or ride in a car. I will take trains, and boats, really any means necessary I will use to get to a far off location. When travel plans get ruined, I rethink and make it work. For example a few years ago, my husband and I had planned to go on a cruise, this was while we lived in Florida and therefore cruising seemed natural and easy. We scheduled it around my break from teaching and were thrilled at the prospect. The following week, my husband’s company closed down their local plant and we were transferred to Iowa. Oh what are we going to do? We realized that this would be an easy way to bring up our second car, fly to a cruise and drive back. Our cruise was scheduled for right before Thanksgiving. We worked the whole day before our flight, and as night and our plane approached it started snowing. We figured, this is Iowa they must be used to it. We boarded our plane and waited. We waited for a bit while they defrosted the plane. We were about to pull away from the gate when the pilot announced that the crew had worked too many hours to be allowed to let this flight take off. I understand that, and if we were taking an ordinary vacation a rescheduled flight would be fine, but our boat was leaving the next day before we would arrive. What should we do? I did some quick scrambling and found a flight in St. Louis, Missouri at a small airport. They rescheduled us out of there and we thought about if we should take our car. Our car is a small silver Toyota Camry, a car I absolutely adore, but a car without four wheel drive and we are in the middle of a snow storm. We decided to rent a car, that way we would not have to drive our car back from St. Louis. We drove through the night, completely exhausted. All we saw on the road were snowplows and cars facing the wrong direction, no one else seemed to be driving except us. We drove to the morning, dropping off our rental car and getting a taxi to the airport, and we just made it. We were lucky and our friends in Florida picked us up from the airport and drove us to our cruise which we made just in time. We were relaxed and had fun, but the trials of getting to our vacation are something I will never forget.
A few weeks ago my husband and I went on a road trip, we drove from Iowa up to Washington, down to California and straight back. We drove something close to 5,000 miles on that same Toyota Camry. We stopped on our return in Salt Lake City, a place I had not been before but have grown to love in a short while. I adore how it is surrounded by beautiful nature and I felt at home there after only a few hours. We were trying to decide where to eat and I went to our usual TV Food Maps App. I love it because it shows you restaurants from cooking shows and where they are, you can search by current location, city or in road trip mode, I am not sponsored, I just love this app. I am not saying all the restaurants are great, but I love its utility. Anyhoo, I looked on the map and noticed Shahrazad Market and Restaurant. I immediately thought yes, I want to eat here. My husband has been obsessed with Chicken Shawarma for years, starting from a local place in Connecticut called Layla’s Falafel. We have not eaten Shawarma since we live in Connecticut more than four years ago. We were pumped. We sat down and had a wonderful meal, we started with some bread with hummus and tzatziki , which seems to be a staple. Then we had falafel with a delicious tahini sauce and finally, my husband had the Shawarma and I had the Shahrazad Special. Needless to say we went pretty light for dinner.
As we were eating, I started thinking about food. I was thinking particularly about Middle Eastern Food and how they took ingredients that many people had, chickpeas for example and thought to grind them up and fry them into falafel. The other ingredient I thought about was sesame seeds, most people see them and think bagel or asian food, but in Middle Eastern cuisine they take them and grind them into tahini. They take the tahini and mix it with chickpeas to make hummus. Sesame seeds can be mixed with a sweetened syrup to form a sesame candy. I love how food everywhere works differently and by eating and trying new things I get to see how others think of flavors and wonder what I can do next.
What creative ingredient uses surprise you?