Letters to Harriet
Last month, I asked Grand Circle travelers if there was a meal they particularly enjoyed on a past trip, one that stands out in their memory. I heard from many of you about your Home-Hosted meals and favorite restaurants—thank you so much for taking the time to send them to me. I wanted to share the email I received from Bobbi Mort, who explains that her favorite meal during her Old World Prague & the Blue Danube River Cruise wasn’t an elaborate display of culinary expertise, but rather, a simple lunchtime meal.
On our trip a few years ago up the Danube River from Budapest, we visited the home of Antonin Dvorak, a composer in the Czech Republic. Afterwards, we walked up the street to an elementary school, where we were treated to singing by the students and learned how the school used monies donated to the school.
Then, it was lunchtime, and we went to the cafeteria with the students. We sat with two of the little girls and had our lunch with them. They could not speak English, and we could not speak Czech—but we communicated enough.
The food was nothing to write home about—it was served to us without a choice, and we took it on a tray. But, I must say that it was probably the best mealtime we had on that trip.
Bobbi, I love stories like this one, where the most simple experiences turn into our most treasured travel memories. Thanks for sharing your story with me.
Do you have a special travel memory like Bobbi’s—whether it was a memorable meal, visit, or unexpected moment? Please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’d like to try to recreate one of your favorite meals from a past trip, perhaps you’ll find the recipe in our Global Kitchen section this month, where we’ve featured six of our most popular Global Kitchen articles from around the globe. Happy cooking!
One of the best ways to immerse ourselves in a new culture is by eating traditional foods from the places we travel. And every so often, I hear from travelers about your memories of particular dishes you’ve enjoyed while on past vacations—including requests for the recipes for these foods. I recently received the following email from Carole Yudin that I wanted to share with all of you …
Q: The hotel we stayed at in Istanbul had the best pistachio cake ever! Do you have the recipe?
—Carole Yudin, 3-time traveler, Smithtown, New York
A: Carole, isn’t it wonderful when you can look back on a past trip and recall an amazing dish? After my team and I did a little digging, we were sent an easy version of the recipe for the pistachio cake you referenced from Marija Kojan, Product Manager in our Dubrovnik office:
1 (18.25 oz.) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp. almond extract
7 drops green food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes. Make a well in the center of this mixture, and pour in eggs, water, vegetable oil, almond extract, and green food coloring. Blend the ingredients, then beat for two minutes at medium speed.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared 10-inch tube pan. Bake in oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack, and cool completely.
Carole, I hope you enjoy trying to recreate this cake. Let me know how it turns out!
If you—like Carole—have enjoyed a particular food on a past trip, and you’re hoping to find the recipe, I encourage you not to be shy while you’re on your vacation. Food is a wonderful way to connect with the locals—especially your Program Directors and ship’s crew. So, if you find a dish that you’d like to try making upon your return home, feel free to ask them. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to share the recipes with you in person. My team and I are always happy to try and help find a particular recipe for you if we’re able, however it never hurts to ask the experts when you’re there.
Have you ever recreated dishes after returning home from a Grand Circle vacation? I’d love to hear about your culinary adventures, so share them with me at email@example.com.