Bye for now!

Great Blasket Island, Kerry County, Ireland

I’m back in the US after traveling to seven countries and learning about local foods and agriculture. What a blast! Thanks for joining me on this journey.

In all the countries, several threads showed up time and again. No matter where we live, we all have some of the same basic wants and needs. One commonality is the desire to belong, to be part of a “tribe.” In Denmark, I experienced this contentment in homes and at picnic tables, with people laughing, talking, just being. In Scotland and Ireland, people of all ages gathered at pubs – again, laughing, talking, just being….often with fiddles and accordions. A table with food and drink is always part of this.

Another thread is the comfort of eating good food, and generally that type of food has remained unchanged for generations. They’re proud to introduce visitors to foods from their region and from their families, especially their grandma’s recipes. Except where American giants like McDonald’s and Burger King have encroached, people are fine with their culturally familiar fast food like empanadas, smorrebrod, pasties, and pizza.

Traditional diets are borne from foods naturally growing in the land and sea, and from foods that, over time, people have discovered flourish there. Many favorite local foods also have their origins in adversity and poverty. People have foraged for seaweed (Ireland, Denmark) and wild greens (Italy); they fished for herring and salmon (Denmark), sea bass and other fish (Chile), cod and mussels (Ireland); and hunted for rabbits, horses, deer, and wild boar. Most cultures don’t waste animal parts, using organ meats (haggis in Scotland) and blood (sausage in many countries). They also make use of every part of plants: flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, roots – a good lesson for Americans as we try to reduce our food waste.

With great memories behind me, I’m shifting my focus to finding a new job. Yep, back to the real world. I’ll post from time to time, knowing – as you do – that wonderful food and ag adventures can be as close as our home towns. Have a great summer! I’ll be in touch.

8 thoughts on “Bye for now!

  1. Martha

    Thank you for taking me on your journey with you through Traveler’s Table. What a fabulous experience for you.

    Jane

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  2. Martha dear. Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful experiences from this spectacular journey with us all. We have enjoyed being a little part of it. We wish you all the best of luck in finding the job, where you can use all your fabulous skills. Hopefully we will meet in Seattle in 2018 or 2019. Love Erik and Lissen

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    1. Hi Lissen and Erik, seeing you and my Danish family was one of the best things about the trip. Thank you again for your warmth and hospitality…..and your great food!
      By the way, I tried making the sourdough rye bread that you all bake, and it turned out great! Had it today with local smoked salmon.
      Looking forward to your visit to Seattle before too long.
      Love, Martha

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  3. Martha, I am so pleased to have read and lived vicariously through your travels. And, a wonderful trip it was. You chose to go the best way, becoming part of the family and culture. I think, despite the landmarks of other places, our favorite memories also seem to be those made in the small neighborhoods and villages getting immersed in their life. Harry and I still fondly remember a day in Armenia, walking home from a day of sight seeing, when we stopped to watch a family picking the traditional white mulberries that appear in summer. They saw us watching. Harry told them in Armenian that we were admiring their mulberry tree. The wife came outside and insisted that we come into their home. We did and were served coffee, candies, and fresh mulberries. The hospitality shown to us in our travels, like yours has been amazing. And, yes, we all want and cherish the same things. Blessings to you. Glad you are home safely. Time to catch up with family and friends. Then, my best to you. Prayers that God bring you rewarding work.

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    1. Hi Mary Etta, your story of the Armenian family’s warmth and generosity is absolutely precious. It’s a beautiful example of how we all can welcome strangers and make a memory for them that will last a lifetime. And it really isn’t that hard to do. Thanks for your good wishes on my road ahead, wherever that leads. All the best to you and your family.
      Martha

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  4. Loved reading and feeling like I was part of your journey. Let me know where you land!
    Karen

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. Hi Karen, thanks for following. Maybe the next local food to write about is Cincinnati Chile with Spaghetti in your home state!
      Martha

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