The culinary experiences of this trip were:
-part sentimental (Rachel’s favorites: Cafe Louvre, Dr. Placka pizza stand, U-u-something-something which is Rachel and Lisa’s name for a great teahouse, … )
-part educational (local treats: street food here, salad there, soup in between).
-part comforting: I cooked and baked a little in the penthouse. Everyone needs mom’s cooking once in a while! It was fun to play in the kitchen while Rachel and her roommates were off at class. They came home to an apartment filled with (I hope) delicious aromas. Okay, they always come home to tempting aromas because there is an Indian restaurant on the first floor of their building. But the aromas and food I mention here were intended for them, not for the restaurant patrons.
Of course, there are some places whose food experience just make you feel at home, no matter where you are.
I must admit, we just looked at this Starbucks and admired the fabulous doors. It was a sign of home that made us smile, but we wanted the local experience.
Okay, shopping was a challenge. I was feeling confident about shopping because I figured out the Swedish ingredients…I was all that and a bag of chips (bag of flour?). Yeah – until I looked at the shelves in Rachel’s market.
I figured out the sugar and flour, but was at a loss for baking powder, yeast, and cocoa. Rachel and I scoured the shelves but came up empty (or uncertain). So, we went back to her apartment and asked her Czech buddy, Leona, for translations. I was set! Rachel provided me detailed directions to get to the big grocery store and I went (by myself!) while she was in class. Did I mention that I went by myself? It was actually very easy because Rachel gave me great directions – including details on the route and instruction for riding the tram. She made it simple (whew!). So, translations and directions in hand, I set out to the the big Tesco and found all I needed.
Um, yeah. Apparently, I didn’t need translations for the products in the big Tesco. Made me laugh.
I was practically giddy, though, because I made it to the store (using public transportation that provide zero English) AND BACK, all by myself, without error. Yay! I mean really – who wants to call her daughter and say ,’Hi, Honey. I’m lost. I am on the corner of two streets I can’t pronounce. How do I get to your home?’ Who wants that, I ask you?! I, for one, do not. So, again, I was feeling like all that and a bag of chips (or maybe a bag of Czech groceries!). Ingredients in hand, I was able to make the items Rachel requested. Chili, rolls/mini challah, shepherds’ pie, and cookies. The differences in the some of the ingredients (Czech vs Swedish vs American) was interesting and added to my feeling of accomplishment when everything turned out okay.
Oh, one more thing about grocery shopping. Look at these teas!
Again, made me laugh. Just what does the tea with the underwear pic do for you?