Through our Food for Thought series, we talk to travelers and food/travel bloggers to discover their perspectives on the role food plays in their journeys. A new installment is posted each Friday for the duration of the series. This week we hear from our friends Josh and Liz from Peanuts or Pretzels. These two have an enthusiasm that is contagious. Their love of travel has taken them to many destinations, and they are already planning the next adventure.
Meet Josh & Liz
Josh & Liz here from Peanuts or Pretzels. We’re married travel bloggers who absolutely love to travel around the world, and getting to know the culture and the people who live there. We are always up for laughter, a good adventure, and possibly a bit of geocaching!
Food for Thought
The underlying idea of the “Food for Thought” series is that to truly experience a culture you must taste it. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Yes we agree. Food is an integral part of a culture. There is history behind the dishes, local ingredients, unique preparations and serving and dining styles.
What food do you identify with “home?” Does it reflect something about your own culture or upbringing? Do you crave it while you’re away?
Josh: Most definitely! Being from The South, I love my fried chicken (or anything fried), and I do miss grits and sweet tea when I travel.
Liz: Being from Idaho, I’m a meat and potato person. However last time when we were in Asia, after a couple weeks I was really craving a big ol’ hamburger! Which is a little strange because I’m not a huge burger-eater at home.
How has travel affected the way you think about food?
Well first off, we have learned that there are so many great types of food out there that we have never been exposed to in the States. We are also surprised at how the most simple things can taste so flavorful, likely because it is fresh and local. Travel has also made us realize how lucky we are in the States to have so much at our fingertips, but at the same time, it seems so unnecessary and wasteful sometimes.
Do you have a technique to try and understand local cuisine? (ie: Attending cooking classes or food tours? Hunting the best street food?)
Street food definitely! We actually enjoy scoping out the different street food vendors, looking and asking, and watching the reactions of people eating the food. If there’s a long line (especially with locals), then it’s likely pretty good! In some countries, we have gone on food tours and done cooking classes, but mostly, it’s all about the street food. We also enjoy going into shops that provide samples!
Tell us about a memorable meal that was so special it is forever ingrained in your memory. Where was it and what set it apart? What was served, and who shared it with you?
Okay, so this is a super hard question! We’ve had so many amazing experiences. If we have to narrow it down, then perhaps it would be the random town in the Yucatan of Mexico (we have no idea of the name) where we stopped for lunch one afternoon. We were driving on a back highway, hardly anyone on the road, and we stopped off in a small town and popped into an open air restaurant along the side of the road. There was NO ONE in this town, and only 1 worker in this restaurant; the owner. When we pulled up and walked in, we weren’t even sure if he was open! But he smiled and led us to a table. The man only spoke Spanish. Luckily Liz knew enough to get by, and he made us a wonderful homemade lunch of pork tacos. Even though he only had 1 type of cerveza, we drank it up while we soaked up the atmosphere of this tiny town. The thatched roof restaurant with no air conditioning, in between serving us the owner would set across the way in his little store and carve wooden statues to sell, local music played in the background, but all else was silent. Very few cars drove by, it felt like we were alone in a totally different world.
What food have you tried in your travels that some might find shocking or surprising? Would you eat it again?
For Josh, when we were in rural Cambodia, he ordered a dish with pork ribs. However, after it came and he started eating it he began questioning how short these ribs were. It really sunk in when he offered a bit to the rest of us at the table and no one would take him up on it. Although, it tasted pretty good – so he just decided to roll with it. I guess we’ll never know. On the other hand, Liz isn’t really an adventurous eater. Often, she will go vegetarian…there are just some things she won’t ingest.
And just for fun, if you had to choose one country’s cuisine to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
WOW, hard! Liz would say that she could eat Mexican food for the rest of her life and be perfectly content. Italian is a close second, but after a while the pasta could get old. Mexican never gets old! Josh could really get into Scottish or Irish food because he LOVES a big hearty breakfast. And he’s a real carnivore too, so he’s all about the the sausages and ham.