This site is aimed at culinary vagabonds like me. If you like to cook, and you like to travel, you’ll find some things here that will help you plan your next trip. If you are a timid cook or traveler, I hope this will inspire you. I‘ve always loved to travel, and I’ve always loved food. So it was natural to combine the two.
I guess my first “job” writing about food was in the early 1990s, when I worked briefly as a secret shopper in restaurants. I was broke, and it was a job that ensured I would eat. But I had some fairly vile assignments. One of these days my therapist may tell me it’s safe to write about having to “review” the showers at a truck stop – as part of evaluating the truck stop restaurant.
As bad as that job could be, I learned to look at the process of commercial food preparation and restaurant service from a different perspective. What makes a good room? What makes service attentive and not cloying? When does presentation help a dish, and when is it too fussy and hurt the experience? In short, it got me thinking about food as something more than just sustenance.
Before and after that I had my share of scut work in restaurants. From prep to busboy and dishwasher to delivery guy, I’ve done my share. And, as bad as it can get, I still recommend that everybody work a gig in food service at least once in their life. It teaches you things, even if the thing you learn is what job you don’t want to hold for the rest of your life. But, really, it teaches you about people (yourself and others).
For the past decade or so I’ve been lucky enough to work as a travel writer, and surprisingly often I’ve found editors willing to listen to my thoughts about food. I’ll include a brief (partial) list of my credits down below.
Over the years I’ve found a lot of truth in the notion that the best way to learn about a place is through its food. Some of my best memories have been foods and meals shared, food gifts, and local products picked up along the way.
I’m also a fair cook with a curious mind. That means that if I eat something and like it, I’ll ask questions of the cooks or wait staff, and paw through local cookbooks while I’m on a trip. I also love to wander local stores and produce markets looking for hints to regional and seasonal ingredients. Like a hungry detective, I look for clues to what I’ve eaten, why it exists, and what it means to the locals.
Then, when I’m home, I do my best to recreate the the things I learned on the road. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse on that front. Because anybody can post on the web, you’ll often find a recipe. But, then again, anybody can post on the web…..
This site is about exploring new destinations, new foods, and the role of food in our lives – both at home and away. Beyond the photos and the text, realize that the best cooks, like writers, generally have lousy first drafts and throw out at least as much as they keep.
You’ll notice that I don’t include recipes. There are a couple of reasons for this. Recipes are easy to write poorly, and damn hard to write well. Available sizes (cans/bottles, bulk, etc.) and the like vary widely. But, beyond those things, if you are a curious cook, the best parts of the experience are figuring out what you like, and how to make it yourself, in your own way.
Also, if you’re looking for restaurant reviews or prices, you’ve come to the wrong place. There’s enough of that out there, other people do it better than I do, and, frankly, it changes too quickly to remain current without manic amounts of rewriting.
If you’ve got questions or corrections (closed markets, facts I’ve botched, etc.), I hope you’ll leave a comment or contact me by email. And, please contribute mto the discussion by leaving your comments about food and travel. But be aware that I won’t approve comments if they contain specious facts, vulgarity, or material that doesn’t substantively further the spirit of the discussion.
So, all that said, I hope you’ll enjoy the site and find it useful.
Here’s a list of publications that I’ve written for over the years (in alphabetical order):
Bloomington Herald Times
AAA Alabama Journey
AAA Hawaii Journey
AAA Home & Away
AAA Southern Traveler
AAA Texas Journey
Airline Passenger Experience (APEX)
Chile Pepper Magazine
Continental (Continental Airlines)
Go (AirTran Airways)
Music For The Love Of It
NWA World Traveler (Northwest Airlines)
Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) – Editor’s Blog
All About Mardi Gras (Writer, Editor & Publisher)
Boots n’ All
Breakfast Chronicles (Writer, Editor & Publisher)
Home & Away Magazine Online