The Voracious Reader

Every traveling foodie knows that travel and food go together like…well…travel and food. And I’m delighted to announce that the wonderful travel editor of Every Day with Rachael Ray knows it too! The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 8 is featured in their April issue, in a fun roundup called “The Voracious Reader” that includes this mouthwatering excerpt from Susan Orlean’s trip through the Loire Valley, called “Storming the Castles”:

“We took only a few breaks, stopping at a bakery on the river near the village of Rilly-sur-Loire for a late lunch of sandwiches of baguettes with sweet and salty ham then for a quick dinner at a cafe not far from Amboise, where the chef had just finished roasting spring lamb with fennel and sweet peas. This was France, after all.”

And here are a few more appetizing excerpts…

Abbie Kozolchyk: Meat and Greet

“The motor-bikers had been sent back to “town” (a relative term on a one-road island), where some mystery chef had devised an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet—from the curries whose estimable coconut, coriander and lemongrass quotient immediately overtook any lingering fish smells, to the garlicky, gingery stir-fries that finished the job. And for dessert, every possible combination of banana leaf, sticky rice, mango, and taro.”

Marcia DeSanctis: Twenty Years and Counting

“The scent of tarragon wafted up from my lamb chops, and cassis ice cream added another layer of pleasure, which — along with Nicolas’ hand intermittently grazing my thigh under the table — heightened the anticipation in all my senses. The bubbly, his lips on my bare shoulder, a warm summer night –Le Grand Véfour was promise itself and the pure essence of Paris. I never forgot it.”

Layne Mosler: Passion and Pizza

“A server in a thin white dress shirt shared a joke with the beer-drinking retirees at the table next door before he took my order. He returned minutes later with a piece of fugazzettaand a slice of fainá. Individually, neither was anything special. But together, the fugazzetta—a mound of melted mozzarella and a pile of sliced onions on an inch-thick crust—and fainá– garbanzo bean flour and olive oil baked into a

dense slice—made a delicious combination. Chickpeas checked the richness of

the cheese. Onions, oven-roasted and paper-thin, added a strong, sweet accent.”

Marcy Gordon: Rootbound

“But

here, there was pasta with sardines, fennel and pine nuts; fried eggplant with

ricotta and basil, and arancini, the deep-fried rice balls stuffed with tomato ragu, ground beef, mozzarella, and peas—exactly the way my grandmother made them. There was wine drawn from a big glass jug that looked like an office water cooler, and I had my very first taste of grappa.”

Carrie Visintainer: Sidecar Sally

“I watch as she mixes cornmeal with water and places a ball of dough into a ceramic press. She pulls down the handle—thump—and nods, satisfied. With a graceful

flick of her wrist, she tosses the tortilla onto a skillet over a wood stove.

It sizzles. I am amazed by so many things: her ability to keep the fire at the

right temperature, the perfection of her circles, the fact that she makes

tortillas twice every day.”

Carol Reichert: The Threadbare Rope

“I ate a Dominican breakfast – fried eggs served on top of boiled and mashed

plantains, soft cheese fried in peanut oil, slices of papaya and pineapple, and

café colado, water poured over a cloth bag stuffed with ground coffee and served with steamed milk.”

Jennifer Smith: The Kiwi Hunt

“My mouth watered when the batter hit the oiled skillet. Expertly, he

flipped a golden fried pancake onto my plate and poured another perfect circle

on the hot pan. Reaching the highest plank shelf, he pushed aside tins of beans

and dried pasta, then brought out a treasure as rare on that isolated coast as

a Kiwi bird in Auckland: a fresh lemon.”

Kimberley Lovato: Lost and Liberated

“Nicolas had invited me to dinner and after several

courses of his unconventional cooking, plunked a tub of ice cream down on the table, handed me an espresso spoon, and motioned for me to dig into the creamy white contents. Preparing my taste buds for vanilla or coconut, or some other sweet savor, I closed my lips around the mouthful. The cold burned my tongue, then melted down the back of my throat. Nicolas’s eyebrows arched in question.

“Goat cheese?” I guessed.

“Yes, from the village of Rocamadour,” he confirmed.”

Sarah Katin: The International Expiration Date

“From the creamy, caramel-colored sand dunes of The Emirates to the rocky, sun-cracked land of Oman, we gorged on feasts of hummus and lamb kebabs, and ended our evenings with shot-glass sized cups of thick cardamom-spiced coffee and apple mint shisha.”

Meera Subramanian: Of Monarchs and Men in Michoacan

“A man named Salvador

serves us meat from a lamb he killed the day before. Each day, another animal, two on the weekends, he tells us, is buried in a pit with hot rocks and the leaves of the maguey cactus to slow cook as he sleeps. Now, he asks our

preference—legs, back, balls—and lifts up steaming wet cactus leaves to find

the right body part, which is thrown on the thick section of wood that is his

cutting board. He chops it fine with a large cleaver, but it’s so tender it

falls apart under the blade, and a woman behind him wordlessly hands him a hot

tortilla off a grill. Salvador pressures Luis into having the specialty of

balls, tossing a glance at me. Luis reluctantly accepts the mushy meat. We

bathe the tacos in salsa—red and green—cilantro, onions, and fresh-squeezed

lime.”

Ann Hood: Runaway

“Slowly, my heart calms on that rooftop in Lhasa. I take

a long, slow breath and look up at the sky, still so blue it almost hurts. I

feel my heart swell with wonder. In the years I have been trying to outrun

grief, I’ve learned that escaping makes me grateful to be here, to be alive. In

a moment I will be drinking Lhasa beer, eating yak ribs and samosas. But first

I stretch my hands upward, reaching toward that sky, as if I can actually touch

it.”

Hungry for more? You can order the book here:


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As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.” –Albert Schweitzer