Scratching the Travel Itch – Travel via Stomach

Food is an essential component of travel. Now, thanks to Amazon and other delivery services, it’s easier than ever to sample gustatory exotica in the comfort of your own home, even if you live on a back road in rural Vermont.

Here are a few recipes to consider:

TUNNA PANNKAKA – THIN PANCAKES

contributed by Silverbelle Pam (Muskegon SBs)

Pam and Ron Varga, Sandy and Stephen meet on the beach just outside Charleston, SC

Silverbelle Sandy’s brother Ron Varga and his wife Pam live in Muskegon, Michigan, where there is a large Dutch and Scandinavian influence. The following recipe for Tunn Pannkaka is from the cookbook, “Choice Swedish Recipes,” given to Pam by her mother, Barbara Mars.

In Sweden, these thin pancakes are traditionally eaten as a dessert for pea soup on Thursdays. They are often served with fresh berries and powdered sugar, or with some combination of jam, ice cream, or whipped cream, which is how Ron and Pam’s daughters, Beth and Sara, fell in love with the tasty tradition of their ancestors. Swedish pancakes are now in high demand as a favorite breakfast treat for grandchildren Alina, Savannah, Penelope, and Veronica whenever they spend a weekend with Papa and Grandma in Muskegon.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Beat the 3 eggs well. Combine with one cup of milk.

Add the salt, melted butter, sugar, sifted flour and baking powder to the egg/milk mixture. Stir into a smooth batter. Add the remaining ½ cup milk.

Lightly oil a 10” sauté or crepe pan. Ladle 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan, swirling the ladle to evenly coat the pan’s bottom.

Cook over medium high heat until edges are firm and the crepe slightly browned. It should turn easily at this point to be cooked briefly on the other side.

Spread the hot cakes with jam, jelly, powdered or cinnamon sugar and roll.


Silverbelle Sandy makes this dish over the holidays, but it’s just as delicious any time you can lay your hands on multi-colored, organic peppers. Unabashedly Italian.

BUON NATALE PASTA

You can count on this simple recipe for a festive bowl of red and green sweet peppers with pasta to dress up a holiday dinner table. In the cold, dark days of winter, the fragrance of frying peppers is a love letter from summers past.

Here is my adaptation of Mollie Katzen’s “Pepper Sauce” from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook (1982) that serves six.

  • 3 medium-sized sweet green peppers
  • 3 medium-sized sweet red peppers
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp crushed red (hot) pepper
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, finely grated.

Bring the pasta water to a boil before you start sautéing the peppers. The cooked pasta and peppers should be ready at the same time.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and stems. Slice peppers into thin strips. Set aside.

In a large heavy skillet (I use cast iron.), cook the crushed garlic in olive oil, with salt, peppers, and oregano over medium heat for about one minute.

Add the peppers and sauté them until tender, but not mushy (5-8 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vinegar. Toss the pepper mixture with hot drained pasta and serve as soon as possible, sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.


Me? I’m a little more lazy. My approach is to take something good, then make it more gooder by adding a bit of foreign exotica. For instance, I order these Korean-style ramen noodles (they’re actually made in the USA) by the case from Amazon. I use only half the seasoning packet to cut salt and fat, then supplement by adding fresh ingredients such as ribboned carrot, shredded cabbage, shrimp tofu, scallops, green onion … whaddya got?

Then, to put it all on steroids I add a spoonful of Lao Gan Ma chili sauce, from China by way of Amazon. I’m eating Shanghai street food while staring at snowflakes drifting down onto Gilead Brook Road. Of course, I eat it using chopsticks and a flat-bottomed, porcelain spoon. Pretentious? Of course, but it scratches the itch.

At present we are further amusing ourselves by watching comedian Jonny Harris visiting Canada’s tiny towns in Still Standing while we eat our Asian street food.

Or, if we’re feeling more Asian …


Uh-oh, look what I just found on Amazon. Mumbai, here I come!

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