We went on a foodventure yesterday.
It all began with a jaunt to the Rick Steves Travel Store in search of books on Bordeaux, Spain, and Portugal. As it turns out, Rick Steves doesn’t do Bordeaux. Despite that disappointment, there is a little library full of travel books by other authors that had a few gems. There was a book on traveling solo, which was written with charm and grace by a woman who seems to have been all over the world by herself. She had sections on everything, from getting around, finding lodgings for one, and how to eat alone.
Eating is generally a very communal ritual.
The fact the she brought up the challenges of eating alone was interesting, because its not something that I think about a lot. She started with a story about how, when she was a little girl at a restaurant with her grandfather, she saw an old man eating by himself and automatically assumed that this man was divorced, widowed, depressed and alone. Only years later did she realize how wrong that assumption may have been. The ways in which we judge people based on their eating habits and rituals are complex and often misleading.
Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than enjoying a meal alone with a good book.
As she put it, eating alone is always better than being trapped at a table with someone that is aggressive or incompatible with you. And eating alone can be refreshing, give time for thought and observation, and give a moment to pause and relax.
Because I have so many food allergies, and the way I eat is so different from most of my friends, eating and cooking alone is often preferable. Alone, there is no one to question what you are doing or what ingredients you are using, or ask what on earth chia seed is. Not that I blame anyone for asking those questions. It’s good that they’re interested, just frustrating sometimes.
That’s part of why I love being at home with my family.
Because they get it, and we can all eat and cook together without question or strife or skepticism.
And we can go on foodventures together.
After stopping at the travel store, my mom and I proceeded into downtown Seattle in search of a high-quality unique foods store that recently opened its doors after being an online-only business for several years. The drive took us through downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market, where fruit and vegetable vendors were set up everywhere. Of course, there was traffic, and we got stuck for several minutes.
Whilst we were waiting to move, amidst the flurry of dogs, people, and children, we noticed a small mother-daughter run stand with flats and flats of beautiful, ripe red strawberries.
It’s never the wrong time for strawberries.
Despite the fact that we had started moving a bit, I leapt out of the car and jogged over to the stand to quickly select a flat of strawberries. It wasn’t hard; they were all perfectly ripe. So I grabbed the first flat that my hands landed on and ran back to the now-moving car.
All that running (ok, it wasn’t that much…but years of swimming have imbued me with a distinct dislike of running) was worth it. As we drove along, we munched on the strawberries, which may have been the best berries I’ve ever had. By the time we got home later, one and half of the six little cartons in the flat were already empty. And that was with the hour long break we took to explore once we got to our destination in downtown Seattle.
We jumped out of the car in front of what looked a bit like an old warehouse.
I must admit, I was a little suspicious.
The shop was brilliant though. They had a huge array of condiments and meats, from pickles, maple cream, sauerkraut and steak sauce to ground kangaroo, venison, elk and boar. They even had dairy-free nutella! There is brand called Justin’s that makes a chocolate hazelnut spread, but they’ve changed their recipe over the past year or so, and it now contains almonds as well, which I can’t have. Finding this nutella, which is literally just hazelnuts and dark chocolate, was a wonderful treat. My mom also found some coconut-based caramel sauce and delicious organic, wholesome ketchup.
We were in heaven.
Fortunately, we were able to refrain from buying the entire store, although I’m positive we’ll be back sooner rather than later. Our most interesting purchases were ground kangaroo and rack of wild boar, which we prepared for dinner.
Boy was it delicious.
I can’t recommend wild boar enough. And it was easy to make.
If you can’t find any wild boar, a rack of lamb will probably do as well. But if there’s boar within a 20 mile radius of your home, GO GET SOME! It’s delicious and has more protein than most other mainstream meats. It has a gamey aroma but is surprisingly mild at the same time.
It’s worth seeking some out.
Roast Rack of Wild Boar
1 8-rib rack of boar
3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
2 TBSP fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into strips. Pierce the rack of boar with a paring knife and slide in pieces of garlic. Do this all over the boar, on front, back, and sides of the meat. Then rub the boar with the salt and rosemary on all sides. Put it meat side up on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and bake at 325 degrees until it’s about 125 degrees in the thickest part of the rack (this is medium rare). Pull the meat out and let it rest under a tent of foil for about 10 minutes before slicing into eight individual chops. Then devour.