Today marked one month since we set off on our summer European road trip. Given the wet and miserable weather, we decided to celebrate with a ‘Holiday Food Day’.
That meant gathering together a combination of foods from France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Viennese whirls and French patisseries. Baguettes and saucisson. Camembert and gorgonzola. Apple strudel. And a recreation of our favourite meal: schnitzel with buttered noodles, which we had all enjoyed in a tavern in Lucerne.
It’s a tough life, eh?
Schnitzel generally involves frying a flattened piece of meat covered in breadcrumbs. It’s most commonly served with chips but can also be accompanied by noodles, as mentioned in the song My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music.
Cream-coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells
And schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favourite things
One of the biggest joys of travel for me is the opportunity to experience new cultures – and especially their food. It’s something I’m glad the kids have also embraced. Wherever we go, they learn a smattering of the language. (I’m not particularly fluent in any European languages, although I can order two beers in several. What more do you need?) They take note of the similarities and differences between one country and the next. And they eat the food. Okay, they may not like all of it but they’re willing to try. And you can’t really go wrong with pizza, pasta, cake and stuff-in-breadcrumbs-with-chips anyway.
Eating schnitzel evokes memories of a school trip to the Swiss Alps in the summer holiday between years eight and nine. We took cable cars up and down mountains and basically ate schnitzel and chips every night for 1½ weeks. Even now, I still remember it well.
It’s funny how, when you’re a child in a foreign country, new food can leave more lasting memories than spectacular Alpine views. Our kids do still talk about every different aspect of recent holidays. It’s not just about the food, by any means. But I wonder what they will say a few years down the line when I ask them to recall a few of their favourite things? I suppose if they’re able to fondly recount some of the meals we’ve eaten while we were away on holiday, that’s no bad thing.