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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Friday, March 6, 2015

Yum! Yum! Yum!

I’m Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrate the journey from relationship to romance.

Traveling to other countries and even other parts of the United States has broadened my view of the world. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel—not only around the United States but also to Canada, Mexico, Australia and Europe.
Ireland, Scotland, England, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy have all been on my itinerary with stops in The Netherlands and Switzerland.

My first trip outside North America was to Ireland where I met up with another Judith and we had adventure after adventure as we drove around the country. Our first night in a bed and breakfast in Clifton, we walked to a local tavern and had Irish stew and bread. A young couple we met on holiday bought us our first Guinness after rescuing us from two flat tires as we traveled around The Ring of Kerry. We stayed at Ashford Castle and I distinctly remember sipping Irish Coffee and eating the best scones I’d ever had.

Next was Croatia and Slovenia. I will admit I was hesitant to try new food combinations when everything around me was so new but I did—and it was delicious! The food was fresh, vegetables harvested hours before our meals made all the difference in the world.

I was there during the Balkan War. When Zagreb was bombed, we were ordered to leave the country. Our group traveled to Bled, Slovenia to wait until for our return flights. There was a bakery near the hotel where we stayed that had ‘crème cakes’ and just thinking about them makes my mouth water. I’ve never had anything like them anywhere else – even with the same name nothing is ever as delicious as my memory.

Bled, Slovenia
After the war, I returned to the Balkans. A conference where I was a co-presenter was held in Portoroz, Slovenia. Seeing old friends and making new ones was a highlight but our trip into Croatia, to a small mountain village was the culinary highlight. I don’t remember the food other than it was fresh and delicious but the wine? Oh yes. I do remember the wine! It was light and if I knew wine I’d be able to tell you the flavor and notes and whatever else people who really do know their wines could talk about. 

What I can tell you is that it was naturally fermented from potatoes grown organically on the land. No Nitrates!!! Which meant no headache for me!!!

Most recently I traveled to England and Scotland. I tried haggis and oatcakes in Scotland and fish and chips in London.

If I were to travel abroad again, where would I go? If I based my decision only on the food, I’d be on a plane to Croatia and Slovenia.

In Croatia I’d find the village in the mountains. With a glass of wine in hand, I’d sit and look out over the surrounding land. A local cheese with homemade bread? I’d return to Bled. I’d be disappointed if the crème cakes I remember weren't there. But, who knows what else I’d fine?

That’s one of the exciting aspects of travel to other countries…the exploring whether of historical sites, local customs, or finding a meal that feeds your soul as well as your body.

Do you have a meal that feeds your body and soul? Please share!

To learn more about The Sacred Women's Circle visit my website 
Check out my Judith Ashley blog here


Sarah Raplee said...

Wow, Judith! You are more widely traveled than I knew. You've encountered some incredible food along the way.

What was it like to visit a country in the midst of a war?

Judith Ashley said...

My time in Croatia during the Balkan War was intense and life-changing. We were ordered to leave Croatia when Zagreb was bombed. We were in Rijeka which is about 50 miles from Zagreb (think Salem to Portland).

Men we saw at dinner and danced with in the evening had disappeared by breakfast, returning to their units during the night.

The William Glasser Institute had and still has a strong presence in those countries. Ten of us from the US, Canada and Ireland had volunteered to put on a conference for those of our colleagues who could get away for the four days.

When people talk about "being called to" something, I can relate. I asked family and friends to help me pay for my ticket (never did anything like that before or since) because I was going one way or another.

Pictures of me while there? I look like me but not. Younger, more alive - it's hard to describe. So many memories surfaced when writing this post...good ones, wistful ones and wishful ones.

Diana McCollum said...

So interesting Judith! I love trying new foods when we travel. When we went to Canada last summer we tried the local German restaurant and were pleasantly surprised with the culinary delight of their pork with homemade stinzel(think dumplings). I don't know what the desert was but it was heavenly. You've traveled a lot, I envy you as I always wanted to go to Scotland and Ireland.