Scrambled, Preserved, Fried, and Cured is one mother’s quest to say yes to adventure (even when her instinct is to say no in the hopes of a good night’s sleep). To further the culinary education of my children, creating happy, healthy global eaters without relying on food from home or the pandering kid’s menus. And to experience travel together, having the kids come to understand that new cultures and tastes are a lifelong adventure.
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.”
–Alice May Brock
There is a reason why so many cooking terms stem from rather aggressive words, why we beat eggs, scramble them, whip cream, scald milk. Cooking and parenting – laced with travel – can be tough. But just as we whip cream with the goal of introducing air into it, so we need to expand the horizons and tastes of our offspring. It is easy to feel scrambled, to feel stretched thin and unable to produce anything new. What better cure for family doldrums than travel and tasting, both close-by and far away?
Our daily menus are small, limited usually to work, a meal, maybe a walk, baths, book, bed. Weekend bill of fare is limited, too. We choose from items we know, ones that are familiar and safe, often because they are easy. With the harried work schedules so many parents face, it’s no wonder that when a weekend or vacation comes along we want nothing more than to do…nothing. Just relax. Think of all the hotels and holiday ads that lure us in with promises of “all-day kids’ clubs” and “hands-off parenting for your all-inclusive stay.” As the days and months rush by, I see and feel my children growing up, out of their miniature sneakers and onesies, into full-fledged kids with opinions, verging on teens and adulthood. I don’t want this time to rush by in a haze of packed sandwiches and vacations spent on separate sides of an island.
Instead, I propose this: they come along. So what if planes, cars, trains, and camels don’t lend themselves to easy travel? Some of the best adventures, the best memories, come from being out of our elements. So that’s what we’ll do. We will free ourselves from the rut of minivan life, of kitchen counter existence, and head for the hills – or anywhere that works.
Natalie Babbit’s novel, The Search for Delicious, was my favorite in grade school. The characters must agree on a definition for the word delicious. One character thinks apple pie with cheddar cheese is the definition, another likes roast beef (this was set a long time ago in England and therefore no one argues for tofu in soy-mirin reduction). No one in my family can agree, either. So in Scrambled, Preserved, Fried, and Cured: Culinary Adventures at Home and Around the Globe with Four Kids we can travel the world in search of delicious, together.
This is the Kasbah de Toubkal in Imlil where we took the kids for a mule ride, hike, and lunch in the Atlas mountains. Not pictured are the kids on mules, the carrot, prune and lamb tagines, or the reading nook way at the top of the house.