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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Food and Travel by Margot Justes

Susan Miura and I are getting ready for our 'Taste of Italy' presentations. I've been hunting for Italian delectables that our guests at the library can sample. To be sure, there are plenty, but along the way I've been paying attention to the international foods that are becoming increasingly available in our local grocery stores and I don't mean the small markets, but the large chains like Jewel and Dominick's.

Yesterday, I stopped at Dominick's to pick up a couple of items and I always look at the cheese section, (I love cheese) which by the way has grown considerably to include a separate and substantial international selection.In the middle of the cheeses, I found fig and orange spread. I love orange marmalade and I love figs and fig jam. I picked up the tiny jar and noticed it was from Croatia, so of course I bought it, and as soon as I got home I tried it. Heaven. A little tangy, not too sweet and you can really taste the fig and orange; oddly enough the two flavors compliment each other.

I have added a new favorite to a growing list.By the way, a dab of really good fig jam on a piece of brie is delicious. Try it.When I was in Venice last year, I tried black pasta, didn't even know it existed. The pasta becomes black when you add squid ink. You can make a black sauce or if you're making your own pasta, add the ink along with your egg and oil. Recipes are available on line. I'm still having a hard time finding the ink.

If any readers can point me in the right direction-that would be wonderful.

Travel and food go really well in hand if you're not shy or afraid to try new things. If travel is not an option, check out the many international food items in your local markets. Discovery is a great thing.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
www.mjustes.com
A Hotel in Paris

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Day at Sea by Margot Justes

Our days are still bleak, the snow now dingy grey still has not all melted, and I needed a reminder of warmth and sun.

Surrounded by water on all sides, the giant ship glided along the waves, the water lapping steadily as we move forward. Mesmerizing. Relaxing. Blissful. All cares swept away.

The first day of the cruise was spent at sea. The early morning is best, before the multitudes wake, I have my first cup of coffee and look at the ocean. There is nothing better than the gentle breeze (sometimes not so gentle) and the smell of the ocean.

I satisfied my coffee itch, and went to the 12th deck to walk, not a bad way to begin a morning.

Having built up an appetite, (not that I have to work hard to do that) a leisurely breakfast seemed like a good idea, and of course I needed more coffee.

The delightful part of being at sea, is that you can do as much or as little as you want. There are plenty of planned activities, from belly dancing, belly flops and I'm sure other belly things, there is ballroom dancing, and...you get the drift. But I brought books to read and a pad to write on. A

The staff always on hand to bring fresh coffee, milk, whatever you need; they are continuously working. By the end of the first day, the steward knew my name and not because I was an 'unknown' author, but because it is part of the training to make each guest feel at home and welcome. You know what, it worked.

The elevators had a plaque on the floor, changed daily to make sure we knew what day it was; a reminder I'm on vacation.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
www.mjustes.com
A Hotel in Paris