Food

A Taste of Travel

The Wandering Kitchen

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A friend recently asked if my affable alter ego, Vacation Amy, had made an appearance during the pandemic, or if she required infusions of tropical breezes to bring her back to life.

“She’s on hiatus,” I replied with a sigh, longing for the days when traveling great distances wasn’t such a fraught enterprise and a warm-weather getaway didn’t involve a possible quarantine. I was in this “woe is Vacation Amy” state of mind when I stumbled across a Facebook post drawing attention to the Skagit Valley Food Co-op’s new blog, the Wandering Kitchen.

“Picture this: warm, soft sand beneath your feet, sun on your shoulders, the sound of crashing waves in the distance, and a pina colada in your hand,” the post beckoned. “Sounds like paradise, right? If you’re craving a tropical vacay, join us on a virtual trip to Puerto Rico!”

While clicking the link to the blog didn’t magically deliver me to a sandy beach by a warm body of water, it did pretty quickly motivate me to want to learn more about the creative cuisine of the Caribbean island and unincorporated territory of the United States, which draws its influence from Europe, Africa, and its indigenous inhabitants, the Taino Arawak.

Recipes utilizing the bounty of food grown in Puerto Rico made me eager to try to harness the power of taste as a form of travel. I read about morongo, a staple snack comprised of unripe plantains, garlic paste and pork rinds that can be made into a meal with the addition of shrimp. My stomach grumbled when I read about the codfish fritters called bacalaitos—which are often served at the beach, on the roadside or at festivals.

Among other things, I also found details and recipes for a triple-meat sandwich dubbed tripleta, and slow-roasted marinated pork leg or shoulder, pernil. Handily, the blog also includes where in the Co-op you can find the items needed to execute your own versions of the exotic dishes. Dig in, and you just might find yourself in a new state of mind.

“Whether it comes from your backyard or a different continent, good food has the power to transport you anywhere you want to go,” Skagit Food Co-op marketing assistant Leigha writes in the introduction to the blog series, which so far has focused on the food and traditions of New Orleans in addition to Puerto Rico. “So while you may not travel to the heart of India, the Caribbean, or the boot of Italy by plane, train or automobile, you can take your taste buds on a trip simply by turning your dining table into a delicious destination for some of the world’s best food.”

Later in the post, I came across a rum-focused recipe for pina coladas and could feel Vacation Amy awaken from her slumber and reach for the blender. She won’t be stopped until she’s wearing a swim-skirt and gazing at the ocean with an icy beverage in one hand and a basket of bacalaitos in the other.

To find out more, go to http://www.skagitfoodcoop.com/co-op-blog/wandering-kitchen

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