Taste of Travel

Mel and I in Austria, 1990
Our summer vacation slips into history with the taste of Uncle Herm’s tomatoes on my mind.
           “Would ya’ll like a ham and tomada sandwich?” he asked my husband and me. “You have’ta be hungry.”
           “Not too much,” Mel said.
Truth be told, we’re always hungry for Uncle Herm’s garden. Mel couldn’t wait for him to offer a walk to his potato patch. Here I’m Scot-Irish, my husband’s English-Lithuanian, and he couldn’t survive without potatoes.
“I’ll slice a tomato,” I said, and aimed for the largest variety grown in Kentucky.
A widower of several years, my uncle lives on cornflakes, sandwiches, and what the Senior Center serves with local news. He’s given up Walmart’s frozen biscuits because it’s a bother to fry eggs. And you cannot eat biscuits without eggs.
He took a huge jar of mayo and a block of lean ham from the fridge. So far, so good.
I eyed the Wonder-like sliced bread on the kitchen counter and recalled Luke 10:8. “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you.”
Our first meal at Uncle Herm’s table since my beloved aunt passed, a ham and tomato sandwich never tasted so delicious.
Gratitude enhances flavor when you bless what you find on your plate.
Remember the seventies when every bride received a Fondue pot for a shower gift and felt obliged to use it? Well, the flame of this communal meal had turned cold by 1990 when my husband, youngest daughter, and I joined a road rally though Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.
Three in a group of thirty, all connected to my mate’s employer, we dined on Swiss muesli and yogurt for breakfast, air-dried meat and fresh bread for lunch, and cheese fondue for dinner.
Now, considering America’s fondness for meat, and Wendy’s contagious commercial in the eighties, some of the heftier men amongst our companions thought it fun to holler “Where’s the beef?” to one another and the waiters.
Their banter escalated with each meal. Perhaps they hadn’t heard of Luke 10:8.
Toward the end of our tour, we followed the caravan of Mercedes out of Vienna into wine country. As the sun set, we walked the cobbled streets of Salzburg to Weinbottich, a restaurant with the reputation for the fabulous Salzburger Nockerl, a dessert.
While dining, we watched waiters carry huge platters of sweet soufflé from the kitchen door to tables in the spacious room. Guests fell silent while they consumed the Austrian confection resembling the Alps with whipped cream atop the peaks.
At last, our server cleared our dinner plates and returned with fresh coffee and spoons.

Salzburger Nokerl, our dessert
Dear Reader, that mountain of creamy, sugary egg whites melted in my mouth. I must admit our common dessert disappeared before I had my fill.
I have all I need to gratify that Salzburger Nockerl yearning; one half cup of heavy whipping cream, half a vanilla bean, seven egg whites, four egg yolks, lemon rind, sugar and flour.
A delightful way to celebrate the taste of travel.