Eating Along The Way: My Food Travels | Teen Ink

Eating Along The Way: My Food Travels

December 2, 2014
By HhunaH, Kihei, Hawaii
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HhunaH, Kihei, Hawaii
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Favorite Quote:
Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one on earth who is youer than you.

Author's note:

This is a lot more than a cookbook. It is a fun journey where I share the history behind the recipies in a fictional adventure.


Hi, my name is Huna and I was born in 1906 into a big Scandinavian family that loved to cook. I remember our family gatherings where my grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, and cousins would all come and bring amazing dishes and we would have magnificent, marvelous feasts. I remember waking up in the morning and smelling all the amazing foods that my mother, Valka, was making for the day. She would be up all night slaving away at soups and sauces. I remember my grandfather eating so much that he would fall into a food coma and would stay asleep for hours. I would help my mother make butter cookies, my aunt with her beet soup, and my grandmother roll her fabulous swedish meatballs. This is where my love for my cooking began.

I had seven aunts but my favorite one was aunt Anica. As we would sit at the table, too full to even move, Anica would tell me beautiful stories about her travels through Europe. Her stories were amazing and always ended with the wonderful delicious food that she ate during her adventures. I knew that when I was old enough, I too wanted to experience the world, but as a young schoolgirl I would have never imagined that food would have had such an impact on my life. I just knew that I wanted to travel the world and experience all the flavors the world had to offer.

My very first job was at my uncles restaurant. I moved from my home town in southern Sweden nearly 900 miles north to my uncles house in, Pokka, Finland. By bus it took me a week to get there. I started out washing dishes, but my uncle Andor would let me into the kitchen and show me the huge pots, pans and cooking areas. Being so young and new my duties were to wash dishes, sweep, mop, pack supplies, and polish the utensils. But I was always interested in the cooking so I would come in early everyday to watch the chefs. Sometimes they would let me cut vegetables but mostly the beets. They didn’t like to cut the beets because it turned their fingers pink. They taught me about different spices and how they made their delicious sauces. I spent two years with my uncle Andor and left with a pocket full of money and a new found love for the kitchen.

I had saved enough money so that I could follow in my Aunt Anica’s footsteps and started traveling. I purchased a journal so that I could write about my adventures. In my journeys I traveled to Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, and as far away as Italy, Greece and Australia. I collected my favorite recipes along the way and now can share them with you. I hope that you come to love them as much as I do.

~Swedish Meatballs~
I grew up in Sweden in the town of Linkoping just south of Stockholm. Linkoping is most known for their religion and food. One of my favorite places is the Linkoping Domkyrka which is one of the largest cathedrals in Sweden. Many months ago when I visited the cathedral with my family, we got the chance to explore and experience the giant arches, strange stone figures, and great glass sculptures. Once we had seen everything, we went down to the park to have lunch. Everyone who came brought their own traditional favorite dish. Traditional cooking in Sweden is called Husmanskost. Husmanskost is a term used in Sweden that refers to traditional home cooked food. Much like the term “comfort food” is used today.  For me the ultimate in Husmanskost was my grandmothers Swedish Meatballs. They were my favorite because every time I bit into one, even if I was far away from home, they reminded me of my Grandmother and my family.
Köttbulla (Swedish Meatballs)
1½ pounds ground beef   • ½ pound ground lean pork
2 cups water     • 2 eggs
½ cup breadcrumbs    • 1 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons salt    • 2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
Butter, for frying
Cream Sauce:
2 cups  beef stock, made with a bouillon cube or similar
2 tbsp corn flour (corn starch), mixed with a little water
½ tsp soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp double (heavy) or whipping cream
Combine ground beef and ground pork in a large mixing bowl.
Melt butter in a saucepan, add chopped onion, and cook until onion is golden (do not burn).
Add cooked onions and all the other ingredients to the ground meat and mix thoroughly by hand until smooth.
Shape the mixture into balls with a spoon dipped in hot water or using your hands.
Place the balls in the remaining butter in the same saucepan used to prepare the onions, and brown evenly.
When the meatballs are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the stock and corn flour mixture. Stir thoroughly and then reheat. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the soy sauce, seasoning and cream. Heat for another couple of minutes, stirring continuously. Pour over meatballs just before serving. Serves 6.

Swedish Meatballs can be prepared many ways but are traditionally served with potatismos (mashed potatoes) and pressgurka (pressed cucumber).

~Swedish Fruit Soup~

In southern Sweden there were a lot of plentiful fruits during the summer months. Whenever my sister, Astrid and I would go over to my Grandmothers house, Astrid would always want Gran to make Swedish Fruit Soup. It wasn’t one of my ultimate favorites but it was to Astrid. We would always have so much fun running through the back yard and picking fruits for the soup. We picked multiple fruits from the yard and by the time we got back into the house, our baskets were overflowing with peaches, cherries, strawberries, apples, pears, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and lingonberries which is a native fruit in our country. I remember walking down the road so that we could find the berries growing wild. They were so soft and juicy, that they would turn our fingers purple and Gran would always know when we had been snacking on them because our mouths were purple as well.

Blandad Fruktsoppa (Swedish Fruit Soup)
1 package (11-ounce) mixed dried fruits (1¾ cups) (peaches, cherries, strawberries, apples, pears, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
½ cup golden seedless raisins
Cinnamon sticks, 3 to 4 inches long
4 cups water
1 medium orange cut in ¼-inch slices
2¼ cups unsweetened pineapple juice
½ cup currant jelly
¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
¼ teaspoon salt
Combine mixed dried fruits, raisins, cinnamon, and water in a large pot.
Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered until fruits are tender, about 30 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil again and cover, cooking over low heat 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve chilled. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

My sister and I liked our Fruktsoppa cold, but on chilly evenings my grandmother would sometimes serve it warm.

~Beet Soup~

During the short time I worked at Uncle Andor’s restaurant, I met a nice young woman who grew up in Russia. Her family, who still live in Krasnodar, supplied the restaurant with large beautiful potatoes. She said if I ever found myself in Russia, I would be welcome to stay with her family. Getting to Russia was not a simple task, but I was young and ready for an adventure. It took me several days to travel to her hometown in Russia. I traveled across the Gulf of Bothnia by ferry boat from Stockholm, Sweden to Helsinki, Finland. I remember the ferry ride was a rough 9 hours and several passengers got sea sick. Once in Finland I traveled by plane to Krasnodar. It was my first time in a plane and was quite a fun ride. Staying with Agatha and her family was wonderful to say the least. Every night I would help in the kitchen and her mother would tell me amazing stories about Russia and their traditional foods. She told me about Ivan the Third, but what really interested me was his second wife Sofia. She was a Byzantine princess named Zoe Palaeologa, but later took the Orthodox name of Sofia.
Sofia helped to bring European culture to Russia. At Sofia’s request, Ivan the third hired Italian architects to to rebuild Moscow into the third Rome (Rome and Constantinople being the first and second). These Italian craftsmen introduced pasta, gelato, sherbet, and pastries to the Russians.
While I was there we ate 4 meals a day beginning with a morning coffee. Lunch is a small meal usually consisting of baked buckwheat. Dinner, or uzhin, is the most elaborate meal and was made up of four courses. The first course was a few simple appetizers, the second was typically a beat soup with sour cream, then we would have roast meat before a dessert of ice cream or cheesecake.
Later in the evening, around 10pm, we would have another meal of tea and cake. Sharlotka or Apple Cake was my favorite. Neighbors and friends were always encouraged to stop by and would often stay until midnight.
She showed me how their ovens have two compartments; one for slow cooking and one for quick baking. My favorite dish that she taught me to make would have to have been her Beet Soup.
Borscht (Beet Soup)
3 cans (14 ounce) beef broth         2 medium beets         1 carrot                                               1 onion          3 potatoes       ¼ head of cabbage
1 Tablespoon tomato paste      ½ green pepper         ½ fresh parsley  
Salt & Pepper         1 teaspoon lemon juice   2 cloves garlic, chopped  Vegetable or olive oil           Sour cream as garnish Sugar, to taste
Prepare onions and carrots by chopping them. Pour a little vegetable oil into a skillet and add the carrots and onions. Cook until softened, and set aside. Peel the beets and chop or slice both into small bite-sized pieces. Remove the seeds from the green pepper and chop. Put the chopped beets and green pepper into a small saucepan and add about ½ cup of broth and the tomato paste. Cover the pot and simmer the vegetables for about 30 minutes until the beets are tender. While the beets and peppers are cooking, pour the remaining broth into a large saucepan and heat it almost to boiling. Chop the cabbage and add it to the broth. Peel the potatoes, cut them into bite-size pieces and add to broth. Add cooked onions and carrots to broth. Simmer the soup for about 20 minutes. When the beets are tender, add them to the broth. Add lemon juice, salt, sugar, parsley, and garlic cloves. Simmer 10 more minutes, and serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream in each bowl. Serves 10 to 12.


My aunt Anica would tell my brother Axel and I about Easter in Russia. She told us about the many traditions and celebrations that went on in Russia during Easter. I was fortunate to be in Russia during Easter. I had decided to stay an extra few days just to experience the holiday feast. All day, the woman make, bake, and decorate cakes of all kinds. But not just any old cakes, they make them to resemble the rounded domes of the Orthodox churches. At the end of the day, my absolute favorite was Pashka. She showed me how to form it in a special mold shaped like a pyramid and we cut the top off to represent the tomb of Jesus. Traditionally Pashka was brought to the church but we ate the Pashka with bread as part of our Easter celebration.
2 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese   
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1¾ cup confectioners' sugar                  
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup currants                                            
1 cup toasted almonds
Put cream cheese into a large mixing bowl and beat until very smooth.
Add butter and continue beating until well mixed and very smooth and creamy.
Add sugar, a little at a time, beating well. Add vanilla.
Add currants and toasted almonds and stir gently to combine.
Pour cheese mixture into a pie pan, cake pan, or other serving dish. Smooth the top surface, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least two hours, until ready to serve.
To use a flowerpot mold: Line the flowerpot with the fabric, smoothing it to line the surface of the pot. Transfer the cheese mixture to the flowerpot, pushing the mixture down to remove air pockets. Fold the fabric over the top, and place a small saucer on the top to weigh down the mixture. Refrigerate on a plate (some liquid may leak out of the hole in the bottom of the flowerpot) for at least two hours. To serve, remove saucer, unwrap fabric, and put a serving plate over the flowerpot and turn it upside down to unmold. Carefully remove the fabric. Serves 10 to 12.


~Kielbasa and Cabbage~

From Russia, I traveled by bus 16 hours to Minsk, Belarus, where I changed busses for another 6 hour ride to Warszawa, Poland. During my short stay in Poland, I learned a lot about their culture. Around 900 A.D., feasting and fasting was introduced by the Roman Catholic’s and this had many strong effects on Polish food traditions. During some fasts, they didn’t eat red meat. During meatless fasts they naturally developed more fish dishes. Lucky for me I didn’t visit during a fast, because I was never much into seafood. The dish that I came to love while in Poland was their Kielbasa and Cabbage. This dish, cut into bite sized pieces, can be served with vegetables for a hearty meal, or with mustard as a small snack.
Kielbasa and Cabbage
1 small head cabbage, coarsely-diced
1 onion, sliced
3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon caraway seed
1½ pounds kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (14-ounce) chicken broth
Place the vegetables, seasonings, and sausage in a crockpot.
Pour in the chicken broth.
Cook on low 6 to 10 hours, or on high 2 to 4 hours. Serves 4.


~Czech Dumplings~

After a week in Poland, I traveled with a woman I had met a few hours south to the Czech Republic for another cultural adventure. The first thing I did while I was there was go to a local outdoor market. Once there, I began to search for my favorite Czech cuisine; the dumpling. On my search, I found a small stand and was able to watch them making of the dumplings. While they were being prepared, a small Czech man named Bedrich, offered me a finished dumpling and told me some food history of Czech republic. He told me about Count Rudolph, the King of Germany and how he controlled most of Europe, including the Czech Republic. The Germans introduced three dishes that later became Czech staples. They are roast goose, sauerkraut, and dumplings.3 Dumplings are typically served with meats and a gravy made from wine. I liked my dumplings for dessert, stuffed with berries and cherries.  After his story, my dessert dumplings were ready, he packed them up for me and I returned to my place of shelter and shared the dumplings with the other guests.
Knedlíky (Czech Dumplings)
1 egg, beaten                          ½ cup milk
1 cup flour                               ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt                        4 to 5 slices white bread, cut into cubes
In a mixing bowl, combine beaten egg, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt until smooth.
Add bread cubes in batter and mix well.
Make 2 small balls from the dough.
Fill a large pot about half full with water and bring to a boil.
Drop the dough balls into the pot of boiling water and cook 10 minutes, then roll knedlíky over and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Remove immediately from the water and cut in half to release steam.
Serve with roast pork, sauerkraut, or kure na paprice.
Makes 4 servings.

For dessert dumplings, stuff with berries and cherries and serve chilled.

~Soft Pretzels~

After staying in the Czech Republic for a few days, I took a long train ride to Munich, Germany where I met up with my cousin, Christoffer. He took me for a walk down the streets of Marienplatz. We bought two soft pretzels, listened to the Glockenspiel chime and watched life-sized figures reenact historical Bavarian events. While we enjoyed the pretzels, Christoffer told me about the Germans and how they enjoy bread with every meal. Usually with rye, pumpernickel, and sourdough breads which were more common than white bread. Nowadays, soft pretzels can be found almost anywhere throughout Germany.
Soft Pretzels
1 package active dry yeast  1½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt   1 Tablespoon sugar
4 cups flour (approximate)  Shortening for greasing bowl and cookie sheet
1 egg, beaten   Coarse salt
Dissolve sugar, salt, and yeast in warm water.
Allow to stand for 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in 3 cups of flour.
Add the last cup of flour, a little at a time, until a stiff dough forms.
Sprinkle flour onto a cutting board or countertop and turn the dough out of the bowl.
Using clean hands, knead the dough (fold it over, press down, turn).
Repeat this process for about 7 or 8 minutes. Clean out the mixing bowl and coat the inside lightly with oil.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave the bowl in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
During this time the dough will expand, or "rise" to about twice its size.
Grease two cookie sheets and remove the plastic wrap from the bowl.
Cover your fist with flour, and then punch down into the center of the dough.
Turn the dough back out onto the floured counter and cut or tear it into about 12 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a long rope (about 12 to 16 inches long).
Twist the ropes into pretzel shapes and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
Using a clean pastry brush, brush each pretzel with beaten egg and then sprinkle them with coarse salt.
Cover the cookie sheets loosely with plastic wrap and allow the pretzels to rise again for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake the pretzels for 10 to 15 minutes (until lightly browned). Makes about 1 dozen pretzels.




~Bratwurst & Gluhwein~

One Morning in Germany I awoke to my cousin Christoffer banging violently on the door. The second I opened the door, Christoffer surprised me by telling me he had two tickets to the Bayern Munich Fútbol game. I quickly got ready and we rushed down to his dads old BMW and hopped in. Once to the game, we took our seats amongst the rowdy fans. At half time, we went to the Allianz Arena Bistro for lunch. We each got our own bratwurst and a glass of Gluhwein. Eating Bratwurst in the stadium among boisterous futbol fans was an experience I will never forget. Once the game was over, we headed back and I ended up staying in Germany for a couple more months.
Bratwurst (Sausage)
6 slices bacon 1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced      1 bay leaf          1 large apple, cored and sliced
1 can of sauerkraut (32-ounces), drained and rinsed in a strainer
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 cup water
½ cup white grape or apple juice    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cube chicken bouillon         1 teaspoon caraway seed         1 pound bratwurst
In a deep skillet, cook the bacon, drain most of the fat, and crumble into pieces.
In the same skillet, fry the onion and garlic in the remaining bacon fat over medium-low heat until tender.
Add the sauerkraut, potatoes, water, white grape (or apple) juice, brown sugar, bouillon, bay leaf, and caraway seed.
Add enough water to cover potatoes and bring to a boil.
Add the bratwurst to the mixture. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add apple slices and simmer 5 to 10 more minutes. Serves 4 to 6.
4 cups apple juice  2 cups black tea                  1 lemon
2 Tablespoons sugar   1 orange 1 cinnamon stick        2 cloves
Slowly heat the apple juice and tea in a pan.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon and orange, keeping the peels.
Add the lemon and orange juices, sugar, peels, and spices to the pan and heat without boiling.
Carefully strain the mixture through a sieve and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

~Fondue & Getrankter Zitronencake~

Germany was fun but I was most excited to get to Switzerland. The main reason was because my father, Stoick and my brother, Axel were there on a hunting trip. At the time, there was an abundance of snow. Once there, I spent my merry days in a cabin that my father had bought in the town of Grindelwald. We spent christmas there that year, and had a wonderful holiday meal. I remember my Dad had just begun to make his famous Switzerland fondue when a winter storm hit so hard that we all took a break to get the fire started. We made the fondue and started our family favorite Getränkter Zitronencake. That night we sat around the fireplace and my father told us about the history of switzerland and how his grandfather lived off the land. We then spent the rest of winter hunting and gathering fruits for our meals and exploring this beautiful, amazing country.
Swiss Fondue
1/2 pound Gruyere, coarsely grated
1/2 pound Emmental, coarsely grated
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 garlic clove
2/3 cup dry white wine ( Chardonnay is fine)
4 tablespoons Kirsch (dry cherry brandy)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Dipping items of your choice, such as bread cubes or apples
Toss the 2 cheeses together with the cornstarch.
Rub the inside of a heavy saucepan with the cut garlic clove.
Add wine and 2 tablespoons Kirsch and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheese mixture, stirring, until mixture is hot and smooth.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons Kirsch if mixture is too thick. Season with nutmeg and pepper, to taste.
Transfer to a fondue pot and serve immediately with dippers of choice.
Getränkter Zitronencake (Swiss Lemon Loaf)
0.55 lb butter (8 7/8 ounces, at room temperature) or 0.55 lb margarine (8 7/8 ounces, at room temperature)
0.55 lb sugar (8 7/8 ounces)
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 lemons, zest of, only
0.55 lb flour (8 7/8 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
3 -4 lemons, juice of (100ml lemon juice or slightly more)
0.22 lb icing sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
The loaf pans in Switzerland are 9-10cm in width and adaptable in length. For this recipe you need to adapt the length to 28-30cm. However, I assume that this recipe will work equally well in a slightly different size of loaf pan.
Beat the butter. Add some of the sugar, then an egg. Mix until well incorporated. Carry on with the remaining sugar and eggs the same way. Always make sure that the ingredients are well incorporated. Add the zest of the two lemons. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Then mix into the other ingredients. Don't use an electric mixer for this. Generously butter a loaf pan (see point 1) and pour the batter into it. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven at 180°C/355°F for 60-65 minutes.
Cool cake slightly after it has baked. Mix all ingredients for the glaze.
Use a knitting needle and make plenty of holes into the loaf and pour the glaze over the cake.






~Fettuccine Alfredo, Cannolis, Zelten Cake & Italian Easter Bread~
After spending a couple months in Switzerland, I became accustomed to their traditions so it was hard to make the switch to Italian culture when I got to Milan. Italy is a lot different from Switzerland in lots of ways; especially food wise. It was a bit difficult going from eating soups and meats in Switzerland to eating Pasta and pizza in Italy. Throughout my Italian adventures, I purchased a few books and maps to help me along. I arrived in Milan first and spent most of my days eating, exploring, reading, and learning. I visited Venice, where I had the best Fettuccine Alfredo I had ever tasted. I got to experience the food history of Italy first hand and learned all about their main staple dishes. Italians are known for pizza, pasta, and tomato sauce. During my time in Italy I discovered that it's food differs greatly by region. In fact it's possible to distinguish Italian cooking simply by the type of cooking fat used: butter was used in the north, pork fat in the center of the country, and olive oil in the south. Their main dishes in the north were rice and polenta, and pasta was most popular throughout the southern region. During the last decades of the twentieth century (1980s and 1990s),  pasta and pizza, a traditional southern Italian food, became popular in the north of Italy. It was funny to me that pasta is more likely to be served with a white cheese sauce in the north and a tomato-based sauce in the south. Italians are well known for their use of herbs in cooking. Cheese also plays an important role in Italian cooking. There are more than 400 types of cheese made in Italy, with Parmesan and mozzarella being the most popular. Parmesan cheese actually got its name from the Italian city of Parma.3

Next, it was off to Florence where I took a tour bus across the many bridges and streets. I stopped and visited museums and absolutely fell in love with the city. From there, I travelled down through Siena and to my final destination in Rome. While in Rome I discovered the many dishes that call Rome home. I had risotto, Prosciutto, Biscotti, Frittata, Pastas, and pizza. I also had the best cannolis I had ever tasted. The soft, creaminess reminded me of the cream filled pastries my mother used to make. After that, I found myself in Naples, eating the best Zelten cakes which are a big part of the Naples community. They worshiped these cakes after they believed it was them that had brought good luck to their city.3 After an amazing month in Naples, I took a short 30 minute boat ride to Sicily for Easter. Every Easter, Sicily has one of the most unique Easter celebrations I’ve ever seen. There are thousands of people and big statues with paint and confetti all over them. At one point, a parade went through full of people wearing immaculate costumes on stilts and big colorful floats. Afterwards, there was a big Easter feast which I got to enjoy. My favorite thing in the buffet was the Italian Easter Bread. The bread is actually cooked around colored Easter eggs. Italy during this time of year was so fun, amazing, and beautiful. I can’t wait to go back again.
Fettuccine Alfredo
1 cup butter or margarine at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream   ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound cooked pasta, such as fettuccine (cook according to directions on package)    Salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg to taste
Cook pasta according to directions on package. Warm a serving bowl in the oven set to the lowest temperature until ready to use.
Place butter or margarine in a mixing bowl, and using a wooden spoon, beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add cream and mix until well blended.
Add the cheese by Tablespoon, beating well after each addition.
Using oven mitts, remove the heated serving bowl from oven and place on a heatproof work surface.
Place the drained, cooked pasta in the warm bowl and add cheese mixture.
Make sure all the pasta is coated with the sauce.
Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste and continue to coat pasta.
Serve while very hot with a side dish of grated cheese.
The dish goes well with a green salad with Italian dressing and warm garlic bread.
18 ready-made cannoli shells 2 pounds ricotta cheese
2 cups powdered sugar  ¼ cup candied orange and citron, finely diced
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips~⅓ cup pistachio nuts, chopped medium to fine
Mix the ricotta with the powdered sugar until it is no longer grainy.
Blend in the candied fruit and chocolate.
Whisk until the mixture is very creamy.
Place filling in a wide-nozzled pastry tube and fill the shells. (A spoon may also be used).
Place the chopped nuts on a flat surface and lightly dip both ends of the cannoli into the nuts to decorate. Serve immediately. Serves 18.
Zelten Cake (Italian Bread)
4 Tablespoons yeast 2 cups warm water  ½ pound butter, melted
4 teaspoons salt  1 cup sugar   4 eggs, beaten
6 egg yolks, beaten (discard egg whites or save for another use)
10½ cups flour      2 cups citron, sliced fine 2 cups raisins, seedless
Dissolve yeast in the water. Mix in the butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and yolks.
Stir about 10 cups of flour into the butter and yeast mixture until blended.
Spread a little flour on a board. Turn dough out onto the board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. When the dough is soft and smooth, knead in the citron and raisins.
Place dough in a greased, round pan, and brush the top with melted butter.
Cover, and allow to rise until the dough has doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf.
Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the top begins to brown. Lower heat to 325°F and bake for 1 hour more. Serves about 10.
Italian Easter Bread
3 cups flour  ¼ cup sugar  1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt ⅔ cup warm milk 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
7 eggs  ½ cup mixed candied fruit, chopped
¼ cup almonds, chopped  ½ teaspoon anise seed Vegetable oil
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add milk and butter; beat 2 minutes on medium. Add 2 eggs and ½ cup flour; beat 2 minutes on high.
Stir in the fruit, nuts, and anise seed, mixing well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Place on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
If desired, dye remaining eggs (leave eggs uncooked); lightly rub with oil.
With a fist dipped in flour, punch dough down. Divide in half and roll each piece into a 24-inch rope. Loosely twist ropes together; place on the baking sheet and form into a ring. Pinch the ends together. Gently split ropes and tuck eggs into openings. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Serves about 6.


~Lamb-Eggplant Casserole, Honey Pie, & Butter Cookies~
I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go after Italy. I wasn’t ready to settle in one place yet but then I remembered my aunt Anica and how she used to tell me her stories of Greece. It was only a short distance from Italy so I decided to make it my next stop. I took a short boat ride across the beautiful Ionian Sea. The boat docked in the small town of Patras. From there I took a short taxi ride to Athens, Greece. In Athens, I came across the remains of historic old buildings which are still standing. These monuments have a lot of cultural value to the people of Greece, who refuse to tear them down. Lots of the historic buildings were believed to have been created by the greek gods. I learned about their food history as well. I discovered that they eat the same foods that their ancestors did in ancient times. The Turks also introduced coffee to the Greeks. Lamb is also a big thing in Greece and they have about 40 ways that they serve Lamb. My favorite out of the lamb dishes would have to be Moussaka which is a lamb eggplant casserole. I was actually surprised how well it was seasoned and the flavors went together really well. There was a certain sweetness to it that had me wanting to make it myself. They are also known for their pies and cookies. A slice of honey pie after a meal of lamb-eggplant casserole is simply amazing. It was the one of the best pies I had ever had. I stayed near an outdoor market that would offer samples butter cookies and I completely fell in love. They were so crunchy and buttery that they literally melted in my mouth. I loved the people and the flavors of Greece so much that I was very sad when I had to leave.
Moussaka (Lamb-Eggplant Casserole)
2 medium eggplants, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onion, diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1½ pounds ground lamb or beef
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup plain yogurt
4 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon flour
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and brown the onion, peppers, and garlic.
Add the ground meat, paprika, pepper, salt, and cinnamon.
When the meat is crumbled and cooked, put it in a bowl and set aside.
Sauté the eggplant slices in the skillet, adding more oil if needed.
Brown on both sides, remove, and set aside.
In a large casserole dish, alternate layers of the eggplant and the meat mixture.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place cover or aluminum foil over the dish. Bake for 45 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the yogurt, egg yolks, and flour. Remove the casserole from the oven and remove cover.
Spread the yogurt mixture over the top of the moussaka.
Return uncovered casserole to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.
Melopitta (Honey Pie)
2 cups cottage cheese  ½ cup cream cheese, at to room temperature
½ cup sugar  1 cup honey  4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract  ½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
Pie crust (to cover only the bottom of the pan), frozen or prepared
Cinnamon, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In large mixing bowl, mix cottage cheese, cream cheese, and sugar until well blended.
Mixing constantly, add honey, eggs, and almond extract.
Add the nuts and stir.
Pour mixture into pie crust and bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until crust is golden brown and pie is firm.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cool to room temperature and serve in small wedges. Serves 10 to 12.
Kourabiethes (Butter Cookies)
2½ cups flour  1 teaspoon baking powder  ¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened         ½ cup sugar    Powdered sugar
1 egg  ½ teaspoon vanilla extract  ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat together butter, sugar, and egg in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until well blended.
Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
With your hands, form dough into balls, half-moons, or S-shapes. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Put on middle oven rack and bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until barely brown around the edges.
Remove cookies from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack or paper towels for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


~Meat Pie~
I never in a million years would have thought that Australia would have been the last place that I ever travelled. It was the summer after Italy I really wanted to go to Australia. I said goodbye to Italy and hopped on a plane. I flew over Saudi Arabia, Yemen, The Sunda Islands, and finally got to Australia. It took 5 months to travel about half of the coast of the large continent. Starting in Darwin where my plane landed, passing Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and finally getting to Brisbane. While I was in Brisbane, I asked a tall, handsome gentlemen which way it was to Ipswich. He offered to drive me down there since I had no way of getting down there, myself. His name was Lucas and he ended up giving me a brilliant tour of the Gold Coast and told me a little bit about it’s history. He told me about Captain Arthur Phillip of England and how he established the first modern settlement in Australia, back in January of 1788. He took me all over the Gold Coast and then drove me back to his hometown of Sydney. We ate out a lot and became very close. One night we ate at an authentic Australian restaurant and shared a fabulous meat pie. I had never eaten anything like it. Afterwards, we stopped by a small stand on the street that night and got vegemite on toast. It was a black salty butter that took some getting used to. I have would never thought at the time that this would lead to something more.
Australian Meat Pie
2 pounds ground beef  1 cup ketchup 1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt  1 cup milk  ⅔ cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon oregano       ½ teaspoon pepper 2 prepared pie shells, 8-inch
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine ground beef, ketchup, onion, salt, milk, bread crumbs, oregano, and pepper in a bowl.
Mix well.
Divide mixture into 2 pie shells and bake for about 45 minutes.
While the pies are baking, mix together Worcestershire sauce and cheese in another bowl.
After about 45 minutes, remove pies from oven.
Spread Worcestershire sauce and cheese mixture on top of pie shells.
Bake for about 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serves 6.

Over our many meals together, Lucas told me all about his family and his 3 brothers, Ashton, William, and Thomas. It was so much fun to learn about Australia with Lucas, but I was sad when I told him I had to depart. I told him that was travelling and I had only planned on staying a month. He refused to let me leave and told me I could stay with him for as long as I wanted. After many of his pleas for me to stay, I finally ended up staying a few more weeks with him. We became quite close over the short time I had known him and I was sad again when the weeks were up. Before I could leave though, he surprised me by asking me to marry him. I was so shocked that I just nodded and let him hug me. We ended up staying in Sydney and had two kids, Michael and Jack who grew up to be great cooks themselves. I hope one day that my boys can travel the world and experience all the cultures as I did when I was young.
I often look back at my journeys and travels and wonder why I was so lucky to have the life that I did. I’m glad though that I wrote down all my journeys and travels so that I could pass them on to you.


Works Cited:

Fahey, John M., Jr. Northern Europe. Verona, Italy: National Geographic Society, 2002. Print.
Duxbury, John I. "Saffron Buns fveor Adnt." Swedish Food Recipes. John Duxbury, 18 Mar. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.
"Prominent Russians: Ivan III the Great." Russiapedia. Autonomous Nonprofit Organization, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.
Niedzwiecka, Anna. "Food in Every Country." Food in Every Country. Advameg/Lech Mazur, 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

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