What a privilege to have such an abundance of the most beautiful food whilst on our travels…. but you know what …it wasn’t just really about the food though. It was so much MORE than the food. The food provided the palette for sharing, interaction and experience. We were so fortunate to have such beautiful people to share wonderful food with.
Tables were garnished with fine silverware and crystal glasses… some with fine linen… some were outside under warming braziers; some were on wooden benches overlooking snow capped peaks; some had vases of peonies or gerberas or were adorned with platters of cheese, fruit and quince paste. Some rickety tables were covered in paper which blowed in the salty sea air, held down by plates of freshly flamed locally grilled seafood. Some were kitchen benches with the weeks mail scattered in a rough pile at the end of the bench; some had containers of utensils and stacks of cookery books; some were marble and sleek and seemed to be like an aeroplane runway with stainless troughs sunken intermittently along them. We shared hours of laughter, tears and heartfelt conversations around these tables and benches right through the UK and Europe; sharing meals with and were welcomed into the homes as guests of so many incredibly generous and loving people whom Max and James had met on their various Vintage Car journeys around the world.
I spent time choosing cheeses, breads, confectionary and delicacies to take to the homes where we were welcomed with open arms. Whilst choosing I saw pies labelled with warnings about the inclusion of lead shot.. I saw giant octopus. Blood sausage. Salty crispy chips in huge glass vats. Huge gaping mouths of flat fish. Cured meats and crunchy bread in baskets. Bundles of luminous asparagus spears and even asparagus which were white and as fat as huge carrots! White boxes filled with fish at a fish auction at the pier. Whole legs of ham with mouldy coatings hanging like curtains in shop windows or stacked on pallets like oddly shapen bricks… and of course… cheese … glorious cheese!!!! I spent time in kitchens chopping; stirring; smelling; tasting; serving; clearing; wiping… all times interacting with beautiful people and sharing stories of experience.
For restaurant bookings and in the homes where we were guests, my coeliac requirements always lovingly considered. The aromas of the cooking of the most amazing chocolate and beetroot cake; vegetable bakes; leek, lime and coconut gratin; roast dinners; flans; fancy desserts; curries; soups – filled the kitchens of where we were guests.
I don’t want to forget also the wonderful experiences Max and I had together in local cafes or having our picnics beside the car. I usually sat on Max’s carry bag and prepared and cooked on the ground. Max was in charge of the cuppa… and I, the food. There was much laughter and sharing during those times, and now are such fond memories of mine.
Many of those things which I have written about I could not photograph. I didn’t photograph singing around a piano after a beautiful meal of quiche and salad and cake. I didn’t photograph the sharing of our lives; of joys, challenges, successes, triumphs, dilemmas or of heartbreak. I didn’t photograph walking gently through gardens and woodlands together speaking of memories and dreams. I didn’t photograph the generosity, friendship and love from so many – those of whom made our journey to Europe and incredibly amazing experience. But what I could photograph were the culinary delights and wonderful produce which brought us together to share such enriching experiences. Below are my photographs of just some of the food.. glorious food which was not only a privilege to savour… but to share so intimately with others as well.