This summer, it almost felt as if we were on vacation with our friend Pamela Salzman, a natural foods cooking instructor and holistic health counselor. Each day we’d wait for more beautiful regional food pictures to appear on her Instagram account. Since Pamela is a cooking instructor, we knew she’d be paying special attention to the preparation and ingredients in the dishes she was sampling, and we couldn’t wait to pick her brain about her trip.
1. We had so much fun following your trip on Instagram this summer. For those who don’t know, would you give us an overview of where you went?
Thank you! My husband and I took our three children to Europe for three weeks. We started in Barcelona for a few days, then took a Mediterranean cruise with stops in the South of France, Venice, Cinque Terre, Rome, Naples, and Positano; Istanbul, Ephesus, Athens, and Mykonos. After the cruise, we went to Verona and spent several days in Lake Garda, Italy.
2. One thing we noticed was that in each new country or city that you visited, the food really seemed to change. What was your favorite city or country in terms of the food and why?
Even though we were in the Mediterranean region the whole time, there were noticeable differences in the food in each country. Before this trip, I would have said Italian food was my favorite, but the food in Turkey, specifically Istanbul, blew me away. It was the perfect blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, two of my favorites. And there was such an emphasis on fresh, seasonal, and local produce, and plant-based dishes with lots of olive oil – exactly the way I like to eat.
3. What dish are you most excited to reproduce in your own kitchen? Why?
I had something in Turkey that was so delicious and unique. It was warm sautéed carrots on top of a very thick, garlicky yogurt. So delicious, incredibly easy, and I am a sucker for a contrast in textures. I loved it! Also, they used pomegranate molasses where I might use vinegar, like on a tomato salad – fabulous!
4. What was the best seafood meal you had? Did you pick up any fun ideas for cooking or seasoning fish?
I actually ate fish in every city, but I had unbelievable seafood with paccheri – a short, wide pasta – in Positano that was absolute perfection. I did notice that fish was usually cooked very simply wherever we went, except this one tapas dish I had in Spain where they took codfish, made a paste out of it, like tuna salad, and stuffed it into small roasted peppers. So good!
5. What surprised you most regarding food during your travels? This could be a specific preparation style, an overall attitude towards food, portions, etc.
I think it’s always refreshing and inspiring to see Europeans take more time to sit and enjoy their food more than we do. I just love their mindfulness and respect for food and mealtime.
6. What is your favorite snack to pack for a long day of travel?
I always pack homemade granola bars and/or trail mix. Neither is perishable and they are healthful, high-protein options that keep me from giving into junk.
To see photos of Pamela’s European trip and all of her delicious kitchen adventures, check out her Instagram account, or visit her wonderful website for more great recipes, food posts, and kitchen inspiration.