The winter months could mean a trip to warmer climes for some lucky folks. And shopping for souvenirs while vacationing could almost be as important as the trip’s weather forecast. With today’s luggage restrictions, particular attention should be paid to ensure the chosen souvenir reflects the sentiments of the trip.
Perhaps a shot glass in memory of that incredible Caribbean rum; or, maybe, a pair of earrings, locally handcrafted from tiny shells. My favorite souvenir is discovering a beloved local dish. I eat it at every chance while vacationing, but the bonus is purchasing a local cookbook which includes the recipe.
Once, while visiting a small Bahamian island, I was on my usual local food quest. Certainly variations on a conch recipe would be fun to explore. Maybe I could order some fresh conch when I return home, or substitute conch with another chewy fish.
I quizzed a local woman. She highly recommended a particular meatloaf recipe in a Bahamian cookbook. With a nod to Jimmy Buffet, I thought: Meatloaf in paradise? Don’t think so.
The next day I queried another islander. “You really should try the meatloaf recipe in a locally published cookbook,” was his reply. “You can purchase the book at the gift shop behind the post office.” With all of this incredible seafood to be had on this island? Never-mind.
On departure day, I was standing at the dock, bags packed, with a few minutes to kill before the ferry arrived. The gift shop was a block away; I couldn’t resist. My husband watched my bags as I bolted to the shop, credit card in hand. They were sold out of the book!
There was 1 dog-eared, display copy left. I looked up the meatloaf recipe and memorized key ingredients that differentiated it from my recipe at home: Cheddar cheese was baked into the loaf; it was topped with a glaze of Heinz chili sauce, brown sugar and Dijon. Got it!
I’m sure this recipe is different from the Bahamian one, but I have to admit, I love the Cheddar baked into the loaf and the glaze was sweetly delicious!
During these cold, grey winter days, I enjoy recalling the splendor of a Bahama sunset; with, however, a slab of meatloaf on the side. What’s not to love about that?