Hi, Nenad
Dobro Jutro

Isn't it written in your CSurfing profile that :"you can cook for me because i don't cook" ? I was afraid I may have misread your profile but hopefully not. So I did cook for you and that's how we come to this topic : "Food while traveling".

The British say about the French : "They make love to food" (to(wards) food is used and it is a One Way (OW) making love. With food implies 2 persons ( with = to each other) and both ways.

Another saying is : "You're what you eat !" or "Man is what he eats 'L'Homme est ce qu'il mange" - Ludwig Feuerbach.

You've got the answer to your line of questioning or assertion with those food quotes but also as I travel I am delighted to share with / offer food to someone which is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. You can tell / guess a lot about a fellow's CSer by his way of cooking / eating.

I do specialize sometimes in some dishes according to what ingredients I am left with for cooking but I do easily personalized French toast (in fact known as lost bread = pain perdu in France). I am nowadays in my couscous period mixed up with spicy bean curd (fresh tofu) and a beggar = bettelman (auf deutsch) = mendiant (en français) as my favorite dessert. This classic French recipe was originally named because the raisin, chestnuts and nuts were said to resemble the various colors of the mendicant orders. Today, mendiant is made with a variety of dried fruits, all chosen to set off the rich chocolate. Another useful tip for a traveler : Do you know how to make a good soup from only pebbles (called "stone soup") ? Never heard about it ? So delicious it can be but it's a well-kept secret. If I come over I can prepare one for you(r) family.

The story goes like that : Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. The travelers fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire in the village square. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with just a little bit of carrot to help them out, so it gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.

The story is most commonly known as nail soup in Scandinavian and Northern European countries. In these versions, the main character is typically a tramp looking for food and lodgings, who convinces an old woman that he will make nail soup for the both of them if she would just add a few ingredients for the garnish. In Eastern Europe the variation of the story (having more in common with the Northern European rendition) is called axe soup, with an axe being the catalyst. In Russian tradition a soldier eats axe Kasha (Каша из топора).

In the Portuguese tradition, the traveler is a monk and the story takes place around Almeirim, Portugal. Nowadays many restaurants in Almeirim serve stone soup, or sopa de pedra.

In the French and Hungarian versions of the tale, the travelers are soldiers: three returning home from the Napoleonics Wars play the role in the former, and a single, starving one, who encounters several hardships on his journey back to his homeland, is depicted in the latter.

Recette de la soupe de pierres (version portugaise) :
Il était une fois ,un moine qui demandait l'aumône. Il arriva chez des paysans, mais ils ne voulurent rien lui donner. Le moine qui était mort de faim leur dit :

_ Bien, je vais voir si je peux faire un bouillon de pierre. Il ramassa un caillou sur le sol, secoua la terre, et se mit à regarder le caillou pour voir s'il était à sa convenance pour faire la soupe. Les paysans se mirent à rire et se moquèrent de lui. Le moine leur dit:
_ Alors, vous n'avez jamais mangé un bouillon de pierre ?
Ils lui répondirent:
_ On voudrait bien voir ça.
C'était ce que le moine souhaitait entendre. Il lava le caillou et dit:
_ Si vous pouviez me prêter une marmite ?
Ils lui donnèrent la marmite. Il la remplit d'eau et mit le caillou au fond.
_ Maintenant si vous me laissiez mettre la marmite sur le feu.
Quand l'eau commença à bouillir, il dit:
_ Avec un peu de lard, la soupe serait meilleure.
Les paysans allèrent chercher un morceau de lard. Les paysans ébahis, regardaient la soupe qui bouillait. Le moine goûta la soupe, et dit:
_ Elle est un peu fade. Il lui manque un peu de sel.
Ils lui donnèrent du sel. Il sala, goûta et dit:
_ Maintenant si on rajoutait du choux, ce serait excellent !
La maîtresse de maison va au jardin et en ramena deux choux. Le moine les lava et les mit dans la marmite.
Quand les choux furent en train de bouillir, il dit:
_ Avec un petit morceau de saucisson fumé, ce serait parfait...
Ils lui donnèrent un peu de saucisson, qu'il mit dans la marmite et pendant que la soupe finissait de cuire, il alla chercher un morceau de pain dans sa besace et se prépara pour se mettre à table. La soupe sentait si bon que c'était un régal. Il mangea toute la soupe et se lécha les babines. La marmite était vide, et il n'y restait que le caillou. Les paysans, qui ne le quittaient pas des yeux, lui demandèrent:
_ Monsieur l'Abbé, alors ce caillou ???
Le moine leur répondit:
_ Le caillou, je vais le laver, et l'emporter pour une autre fois.

Et de cette façon, le moine mangea, partout où les gens ne voulaient rien lui donner.

Mais encore, en dehors des histoires et des contes à dormir debout, la soupe au caillou est une soupe paysanne traditionnelle française, dans laquelle un caillou est ajouté pendant la cuisson. Ce mode d'élaboration a été longtemps utilisé dans la vallée de la Moselle, en amont d'Epinal. En Lorraine, un caillou propre, trouvé dans la rivière, est utilisé et plongé dans la casserole. Sa forme est importante : il est choisit biconvexe, presque plat sur une face et de forme harmonieuse.

La soupe au caillou est une variante de la soupe paysanne qui tient compte de l'abondance des légumes du lieu, avec une base de pomme de terre, navet, carotte, poireau, plus selon la saison une poignée de pois, des haricots verts. Saler, ajouter du persil et du laurier et du lard fumé, des saucisses ou une poule peut y être ajouté pour l'enrichir. La cuisson, qui dure 3 heures, est maintenue à petit feu, le galet étant en perpétuel mouvement agit comme un pilon qui écrase les différents composants de la soupe, en affinant la texture et en répartissant les sucs.

Cette soupe mijote sur le coin d'une cuisinière, et le caillou, agissant en accumulateur de chaleur, maintient une température efficace en diminuant les pics de température, sur le long terme. La soupe de caillou est servie comme un potage tel le pot-au-feu où les légumes et la viande sont servis séparément, agrémentés le plus souvent de crème fraiche.

- In fact, eating can be a kind of meditation as each food is put into one's mouth. Food is a medicine for the body and considered as such. It should be consumed according to your needs with no waste and no over consumption.

I also remember the third precept from my previous life as a Theravada monk : "to refrain from taking that which is not given (including food)". We are expected to show moderation and control in all things, including eating.

Monks are warned that wrong mental states easily come to the surface when collecting or eating food due to the craving for food. When Theravada monks go on begging rounds, giving people an opportunity to put food into their bowls, they are expected to show no interest in the qualities of the food and even mix the food donations together. I remember my thai friend Phra Suraphet telling me : "You must eat to live but not live to eat".

I like to extend / prolong as long as possible the magic of the French cooking and spin out the different ingredients to cook something to offer to someone who hasn't yet put any finger in it and does not know anything about the French gastronomy without being reluctant to different tastes. When the couscous will be over I will buy the staple food available on the market and keep cooking something on my own with my little knowledge of French chief. There are much better CSer cook in the capital if you're looking for some excellent dishes. I do excell when I can do a good dish with very little ingredients and whatever is left over. I maybe not be able to do twice the same thing but once you'll have sampled it you will remember the taste forever.

What about eating habits such as picking up the dandelion - from the French term dent-de-lion (lion's tooth) - wherever I stop by to have a picnic. It's springtime and the young fresh leaves of dandelion are at their best. Nenad had never seen someone eating dandelion greens as a salat. With a slice of bread spread with paté it is worth trying.

When I left the Black Sea on my way back to Paris, I was offered some crêpes (the same word was used in Turkish) and Berrak, Yildiray's wife invited for some delicatessy and a wedding ceremony in Geresun. I have absolutley no doubt that Iran as well as Pakistan, my next two targets concerning the gastronomy, have both a lot to offer in diversity with each province featuring dishes, culinary traditions and styles distinct to their regions. Let's wait and eat !

N.B : The stomach is sometimes considered as the third brain and it can be the way to man's heart. Put some loving-kindness in your cooking and good health will lead you to happiness and success in life.