We are Mandy and Eric, parents of four precocious kids and one sweet Bernese Mountain Dog. We live in the upper midwest of the US when we aren’t somewhere else. Eric is originally from Norway, has lived in 7 countries, and currently works in the travel industry. Mandy grew up in Tennessee, has lived in 8 states, and was an international flight attendant for 15 years. We had logged 70 countries between the two of us before having children, and couldn’t wait to share some adventures with them once they were here. One of the most gratifying parts of parenting, for us, has been showing our kids the world. Teaching them how to navigate it, meeting new friends, and experiencing destinations all over again through their eyes is what it’s all about!
We set out straight away. Kid #1 was just a few weeks old when she flew to Tennessee for the first time. By 6 months of age she’d been to Norway, Milan, and Sardinia! #2 was born a year later and fit right in to our wandering crew.
We were off to the races and having a great time until I got very sick after #3’s birth. At my worst, I simply had no mental, physical, or emotional energy for a trip – for myself, let alone with our small children! A trip to the grocery store was all I could muster.
Eventually we learned that kid #2 and I had celiac disease and needed to nix every minute trace of gluten from our diets. I wasn’t sure what annoyed me more: that we would now have to work to eat safely on the road, or that I could no longer dig in to the local delicacies with wild abandon! Experiencing the foods and flavors of a place has always been a major highlight of travel for us, and it’s something that we looked forward to sharing with our kids. We had hoped to raise them to be adventurous and curious travelers AND eaters, but how do we do that while also having to be so careful?
It was a hurdle that we were willing to face. We could learn how to get through long travel days with food that was not only safe, but nourishing and delicious. We could learn how to find good food at our destinations, and better yet, we could bring these flavors home too! Challenge accepted!
It occurred to me that my daughter and I weren’t alone. I’d served many passengers over the years who were unable to eat the airplane fare due to dietary restrictions, or who told me stories of having to miss out on the local foods on their trips. This isn’t a gluten-free blog, per se, nor is it specifically geared to any special food needs – but I hope to create recipes that will be useful in many different kitchens, and above all, to inspire you to create your own!
So here we are, at our little table for six, at the intersection of family travel and food. We’ll take you along on our trips, feed you well in transit, and bring the local flavors home to inspire new dishes. Getting back on our adventurous track has been life-changing, and I adore that I get to combine all of the people and things that I love most in this blog. Helping you makes it gratifying and worthwhile. I want you to know that yes, you can travel big! – even with big families full of small people. And yes, you can eat well while doing it! Whether you can eat everything or have a restrictive diet, we’ve got you. We field-test everything that you see here. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, we’ll share that too. We want to hear what works for you and your family, too! So pull up a seat at our table and dig in!