Yes, we had Swedish meatballs delivered yesterday, direct from Sweden. Our neighbor G also gave us dark chocolate-covered toffee called Dumle, and Bilar, tiny marshmallows shaped like cars. I’ll wait until my husband comes home to try those. The chocolates are great and the kottbullar are in the freezer.

Neighbor G made us the tenderest and most succulent meatballs a few weeks ago before leaving for Sweden with his dad. He promised to teach me how to make them and I think I’ll teach him true Texas chili in return.

As a host gift for dinner I ordered Lingonberry jam and brought flowers. I ordered a jar for us too, and have yet to open it. It is so exciting to learn of cuisines we are not familiar with, and the only place I can think of that serves Swedish food is a couple of hours drive and inside an IKEA.

Of course I’ve my American (?), Italian, French, Greek and Brit cuisines. Boeuf Bourguignon, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Moussaka, Moules Mariniere (from Scotland’s shores). Also Mexican cuisine, of course, and Canadian. But we rarely go north or south of the usual suspects.

Every once in a while we get to travel overseas for work and are able to settle in for a month or three. Aside from missing our dog, this is my favorite kind of visit. Several days in Scotland and I was sought out by all the Japanese tourists as an expert – I was not and told them so but taught them to go to the local sporting goods store to buy postcard stamps thus saving a couple of hours at the post office. Sneaky, my husband calls me.

My idea of the worst vacation in the world is 22 countries in three days. I like to do my research in advance, purchase museum passes for the time we’ll be there, and see everything my husband hates (art, botanical gardens) while he’s at work. In Scotland I also had a girlfriend from home who moved there so we met and spent two days a week touring castles and museums. And eating mussels and salmon as my husband is deathly allergic to anything that swims. Having a friend there is definitely an added bonus.

It was unnecessary and very kind of G to bring us gifts from Sweden. He misses his dad already, and so do I. It was nice driving him around town to see, what else, art and botanical gardens!

When I’m in a particularly spectacular surrounding I like to keep a file of up-to-date brochures and calendars in the guest room so if they want to ski or see summer Olympic skiers land in oxygenated water, or learn about Greater Sandhill Cranes during nesting season, or take the Town Lift up to the top of the mountain and hike down, they have options.

Your town has its treasures. Go to your visitor center and pick up a few brochures for guests. If someone is coming in from another country, try to have a menu that showcases your part of the country: Buffalo wings; BBQ; planked salmon; or huevos rancheros. Happy cooking! Dee


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