Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mission: All Things Wurst

Guadalajara, Mexico

We are just settling back in after two perfect weeks visiting Sniff and family in Germany. Sadly, my mission to eat all things wurst has come to an end. Reintroducing fruits and vegetables into my diet hasn’t been easy, or I should say, the blunt and jarring deletion of artery clogging patés, stinky French cheeses, gut cleansing dense dark breads, ohhhhh and the chocolate, has been more than devastating. Yes, there is always chorizo, and I am sure in a few days I will become desperate enough to turn to the spicy pork sausage that is well-loved in these parts. I too love it, but not as a substitute for black truffle wurst, creamy spreadable duck liverwurst, chunky country paté-wurst

The most delightful part of being surrounded by all these toe-curling, mouthwatering, eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-the-head treats is the way in which they are consumed: family style. A typical dinner preparation involves carefully removing the parchment paper from a number of cheeses and meats, slicing bread, washing a few cherry tomatoes, pulling a plethora of mustards and spreads from the fridge and setting it all out in the middle of a table for a long meal of building the perfect bite. Bite after bite after bite. Germans are so confident they have hit on a brilliant equation that with the addition of some yogurt, coffee and pickled herring (if you are near the North Sea) they repeat the meal for breakfast. No complaints here.

It goes without saying that the German’s are equally as serious about their pastries. This was to be expected; what I did not expect was the magnificent tradition of consuming cake in the afternoon. It is called kaffee und kuchen, and as far as I could tell, at 4pm the whole country tucks into a cup of coffee and cake. And not just one piece of cake, but on average, I would say, three pieces from different cakes: raspberry cream fraise cake, chocolate marzipan layered cake, lemon crumb cake. Apparently, if you are asked to bring a dessert to a friend’s for dinner, you would never bring cake, because cake is not dessert, it is your late afternoon tasty cake snack.

Settling back into life after whiling away two perfect weeks eating and drinking, building many perfect bites is not easy, but it will not be long before my jet-lagged woozy belly is back in action and I am forging for home-made tortillas and crispy pork skin. I will miss the wurst, but worst of all I will miss the magnificent company and conversation shared over long drawn out meals of soul satisfying food. Thank you Sniff and family for a splen-delicious vacation.

Monday, April 20, 2009



Ashley and Jiffer are cousins and have been pen pals for the past 20 years. As kids their nicknames for each other, in person and in letters, were Smash and Sniff. This website is a continuation of their musings on life’s adventures, culture, food, and travel.


Ashley was raised by loving parents, who she tortured by fleeing to far flung parts of the planet at every chance she got. Post collegiate wanderings eventually landed her at the California Culinary School. Hard work and dedication rewarded her with a coveted job in a fine dining kitchen in the Napa valley. After three years of eating and drinking her monthly salary in black truffles, foie gras and liquid gold grape juice night after night, she rolled south. She lived for two years in La Ceiba, Honduras writing and managing grants for a micro-finance NGO. Thirsting to live and explore a spicier food culture, Mexico beckoned.

Ashley is currently living in Guadalajara, Mexico with her husband and son, and wanted to include all of you who have dreaded being in a strange country with her at meal time, for fear that she would make you eat the most bizarre thing on the menu or the proudly prepared and presented village mystery meat; she hopes to bring you back to that thrilling place of discovery. Those of you who have not yet had the squeamish pleasure, join the journey of travel and taste.


Jiffer was raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin on beer brats, squeaky cheese curds and tuna casserole topped with crumbled potato chips; educated in North Carolina where she developed an appreciation for biscuits, grits and gravy; despised millet and occasionally drank puddle water in the Peace Corps in Mauritania; moved from DC to San Francisco to Hamburg before settling in New York City for more education where she lived on bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. While in Kabul, Afghanistan, she proclaimed, “this is the last time!' every time she ate the ubiquitous kabob, delighted in the espresso brewed on the wood burning stove that warmed her office, and wrought havoc in the kitchen experimenting with whatever she picked up in the local markets and military commissaries. Her Afghan culinary anecdotes have been published in Saveur and The Far Eastern Economic Review.

Currently in Hamburg with her husband and eight month old twins, she is happy to report that Germany is bringing sexy back in the kitchen and plans to regale you with stories from the fatherland of just how wunderbar variations of the meat-potato-cabbage theme can be.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Contact Us

To send us praise, accolades or just jolly greetings you can contact us at: