Food outside my comfort zone

Wendi Spraker

Sheila Graham once said, “Food is the most primitive form of comfort” and after my recent trip to the Googleplex in California, I have to say she is right.

Travel to California and you’ll likely suffer some jet lag, feeling as if it is time to wake up at 3 a.m. and ready for bed at 7 p.m. You’ll probably notice the food isn’t quite like home either.

You will likely suffer a degree of culture shock. Folks will say you have an accent. You may notice a few people who dress quite differently. If you are expecting something like home, then don’t rely on food for that comfort.

Here is my top ten surprise list about food and drinks in California.

1. Sweet Tea. Ummmm. No. There is iced unsweet tea. There is hot tea. Boy is there hot tea. But sweet tea is not a thing. You’ll have to stir in the sugar yourself.

2. Don’t you love the shrimp sauce that comes with Japanese food? Me too! The wonders of that delicious white sauce has not reached the west coast yet. Just be forewarned should you visit a Japanese eatery.

3. Salt. Many restaurants on the west coast are using less. A lot less. A shaker isn’t readily available on many tables.

4. Southern Buttermilk Biscuits. Toast, croissants, crusty rolls, raisin bread and a few breads I can’t identify – all yes for breakfast. Biscuits. No. My daughter and son-in-law did have a biscuit on their travels but said “it lacked something”.

5. Sausage biscuit gravy. Nope. Nary a drop found. (Maybe I didn’t look in the right place?)

6. Fruits and vegetables. Plentiful and delicious! The flavors are serious and on point. Always say yes to the fruit and veggies in California.

7. Coffee. I’ll admit something here. I’m a coffee snob. I mostly make mine at home because I feel that almost no one else can do it right. The coffee in California is tasty almost everywhere. Go for it.

8. Wine. Wonderful. Simply wonderful. Go visit the wineries. And hey, if you drink enough wine, you won’t care that you missed your morning biscuit and gravy. (You didn’t hear that from me).

9. Be ready for salad. Salads and quinoa. Salad upon salad upon salad.

10. Salsa. It’s what’s for breakfast! Served with your eggs. What? Yep. With breakfast (and it’s good that way). Be adventurous!

Have you visited a far off land? Were you surprised by the food? Drop me a line, I would love to chat!

You can find me at my website at, you can email me at or you can let out a big hollar when you are visiting down town Danbury and I might hear you!

One more thing I learned. Do not humorously riff on a Julia Child quote while waiting for lunch like I did (or at least know who you are talking to). Seeing that salad would be lunch (again), I said to the person next to me, “The only time to eat this type of food is while waiting for the steak to cook.” I laughed, she didn’t. She didn’t even crack a little smile. As it turns out, she is one of the biggest Vegan bloggers of all time. Open mouth, insert foot. Seems my foot is generally pretty comfortable in my mouth. Feels like home.

Catch all the latest unapologetic comfort food recipes at Loaves and Dishes.

Let’s Eat!

Wendi Spraker