Susan Chwae, along with her mother Joan Peterson, are publishers of the award-winning Eat Smart Culinary travel guidebook series. To date, they have published guides to Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Peru, Poland, Sicily, and Turkey. Note: the links are to my interviews with the authors! I love these guides and have enjoyed reading and sharing them for many years. This series? It’s the best thing you can read if you love food and are traveling.
In 2014, Susan designed the Eat Smart Abroad App that pulls the menu guide and foods and flavors chapters from each book so you never have to wonder what’s on the menu or in the market with easy-to-use translators for food and beverage terminology.
Susan also co-leads the Eat Smart Culinary Tours. Their annual Eat Smart Culinary Tour to Turkey is their most popular tour. Here’s a video from one of their tour participants:
They also lead tours to Morocco, India, Peru, Sicily, and in 2016 will be launching the 2016 Culinary Tour to Indonesia, with William Wongso, who is considered one of Indonesia’s national treasures.
Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):
What is your favorite food to cook at home? My grandma’s Shepherd’s Pie. It’s simple and a real comfort food in the winter months. I tend to cook with what I have available at the moment and this recipe is perfect to use what you have on hand, or that single parsnip or rutabaga you received in your CSA share.
What do you always have in your fridge at home? Cheese, a Wisconsin kitchen staple.
What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal? A mutual appreciation for the thought and creativity that went into preparing the meal.
What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal? Eating too fast, and making me clean up the kitchen.
Beer, wine, or cocktail? Wine or cocktail.
Your favorite cookbook author? When I went away to college, my dad bought me the Better Homes and Garden cookbook collection. He wrote a message on the inside cover in each of them. I grab those first for ideas and then create my dishes with what I have on hand.
Your favorite kitchen tool? My Şimşir wood spoon collection from Turkey. There are shops behind the Spice Market in Istanbul where they are made and sold and we always stop to shop as part of our tour itinerary.
Favorite types of cuisine to cook? I’m a casserole fan. And I love traditional Mexican foods.
Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu? Chicken
Favorite vegetable? Asparagus
Chef you most admire? My husband. When he starts creating a dish, he absolutely has to master it and I admire his dedication.
Food you like the most to eat? King crab legs
Food you dislike the most? Pearl onions
What is your favorite non-food thing to do? Watch my daughters perform in dance and music. Both of them are passionate about the arts.
Who do you most admire in food? Right now, William Wongso. He’s going to be co-leading our upcoming culinary tour to Indonesia. His dedication and drive to promote the cuisine of Indonesia is awe-inspiring.
Where is your favorite place to eat? Home. I am surrounded by great cooks.
What is your favorite restaurant? Salvatore’s Tomato Pies in Madison.
Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? If I did, I wouldn’t be able to say because my mother will read this.
Recipe: Thelma’s Shepherd’s Pie
Brown ground or diced lamb with chopped onions.
Add a variety of small or diced vegetables you have on hand, some flour, worcestershire sauce, some herbs, salt and pepper, and enough water to thicken the mixture.
Place in a deep casserole dish and top with prepared mashed-potatoes.
Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, around 30 minutes.
-The End. Go Eat.-