What does Alex Guarnaschelli collect when she travels?
I have a lot of friends who collect all sorts of things. This may sound boring, but I do — I collect menus. I am shameless. I leave the beautiful leather covers, but I roll up the menus and put them in my pocket, so I am a low-grade thief. They are not only a great memory to have, but it’s about the travel experience. You don’t always remember what you ate. Or you do remember, but having the whole menu at home with you reminds you of the context of the experience. The whole memory. A big part of a restaurant, whether we realize it or not, is the ritual of changing the menu. I find it’s the best way to reenact it. It’s a temporary art form. That’s thing about an edible art form — it’s fleeting.
I always bring home ingredients, wine or vinegar. I can get a little crazy with the oil and vinegar, so if you ship my suitcase, you can make a salad dressing.