Program 376: Midwestern Road Food; A European Education; Travel Serendipity

Release Date: 08-23-2014

On Air Description

Find out who makes the best sour cream raisin pie in America, on this week's Travel with Rick Steves.  Road Food experts Jane and Michael Stern share their favorite comfort food discoveries, from road trips across the Midwest. 

We'll also compare school and parental leave policies in Europe. Our panel of European moms returns from France, Sweden and Slovenia, to explain how education policies are changing where they live.

And listeners share surprises from their travels, that remain as fond memories, years later.

It's all on the next Travel with Rick Steves.


  • Jane Stern and Michael Stern, authors of "Roadfood" (9th edition published by Clarkson Potter)
  • Ylva da Silva, tour guide based in Stockholm
  • Tina Hiti, tour guide based at Lake Bled, Slovenia
  • Julie Sonveau, tour guide based in rural Burgundy, France

Related Links

  • Jane and Michael Stern have updated their Roadfood directory. The 9th edition of the Roadfood "coast-to-coast guide to 900 of the best barbecue joints, lobster shacks, ice cream parlors, highway diners, etc," is published by Clarkson Potter. It is also now available as an eBook
  • You can taste mettwurst at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest in September on six blocks of Fifth Street downtown.  The festivities include German games and the "running of the weiners."
  • Sour cream raisin pie is a specialty at Lange's Cafe and Bakery in Pipestone, Minnesota.
  • The Global Greeter Network is an informal association of volunteer greeters and guides in different cities around the world, especially in France.  Paris Greeters has its own website where you can request a match with a greeter at .
  • Deutsche Welle describes the history of the German war cemetery at La Cambe, France as a symbol of reconciliation.


  • Caller from Cincinnati notes "we're famous for our distinctive style of chili. Have you tried it?  Any other Cincinnati food memories?"  (Clara in Cincinnati)
  • "I spent my summers in rural Minnesota and love Sour Cream Raisin Pie.  Where is the best place to get this type of pie?"  (e-mail from Charles in Naperville, Illinois)
  • "At what age do children in Europe typically start learning other languages?"   (Steven in Des Moines, Iowa)  
  • In Program Extra: "I am a private math tutor, with 17 years experience. The U.S. is changing its curriculum to "Common Core," where all subjects are supposed to be presented in a more practical application sort of way, including math. Presently, students are taught a concept or formula and then do a lot of repetitious homework. Is Common Core coming to Europe as well, or has Europe done it this way already?"   (Mary Jane in Santa Ynez, California)
  • Caller describes signing up for a free greeter in Paris to show them some of the sites. Explains that their volunteer greeter spent the evening showing them around.  Also mentions family excursion viewing antiques in rural Burgundy.  (Patti in Orange City, Iowa)
  • "In 1995, my husband and I left our small pensione to drive to the Normandy beaches.  Soon we got hopelessly lost, and stumbled onto a small German cemetery.  What a sobering experience, wandering through that immaculately maintained memorial, completely alone, and reading all the surnames we recognized from our German heritage community in Indiana!"  (Linda in Seymour, Indiana) 
  • "My first trip abroad was at 20 years old, as an exchange student in Edinburgh, Scotland.  My first full day in town, I was nervous, but determined to see the city.  I made a grand plan, walked outside, and took a deep breath to steel myself to go out into this unfamiliar place where I was all alone.  Some people were sitting on the steps of the hostel.  Next thing I knew, they asked if I wanted to go to Edinburgh Castle with them. We hung out all day. Their kindness shaped my attitude not only for that trip, but through all my travels since."     (Anthony in Eugene, Oregon)
  • "I explored, by car, the small mountain towns above the Algarve. In one, I decided on an espresso.  After ordering in broken Spanish/Portuguese, I was greeted by an older gentleman at the counter who spoke excellent English saying, 'you look like a North American, but don't sound American!'  I explained that we were from Canada.  He told me that as a young man he taught at  McGill University in Montreal!  Our conversation was a lovely person-to-person conversation about what we each cherish about our respective countries."  (Frankie in Surrey, British Columbia)

Incidental Music

  • Rose Rouge, "C'est Presque Ça," Paris Lounge 2  (collection) / Wagram
  • Claude Bolling, “Back Home in Indiana,” Crossover USA / BMG-Milan
  • Karl and the Country Dutchmen, "Gary's Polka," Deep Polka: Dance Music from the Midwest (collection) / Smithsonian Folkways
  • Steve Meisner Band, "Jammin' Polkas," Deep Polka: Dance Music from the Midwest (collection) / Smithsonian Folkways
  • Nellie McKay," Black Hills of Dakota,"  Normal as Blueberry Pie / Verve
  • Fats Waller, "All That Meat and No Potatos," If You Got To Ask, You Ain't Got It / Bluebird-Legacy
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Cincinnati Dancing Pig,” Route Songs, vol. 2 (Asia edition) (collection) / ASIA Records
  • * Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, Scott Yoo, conductor, featuring Mark O'Connor, "Strings and Threads. Suite X:  Queen of the Cumberland (composed by Mark O'Connor)," The American Seasons / Sony 
  • Marion Verbruggen, recorder, “'Praeludium' from Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 (J. S. Bach),” A Decade of Excellence (sampler) / Harmonia Mundi
  • Leif Ove Andsnes, “Humoresque-Bagatelles for piano, Op. 11-FS22, No. 1 ‘Goddag! Goddag! Goddag!’ (Carl Nielsen, composer),”  A Portrait / EMI Classics
  • Christine Brown, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Childhood / Key Image Music
  • Tony ac Aloma, "Yr Hen Ysgol Yn Y Wlad," Goreuon Tony ac Aloma  (Best of Tony and Aloma) / Sain (Wales)
  • * Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Lulu,” Heartbeat / Virgin
  • Fats Waller, "Savannah Blues," Two Artists for One Price:  Bix Beiderbecke and Fats Waller, originally remastered recordings / MAG Music 
  • The Beau Hunks and the Metropole Orchestra, "We're Out For Fun," Our Relations:  The Original Score by Leroy Shield (original score to the Laurel and Hardy film 'Our Relations') / Basta Audio-Visuals
  • Bavaria Beersingers, “Drink, Drink, Little Brother, Drink,” German Drinking and Beer-Garden Songs (collection) / Trigger Records
  • Chet Atkins, "La Dolce Vita," Travelin' /  RLG-Legacy
  • Bette Midler, "Come On-A My House," Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook / Columbia
  • Karl and the Country Dutchmen, "Gary's Polka," Deep Polka: Dance Music from the Midwest (collection) / Smithsonian Folkways

Dated References

  • In promoting the segment B topic, Rick mentions that it's "back to school time" in the open to segment A. 
  • At 8:35, Michael Stern describes what's been added to the new edition of their Roadfood book.
  • At 9:14, Rick notes he "was just in Bismarck, North Dakota." 
  • Caller Clara points out, at 14:30, that Cincinnati has the largest Oktoberfest in the United States (it is held in mid-September).
  • At 21:06, Ylva notes that Sweden has had a non-Socialist majority in parliament for the past seven years, which has introduced privately-run schools, funded by government monies allocated to parents.
  • At 22:21, Tina says a child in school in Slovenia has to choose their career track at age 15.  Julie says there is a similar policy in France. 
  • At 23:35, the segment B guests note that children are required to attend school at age six in France and Slovenia, and at age seven in Sweden, where the first year of school at age six is not compulsory.  Julie adds at 24:24 that in France, no parents are allowed in the classroom.   Tina says Slovenia has a similar policy. 
  • At 25:53, Ylva explains that parents in Sweden get 480 days of parental leave, divided equally between the mother and father, and day care is provided before children reach age two.  Tina describes at 26:54 the one-year fully-paid maternity leave in Slovenia, and notes that there is a debate to shorten the leave period.   Julie adds at 27:55 that mothers get sixteen weeks' paid leave in France, with provisions for guaranteeing their job after they complete their leave.
  • At 30:46, Ylva figures that 99.9% of students in Sweden continue at an upper level of college preparatory work, but that the "new government" favors vocational education tracks, similar to how it is practiced in France and Slovenia. 
  • In noting the benefit for language learners of using subtitles on foreign-produced TV shows and movies, Tina at 34:20 notes that Germany, Italy and France dub most of their foreign-produced media.  Rick adds dubbing is common in Spain, too. 
  • Rick agrees with caller Frankie at 57:00 that the resort scene at Portugal's Algarve beaches has become busy and too expensive for many of the locals, and recommends exploring inland villages for a more relaxed scene.

Program Extras

More about education - A caller from Santa Ynez, California, asks our panel of mothers from Europe if their schools use a similar approach to the standardized "common core" curriculum that is being implemented in parts of the U.S. (runs 2:32)