Andersen's Split Pea Soup
My family was always big on road trips. My grandparents lived in Woodland Hills, on the edge of L.A., so we could expect to drive to California every year or two. As a child those long stretches of I5 could seem incredibly dull. I welcomed whatever roadside attractions my parents were willing to stop at. Andersen's Split Pea Soup restaurants were one of my favorite things, and when I could convince my parents to stop, it was always a thrill.
Why? First off, the buildings were made to look (to my innocent mind) like something out of a fairy tale, or more likely were slightly European. Inside not only were there entertaining illustrations like the one featured on this, my treasured postcard...but also as far as I can recall, little dioramas of scenes from Hans Christian Andersen stories.
It was this weird, magical combination of story, entertainment, and food that got me hooked. Only to be compared to my fascination, and slight horror, at Sambo's tale of tigers turning to butter.
It is funny how looking back, you can find the roots of so many things triggered by these memories. To this day, I love split pea soup and cook it a couple of times a year. This postcard was probably the first I ever collected...in college I covered entire walls with them. And that tantalizing mix of food and literature...well, I'm still enchanted by that, loving both food writing and stories with food central to their plot. And car trips...I still love car trips...especially if there is time to stop at road side attractions!