For many years I associated travel destinations with the food I’d eat when I arrived. I grew up in Buffalo, New York and whenever I flew home for a visit with friends and family, I’d go straight to Duff’s or the Anchor Bar for chicken wings. Chicken wings came BEFORE family.

The number of days in the trip magically corresponded to the number of Buffalo favorites I planned to consume—beef on weck, Bocce’s pizza, Ted’s hot dogs, Anderson’s frozen custard. A four day eating extravaganza. It was more than the food. It was the “ritual” involved in visiting those old haunts, enjoying regional foods, and, most important, evoking all the warm and fuzzy memories connected to those delectable treats.

I just returned from two glorious days in Ocean City with my dear friend and fellow health counselor, Elise. We chuckled as we created these enormous salads full of fresh vegetables, avocado, nuts, and seeds. We always look forward to the bounty we pick up at our local CSA’s (Community Sponsored Agriculture) but this time we got to share the loot and that made it so much more fun! Who else gets that excited over a salad? For me, a trip to the beach means nourishing yourself from the inside out—creating new rituals with old friends or. . . just reinventing the experience.

Instead of looking forward to boardwalk fries, Grotto’s Pizza, and saltwater taffy—I now look forward to the fresh corn salad I’m going to prepare from the corn I pick up at my favorite roadside stand along the way. This one is to “live” for!