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Imagine leaving your job, your family, your friends and then your home country with only 42 pounds of personal items–that will last you an entire year–to travel to a foreign country without a real itinerary.
That’s exactly what Rainer Pycior and Marion Ferres did and last week their adventure brought them through Williston as they travel across the country in search of America–and food.
From Cologne, Germany, the couple set out on a year’s journey to cross the country and pick up snippets of American culture, coupled with recipes that will eventually be a series of books.
“I like to cook,” Pycior said. “I’m actually an upper level cook.
“During one of my visits to the States, a woman I call Aunt Rita, who was from Texas living in Fresno, Calif. made me biscuits and gravy–from scratch.”
That instance, combined with what he calls the Germans’ ignorance about American cuisine, led to him deciding to educate his fellow countrymen.
“American cooking doesn’t get the recognition it deserves,” he said.
Most opinions about America are formulated from television and film, Pycior said, and therefore most Germans think Americans only eat hamburgers and hotdogs.
The first leg of the journey will cover 15 states, he said, and along the way the couple hopes to not only collect mouth-watering recipes, but also background stories and memories associated with food.
“I want it to be about regular folks and their culture,” he said, “not restaurants and chefs.”
After their year in the States is over, they will return to Germany to compile the stories and recipes they’ve collected.
Once complete, they will again return to cover more states and meet more people.
All told, more than three years will go into the project–a book he will call “America the Beautiful: Culinary Adventures.”
If all goes as planned, Pycior said, there’s also a possibility that German television could option their adventures for local programming.
“We really want to capture the essence of every state,” said Pycior, a retired machine engineer.
Each leg of their journey is no more than 250 miles from another, Pycior said.
There are no set time frames for how long they will spend in each town.
As long as people with stories and recipes come forward, they’ll linger, he said.
This past weekend, the couple had planned to start the next leg of their journey Sunday but they heard that Williston Crossings, where they parked their newly purchased RV, was hosting a Memorial Day barbecue so they tarried a little longer.
And even though Williston is now a memory in their traveling minds, they know they people here know people everywhere and they’re hoping for contacts in the days and months ahead.
“If someone knows a great cook and storyteller in Texas,” Pycior said, “let us know and that will be a stop for us.”
The same holds true for most of the southern United States and Hawaii, where they will be in September.
Other destinations will include the West Coast of California, Oregon and Washington–and maybe a few mountain states, but the couple knows they have to start the journey back before winter sets in.
In the meantime, they’re enjoying life on the road and meeting new people.
“We’re like Easy Rider,” Pycior said, “but in a motor home.
“We really want to meet and get to know the typical American. Or atypical,” he laughed.
Anyone wanting to connect with the couple for either themselves or people you may know who can help them in their endeavor may call them at 772-501-1336 or e-mail email@example.com.
Pycior and Ferres are also active on social media, especially Twitter and Tumblr, where you can follow them at cookacrossusa.