I, Rachel Seebacher, am a gastronaut. The New York Times coined the term in 2005, to describe a transcontinental voyager whose primary purpose of travel was to “hunt down the best food and wine a country or city can offer.” I believe, however, that a gastronaut need not travel far to sate her addiction to tantalizing culinary experiences. I am an enthusiast for phenomenal, exotic, bizarre, rare, and wonderful foods, and will go to great lengths to satisfy my hunger.
My gastonautical voyage began when most children were spit-taking on the flavor of strained peas. I happily noshed on smoked salmon and avocado. Though it confounded my mother, she will confirm my curiosity only grew from there. At the tender age of 5, I was introduced to my life-long love, the raw oyster sauced in mignonette.
At 11, I ate snake in Thailand; at 12, it was whale in Norway; at 15 it was grilled chicken hearts in Brazil. As a senior at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, I helped create the Cooking Club, and chose my University – Wesleyan in Middletown Connecticut – at least in part because of the variety of world cuisine readily available. My three years spent at Brooklyn Law School provided me ample opportunity to immerse myself in the rich, wonderful, and unique New York City culinary scene, where I’ve met both unrivaled and inedible foods of all varieties. I’ve dined on lutefisk, reveled in haggis, dabbled in Szechuan pork intestines, savored cod milt, and have even gone flavor-tripping on Miracle Fruit.
And just when I’d committed my life’s pursuit to a more conventional career of Environmental Lawyer – I am currently getting a Masters of Law at Pace University – I discovered this amazing opportunity to blog for the Hudson Valley’s Restaurant Week. You can have your cake and eat it too! I am both thrilled and honored to be blogging for you, my fellow gastronomes. With the help of my family – photographer sister, discerning brother, gourmand father, and Mom, who has been feeding me my favorite foods for 26 years – I hope to share how we experience the generosity, creativity, and culinary skills of the chefs and restaurants of Westchester.