Book Review: A Suitcase and a Spatula by Tori Haschka

A Suitcase and a Spatula by Tori Haschka brings together the best things in life: food, travel and storytelling. Tori weaves together recipes inspired by her travels with stories of her adventures in a wonderful way, accompanied by fantastic and appetizing photography.

Food is one of my favorite hobbies. Whether it’s eating, baking, cooking, reading about it, looking at pictures of it, or meandering through a market, I love everything about it. It’s a universal love – everybody’s gotta eat! Also up there on the list of things most everybody loves and has to do? Travel, of course! And finally, what is life without being able to relate our experiences to our fellow humans in an entertaining way? Nothing. Life would be nothing.

Tori takes us a long as she travels the globe, supplying tales of taste and worldly delights. The book is set up in a scrapbook-like fashion, with each recipe being accompanied by an essay about its origin or a personal digression. You’re bound to get a bit jealous of Tori, who seems to have gone everywhere and eaten everything, but can’t get too upset since she generously brings back what she learned and ate to share with you.

I was especially pleased to see a recipe for Icelandic Hot Dogs, because there really aren’t enough people who know Icelanders adore their pylsurs (hot dogs) and there really aren’t enough recipes for hot dogs found in cookbooks. Some might think a hot dog recipe unnecessary; these people would be wrong. Iceland is one of the best places I ever visited and I was happy to say it seemed like Tori agreed. Other than her feelings on fermented shark meat. I’d say buy the book for her hilarious description of that alone. I won’t be eating it any time soon but I can now take great joy in the misery of others who have.

I can also attest to the tastiness of the recipes. And while my efforts looked about a thousand times less appetizing than the photos in Tori’s book, the flavors were fresh and at times surprising in the best way. I will spare you the photo evidence of my hideous recreations. But trust me – they were scrumptious.

Tori also serves up travel advice like how to get the best out of a breakfast buffet with step by step instructions, how to tackle the beast that is airplane food, and how to have a minibar cocktail party (complete with recipes),  among other things. These are all invaluable tools and you will doubtless learn something you should’ve already known. Like how to make a lazy sangria using tiny liquor bottles. Tori understands the important stuff.

For more from Tori – check out her blog at or buy A Suitcase and a Spatula available from for $24.95.