What Rusty and Kit Ate in Denmark?

As Kit and Rusty traveled through Scandinavia in October 1954, only the food in Denmark appeared worth writing home about. They were so stunned by the dramatic scenery, their letters focused on the sights. About Denmark, however, Rusty wrote:

Then we had smørrebrød (ø in Danish is pronounced something like “or”) which Denmark is famous for. It means sandwich, and some cafes in Copenhagen had 179 (and more) varieties!! They are all open-faced – and the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted! Americans, I’ve decided, are very foolish to put a slice of bread on top – it kills the flavor of the filling!

They had sandwiches of roast beef and onions on dark bread with fried egg on top; ham on rye with vegetable mayonnaise salad and cucumber slicse; dark bread with curry mayonnaise and oodles of mushrooms.

Here’s a postcard Rusty wrote to her mother in South Dakota:

Denmark Hotel Leidersdorff (1)

Leidersdorff postcard


From The Tucker ~ Tyler Adventure by Katherine Tucker and Marialyce Tyler with Nancy Cowan and Tara Taft.



Leave a comment

Filed under Denmark, Europe, Food

What Did It Cost to Travel in Scandinavia in 1954?

Rusty and Kit didn’t record much about the prices of lodging or food in the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, or Denmark. We do know that a night at the Hebron Mission Hotel in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, cost each of them 75 cents. Breakfast for two (two glasses of milk plus two buns) set them back 9 cents total.

Imagine how expensive it must have seemed to have to pay $32.50 each to cross the North Sea on board the SS Leda or to pay $16.50 for a Norwegian ski sweater, $2.50 for a pair of gloves, and $1.50 for socks?

Here’s a postcard Rusty sent her mother from Copenhagen:


10.1.54 Copenhagen

Read more about the travels of Rusty and Kit in The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

1 Comment

Filed under Denmark, Europe, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

What Did It Cost to Travel in Belgium & Holland in 1954?

Traveling in Europe in 1954 may sound cheap to us now, but to Rusty and Kit who were on a budget of about $5 a day, spending $4 ($2 each) to stay one night at the Hotel Astoria in Brussels was expensive. According to the girls, their room was magnificent, and they didn’t complain about the price in their letters home. When they discovered that their Amsterdam hotel charged $2.50 per person, however, they switched hotels, finding another one with rates of $1.50 each, including breakfast.

Since breakfast was included in the price of their hotel rooms, the girls spent their food money on lunch (75 cents in Delfzjil) and dinner ($1.10 for a meal at Amsterdam’s Moderne Cafe). Snacks included carrots, grapes, tomatoes, and bread all for 35 cents.

Other expenses included museum entrance fees, new walking shoes for Kit ($3.98) and a ticket for a piano concert in Amsterdam for $1.10 each.

Read more about the travels of Rusty and Kit in The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

Bruges 1954

1 Comment

Filed under Armchair Travel, Belgium, Food, The Netherlands, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

How to Prepare a Belgian Dessert

Although Rusty and Kit didn’t write about the treats they ate while in Brussels or Bruge, one of my Belgian friends gave me this recipe for a typical Belgian dessert, Gateau Aux Petits Beurres.

Here is her recipe and photos of my efforts. The cake, while impressive to look at, is easy to make and delicious to eat. What are petits beurres? They are those rectangular crisp butter cookies that soften when dunked in a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Though made by a French company, LU, they are found in most U.S. grocery stores.


Gâteau Aux Petits Beurres


    • 14 ounces petits beurres 
    • 2 cups warm milk
    • 2 sticks butter
    • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, separated
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • additional chocolate for topping


1. Melt together the butter, 5 ounces of chocolate, and sugar in a saucepan until smooth. Let the mixture cool off a bit so that it thickens some.

2. Dip the petit beurres in the warm milk, two at a time. They should be soft, but not falling apart.


3. In a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, layer the softened petits beurres, then pour a layer of the chocolate mixture. Repeat the layers of petits beurres dipped in milk and the chocolate mixture until the pan is filled.


4. Cool in your fridge for several hours.

5. When cooled, use a knife to loosen the edges and remove the cake from the pan and place the cake upside down on a platter.

6. Melt the additional chocolate (another 5 ounces or so). Pour over the top and sides of the cake and cool again in the fridge. Enjoy!



Read more about the travels of Rusty and Kit in  The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

Recipe courtesy Brigitte Seeley.


Filed under Belgium, Food, Recipes, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

Three Coins in the Fountain

When Rusty and Kit arrived in Rome in November 1954, one of the first things they did was visit the Fontana de Trevi or the Trevi Fountain. Jane Powell was there having her picture taken, and Rusty and Kit each posed for the camera, throwing a coin (or two or three) over their shoulder and wishing.

Rusty throws a coin and a wish into Trevi Fountain.

Rusty throws a coin and a wish into Trevi Fountain.

According to legend, if you throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder into the waters of the fountain, you will return to Rome. That tossed coin is an offer to the Goddess of the Waters, to please the goddess and to beg for a safe return to Rome. Why is the coin tossed over the shoulder? Because if you see a god or goddess with your human eyes, you could turn into a pillar of salt. The second coin tossed into the fountain is a wish for romance, and the third coin tossed is a hope for marriage.

What did Rusty and Kit wish for when visiting the fountain, just a few months after seeing the movie “Three Coins in the Fountain”? And how many coins did they throw in?

Only they know for sure. But Rusty did find a job, an apartment, and even (or especially) an Italian romance in Rome.

And did they return to Rome? Rusty returned within the month, but after leaving Rome in 1955, she never returned, content with her memories. Kit did return, years later, for a visit with her husband.

To learn about the travels of Rusty and Kit, read The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

In response to the Daily Post’s writing prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain

1 Comment

Filed under Europe, Italy, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

What Did Rusty and Kit Eat in Belgium?

Kit and Rusty didn’t talk much about the food they ate in Belgium. Electing to eat simply, they picnicked with supplies they bought in Senlis and in Brussels. What impressed them, though, was the freshness and succulence of the fruits and vegetables. On their way out of Brussels, the girls stopped by a market and bought “supper supplies” which Kit detailed in a letter home:

Bought a big bunch of carrots, big bunch of immense, deep purple grapes, several luscious, red, ripe tomatoes and a loaf of dark brown bread. All these things cost about 35 cents in American money. You have never seen fruit and vegetables and flowers like they have over here. Everything is just lush – that’s the only word for it – delicious tasting – not like California stuff. Oh! Did I ever tell you about the artichokes? Well – they are everywhere! And are the biggest, roundest, most wonderful looking things you have ever seen. I almost go mad because I can’t buy them and take them home and cook them! —Kit

To learn about the travels of Rusty and Kit, read The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

1 Comment

Filed under Belgium, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

Eating in Paris

When Rusty and Kit arrived in Paris, buying and eating food in Paris, whether from a patisserie or in a brasserie or a café was a novelty. They documented the food they ate as well as their dining experiences in their letters to family back home in the U.S. Rusty wrote:

Everyday you meet people in the parks or walking down the streets who have a small loaf of bread; they just tear off pieces and eat it as they go. Wonderful!

Here’s a description, in their words, of what they ate in France:

For breakfast: eggs, bacon, French bread, coffee.
For lunch: always French bread, fruit, brie, tomato, a French pastry or patisserie.
For dinner: ham sandwiches, onion soup, French steak with green beans, salad, French fried potatoes and a peach. And for dessert: café au lait.

Kit and Rusty in Paris

From The Tucker ~ Tyler Adventure by Katherine Tucker and Marialyce Tyler with Nancy Cowan and Tara Taft.

1 Comment

Filed under Armchair Travel, Europe, Food, France, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

How to Make French Onion Soup

The French onion soup Rusty tasted in Paris during The Tucker – Tyler Adventure was so good that she talked about it years later and told friends going to Paris that they must stop at La Pergola, a restaurant in Paris, for a bowl of their French onion soup. Rusty wrote:

The dinner was quite good, particularly the onion soup; magnificent flavor – many onions, thick crusty top and wonderful cheese – the best I have ever tasted anywhere!!!

While I don’t have the recipe for the onion soup Rusty ate during her first visit to Paris, I found this recipe online for a “classic French onion soup” adapted from Cook’s Illustrated’s Classic French Onion Soup recipe. I made it the other night and imagined myself sitting at a table at a cafe in Paris, listening to “La Vie en Rose.” Oh, and this recipe was by far, the best French onion soup I have tasted anywhere!

French Onion Soup

To learn about the travels of Rusty and Kit, read The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.


Filed under Armchair Travel, Europe, Food, France, Recipes, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

Kit and Rusty Visit Normandy in 1954

Before docking in Southampton, England, the Queen Mary stopped in Cherbourg, France, long enough for Rusty and Kit to disembark on the Continent on September 13, 1954. After dreaming about it for a year (or longer!), the two young women were finally in Europe.

Although the girls had certainly read about and seen footage of Cherbourg, they were impressed by the destruction still remaining almost 10 years later after the War. Located in France’s Normandy region on the northwest coast of France, Cherbourg was occupied by the Germans from 1940 until June 1944. The battle in Cherbourg began on June 6, 1944, when Allied troops landed on the beaches east of Cherbourg, but it wasn’t until June 27, 1944, that Cherbourg was liberated from the Germans.

Though over 10 years had passed, Rusty and Kit saw signs of the battles as they traveled by train through Normandy. Rusty wrote:

And in some beautiful farm, one building would be lying in crumbled stone with perhaps one wall standing, and we realized that here had been War. Bombs. Men slipping through the beautiful countryside to throw hand grenades at a building harboring the enemy. Fear. It sent chills through us.

From The Tucker – Tyler Adventure, written by Katherine Tucker and Marialyce Tyler and edited by Nancy Cowan and Tara Taft.

Photo from PhotosNormandie and Storm Crypt licensed by CC 2.0.

1 Comment

Filed under Armchair Travel, Europe, France, Tucker - Tyler Adventure

What Did People Eat On Board the Queen Mary?

When Kit and Rusty sailed on the RMS Queen Mary back in September 1954, they discovered that meals on board the British ship were of British cuisine.

They wrote home about their breakfasts of orange juice, bacon and eggs, currant scones, and coffee; the tea and sandwiches they ate for lunch; and bread and butter, cookies, biscuit, and hot cup of tea they were served for afternoon tea. Rusty wrote:

Our lunch call was past due so we then hurried down and had luscious meal: (sauerkraut juice, carrots, broccoli, liver, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, ice cream and coffee) –

Both Rusty and Kit described their first dinner on board the ship. While Rusty ate roast beef, squash, green beans, fruit cup, fresh fruit (orange), and tea that first night, Kit wrote:

Had roast beef, string beans, potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding for dinner to-night, but it wasn’t half as good as Hampshire House last night with exactly the same thing. The British certainly do cook their meat to death!

Check out this menu from their last dinner on board the ship on September 12, 1954.

signed farewell dinner menu

From The Tucker ~ Tyler Adventure by Katherine Tucker and Marialyce Tyler with Nancy Cowan and Tara Taft.

1 Comment

Filed under Armchair Travel, Food, Queen Mary, Tucker - Tyler Adventure