Category Archives: Belgium

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


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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.


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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.

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