The scandal was minor but telling: The night I'd arrived at the faded grand hotel on the shores of Lake Bled where my grandmother had once stayed as a young woman with a married lover, I'd blanched when Janez brought me a menu written to please the mostly middle-aged, mostly English clientele. I hadn't come to Slovenia to eat tomato aspic and trout amandine. So as one food lover taking pity on another, he'd served me off-the-menu pršut, Slovenia's excellent air-dried ham, and then a steaming bowl of jota, a tangy stew of red beans, bacon, potatoes, and sauerkraut, made by his wife, who was the cook in the staff canteen. The prissy maître d'hôtel had found my meal "inappropriate." By morning in the whispery dining room, I'd become known as "that American man who likes peasant food," a true honorific in my book.