Remember this blog post, where I had participated in the first WBSD…I had really enjoyed the experience, of surfing other people’s blogs, and other people finding my blog, in a way building up new relationships and discovering new and interesting blogs. A 2nd WBSD was advertised…and of course I was up for it
This time a theme has been decided upon: Food. I have been thinking what I can write about it, and I thought I will talk (and rant) about my experience with food in different countries I have been in…
I grew up in Malta, with both grandparents having some fields and growing produce for the family, and us having a garden attached to the house, where, besides fruit trees and other things, we also sometimes grew produce…I particularly remember my mum growing peas in the front garden because I loved them so much…so this would mean that every morning as I am going out to school (while it is season of course) I could just pass by and grab a few for lunch. Now, I also have an uncle who is a greengrocer, meaning that we get a lot of produce from his shop. All this meant that I was used to having fresh produce on the table. In a way this was my idea of how produce should taste…fresh, good and wholesome. It didn’t matter if it was a bit battered, or not perfectly round, or not as shiny as it could be…it tasted great, and after all you eat for the taste not for the appearance .
Moving to London, however, the situation is quite different. Being a poor student I cannot afford to buy my fruit and veg from some high-class place…so Tesco it normally is. I realise however that, although the food looks great (shiny red perfect [non-leaky] tomatoes anyone?), its taste is quite close to abysmal (plastic with some seeds anyone?)…people have said that the fruit and veg here tastes of nothing, but I would say I don’t agree…and go even further and say it is quite unpalatable. Nevertheless I plough through this produce since I am used to having a diet quite rich in fruit and veg, so I am not sure how (or if I want!) to change it.
Going to Italy for a month was however a relevation for me! In Malta I rarely if ever bought my own fruit and veg, since there was always a constant supply in the house (supply taken care of by mum ). So I was thinking that maybe it was my fault that the food doesn’t taste great…I thought that the reason was that I was buying the cheapest I could find, while my mum would rather pay the price for the better produce. However, in Italy I had the same strategy as here…I couldn’t afford expensive produce, so tended to opt for the cheapest O:). Nevertheless, the produce there tasted great, even from the bottom end of the price scale from a supermarket. It was probably the first time I was buying my own produce and enjoying it while not breaking the bank. It was a great experience having all that good food within reach, both physically and financially! However, being back in London now is even harder since I have experience how good food can taste with decent produce!
Having talked about fruit and veg, I will make a short stop on the issue of bread. Bread in Malta is considered an integral part of most meals (maybe not with pasta ). The Maltese loaf is a chunky, wholesome piece of food, perfect with some (Maltese ) tomatoes, tuna, olive oil, olives, pepper, and what have you. It is meant to be eaten as two rounds of bread (thickly sliced if you prefer ) with the filling between the two layers…It is not meant to be pretty, but to be yummy…nothing dainty about it!
Fast track to Denmark. I went there for the first time 2 January’s ago (seeing as Michael is Danish )…and believe me I was impressed by their complete opposite relationship with bread! Their main way of eating bread is in open sandwiches, with strict rules about what toppings to put with what and how to eat it. Knowing about all these rules I thought I would start with a basic combination which (I thought!) is quite safe…a ham and cheese sandwich…Oh no!!! His parents looked at me quite incredulously…what sin of sandwich making did I break I ask? Well…apparently ham and cheese are both first toppings, and you should use one first topping and one second topping, and cannot combine two first toppings (shock-horror!). I was desperately trying to make a good first impression…but of course I failed quite miserably . And another thing about their bread? They eat these open sandwiches with a knife and a fork! I never brought any cutlery close to bread except to spread stuff on it! I am sure that in that first trip I spent more energy in getting the food from the plate to my mouth without making a terrible mess, than the nourishment I actually ended up getting from each bite (in the end I had to apologise and tell them that I will eat my sandwiches closed with combinations I think are right…they seem to accept my weird ways (or so I hope )…I am getting much better at the art I think though ).
Well, these have been my musings on the relationship people in different countries have on items which are the same. Does anyone have any story about different ways of dealing with these food items? Let me know, lest I go there and make a big fool of myself
Back to WBSD material. As last time, the aim of this event that blogs around the world are linked. So please from here now go on to Aliteralgirl to read her blog about food .
Also, Anastasia Ashman is twittering about this event. Anastasia Ashman (Thandelike) is an American cultural producer based in Istanbul, and is a creator of Expat Harem, the anthology by foreign women about modern Turkey. Her Tweetstream focuses on women, travel and history, and she shares resources for writers/travelers, expats, Turkophiles and culturati of all stripes.
Check it out!