When Eric and I first started traveling together, we attempted to stick to a budget. This only led to arguments and we have since scrapped the idea almost entirely. Not to say that we are so independently wealthy that we can afford not to think twice about how we spend money. But here is what we figured out, being two foodies both with varying levels of professional training, we travel for food.
Let me put it this way, we plan for lunch at breakfast and determine our pit stops around the best places to eat. Naturally, the return home calls for some tightening of the belt to compensate for our over indulgences – not to mention the few extra jumping jacks and planks I have to do to get back to nearly normal state. But we don’t regret a minute of it. We’d probably be sadder thinking we didn’t try the haggis in Edinburg or the dim sum served by that surly waiter in Hong Kong. Okay by now you’re thinking we are walking stomachs but, food is pretty important to us as much for its cultural significance as well as the social one.
I was never a big gambler when it comes to eating. I have a thing, to this day, about the texture of food. My years with Eric (almost 2 decades now) have reshaped and influenced my eating habits in unforgettable ways. My meat is rarer, my fisher is rawer, my sense of adventure has increased. If someone would have told me years ago that I would be trying coagulated blood soup outside a Buddhist temple in Thailand or even trying out what for some of you might seem perfectly normal, eating raw sushi at a fabulous Japanese restaurant in Beaune, France, or enjoying street foods in Thailand and Egypt, I would have called you mad. But I’ve come a long way baby. And taking me halfway there has been my dear hubby and fav travel companion, Eric. I have tried many delicacies with this man, though I left the 100-year old egg tasting in Hong Kong all to him. Yuck! Sorry!
The best meals are spent with your favorite people. We love dining together and mealtime has always been, in both our families, an important time. Eric and I are of two cultures, with the same passion for sharing food. We’re already shaping the next generation with our food-loving habits. Remi’s palette has been tested already since he was a babe. Our multi-cultural household has opened the door to culinary diversity for our son. This child has been gobbling up egusi and eba, to the delight of this one proud African mama. He’s slurped up oysters at open-air markets (that one is from his dad). What a way to get him to like market day! There are foods he has tried at his age that never I knew about till I was in my 20s or beyond. I keep saying he will end up eating us out of house and home but I couldn’t be prouder of his generally good eating habits. He even said he would start eating spicy when he was 5. While I was already enjoying the spicer side of life at his age, I’m taking it slow with him. Wouldn’t want to cause any permanent digestive issues. This kid is pretty lucky though, and, one day, he’ll know it.
So, as you can see, we’re are a family of 3 food-loving travelers. And we look forward to every new trip as a new culinary adventure. As we ponder a family trip around the world, in the not so distant future, I envision a road map of foodie finds and local delicacies to pave the way and indulge in our cultural curiosity. Because for me, there is no better way to get to know a people than to dive into their foods and eating habits. But we are going to have to incorporate some light eating along the way to ensure we stay in shape. It is a trip that we are all looking forward to experiencing together.
Slightly off subject, but as relevant, have you ever noticed how the taste of food changes when eaten in the country of origin? We already know about how important it is to eat with the seasons. But if you’ve tried to sneak home that papaya you enjoyed in Brazil, and it didn’t quite bring you the same joy, you know what I mean. Apart from the obvious fact that you are no longer on vacation, something else is different. There is something about that air, the atmosphere, the microorganisms around us that change how we experience food. Different foods seem to taste that much better at the source. We encourage our students/guests to enjoy as many of the local foods that they can. Take the time to sample the French cheeses (unpasteurized of course) and enjoy the wines that we serve during our classes in Uzès (and Paris), because you’re likely to miss some of them when you return home. The week-long culinary vacation in the South of France that we host is full of such lessons. Life is short! I’m not the first to say it and won’t be the last. Enjoy each moment as if you will never relive it again. We will continue sharing food adventures with you into the foreseeable future and who knows, maybe we’ll bump into you along the way.
So tell me, do you travel for food? Share with me your best food travel experiences and finds in the comments below.
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