—George Bernard Shaw
To me, there is no civilized life without cheese.
—Michelle Macullo, Banff Canada
Food is fuel, but it is so much more. People live to eat, travel to eat and often define their identity around cuisine. If you want to compliment a culture, compliment its food! The culinary experience when travelling is so important it will often define one’s trip and dining can be so much fun.
As a young person I was quite a picky eater and in order to become a consummate world traveller I had to learn to try (almost) everything. In doing so, I have discovered a love of the culinary experience I really did not know I had.
Yes, in China I did try dog and in Peru I ate guinea pig (cuy). Of course I have swallowed the worm in Mexico and on many occasions I have enjoyed bugs. None of these were perhaps my favourite foods, but I remember every experience vividly.
I have enjoyed the most delicious juices made from the freshest tropical fruits, eaten magnificent and copious amounts of tender beef in Argentina and had hand-made pasta in Tuscany. I have tasted wine all over the world and awoken to throwing hangover that is achieved by drinking vodka directly from the bottle in a Russian night club.
Almost everywhere you travel the locals will have some you must try – and often it is delicious. Of course when travelling expect to told about eating in absolutes … Ours is the best (I’m really referencing the French on this one). In southern Chile the traditional summertime meal is called curanto – and interesting mix of potatoes, meat and seafood cook in dug-out holes in the ground. For me, the infused flavours of mussels and sausage with potato is a little odd, but enjoying a curanto with a group of Chileans is one of the best cultural experiences. Additionally, while enjoying the food, they may mix coke with wine or Fanta with beer.
I did spend two years vegetarian. This made travel a little more challenging, but also made me more creative. I have to admit falling off the wagon in Argentina – but introducing huge steaks to a vegetarian body was a bit of a shock!
Drink is often as important to culture as food. I was raised in the Irish / Canadian tradition of ‘going for a beer’ or ‘going to the pub.’ This is gradually giving way to coffee, but hopefully not completely :). We will have many blogs about drinking, but if alcohol is not appealing, you may choose to visit either dry muslim societies or travel to high altitudes! Booze and thin air really do not mix – even though beer drinking is a major activity in La Rinconada; the highest city on earth.
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