When you’re not a self-proclaimed “writer” and you’re asked to contribute a post for your product’s blog, it’s both an opportunity and a challenge. But, aren’t most things in life that are worth doing? What I am, is a self-proclaimed “foodie”. If you’re not familiar with this label, it’s someone who enjoys good food; an enthusiast of cooking, eating, or shopping for good food.
Food is an essential part of our lives, it’s true. The meaning of food extends beyond survival and I’d submit it has social significance beyond other aspects of our culture. We celebrate holidays, nuptials, birthdays and other life events; we give up food for religious, health or moral reasons too. On most days, it’s simply how we refuel our bodies, but often when we travel, we discover a meal or a type of food that we never forget. It enhances our travel experiences.
In essence, I cannot think about travel and food separately. After all, there is a magazine called Food & Travel so it’s clearly not just me. Where you’re going to eat is a huge part of planning any trip.
When my husband and I traveled to China a few years ago (it was our first time out of the U.S.) to adopt our first daughter, we were nervous. In hindsight, I can admit a wee bit to the extreme perhaps. It’s an emotional journey to begin with for soon-to-be-parents, and then add to that anxiety the question, “are we going to like the food and will it be safe to eat?”. With that looming in the back of our minds, we packed a suitcase full of peanut butter, crackers, dry cereal, dried fruit & nuts and packets of instant oatmeal (which I find difficult to choke down). Not because I don’t like oatmeal, I find anything that is “instant” gross. The only thing “instant” we should eat are fruits and vegetables…perhaps a topic for a different blog post…I think you get the picture.
To our complete and utter surprise, the food in China was amazing. It was creative, interesting and delicious! The best part was realizing we didn’t have to spend two weeks eating peanut butter or steamed white rice! Our most memorable experience was lunch at Mrs. Lee’s home in the Hutong District (traditional courtyard residences) near The Forbidden City in Beijing. So much history, culture and hospitality to take in! Mrs. Lee served the most amazing Jiaozi, fresh sautéed vegetables with tofu and we experienced the ancient tradition of eating flower petals, roses in this case.
Without question the most memorable part of our trip was when they placed our daughter in our arms for the first time. It’s a moment I’d visualized countless times and nothing could have prepared me for the pure joy and love I felt for our daughter. But the experiences and memories created around the food during our trip surely ranks #2! We haven’t stopped retelling the stories from this journey, including the time we fed our daughter food from a local restaurant’s breakfast buffet without trying it ourselves first. First time parent problems! She let us know real quickly that it was super spicy (Yikes!). We learned fast though and from that day forward, I tried everything first!
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
What was your favorite food experience while traveling?