This Guy

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Native son to the American Deep South - now living in Portland, OR. Lover of people, sustainability, justice, culture, writing, history, cuisine and coffee.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Moving Your Life. Bringing Your Food.

One thing I love about big cities, is the massive amount of different food cultures. Within a few can find Ethiopian, Indian, Mediterranean, Southern and French. It's sometimes a bit overwhelming and makes your ham sandwich look awfully lonely and boring.
Hey, I enjoy ham sandwiches, unfortunately, I'm not talking about them today.

I am referring to this comfort of having your tastes of home when in reality, you are far away from what you grew up eating [and coincidentally enough, what yo' momma cooked for you your whole life]. When you are displaced [or have moved] from your own country or part of the country, you crave a little bit of normalcy among something so foreign.

I'll take India for example.
When I traveled to India, I had never had Indian food. At least, I don't think I had ever tried it. I don't think I was too worried about it. I think I liked curry, or at least I knew I could handle it.
Luckily for me, my host family cooked very gently for us, supplying us with an everyday breakfast of toast, a couple of fried eggs and a banana. {With the exception of the occasional and celebrated potato & puri - a very heavy breakfast consisting of fried bread with a potato curry mash] I actually, really enjoy Puri - though it's awfully heavy for breakfast.

When Lata Didi finally got our breakfast down, after many uneaten mutton sandwiches (which I felt very bad about not eating - it was just too much for steamy Calcutta mornings) we were met with a nice place of familiar foods. It became very, very comforting. Eggs. Toast. Banana and Cha [bengali chai].

Among the comforts of my time in India, were KFC, Pizza Hut and Subway - though it was rare we would eat at these places.
Mostly, at a joint called Blue Sky Cafe, that had excellent fried fish and chips and grilled cheeses.

I found little bits of familiarity in those pieces of fried chicken and overly-glamoured Pizza Hut pizzas.

I'd imagine that same feeling hits displaced and new implants of American culture - when down the street, they have markets that provide them with all the essentials. And though the sounds and sights and smells have changed, they have one important thing that makes life better: food and each other.

And this is what's important - this taste of home, of childhood and of Momma.
It's finding Gulab Jamun and spinach peneer down the street or freshly made Injera from a local market.

So I love...and encourage this - to try these places within your cities and communities - the local mexican taco stand or restaurant - the hole in the wall or the place that sells words you've never seen before.

It is here that you'll find a piece of what the rest of the world calls...home.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sooooo stoked to be reading your blog. I had no clue. And I'll no frequent it...the header alone made me drool. Why aren't we best friends?

    This post reminded me, however, of one of my favorite books. ;) Stuff White People Like

    In this case: DIVERSITY.