Third Culture Kid Tiffany Lake-Haeuser is back, to tell us what she thinks about gluttony as a motive for travel.
As a Third Culture Kid who was raised in the United States and Abu Dhabi before returning to my native Germany, I’ve learned that every culture has its own traditional foods — but the idea of trying them all? I’ll take that with a pinch of salt, so to speak. Some of the world’s most celebrated foods are very good; others, not so much.
At my international school in Frankfurt, I’ve found it amusing to walk around at lunchtime and see what the different nationalities are eating. Obviously, we students are somewhat limited by what the cafeteria offers, but once a year on International Day — a day for celebrating all the nationalities at our school — things get a bit more interesting. We get to choose between egg noodles at the Thai stand and the burgers at the U.S. stand, among others…
Food for thought
Would I travel for food? I know that the Displaced Nation has covered this topic obsessively last month. I discussed it with a few of my schoolmates — ironically, during our lunch period — and we agreed that while most of us have a certain sweet or other type of food we make a habit of eating or buying when we are in certain countries, we would not be inclined to go on a food tour.
One of my friends said she makes it a priority to buy “double stuf” oreos in the U.S. Though hardly a delicacy in America, this cookie is seen as an exotic treat at our school.
Other friends mentioned their efforts to avoid certain traditional foods at all costs. For instance, one of them said she loathed eating haggis in Scotland — even though that’s where she is originally from! For those of you who don’t know what haggis is, it is a savory pudding of sheep lung, liver and heart encased with other ingredients in an animal’s stomach. Mmmmm!
Another friend reported she’d found eating snails in France less than appetizing. The snails slimy and chewy, not pleasurable as French people like to claim.
My own most memorable food experience associated with travel occurred when I was attending international school in Abu Dhabi. I refer to my eighth-grade week-long school trip to Thailand. Every day, we were given plain white rice to eat; it came with every single meal. By the end of the week, we just couldn’t face another bowl of rice! (On the rare occasions when we were served French fries, the students would attack them and within minutes they would be gone.)
However, on the last day of our trip, we were taken to a school and taught how to make chicken curry and spring rolls. Not only was it the best meal I’d had all week (which is of course not biased to the fact that I was the cook!), but I also found it so interesting to see the way these foods were made.
So maybe I would consider a cookery tour one day?
By the way, that still didn’t stop me from refusing to even consider eating rice for another month after that trip!
Pasta & pizza — perfect!
By the time this post goes up, I will be traveling in Italy, which is by far my favorite country to eat in. Pasta and pizza are two of my favorite things to eat in the world — and let’s face it, Italy does these foods better than anywhere else.
Honestly, I don’t even know how I will stop eating, but that’s a different problem.
I guess everyone needs to decide for themselves how far they are willing to travel for scrumptious or adventuresome eats. As for me, I will not be taking the train to Paris (where my dad now lives) every time I want a croissant — even if the original is truly amazing.
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Readers, any thoughts on or reactions to Tiffany Lake-Haeuser’s skepticism about linking international travel to food experiences? Please put them in the comments. You can also follow what she is up to on her blog, Girl on the Run.
STAY TUNED for the Displaced Nation’s agony aunt, Mary-Sue Wallace, who will attempt to offer expat readers solace on their horrifying experiences in tomorrow’s post.
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Images (clockwise from top left): Tiffany Lake-Haeuser in Paris (2012); kilted haggis, by Chris Booth, courtesy Flickr; Oreo Double Stuff cookie, by Steven Depolo, courtesy Flickr; and Roman pizza, by Nala, courtesy Flickr.