Food has always been a keystone of any country I have lived in. The cuisine of each place permeates so many of my memories.
:: Not knowing the German word for 'vegetarian' and my host family not knowing a single non-swear word of English, so I could not tell them I wouldn't be eating the duck my host father was carving by ripping it apart with his hands at the dinner table.
:: Being in true and utter awe of the things my Indian host mother could do with vegetables. My love of spinach can be traced back to her table.
:: Eating some of the best meals of my life in 'restaurants' in Thailand that were no more than temporary tents with a few tables and a grill in the middle. A simple dish of turnips in broth is one of the single best things I have ever eaten.
:: In England, it was all about the pub. Country pubs, city pubs by rivers, shandy, steak and ale pie, big fat chips.
:: In Stirling, the sunny day ritual of ice cream at Corrieri's and a play at Causewayhead park.
But more than what is on offer, each place is notable for what I miss of America. It does change with each country. After I arrived back in the US from Germany, all I wanted was vanilla frosting on graham crackers. In India, it was cheese. Goopey, melted, cheese (paneer didn't cut it). To feed said craving, we used to spend ungodly amounts of money every so often for a Pizza Hut pizza in the posh area of Pune.
In a few short weeks, my mother is coming to visit (volcanic eruptions allowing) and her impending trip across the ocean means a rare opportunity to stock up on the culinary morsels that remind me of home. Of course, my favourite things (real Mexican food from proper hole in the wall Mexican restaurants and a cup of coffee from my favourite coffee place) aren't transportable. But some of the things that are:
:: Spices from Penzey Spices...especially a mix called Fox Point
- an essential ingredient for potato salad to accompany the Braai season soon upon us
:: Iced Sugar Cookies from our local grocery store
:: Reeses Peanut Butter cups (the large ones, though PB eggs for Easter are best)
:: Black Beans and Rice
The list has changed so much over the years. I used to miss saltines and oyster crackers, but have learned how to live without them. Its strange how, even now, the things I miss are essentially junk food-- things we don't really eat in our day to day life.
Of course, as time has gone on, there are more and more British things I would need shipped to me if we ever move from this small island,
:: Heinz Baked Beans
:: Jaffa Cakes
:: Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam
:: British bread (it just tastes different here)
:: Proper British Sausages
:: British (or European) chocolate. In fact, I thought I didn't like chocolate until I moved over here.
What would be on your list?