If there’s one thing you know about me by reading this blog, it’s that I love food. Well, that and I live in Thailand. But about the food thing… some have asked “Do you really need to blog on food every Friday?”. Yes, I do.
On my first trip out of America on my own, I traveled to Scandinavia. My luggage is stuck somewhere in Iceland, while I’m somewhere in Norway (when you say “My luggage is lost in Iceland” out loud, you don’t expect to see it again). Then, I stupidly leave my carry-on in the bus while getting out. True story. With all of these things happening (keep in mind that I don’t know Norwegian), I stress out. So seeing the Golden Arches, it seems like the Promise Land, beckoning me. And the familiar taste of that nasty combo meal never tasted better, as for a few moments everything was normal.
We see this a lot when Westerners come through Bangkok. Some of the first places they visit are McDonalds, Burger King or KFC. When you’re other senses get overloaded, you need some way to cope, something familiar. Sometimes, it’s food.
Food is Escapism
Thai is a notoriously difficult language for the English speaker to learn. Often, I’m only slightly aware of what’s going on. The same is true for the Thais learning English. But nobody is required to talk while eating, right? When you don’t share a common language, sharing a common meal is one of the best ways to become better friends.
I had the chance to go to an elderly hill tribe lady’s home, where she made a meal for us. During the meal, she (roughly translated) said to me “We can’t understand each other, but when we share a meal together, I feel connected and happy in my heart”.
Food is Friends
Your friend visits _______(fill in the blank). Halfheartedly, you let him show you the photos. You hear the stories. But when he gives you something to eat from the place, and you’ve never tasted it before, you can almost imagine what that place is like. There is so much of a place or culture that can be expressed in food. Think turkey for Thanksgiving, cake for birthdays, even bread and wine for communion – thousands of foods tied up in memories, places, holidays, and cultures. Telling a local of any country that you love their food is probably one of the best compliments you could ever communicate.
Food is Culture
Food is a lot more, though. Food is risk, food is fun. It’s spiritual, symbolism, life, sharing, and desire… I could go on. This post just gives a few ideas on the topic.
What is food to you? I’d love for you to join in on this topic.