Underthecurrent


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March 1, 2011, 9:43 am
Filed under: gastronomy, nomadisms, popconsumption, voyageur

Recent culinary adventures. It’s a cliche, but recently, sushi rolls. A mild coconut-pumpkin-chicken curry. Fresh mussles pulled from the rocks at low tide, cooked in a white wine lemon sauce, on top of some caper-butter spaghetti. Fresh salsa laced with baby coriander grown in the front yard. Chili con soya faux-carne and spaghetti bolognaise. Poached eggs and herb butter toast for all! A recent favorite is soy-chai quick oatmeal (oats cooked in soymilk with a cardamom pod and cinnamon, warming the milk with the spices in gently before adding the oats). A variation: cardamom, cinnamon, a little bit of late arriving dark chocolate with some chili flakes. Salads involving figs, preserved green figs being the best.

The price of groceries here allows a new level of expirimentation that is hard to justify at home, an average dinner for two with real protien comes in at about $1.50 to $2.50 per person, the most exotic at $3.50. We cook over an open fire about once a week, maybe Friday night.

Spices here are generally inexpensive and accessible, but for whatever reason garlic is very expensive and sub par. Similarly, tomatos are inexpensive but lacking in variety and often in flavor.

There is a secret ban going on against lunch meats, due to general gross chemicals and being overpriced. Okay, German salami (especially wild game salami) remains welcome at any time, but black forest ham and processed turkey breast have been summarily dismissed. There is no need to eat freaky-deaky preserved meats. I know I need to drink more wine while here, enjoy it, but it has been hard to shake the wine snob aversion that developed during college. Talking about, reading about, thinking too much about a bottle of old grapes… eh. But starting at a couple of dollars per bottle, it seems tragic to not test out stuff that also gets exported so when I find myself somewhere else paying far more I can pick out something worth the taxes that will at least be palatable.

*

Since leaving, I have had a disproportionate number of people say things like “it’s great you are following your heart!” or something along those lines. This always feels sort of odd, maybe because it gives an outside perspective on expat life that is easy to forget about. First, life here does not feel overly foreign to me, for whatever reason. I get considerably more culture shock when I visit the United States than I do coming here; though this wasn’t always the case, it was a reality by the time I came back this time. Second, living here wasn’t exactly some lifelong dream or fantasy, it was just something I decided to do, the same way someone else moves from one big city to another. What I consider a ‘normal’ move, though, is more like 20,000 km than 500 km these days, I guess. I decided to do this the same way I’ve decided to do everything else in my life, from picking my second degree to picking my university, it just seemed like an attractive obvious opportunity… so I took it. Third, living abroad for a few years is almost a rite of passage for someone my age from a similar socio-economic background here; emigrating completely is another popular standard. A large number of young people here also date, or end up married to, foreigners. It’s how we do.

Anyways, it should be stated, for the record: I did not hop off the plane, wind rustling my scarf, declaring a new era had arrived.

*

[At the moment, in limited internet capacities, loving The Hairpin. Reading it is like a flashback to the dawn of the internet when I realized that there were other sarcastic, funny, feminist women out there just waiting to be found if I could make it out of the backwoods. The era before writing was generated on a schedule, for ad revenue, but was instead painstakingly html’d and put out there because people felt like they had something they couldn’t not say. Double negative, imperative. It also reminds me that one of the first things I will do if I wind up living in a big city again is to connect with the feminist community because it’s full of smart funny chicks.]

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