Eat everything then make it your own

When I was a kid I was an very picky eater. I didn’t like trying new things and could only have been a pain whenever I ate at any of my parent’s friends’ houses, I don’t think I ate anything besides Chicken fingers and fries at restaurants before Middle School. Somewhere along the way this changed, I think it was when I started traveling, and by the time I got to College I was actually a fairly adventurous eater, though still not without some hang ups.

When you travel you encounter new foods, and sometimes if you really love them you end up taking them with you. I’ve certainly done a fair amount of that, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite tastes that I carry with me.

paprika
So I certainly was acquainted with paprika before I traveled to Hungary, but I would never have thought to just add it to food if it wasn’t explicitly in a recipe and I’m not entirely sure I knew what exactly it was. Paprika is powdered dried peppers which may or may not have been roasted, it can be mild or spicy depending on the type of pepper. It is basically the official spice of Hungary, it’s in a lot of Hungarian cooking and is often present on tables like salt and pepper.

It has become one of the first spices I buy when I move somewhere new, and I add it to everything that I feel could use a little something. Chicken, pork, fries, hummus, anything really. It’s also the key ingredient in

goulash.
Also from Hungary, goulash was the first soup that I actually liked. Starting with frying onions in oil and a whole ton of paprika, you add potatoes and beef and then your liquid. It’s hearty and delicious and one of the few ways I eat beef though I usually make it with chicken instead. Here’s a good recipe. Goulash is really great accompanied by some sort of carb and a red wine, which brings me to

bordeaux.
As you know, when you first start drinking wine, it all tastes basically the same and none of it tastes especially good. I’ve liked white wine for a while now but and have been trying to cultivate a love of red wine. When I went to Bordeaux last fall we of course got to try some local wines and I remember thinking they were ok. Imagine my surprise when I find myself then ordering a Bordeaux every time I order wine. I found my favorite type of wine without even realizing it! I was super pumped when I realized this since finding a favorite wine had been something that I wanted to do this year in Paris, so check ✔️.

fries
Being American, French fries have always been a cherished part of my life. Growing up though I always consumed them with ketchup or later mustard, when I went to Berlin though I learned that the best French fry accompaniment is mayonnaise. Some of you may believe this is gross but I don’t care, it’s delicious and don’t knock it til you try it. The tangy and creamy taste of mayonnaise is just perfect on salty and crunchy fries and I hope that some day soon you will see the light.

yogurt
One does not simply live in Greece and not become addicted to Greek yogurt. I’ve always loved yogurt, Trix were a staple of my elementary school lunches, and I did eat Greek yogurt when the craze started in high school. When I went to Greece though it changed, they don’t really do flavored yogurts there so I started having plain yogurt with honey, every day. By the time I came back to the U.S. I found that non-Greek yogurt was too liquidy and sugary, that Chobani was gross (Fage is where it’s at, they’re actually Greek) and that I don’t really like the flavored Greek yogurts anymore. Now I basically only have plain Greek yogurt with honey or skyr, an Icelandic yogurt which is even thicker than the Greek stuff but which is available in tasty flavors if you can find it.

olives
In my house, we do face boards every year so that everyone can get to know the new people in the house. On my sophomore year one under dislikes, olives were the first thing. Once again, Greece is to blame, or to thank I guess, I knew that I would have to try olives again while there, and what do you know, I liked them. Green ones anyway, they’re now the bomb. The black ones can be ok, but the chopped up ones you find in cans are still gross. As it turns out, marinated olives with spices and feta is one of my favorite snacks now.

pizza
This one is a heritage food. I’m a New Yorker, so if I don’t have pizza about once a week I go into withdrawal. It also means I get to be really condescending about pizza and be immune from criticism. In my humble opinion, the best pizza is the basic plain New York slice, I have however accepted that other types can be good. Berlin gave me some great pizzas that I now make myself. The first is a regular pizza but with fingerling potatoes on top as well, best with a spicy oil or Sriracha alongside. For the second, a crust is lightly brushed with diluted honey, covered in mozzarella, and sliced pears (canned works great), then sprinkle with rosemary. You can add a stinky cheese like Gorgonzola if you want, it’s a great accent. When it comes out of the oven add some walnuts. You can thank me whenever.

bagels
New York/Long Island bagels are the only real bagels, but that doesn’t mean I won’t eat whatever bagel is closest to my face. Even sub par bagels are better than no bagels. My opinion on this matter has always been the same and it always will be.

There you have it folks, some food practices I’ve picked up over my travels. Do you have some foods you’ve carried with you? What has traveling done for your appreciation of food?
Love ❤

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