When I think about my own personal foodways it doesn’t necessarily relate to my family’s culture so much as it does to the area we live in here in southern California. I think we have some of the best food in the world where we live simply because we have access to so many different cultural cuisines in this area, and we have constant access to exotic vegetables, fruits, meats, etc. that are not consistently available everywhere in the world. There is something for every pallet here and I have learned to be adventurous in the new foods I try truthfully just because there is so much to enjoy here. The featured pic for this post is one of my two personal favorites, poke. As well as mexican food such as tacos, recently this has been my go-to lunch food. It is somewhat of a Hawaiian style of food with tuna and salmon on top of rice with spicy mayo and avocado. In my home town of San Clemente, my favorite poke place is known as Kawamata seafood, and as far as my favorite taco eatery I have many to choose from, but one of my favorites as of late is known as Sanchos Tacos. Both have become staples to having a good lunch out. Even within this one city on any given day I could go from having middle eastern lamb chops, to some Italian pasta, all the way to some Hawaiian poke. That to me is the beauty of being in such a culturally diverse area such as California.
Being exposed to such a variety of foods I believe made me become much less picky of an eater than I used to be when I was younger. I had to be willing to try things I wasn’t initially comfortable with eating and truthfully it has made a huge difference in how I enjoy food. Even now I am just starting to open up to the idea of mushrooms on pizza. Never before would I have thought that would be possible. But that is somewhat of the fun of experiencing new food, stepping outside of the comfort zone. You are always surprised by something you like it, often it just takes some curiosity and even courage. I think we are lucky to have such a variety of food here in California because there are certainly parts of America that have much less variety for food. The region in America somewhat plays a bigger role than culture. We are part of one big cultural melting pot, but depending on your region’s local foods and raw goods, this control’s the specific tastes and dishes that become popular in the region. When I think of the southern diet in America for example I think of comfort food like mac and cheese, fried chicken, biscuits, etc. We undoubtedly have a taste of that style of food in California too, but at the same time we have so much more outside of that one genre of food that our food is never constrained by the regional tastes and food the produce.
I remember the first time I tried eel on a sushi roll I thought it sounded like one of the strangest types of sushi you could order. But now it is truly one of my favorite things to get at sushi restaurants. I think my affinity for seafood in particular is something I will have to rely on while in Copenhagen. From what I know about their types of dishes they do incorporate seafood a lot into what they eat. The only thing that potentially makes me cautious is the different types of fish they have locally compared to what we eat here in California. I could eat salmon and tuna all day, but I am sure I will have to step outside of this comfort zone when it comes to their seafood.
I wrote about this a bit in my other journal entry, but I was considering how much more thoughtfulness is put into food in European culture than in American culture. I feel as though we are in far too big of a hurry during our everyday lives to sit down and consistently enjoy meals whenever we are in the mood. When you go to a restaurant even they often expect you to want the check within 10 minutes after you finish eating just because Americans don’t value time spent at the restaurant. I am definitely eager to experience the different pace to enjoying food in that aspect. Not being in a rush to sit down and eat is kind of a relief, and if anything Americans could learn to adopt that kind of cultural tendency.
As far as anything that I will not try, I don’t think it is fair to draw the line anywhere before I am even in the country. The point of traveling I think is to expand on your experiences in a completely different fashion, and to constrain that experience even through the food you taste doesn’t do the journey any justice. Honestly as much as I enjoy seafood there may be something that I am not brave enough to try, and that is okay, leaving your comfort zone should be the goal.