By the way, this post has nothing to do with the holidays. Happy? Me too, I need a break. In fact, this post goes all the way back to March of this year when Matt and I hopped on a plane and traveled to beautiful, amazing Iceland.
Eating in foreign places (or just even new restaurants) is part of Matt and my ‘love language’ – you know, the way you show affection for one another. There is something magical about experience a new flavor or texture sensation with somebody you care about. For this reason we really enjoy staying in apartments where we can cook. Is that crazy? To want to cook on vacation? Maybe so, but it’s my favorite thing to do!
Take for instance, this lovely meal below. We perused the Sunday open air market in Reyjkavik to pick up fresh Icelandic Char (like Salmon), potatoes and green veggies. Look what we created! Icelandic food is naturally high in omega-3 fats (cold water fish), green veggies (kale, chard, collard type veggies grow really well), and their bread is dense and wheat-free. I LOVE IT!! Even their signature dessert, skyr with blueberries, is low fat, high protein and very low in sugar.
Cooking in another country makes me feel more connected with the culture. Sure, I like restaurants too, but I feel this bond with people when I can actually do what they do, eat what they eat, and know what is available on a day to day basis. This probably explains why I have so many pictures of grocery stores when I travel!
PS: we passed on the horse meat, but did try plenty of other exotic foods, such as smoked whale meat. Yes, I did say whale. Sorry. They eat whale in Iceland, along with the bird Puffin like it’s chicken. I’m sure the makers of Puffin Cereal would be very disappointed, but I’m not making this up. See, here is a menu to prove it!
Something that I’ve learned about myself through the years is that the way I experience a meal has a tremendous impact on how I see the food on the plate, how it digests, and how I either support or sabotage my efforts to avoid emotional eating. I can have a smorgesbord in front of me and if I’m in a place of gratitude, love and appreciate for the opportunity to savor the food and the experience, I can eat in peace. If I’m in a bad mood, if I’m looking to eat as a way to cope with stress, or anything like that it won’t matter WHAT I eat, I will feel badly about it. Traveling and observing how I relate with food when I see it as a cultural experience was one of my first clues as to the fact that eating behavior can have very different meanings depending on what attitude I bring to the table, so to speak.
I’d love to hear from you about what you love to do when you travel and experience food and eating in different cultures. Do you also notice a difference in the way you see food (especially dessert for me!) when you travel versus when you are at home? Oh, please tell me I’m not alone in this 😉
I will leave you with a little enigma here. The flip side of food experiences in new cultures is the mystery food. For instance, what the heck is in the picture below? We never really did figure it out,but it was going like hotcakes at the Sunday market. Hmm…..some foods are better experienced through the camera than the taste buds 🙂