TRAVEL THERAPY #12:
This Glutton for Food is Unrepentant
Four solid days of eating in New York City has me considering the possibility that I may be a glutton for food.
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” | GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
My latest wander took my love of food and turned it mad. The smells, colors, flavors—sometimes it even feels like I taste the reverence and passion that went into making it.
Clearly, I’m not talking about Olive Garden fare here. I don’t care how good the bread sticks are, I abhor chain restaurants and everything they stand for. I’m madly in love with food that is art—born of of a creative and passionate individual and totally unique.
Like many travelers, food is one of the most important facets of every trip. Sometimes, like with this latest one to New York, it is the purpose of the journey. Other times, like with Cyprus, it is a pleasantly surprising highlight. Eating is one of the main ways I interact and connect with the place I am in. Every meal is an adventure—every bite an opportunity to taste history, a culture or a tiny bit of the soul of the artist who created it.
The experience of eating food with someone who feels as I do is an intimate and memorable one. These culinary moments are burned into my brain:
- Sharing fish meze with a table full of native Cypriots.
- Listening to a Lebanese chef talk of his daily flight to Egypt to get the freshest of spices.
- Watching (and eating) red snapper cooked by a Creole woman in a tiny outdoor oven on a dirt street of Belize.
- Tasting Lizette’s Secret Sauce on fresh fish for the very first time in a remote rainforest lodge.
- Drinking every fresh fruit cocktail on the menu at a Costa Rican eco-resort bar.
- Biting into my first lemon meringue s’mores by a campfire in the Sequoia National Forest.
- Laughing as I chewed on figatelli in a tiny Corsican café on the French Riviera.
- Eating the food of my ancestors, including kluski like my grandma made, throughout Poland.
- Learning that not all duck is created equal when I took my first bite of magret de canard in my French family’s back yard.
- Relishing a real macaron and outstanding tea in a Paris café.
- Discovering the deliciousness that is stewed rabbit in Old Quebec.
- Eating blood sausage, real Irish oatmeal and the world’s best ice cream with my kids in Ireland.
I could go on…and on. This possible glutton for food has too many memories of food on my wanders to recount here.
Sometimes I’m able to bring home a special culinary souvenir from my trips—maybe it’s a different way of preparing a food I’m already familiar with or a new ingredient I’d never used before. Oftentimes (and definitely this time), I bring home disappointment—for living in a place whose culinary history was written by early settlers who ate beans out of cans and whose current residents are content eating meal after meal in corporate chains.
And, so I look for art on my wanders.
So maybe I am a glutton for food. If so, it comes from a place of curiosity, connection and passion and I will happily remain a sinner.