I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but in case I haven’t — a necessary aspect to travel and key to experiencing foreign culture is eating in it. Robert Farrar Capon in his book, The Supper of the Lamb, inspires readers to participate in the extended table whenever the opportunity arises. The reasons are compelling, he says. Yes, we fill our bellies and that’s important but eating in community also feeds us socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. When we neglect to sit down to eat together, we suffer. Perhaps that’s why North Americans complain about being emaciated in spirit and soul.
Did you know that most European children have a 2.5 hour lunch break from school? School officials and parents agree it takes that long for a child to properly eat and digest a meal.
Maybe you have heard of the slow food movement, started in Italy to inspire people all over the world to participate in growing, harvesting, preparing, serving, sharing life together over food. Embracing the slow food concept means: buying from local producers whenever possible, growing what one can from non-GMO seed sources, preserving the harvest, cooking from scratch, learning and sharing knowledge on how and what we eat.
I think that introducing children to a wide variety of food is key to developing an adventurous adult palate. I’m lucky that way. My parents valued good food. Cod roe, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink omelets, and medium rare BBQ T-bone steak were favourites in our home. My Grandma’s culinary talent was well known and appreciated especially her roasted leg of lamb, secret-recipe Easter eggs and tortierre. The fragrance of Oma’s fresh Mennonite sweet buns just out of the oven still make my mouth water. My mom’s kidney and turnip stew is the best thing on a cold day. Escargot, foie grois, baked octopus, garlic prawns, pickled herring and kohlrabi are among my earliest foods. Lucky me!
I am going somewhere with all this talk about food. Here on the Continent we relish the experience of eating in the culture. This week in Berlin, local chefs are gathering out-of-doors for a Street Food Festival. Mouth-watering goodness for all! Photos of that to come, but for now, some of what we have consumed — with joy and gratitude!