June 8, 2013

On the Subject of Food

The moment you leave your neighborhood, food can start to look, taste, and smell a bit different. Four years ago, Ayelet and I jumped an entire ocean that forced us to rethink our 3 daily meals.

Over those four years, we have broadened our palettes with new flavors, meals, fruits, and vegetables. Many of our favorite new foods were cheeses or desserts. But one thing we quickly realized was that being vegetarian in a foreign country and with a foreign language can be tricky, especially right when we arrived in a new place.

Ironically, we assumed so much about food before our moves to Germany and then Ecuador. And the great part was that we got everything WRONG! Germany, we assumed was meat-centric and that we would be stricken to a pretty poor selection of veg. We were pleasantly surprised in the first days of going out. Every beer garden always had those huge pretzels we loved and the local restaurants served my favorite kasespatzle.

Then, we moved to Ecuador. We figured that as a developing country, with farming produce as a main industry, going out for food as vegetarians would be even easier. We were going to get the freshest ingredients in the world at every restaurant. It did not take us long to figure out that going out to eat was a luxury here for the average person, and that most of the Ecuadorians are not vegetarians. However, we still had personal access to all of that fresh produce so our own kitchen became our cooking school.

I think these types of situations are what we have cherished most about living abroad. We have had to be open to breaking our assumptions completely. Our lives were pretty routine 4 years ago (and still are in many ways), but we have been challenged in the most basic daily needs: food.

So, with that in mind, I would like to share two of my recipes we have really enjoyed over the past two years. I sometimes wonder if we had stayed in the U.S. if we ever would have tried so many new things. In my next two posts, I am going to branch away from pure travel and show a few of our home-cooked favorites. ¡Buen provecho!

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