Monday, April 14, 2008

Restaurants & culture

Writing everyday has become more and more difficult lately. Don't ask me why - I have no idea.

Well, these last days I have been talking of different foods, cultures and restaurants a lot, so I decided this might offer a good topic for my post today. By the way, going back one paragraph, I might actually have some ideas about why I haven`t written as I should these days - it's just too hard to find something to talk about every single day.

I remember my talks about food started with my host-dad, who happened to have a business meeting at a Brazilian Restaurant. he really enjoyed the food, which consisted on a buffet of vegetables, cheese and pasta and meat that the waiters would bring to you and cut on the spot. This is what Brazilians usually refer to as a Churrascaria. Personally, I am not a lover of this kind of these restaurants, but I remember going there a couple of times.
After that, my host-mom started talking about the next (and most important) Jewish holiday: Passover (I will write more about it). During this holiday, Jews can't eat bread, rice, pasta, all the by-products of corn, but they have special food. One of the most tradizional is Matzo, with which they make soup, crackers, sticks, pizza, and all sort of things.

Yesterday I went out with Isia, my friend from Indonesia, and her American friend Paul, who lived in China and Japan for a long time. Talking with them about food, I realized for the first time any things of the Asian cuisine I had never thought of before. First of all, I realized they don`t eat raw vegetables there: they cook everything, even lettuce. So, if you go to Asia, forget about Caesar salads, Greek salads and also Asian salads (no such thing there). Also, I realized they don`t have cheese there. As a result, most Asians don`t really like cheese. I thought Tofu was considered a kind of cheese, even though it is made out of soy, but it seems Tofu is not considered to e even close to cheese. Finally, Paul told me it is very difficult to get meat in India, where almost all the dishes are vegetarians. The same cannot be said of Indian restaurants around the world ( I remember having a hard time to find a vegetarian dish in a Indian Restaurant in England).

Finally, we also extensively talked about Italian food. As a matter of fact, it was impossible not to, since we had dinner at Mamma Lucia. Personally, I really enjoyed my Ravioli Romana (I know, it should have been Ravioli alla Romana, but it is too much to expect a correctness in Italian that goes beyond orthography, at least from restaurant Menus), which I hadn't eaten for ages :) We also talked about Italian cheese and pasta. Finally, we agreed that a mediterranean diet is good, it keeps you healthy and pasta on its own doesn't do any harm (if consumed in moderate portions).

My weekend ended up with a movie (of course) : the Kyte Runner. Once again, I was immersed for a couple of hours in a very different culture: the Afghan one. Sometimes I wonder what is the meaning of living in the US...there are so many people from other countries and the Americans themselves seem so interested in going abroad (for a while). More specifically, I often ask myself how it is like to live in the US the way many immigrants do, inside their communities, getting married among themselves, longing for their original countries, yet not being able to go back there for good. I think immigrants` identities work a little it like that children game, the one that begins with as many chairs as children set in a circle. At the beginning all the children can sit down, but then music`s on, and the have to stand up and run and walk around the chairs. When the music goes off again, they all have to sit down again. But some grown ups removed a chair from the circle and one of the kids won`t have his place any more. The solution might be to sit in someone else's lap; but this solves the problem in part: the child will have a place to stay, but it's not his own. He wishes to get his chair back, but it`s not there any more. The same with immigrants: they think they want to go back to their countries, but they only want to go back in time...geographical and historical dimensions mingle to gether into something that is just too hard to explain.

1 comment:

Rômulo said...

Muito bem psa!

Achei esse tópico bem legal. Eu também gosto muito de experimentar comidas estrangeiras. Por falar nisso, o que você acha de comida japonesa? :D