I’m back in the US after traveling to seven countries and learning about local foods and agriculture. What a blast! Thanks for joining me on this journey.
In all the countries, several threads showed up time and again. No matter where we live, we all have some of the same basic wants and needs. One commonality is the desire to belong, to be part of a “tribe.” In Denmark, I experienced this contentment in homes and at picnic tables, with people laughing, talking, just being. In Scotland and Ireland, people of all ages gathered at pubs – again, laughing, talking, just being….often with fiddles and accordions. A table with food and drink is always part of this.
Another thread is the comfort of eating good food, and generally that type of food has remained unchanged for generations. They’re proud to introduce visitors to foods from their region and from their families, especially their grandma’s recipes. Except where American giants like McDonald’s and Burger King have encroached, people are fine with their culturally familiar fast food like empanadas, smorrebrod, pasties, and pizza.
Traditional diets are borne from foods naturally growing in the land and sea, and from foods that, over time, people have discovered flourish there. Many favorite local foods also have their origins in adversity and poverty. People have foraged for seaweed (Ireland, Denmark) and wild greens (Italy); they fished for herring and salmon (Denmark), sea bass and other fish (Chile), cod and mussels (Ireland); and hunted for rabbits, horses, deer, and wild boar. Most cultures don’t waste animal parts, using organ meats (haggis in Scotland) and blood (sausage in many countries). They also make use of every part of plants: flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, roots – a good lesson for Americans as we try to reduce our food waste.
With great memories behind me, I’m shifting my focus to finding a new job. Yep, back to the real world. I’ll post from time to time, knowing – as you do – that wonderful food and ag adventures can be as close as our home towns. Have a great summer! I’ll be in touch.