Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's the Cheesiest - But Would You Miss It?

The persimmons are orange lanterns on the tree, but the leaves have not changed color and the fruits are still hard, so not yet ready to harvest. No persimmon bread for Thanksgiving, but maybe persimmon cookies for Christmas.

As Thanksgiving draws near one of the things that I am thankful for is being an American and being able to live in a sturdy home in a beautiful part of the world with a garden and fruit and nut trees. I’m also thankful for loving family and friends and for the opportunity to love them back. This year I’m especially grateful for the job I started in the summer. We help people who have been in pain to learn how to control and diminish, and sometimes to conquer that pain. I’m doing the clerical part mostly, but I do get to assist with the lunch prep, too. I'm thankful that I enjoy cooking.

We are having a clinic this week where I work and the folks attending come from all over the world. It is an eye-opener to talk with them and to learn the many things about their countries that are different, and sometimes better, than our country. Even folks from the other side of the United States remind me that I live in an area of exceptional natural beauty. I’ve never doubted it and am very grateful. Sometimes I do take for granted how easy it is to shop for the food we serve.

We serve a gourmet lunch each day for 25 or so people with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, bread baked at a local bakery, low fat poultry, hummus, goat cheese, and things like corn and bean, tuna, salmon, and lentil salads. Since we live in California, the availability of a variety of fresh fruits and veggies and herbs makes it easy to prepare these meals. Because a lot of the shopping takes place at Costco, we are buying foods from many other countries, too. Except for the hummus, all of the foods are prepared from scratch. As we cooked, chopped, sliced, stirred and grated, we happened to talk about some friends and relatives who have moved abroad and what U.S foods they miss. Today's local paper also had an article about ex-pats in France missing American foods as they prepare for Thanksgiving, and what they miss. It got me thinking.

Even though we have access to a lot of high quality, nutritious foods in the United States, the foods that Americans seem to miss when they go abroad are things like Top Ramen soups, Triscuits, and the classic, cheesiest dinner, Macaroni and Cheese with that bright orange cheese powder in the packet. That seems odd to me since I haven’t eaten those foods in ages. I might miss frozen pizza, one of the few fast foods that I eat, usually when I am too tired to cook. It’s not that I don’t like Mac and Cheese, but I don’t crave it and the sodium levels are pretty high for me health-wise. Pizza isn’t too great that way, either, but I guess I crave it more often.

Mostly, if I lived somewhere else that had regular seasons, I’d miss good salad greens year round, and a steady supply of melons, oranges, and lemons. Perhaps we should eschew them when they are out of season here, but melon in the morning is such a great way to start the day. Also, bananas are almost always at hand to have with the melons, as a snack, or in a sandwich. They might be hard to come by year round in some places. I’d probably also miss turkey. It is readily available here at the Willie Bird store, but might be a seasonal item elsewhere.

What would you miss if you were living someplace other than where you live now, especially in another country from where you grew up? If you already live away from your native country, what do you crave that you can't find where you live? What foods are you thankful for? Are you a fan of Macaroni and Cheese with the bright orange powdered cheese like many people are? Is it the Cheesiest?

9 comments:

Amrita said...

I personally really dislike mac n cheese!!! haha!!

ps: i've relocated to http://lapetiteboulangette.blogspot.com

hope u'll ammend the link! thanks!

Claire said...

I don't really eat mac and cheese but would have to say that, NO, it's not the cheesiest! As to what I would miss...I lived in a foreign country for a year when I was little...we missed cereal and (surprise!) green beans. My brother would not eat green beans before we went, but now they are his favorite.

Elle said...

Amrits, Someone must like it...Costco sells it in packs of something like 10 or 12 boxes. Thanks for giving me the new link. I just updated it on my Likely Links.

Claire, there are many interpretatons of the word cheesiest :) I would never have guessed green beans!

Beth said...

I always have a couple of boxes in the pantry for nights when I don't feel like cooking anything else. I buy the store brand, so it's definitely not the cheesiest, but I add some real cheese, and other stuff to jazz it up like sauteed mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.

I would miss northern New Mexico food (very different from Tex-Mex), especially Hatch green chiles. It's definitely not the food from where I grew up, but it's the food from where I live now.

tadmack said...

This year, living in the UK, I am finding that I am missing sweet potatoes and hard squashes painfully. They are "new world" foods that peope just don't grow here, so are imported here from Egypt or South Africa or Israel!!! Since we do try to eat locally and seasonally AND organically, I refuse to buy them -- but it's causing me quite a few sniffles. We've decided just to skip the Thanksgiving holiday - be quietly thankful, speak to our families, lie to them and tell them we are having a huge spread, and go on. It's just less painful.

And NO, and ugh to the neon orange pseudo-pasta. I had a spate of eating that Freshman year because I was NEVER allowed it at home, but yuck -- Mom was right. (Again.)

Peabody said...

Well being Canadian I would miss Kraft dinner(Kraft Mac and Cheese), I grew up on it. Every Friday was Kraft Dinner and Fish Sticks.
Though now a days I prefer my mac and cheese that is stuffed with 6 differnt cheeses and bacon.

Elle said...

Beth, I can see it with additions like sun-dried tomatoes or muchrooms. Glad that you have become a lover of the foods where you live, but don't you miss Nancy's biscuits?

Tadmack, Your comment was so great I read it to Sweetie. Don't you hate it when Mom is right (again)? Maybe next summer you can grow some winter squash to keep over for the winter months. Your neighbors may become converts.

Peabody, what could be more classic...Kraft Mac and Cheese and fish sticks. Think I'd prefer the ones with 6 cheeses and bacon...gotta love the bacon.

Annemarie said...

As an American living abroad, I can tell you what i *do* miss the most: peanut butter and stove top stuffing. I've tracked Skippy peanut butter down, finally, but I still have to stock up on stove top each time I go home. Customs must be very confused when x-ryaing my bag!

Elle said...

Annemarie, I can sure see peanut butter as something I'd miss. Sorry about the StoveTop going missing where you are...and I suspect that customs is used to people bringing favorite foods abroad with them.