Now, I’m no cook, baker, food blogger, culinary expert…but I do love food.
To be honest, baking/cooking kind of stresses me out. Even if I put on some good music, have a recipe prepared, and feel confident, something always ends up getting burned. I suppose I’m more of the dish-washing type. My host mom and dad are true chefs–I’m lucky enough to get some kind of lesson in French cuisine at dinner each night (I’m talking everyone at the table watching carfeully as I tried my first bit of escargot (it’s the butter that makes it so good), my first taste of fois gras (for Thanksgiving no less), and there’s always some conversation about cheese or honey or wine–and I try to follow, I really do–but I’m too busy eating.
There have been some truly lovely moments that center around sharing meals while abroad, all with different people and in different settings, and when we talk about building community and integrating into a new place, I think that food is my top advice for this–get together and eat something.
Take a seat next to the outdoor market and share a burrito made by an Australian man in a foodtruck in Fountainbleu.
Seek out the cheap-eats in Rome and end up with a bag of Italian cookies in the park and €3.50 pizza.
Bathe in the sunlight–the last of the fall–in the park with your ham and cheese sandwich and a sac of clementines.
Eat crêpe au nutella from the cart at Nanterre with your friends as you head to class.
Attempt to make a gâteau au chocolate with your host sister, burn it, listen to your host brother when he tells you he prefers brown cakes to black cakes, and watch as your host mom whips up a gâteau au chocolat fondant in ten minutes.
Play eleven games of go-fish in a hostel in Dublin while munching on a too-hot pastie.
Make a promise to the owner of a Senegalese restaurant that you’ll be back as your rush to the metro–and then come back again and again.
Run to the co-op and get all of the fresh ingredients to make a white bean and vegetable soup and share it with your friends for lunch.
Stuff yourself to your limit in the Atlas Mountains of Marrakesh with mint tea and vegetable tagine. The, try and re-create it with the new friends you make at the hostel in Marrakesh.
Finally succeed at making something for your host family–another soup!–and let yourself take the compliments.
Make a too-big (way too big) pot of mac n’ cheese to go with your friend’s hommade apple pie and go to bed happy from the good food and good company.
Get a free stack of pancakes and a Turkish coffee just because you were so hungry you chose to eat outside in the cold instead of wait on the list to sit inside.
Have a French Thanksgiving with the APA crew in a beautiful appartment and make some paper cranes and almost not be able to walk home because you’re so full.
Feel your heart swell when your host family suprises you with a pink birthday cake.
Sit by the Seine with a fresh baguette while the sun sets.