For the Love of Food

“Look what I have!!!!!!!!!”  I come bouncing into the kitchen with my grocery sacks.

MB turns around to see what I have brought him, no doubt expecting cheese or a spreadable meat or, at the very least, some sort of internal organ like gesiers.  He looks very excited, anticipating whatever delightful thing I have found at the store.  We are food people – food makes us happy.

“BAM,” I say with satisfaction as I hold out the small white paper package.

MB deflates.

“What is this?” He takes the package from me and looks at it, confused and slightly disgusted.  “I don’t understand, is this fish flavored crackers?”  He makes a face.

I laugh…silly Frenchman.  “No, they are goldfish crackers.  They have different flavors, like cheese or pizza, or sometimes they can come as pretzel goldfish.”

He seems comforted to know they are not fish flavored but still confused.  “But then, why are they shaped like fish?”

“What?”

“Why they are shaped like fish if they don’t taste like fish?”

I ponder this for a moment.  “I don’t know, they just—UGH—I’m not sharing any!”  I snatch the package back from him in a huff…he has ruined my goldfish cracker moment by pointing out that it is totally bizarre that they even exist.

“No, I’m sorry,” he begins.  “I want to try them!”  He seems desperate now that he realizes he may be about to miss something incredible (like the Kraft Mac and Cheese experience…I will always regret letting him try it since now I always have to share).

“We’ll see,” I say with a smile, clutching them to my chest.  “This is the first time I’ve ever found them here!”

***

Okay, now let me be clear, I am not obsessed with goldfish crackers or anything.  I mean, I like them, they are a tasty treat but it’s not like my favorite cracker of all time (that would be Triscuits…obviously, is there even another option?), but there is something thrilling about finding a home product when you are overseas.  It’s like getting a high five from your native land.

“What’s up, USA – appreciate the shout-out!”

“Word,” responds USA, slapping my palm. 

(This is how USA and I talk.)

When you are expat, you will get excited even about home products that you aren’t really into.  For instance, I don’t like Dr. Pepper (or any soft drinks actually) but it still makes me happy when I see it and I will tell every American expat about where I found it. Another example is the friend of mine who left an exuberant post on Facebook about finding cottage cheese.  That’s right, you just read the word “exuberant” in reference to cottage cheese.  I was so stoked that I ran right out to the store she mentioned and then called her in a panic when I couldn’t find it.

“What does it look like,” I demand into the telephone.  “I’m standing with the cheeses.”

“It’s green,” she says, “It’s Jockey brand.  It is with the yogurts.”

“The YOGURTS,” dread creeps over me.  “I’ll never find it on the yogurt aisle!”  The yogurt aisle in France is epic (salty dogs chocolate frogs).

After a few minutes of her talking me through it I find the outrageously priced cottage cheese and feel a surge of energy course through me.  “Victory is mine!  Cottage Cheese for dinner tonight, muhahahahahaha!”

I have never before or since had quite such an emotional reaction to cottage cheese.

But I have had many emotional reactions to food before.   During our honeymoon in Italy, I remember sitting at a particularly fantastic meal and telling MB that the food made me feel even more in love with him…and it was the truth.  There was some portal of emotion inside of me that the meal opened up, just as tasting an old recipe of your Grandmother’s might bring a tear to your eye or how the first bite of something deliciously sinful can make you grin (or moan if you are that type…you know who you are, you sexy food-moaners).  And it doesn’t have to just be in the eating, I love cooking for people as well, taking the time and effort to put together a creative and delicious meal to share with friends around the table is one of the great joys in life.

I know there are the “fuel for the body” people but I will just never understand that.  In fact, I remember the first time someone told me that food was just fuel for the body…I never invited them to dinner again.  Why would I want to share a meal with someone who doesn’t appreciate the beauty, the majesty, and the soul’s connection with food?

Food, whether it is typical grocery store fare that allows you to time-travel to your childhood or a 5 star meal that makes your senses dance – is emotion.

***

And so, with that being said, starting next week I will be rolling out the Bread is Pain Food blog sharing some of my favorite recipes and dinner party ideas.  Everything from the simplest party dip to the menu for a 7 course dinners.  I hope you will come and check it out!

Here is a clip from the penultimate food movie: “Babette’s Feast” (in a close 2nd is “Like Water for Chocolate”). It is a long clip but perfectly elucidates the “fuel for the body” people vs. the “food is emotion” people. Enjoy!

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11 Responses to For the Love of Food

  1. Crystal says:

    Yay! So glad you are going ahead with the food blog idea! I’ll add it to my blogroll for sure 🙂

    Oh, and I totally get the *high five* from your native country when you see a familiar product on the shelves here. I actually had to stop and compose myself when the ghetto grocery story down the street from me started carrying bottle Starbucks frappucino drinks.

    (And goldfish crackers have been around here for a while now…but the day I see Kraft Mac and Cheese in Carrefour/Leclerc/Monoprix will be a day of epic proportions.)

    • breadispain says:

      oh m’god, don’t even talk about it – I would spazz if I found kraft mac and cheese. That stuff is like my horrible horrible crack. HAha – it is funny the things that you miss or get excited about when you are away from home.

      Hope you will like the food blog! There will be some vegetarian stuff. 😉

  2. I too was excited when I found PF goldfish at Monoprix. After I ate the whole bag (obviously), I realized they tasted kind of off. When I read the package, it said something like “Now made with REAL cheddar” and I was disappointed. Clearly, cheese-flavored powder, of the kind in Kraft macnchz, is better. Still. I continue to buy them since emmental crackers are not ever gonna happen for me.

    PS. Wheat Thins ftw, every time!

    • breadispain says:

      haha – powdered cheese…evil yet awesome. And I can stand behind wheat thins as well – they are also crack-like though triscuits will always be my kryptonite. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  3. Heather in Arles says:

    Hooooraaayyyy!!! I am so happy that you are launching your food blog!!! Wooohhoooo!! (see? happy) We are all in for a treat. Food is life. Wine too (but since I have a headache from imbibing too much last night…best not to go into that).
    And I think that that the evil powers that be finally figured out that there are a lot of expats in France to rip off. I was sooo excited the other day when I found a jar of Hellman’s mayo with tabasco in it (!) until I saw the price…nearly 7 Euro. I put it back. But one of these days I will cave and buy it anyway.
    I only let myself but Goldfish crackers (didn’t MB see that they smile??) every once in a while since I too have to eat the whole bag at a sitting but oh what happiness that brings.
    Bisous from Arles,
    H

    • breadispain says:

      Aww, thanks so much, I will try not to disappoint! BWAH, when are we going to hang out and get a mutual wine headache? Clearly that would be the result. Hellmans with tabasco? That sounds rad. And I definitely ate the goldfish in two sittings (only because I was trying to conserve). I totally forgot to tell Xav that they smile…guess I better buy more so that I can show him, hehe.

      • Heather in Arles says:

        Oh we will meet oooone of these days, either here or there, I know it! And when that day comes, arrive armed with aspirin for the day after… ;à

  4. laura says:

    Excited for your food blog and totally relate to the high five! I don’t like Dr. Pepper either but when I found it in Brittany I was like THIS IS AWESOME!! FBF didn’t get it at the time why I’d even care about a product I don’t like being in France, but I just did. Glad I’m not alone!

  5. bevchen says:

    Found you via Sara in Le Petit Village.

    I definitely get excited when I see food from home here! I even excitedly told people where to find Marmite… and I HATE the stuff and would never, ever buy it. But it was there, looking all familiar… I had to tell SOMEONE!

    • breadispain says:

      Thanks for popping over!

      Haha – RIGHT?! I totally would have done the same thing – like, I don’t like Dr. Pepper but tell EVERYONE where to find it. It’s funny how those things work.

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