11 April 2011
Post 370: The Spice Necklace
For those of you who don't know me personally, I freakin' love food. It is my favorite thing about traveling, or even just being in a new place. I am always excited to try a new restaurant or show off a favorite local eatery to friends. I am a strong believer in trying almost anything and everything once, and possibly more than once. I'm an adventurous eater when I can't be an adventurous anything else and most of my fondest memories are centered around eating.
I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill grab-something-and-go kind of eating. That doesn't make for very memorable experiences. If your favorite meal memories take place in a McDonald's, well... I highly recommend checking out your local greasy spoon and trying something different. It may actually be healthier for you, and if it's not, at least you won't be hungry again in half an hour. Anyway, the experiences I'm referring to are the ones that include a little extra something: when far flung family members are brought together, first dates, especially exotic experiences that someone is not likely to forget. And the food to go with it.
Possibly one of my earliest food memories is in Mexico. My family and I were living in California at the time (so, between ages 4-8), and we decided to drive across the border for a quick vacation. During that time we were swamped by the heat, the flies, and the poor begging for pesos. But we also enjoyed the bright colors, bartering with the vendors, and sitting down in a relatively cool and clean restaurant where I was served a salad with amazingly buttery and earthy tasting greens and wafer-like slices of some weird crispy I Don't Know What.
Well, I wasn't about to leave Mexico without figuring out what it was. So when the waiter came back I pointed to my plate and asked what it was. He came back out with something that looked like a cross between a potato and an onion and a turnip complete with long leafy stalks. He told me its name was Jicama (the word sounds a bit like a hiccup).
This first encounter reinforced my positive experience with foreign and/or unusual foods. Unfortunately, during the time I was touring tropical islands with my family, I wasn't much into seafood. This is slowly changing, and I would be more than happy to return to Guam and/or Hawaii as well as visit other tropical climates. This is especially true given my recent penchant for and pleasure in eating spicy, spicy food (I scare some people with my ability to eat hot foods, although I'm nowhere close to the level of some chili heads). Seriously, I love the feeling of my tongue on fire. And you thought librarians were boring.
My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Advanced copy received from vendor booth at ALA 2010.