I went shopping in Germany a few days ago. It wasn't the shopping I was so interested in (seen one mall- pretty much seen 'em all) but it meant a long drive and lunch out. A friend asked if I wanted to join her. 'Sure' I said. I'll shop for six months of toiletries if it means I get out of the house and have lunch. This particular friend, Donna, is a foodie. She's an amazing cook. She just gets it. I don't. So, I am in awe. And when she mentioned going out to lunch at an "amazing" Turkish place, I was in (she's Scottish and says it with a brogue- so much fun).
We left early and drove a bit over an hour to Weil-am-Rhine. Just over the border. It was warm enough to sit outside. A wine spritzer in hand, I settled in. I briefly thought about ordering for myself. Instead, I let her order. Lunch was as promised. A savory chicken dish...not hot. Just right.
On the way home, as we talked of this and that, the conversation drifted to food and in particular, cheese. And then she described for me the first time she remembers tasting cheddar. Her mother told her to open her mouth and placed a bit of cheese on her tongue. Creamy and rich, it nearly dissolved. She still remembers the taste of that cheese. What seemed to be all wrapped up in that memory was a love for her mother and their shared connection to good food. A foodie was born.
My Great Aunt Sue, was a bona fide foodie as well; right up until about six weeks before her death at 102. She loved to cook and loved to eat. She told stories of sending food through the mail to her brothers fighting in World War II; frogs legs and ratatouille. Once she came home to find a neighbor rummaging about in her refrigerator. When asked why, he responded with he had guests and he knew Sue would have something good. She took that as a compliment.
I stayed with her for six weeks after graduating from college. I'd found a job but no apartment. She welcomed me and kept me fed and entertained. I'd get home from work to find we had dinner reservations. She was the best date. Her kitchen was the size of a broom closet. My Swiss kitchen is also the size of a broom closet. When deciding whether to take this flat, I didn't let the kitchen bother me. Sue's kitchen was the same size and she could cook ANYTHING in that kitchen. Surely, I could heat up chicken nuggets in mine.
I like food and enjoy fun things to eat. I have a million cookbooks. But I much prefer reading them like novels as opposed to using them for any practical purpose. I don't think I'm raising any foodies either. All three will have the same lunch (at school, so I have no idea what it was) and all three will tell me it was something different. Sam is the more adventurous eater. He embraced wiener schnitzel and curry wurst right away. Caroline is the pickiest eater you've ever met in your life. It's my fault, I know. I take full responsibility but you can't put toothpaste back in a tube. Lauren is all about comfort food. She loves to bake and is a big fan of cooking shows. I don't know too many 6 year olds who love Rachel Ray. Now, it's Jamie Oliver. Still, she's not an adventurous eater.
Part of the fun of living in another country is trying new things. Meeting new people. Though on the surface it might seem a little nuts to drive to Germany to eat Turkish food, it was a pretty solid plan. Follow the foodie.
Donna, the foodie, has started her own blog. If you want to know what she's cooking (recipes included), here is a link. http://justcookswiss.tumblr.com/