Today’s prompt in the Expat Blog Challenge is, “Tastes like home.”
I’ve blogged quite a bit about Melbourne food and dining out. It’s not that I don’t enjoy food here; I do. I especially like trying new restaurants and new foods. I’m a hopeless optimist. No matter how often I am disappointed by food and restaurants, and that’s quite often, I still keep at it, believing that it might be better next time.
Almost nothing in Melbourne tastes like its counterpart in Miami. Pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, sausages, cheeses, coffee, pasta dishes, steaks, cocktails – none of it tastes the same. Only American commercial foods such as McDonald’s, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Coca-Cola taste alike. That aside, nothing tastes like home, nothing.
My partner Theo insists I can find everything in Melbourne. I can’t find Cuban food. I can’t even find the ingredients to cook Cuban food at home. My mother sends me Cuban coffee and some spices. I attempt to cook arroz con pollo (yellow rice and chicken) and picadillo, but they don’t taste the same. I haven’t bothered to attempt making Cuban bread, pastelitos, or desserts. And, oh, do I miss it. Cuban food, that which I ate nearly everyday for more than 30 years, is now something special, something I look forward to when I return to Miami for a visit. I want to fill my belly with it at every meal as if I could store it and bring it back with me like a chipmunk storing nuts in his cheek pouches. The only thing I bring back are extra pounds.
This is one of those expat experiences that local people are astonishingly insensitive about. In part it’s because, I’ve discovered, many Aussies think American food is crap and Melbourne’s food is far superior. Let’s pretend that’s true. Even so, how would they feel if they could no longer drink their favorite beer or coffee, or eat their favorite pizza or souvlaki, and they couldn’t find anything like the lamb or sausages they’ve been eating their entire lives? Would they be so flippant then?
What flavours from home do you miss?