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What’s for dinner? The adventure of eating when traveling

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I  tried a new recipe for dinner. Cuban Beef Bowls. It was delish! The marinade used the juice of a whole orange. I love trying new food or using food I’ve eaten before in new ways. I think I can count on one hand the food I don’t eat, unlike my college roommate who can count on one hand the food she does eat.

Experiencing new foods is something I’ve instilled in my daughter. She’s been eating sushi since she was around 4. She’ll usually try anything at least once.

Food is my love language. If someone is sick, I’ll make dinner. If a friend is stressed, I’ll offer to take her to dinner. If I want to enjoy an evening with friends, I’ll make a big dinner and invite friends to come over.  One of the reasons I loved Anthony Bourdain is for his ability to connect food to people.

I was having drinks with a friend last week and he asked me if I had ever had Mead. I had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out it might actually be the oldest alcoholic beverage on earth. Who knew?

For a self professed foodie, I was a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t know what it was. For those of you, like me, who have never heard of it either, describes it this way:

Referred to as “nectar of the gods” by ancient Greeks, mead was believed to be dew sent from the heavens and collected by bees. Many European cultures considered bees to be the gods’ messengers, and mead was thus associated with immortality and other magical powers, such as Olympus-level strength and wit. For this reason, mead continued to factor heavily in Greek ceremonies even after its eventual decline in drinking popularity.

Sounds like something I should try doesn’t it?

Anyway, I’m getting to the point. The whole conversation made me think about my trip (like many conversations do these days) and all of the new “never heard of before” food I might try.

The first of the 50 places I’ve never been the year I turn 50 will be Iceland. Seeing the Northern Lights is the goal. I’ve looked into the best time to go, where to stay and what to do but had never even considered the food. So I started poking around to learn more about the traditional foods of Iceland. I’ve heard of Skyr (it’s like a mild greek yogurt). Lamb, sure. Fish, I figured. But then I saw this. Hákarl. Do you know what this traditional dish is? Shark meat that has been cured with a specific fermenting technique, then hung outside to dry for four to five months.  Well, if that’s how it’s made it shouldn’t be surprising it’s described as having a very strong ammonia smell and a distinctive fishy taste. Mmmmm… I might have to work myself up to that one.

Here’s one I’m looking forward to: Rúgbrauð. It’s a traditional rye bread that’s baked in a pot or steamed in wooden casks buried in the ground near a hot spring. That sounds cool and it’s bread, so how bad can it be?

Worst comes to worst I can have a hot dog. Former President Bill Clinton once called Icelandic Hot Dogs “the best hot dogs in the world”. Uh.. OK, why not?

I’m going to assume a hot dog in Iceland tastes different than a hot dog in Chicago. Kind of like if you’ve ever had sauce in Italy, it doesn’t compare to what we eat here! Ways of cooking and spicing food is different even within the U-S.

I wanted to see the world and meet its people and food says a lot about culture.

I think my taste buds are looking forward to this adventure… mostly.