Saturday, November 10, 2007

About food..

Today we went for a regular once a week food shopping, so it seems appropriate to speak about various food a bit. When you grow up in one place your taste buds are used to certain foods and flavours; any travel opens an opportunity or often leaves you no choice, but to try something that you may never dare or think to try otherwise.

I remember how shocked I was coming to America: all drinks were too sweet, the bread was too mushy and, oh horror of horror, the butter was salty. But, the selection of fruits and vegetables were unbelievable, and I got to try tacos, nachos, burritos (it was Arizona after all).

China expanded my food knowledge immensely. It was not so much connected with Chinese national food but with availability of certain products and multinational friends who introduced me to them. There I tried for the first time pomelo, lychees, bok choy, lentils and fell head over heals in love with soybeans and mango lassie. From Chinese cuisine steamed broccoli became my absolute favourite; I am still trying to recreate it at home but in vain.

One thing that my kids and I remember from Croatia is
fornetti - small pastries that came with different fillings: cheese, chocolate, pizza, etc. For the longest time I didn’t realize that the word “fornetti” was originally just a name of the bakery Fornetti. The products of that bakery were so popular that the name became a common noun for the entire selection of its bite-size pasties.

Now we are trying new things in Iceland. The variety of diary product here is very impressive and the most popular or famous amongst them is skyr ([skeer]). It is made from skim milk, has very low fat contest, high in calcium and is Icelandic national pride. It is similar to yogurt by the method of its preparation but with thicker texture, reminding me of whipped cream, and more pronounced “cheesy” taste. Despite its healthy qualities this product didn’t find followers in our household. My addiction at the moment is
pykkmjolk ([thickmjolk]). It is a delicious cross between milk, kefir and cream, which tastes almost sinuously rich, silky and filling.
Dry fish, harĂ°fiskur, is still on my list. Not because I found it strange but because I found it expensive. In Moscow dried fish (vobla) was cheap; every lumpen-proletariat could have afforded it with beer easily, here it is a different story. But who knows, maybe after I tried the Icelandic version of it, I will totally understand the high price.

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