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October 11, 2013

What I Love and What’s Missing: Food Edition

Okay, so let’s talk food.

Food is a fairly important part of any human’s life. And while the American society isn’t as food-centric as, perhaps, the French, we do still really enjoy our food. This is evidenced by the fact that half of our relationships are built over meals, when with friends half the time is spent deciding ‘what’s for dinner?’. Unlike my first two years at Clark, there isn’t exactly a ‘cafeteria’. There is this place called the ‘campus kitchen’ – but any time I want to eat there it costs me around £4.50 (that’s approximately $7).

The food is good, but because I didn’t just pay up-front for it (the fees for it no longer make sense to me, they changed it right before I came abroad, but you can read a bit about it here: http://www.clarku.edu/offices/housing/lottery/mealplans.cfm), I’m less likely to go there to eat. I would way rather buy ingredients and make my own food. This has lead to me discovering some amazing new food products, differences in products from home to here, and what I’m sad about… the food that’s lacking.

The Amazing

The first night I arrived here I went to the campus grocery store to grab some food for breakfast the next morning. I got packaged coffee, bread, and yoghurt. I just grabbed the first yoghurt I saw that looked good – little did I know that I would fall in love with it. We don’t have this in the US to my knowledge. And if we do, please, come out of the woodwork and let me know!

This Onken Yogurt is quite possibly the most delicious yoghurt I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not exaggerating.

There’s fruit in it and whole grains and it’s smooth and… my mouth is watering just thinking about it. If I could pack a suitcase full of it and bring it back with me, I would.

The Difference

The biggest difference in food that I’ve found since arriving is the ingredients lists.

Food here is considerably healthier than in the US. There are less additives, it is more natural, and much more basic. I realised this when sitting at breakfast with my friend and flatmate Jess a few days back after a fire-alarm. She was eating Kellogg’s cereal, a cereal I had seen before in the US. When I’m eating breakfast I like to read whatever is in front of me, and today it was her cereal box. While I was reading the side I decided to look for the nutrition facts and was surprised to find an ingredients list less than a paragraph long.

Now, I always read the nutrition information on things that I buy. I like to think I’m informed. But I hadn’t noticed this difference until now because none of the things I had purchased existed in the US. They were all store-brand items from a UK-only store. Since this epiphany, I’ve paid close attention and realised just how much healthier the food is here.

I’m actually kind of dreading going back to the chemical-laden food products in the US after my pallet has sampled the food here for 3 months.

The Sad

I miss hummus. And chunky garden Ragu.

I’m petty, I know.

But I have yet to find hummus here. And they have Ragu, which thankfully still tastes just as good as it does at home, but not the one with all the other veggies pieces in it. That was kind of a staple of my diet at home. That and hummus.

Now my mouth is watering really bad.

Whoops!

 

Okay… time to go get my lazy butt to the Campus Kitchen. I’m low on groceries and don’t feel like spending the time to buy the groceries THEN make the food before I get to eat.

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