Food, Travel, and Therapy

Food and Travel by Joanna

Wanderlust creeps in when you least expect it. Like a cold breath or a taste that sits at the tip of your tongue slowly growing into a craving. I’ve been wanderlusting hard on the idea of traveling again though I’ve said to myself that I would try to sit still and focus on my life. However, travel has always been a passion and again here I am desiring a far off land like an unrequited love. 

It’s been 5 years since I was last in Europe and for some reason it’s been calling to me. Memories of different cities have been resurfacing and popping up in dreams and in conversations and the experience of each and every one of them is of course remembered in food. 

As I think of Paris, I think of all of the different ethnic foods and offerings but the beauty in the French is their simplicity. My fondest memories are of walking to a corner market and buying a baguette, a log of cured meat, some camembert or brie and sitting in a park or a bench underneath the eiffel tower with an open bottle of wine. I would people watch for hours, only to get up for a luxurious pastry from one of the many Patisseries. Or sitting in the Jardin de Luxemburg sipping on an espresso and eating a crepe and thinking how this could be forever. 

I remember beautiful Rome for its pizza and eating the best slice on the steps of a Pizzeria near the Vatican, swarmed by a group of nuns partaking in a slice or a scoop of gelato. Or eating Carciofi alla giudìa (fried jewish artichoke) and learning something of Rome’s history. 

Of Madrid I remember the many orders of Papas a la Brava and Anchovies from corner tapas bars on busy cobble streets or fresh tuna with tomatoes served on crunchy bread from the oldest bar in town. I remember sweet sausages and plates of razor clams served with a cold glass of “birra” from the famous La Boqueria market in Barcelona. And of course, I remember Amsterdam for its Vlaamse Frites, Belgian french fries topped with a generous dollop of mayo. 

I miss that me, a different me, eating amongst strangers, pretending to be a local with the possibility of the unknown sweeping me off of my feet. 

Food as Therapy by Marilyn

img_1630.jpgI’ve always enjoyed cooking. It has always been my way of relaxing and being mindful. When I’m in the kitchen my thoughts are in the moment, with the ingredients and with the millions of possibilities I have to create. I never imagined cooking would save me. I never imagined cooking would keep me sane. I never imagined it would become my therapy. After going through a rough time in my life cooking became my escape. I began cooking more than ever and it has transformed my life and my relationships.

With my passion for food I’ve been able to establish great connections and break barriers. While traveling I’ve connected with people through cooking and eating. With friends I’ve disclosed and I’ve heard deep stories over a nice dinner. With family my relationships have gotten stronger and more playful because of food and cooking. When I’m in a new place the first thing I do is cook if I have access to a kitchen or go to a local market. It helps me settle in and feeding someone helps them get to know me. I put my soul in the food because food to me is comfort. Food to me is relationships. Food to me can bring unity.

In these past months through food many of my relationships have strengthened and I’ve established new relationships. I’ve eaten Bangladeshi food without fear and with that strengthened my bond with clients, I’ve impressed Turkish men and Egyptian men with my knowledge of their food, leaving them curious to what more I know, I’ve been given kabobs as a courtship offering, I’ve delved into southern food for the sake of impressing someone I really like, which failed, but with that journey learning how to make some kick ass apple butter, I’ve been declared love because I ordered “kofta,” and got a free watermelon radish and onion blossom because of my curiosity about food. Most importantly, however, I’ve learned so much about my friends, my family and myself. I’ve always wanted to have something I’m good at and I finally found it. With all honesty though I don’t know if I’m good at it but the happiness it brings me means more to me than whether it will taste or look good.

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