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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What Food Can You Not Live Without?

Earlier this week I responded to a tweet from BlogExpat.com Their question: What food do you miss?  They were building on a story from CNN who put together a list of what foods American miss the most when living abroad.

Think quick, what would your answer be?

The number one food missed by American living abroad is Mexican food.  For those who have a plethora of good Mexican restaurants just around the corner, this answer might be perplexing, but the truth is, this is real. I speak from personal experience and numerous Facebook rants of friends from faraway wanting nothing more than a taco.  Good Mexican food is hard to find outside the Western Hemisphere, and I have yet to see a Mexican restaurant in France.  There is good reason for this, gastronomically and geographically, but it does present some craving which perpetuate some rather creative cooking and haphazard.  For example:

·         Christophe cracked a tooth the first time I made tortillas.  We didn’t have a rolling pin (This has since be rectified.) and they were thicker than pancakes and harder than stone.

·         Not having taco seasoning, I over compensated with hot peppers from the garden which Christophe only used “sparingly”.  I think I used four.  I’ve never seen someone drink a liter of milk so quickly.

·         I have discovered Swiss cheese really isn’t an acceptable substitute – for anything.

On the other hand, this has taught me a few more tricks about adapting, and living in a foreign country is always about that.  If you can’t adapt, you can’t make it, and I’m not about giving up.  That said,

·         I now have tomatillos in the garden; we make salsa verde and can it ourselves to last throughout the year.  This year’s garden addition:  jalapeño peppers.

·         One can “train” a spouse to build up spice tolerance.  I think Christophe enjoys Cayenne more than me now.

·         Each year, we stock up on taco seasoning when we visit the United States.  I’m certain Customs thinks I’m crazy when they see two industrial size containers of it in my suitcase.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do all my shopping in the US.  Now that I have a good pickle recipe, taco seasoning is the only food item we bring back. (Okay, that and Frank’s Hot Sauce.) I love the French cuisine, but there is absolutely nothing like a good taco, and one cuisine cannot replace the other.  Trying to figure out how to have the best of both worlds has taught me a lot about adapting and appreciating the experience I have.  I’ve also learned how to make a darn good taco in the middle of the mountains in Southern France – and sometimes, that’s what it’s all about.

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