To truly experience a culture, you must taste it. Through a country or region’s foods, we make meaningful connections that we never would otherwise. Through our Food for Thought series, we hope to learn more about other travelers’ journeys, and the role food plays. A new installment will be published each Friday for the duration of the series. This week’s interview is with Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic.
Ayngelina left an amazing job, boyfriend, apartment and friends to find inspiration in Latin America. Today she shares the people and places behind the meals she enjoys around the world at baconismagic.ca with more stories at http://www.youtube.com/ayngelina
Food for Thought
The underlying idea of the “Food for Thought” series is that to truly experience a culture you must taste it. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
For me it’s not about the actual food but the experience of eating. Yes you can see the historical influences of a culture through its food but it’s one of the rare moments you can interact with locals and share an experience even when there is a language barrier.
What food do you identify with “home?” Does it reflect something about your own culture or upbringing? Do you crave it while you’re away?
I am based out of Toronto but grew up in Nova Scotia and so every time I go back we have lobster at home. It’s my favourite food and eating it in a restaurant isn’t as special as on a newspaper covered table with my family.
Has travel affected the way you think about food?
Absolutely, I have always been interested in food politics and globalization but once you see people working in a field to pick vegetables that end up in our supermarkets you begin to wonder how things are so cheap.
Do you have a technique to try and understand local cuisine? (ie: Attending cooking classes or food tours? Hunting the best street food?)
Even before I started blogging I would research the most typical foods of a country and also the best places to try them. If there’s a cooking class available I always take it. Now I’m really fortunate that I have readers in different countries who offer to take me out and show me their food. Most recently I was in Italy and a reader who is launching a food tour company took me out for the day so I shot this video of food in Bologna.
Tell us about a memorable meal that was so special it is forever ingrained in your memory. Where was it and what set it apart? What was served, and who shared it with you?
Wow that is actually impossible to choose. It would be like picking my favourite country or family member. But one that was really special was in Porvoo, Finland where I was invited to have lunch with locals and we spent the afternoon learning about each other’s cultures. It was a really special day.
What food have you tried in your travels that some might find shocking or surprising? Would you eat it again?
I actually really like cuy, or guinea pig, in Ecuador. So much so that I shot this video about how to eat cuy. The key in Ecuador is to find it cooked over an open fire vs deep fried, it’s really quite delicious.
And just for fun, if you had to choose one country’s cuisine to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
Hands down Italy, the food is fresh and so diverse from the North to South I’d never be bored.