Nothing makes you realize how much you’ve come to learn about a place then when the time comes to explain it to someone else. I had a friend in town last weekend (Hi Andrea!) and I was feeling positively bilingual translating the questions in the British edition of the Friends game in a pub one night. (Side note: after untold thousands spent on my education, with attempts at three foreign languages, the only languages I now speak are two kinds of English. My parents must be so proud.)
On the food front I’ve long been assimilated enough to recognize the superiority of digestive biscuits over graham crackers. I even offered my visiting friend a glass of elderflower cordial with a straight face. But last night, able to contemplate food again after a day of, um, “rejecting” it, I was fresh-off-the-boat American all over again. All the neighborhood takeaways sounded harsh, weird or both, and none of the supermarkets had what I wanted – something bland, creamy, comforting, overprocessed and fast. I wanted American food.
If comfort food is defined by what your mom cooked for you when you were sick as a kid, this looks set to mark me different the whole time I’m here. I guess I’ll have to throw a couple boxes of Kraft mac and cheese in my suitcase next trip home. Deluxe, of course.