FOOD! My high school chemistry teacher used to say..."The way to a man's heart is thru his stomach!" I totally agree with him and feel that this saying is not gender biased. So obviously...FOOD is the first thing that causes me to feel nostalgic about this great city. Whether it's a juicy mango covered with chili and lime that drips all over you with every bite or a more epicurean styled dish that sends you to another planet, one thing is for sure, when it comes to food I do not discriminate. I will try everything ONCE; be it a tamale snuggled up in a basket carried on the head of a local or a crispy cricket fried and dipped in chili- I'm game! BUT...I will not eat everything TWICE. I have to like it to eat it again, and that is where I begin to be more discerning about what I will eat again. Fool me once....;-)
I think my food obsession started when I landed in the emergency room with a severe food allergy. After spending months figuring out what it was I was allergic to, I found out I was deathly allergic to MonoSodiumGlutamate. Needless to say, I always have an EpiPen with me regardless of where I am. MSG is EVERYWHERE! But that isn't where my food allergies end, throw in sulphites, sulphates, sodium benzoates, nitrates, nitrites and on and on and on. So what does that leave me with? Cooking everything on my own and making sure everything is fresh and has not an ounce of preservatives in it. Life in the United States is really tough on me because everything is so heavily processed. I have learned to modify my diet causing me to spend an average of 3 to 4 hours a day in the kitchen cooking, which I have learned to enjoy.
In developing nations, processed foods are a luxury item, thus making them more expensive and less available. Fresh produce can be found within a blink of the eye. Most vendors, sitting on the corner. who are selling their fresh cut up mango picked the fruits from their tree that morning and send their kid to go pick more as the bounty depletes. It doesn't get any fresher than that. It is easy for me to eat on the street here in Oaxaca, and I don't have to be terrified that I might end up with a huge bite of MSG.
A lot of North Americans are afraid to eat in "third world" nations. I have been travelling for the past two decades and have ended up in the hospital twice and that was in the United States. Food poisoning can happen anywhere and germs are everywhere. I always encourage people to get away from the old myth of "never drink the water or eat the vegetables washed in it". I truly believe that you are missing out on the entire travel experience if you don't allow yourself to eat the street food. It's the best food around!
Well I'm off, heading off to a concert tonite. Looking forward to it...will post photos later.