Knowing not only what but how to order food in other cultures can be a wearying task; one that makes even the most pitiful of familiar fast food chains back home sound appetizing. Homesick American tourists alone would likely be enough to keep McDonalds going strong around the world whether they'd eat there back home or not. Been there, done that.
Local foods and cuisines are easily my favorite aspect of travel; yet even in the midst of new, wonderful culinary delights I'm bound to be missing chips and salsa. Being from Texas I'm perfectly hooked on good Mexican food and it is always the first thing I miss.
Since our arrival back in the States we have been on a mission to satisfy every food craving that plagued us while abroad. This is not our fault. Our appetites made us.
I'm fairly certain I have gained at least 5 pounds in the past (nearly) two months that we've been back. And you know what? I've enjoyed every bite.
Though we've obviously enjoyed the feasting it has astounded us more than ever during this "re-entry" how easy it is to eat here. For better and worse. It's just not so easy to eat whatever, whenever in other countries. Pulling off the highway to grab something from a drive-through is just not often available.
The priority of taste and convenience to health and nutrition of food is shocking when you think about it. Though we've enjoyed eating so many of the foods we missed upon our return, we are also mindful of how easy it would be to forget the lessons we learned while being away from such convenience:
- Mealtime is important. It is good to take time to stop, get out of the car, and eat together.
- Food is a gift. Food is a resource that there is not enough of around the world, yet it appears deceptively endless in this culture.
- Meat is a treat. Something God created gave its life; that's worth some extra reverence. During two months in Texas we've eaten more meat than we've had in the past previous year combined - and we've yet to cook it for ourselves.
- Eating is for health. Contrary to what many recipes, menus, and restaurants promote, the primary goal of eating cannot be TASTE - at least not for long. Not that it can't still taste good of course, it's just not the ultimate objective.
I could go on. Couldn't we all.
I'm still going to eat Mexican food, unhealthy and greasy as it can be. But it's reserved for moments of feasting. That's a good thing too. The scales told me so.
Day to day we hope to glorify GOD with our choices of what we eat. As good as that sounds, it's harder in this culture than any we've ever been in. We're more aware of that now than ever. We are thankful for the availability and opportunity to make healthy eating choices in this country. At the same time we remember those who don't share such opportunity in a majority of places around the world. We remember them amidst the onslaught of unhealthy options as we seek to honor GOD with the choices we make, even in these seemingly little things.
-1 Cor. 10:21