Thursday, June 20, 2013

Good Advice From Weird Al

When you go live with a family in a foreign country, chances are you will at one point be presented with a meal that you do not particularly like. This has happened to me on a few occasions.

Not tonight. Tonight we had moussaka, and it was amazing. Man, I never thought I would like something with eggplant in it, but moussaka has changed my life!

I digress.

Sometimes your host family, with all the best intentions, will put something on your plate that does not look like food. It might be purple with speckles. It might be congealed and oozing. It might be fish. But are you just going to sit there and stare at it? No! Because you are a polite guest in somebody's home, and while you are not required to stuff your face with something that triggers your gag reflexes, you need to at least try everything once. You might be pleasantly surprised. For example, moussaka.

I mean, it's not like your own country doesn't have food that looks gross/disgusting/weird/mutated/inedible. For example, take the United States. Have you seen what passes for cheese in the United States?

If you have to eat something that looks gross and you don't know what it is, don't ask. Ask only if you know you have food allergies. Believe me-- sometimes it's better not to know.

I always try to clear my plate, even if I don't particularly like something. I don't want to be rude, but I also don't want to go hungry, and I think it's extremely unfair to ask someone to make something extra after they've gone through the trouble to make an entire meal. No, I do my best to eat what's in front of me (and then pretend I'm full when offered seconds). Luckily, my host mom doesn't make a whole lot that I don't like, but on the occasion that she does, I need a little inspiration to get me through the meal.

This song is my anthem.

A mental rendition of this song helps me to choke back just about anything. Except fish. I just could not finish the fish.

If you do happen to travel abroad and live with a host family, talk to them about your likes and dislikes early on. You can't reasonably expect them to go months at a time without eating any certain kind of food (unless you're allergic to it), but you can limit the number of unpleasant meal experiences. And like I said, try everything, even if it looks or smells unappetizing! You could find your own moussaka.

And if it doesn't turn out to be magically delicious... Well, I'm sorry, but that's what's for dinner. EAT IIIIIT! EAT IIIIIT!

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