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The Food Traveler's Handbook - Sample Chapter

The Food Traveler's Handbook - Sample Chapter

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Published by Jodi Ettenberg
Sample chapter from the Food Traveler's Handbook (http://amzn.to/SybCXT) that discusses why food matters as we travel, and how it can be an excellent way to learn about a new place. For more see http://www.legalnomads.com/food-book.
Sample chapter from the Food Traveler's Handbook (http://amzn.to/SybCXT) that discusses why food matters as we travel, and how it can be an excellent way to learn about a new place. For more see http://www.legalnomads.com/food-book.

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Published by: Jodi Ettenberg on Oct 16, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Jodi Ettenberg
Why Focus on Food When You Travel?
When I travel to a new place, I often make checklists of sights to see and placesto stop and visit along the way. I want to understand what makes the country I’m visiting di
erent, be it through the history of its buildings or UNESCOsites, or through the beauty of its landscapes. Examining a country throughits food is another angle of understanding, an all-encompassing snapshot of what a place has to o
er. In fact, I would argue that it is the most compellingtool we can use as travelers to discover the wonder of a new country or region.Food hasn’t caused me to ignore my checklists or the more established sightsin a country – I just save them for later. My 
rst option for discovering theculture and history of a place is now eating and observation,
lling in the gapsthat guidebooks and history books cannot capture with ease.
e ancillary bene
ts to focusing on my plate have been as important as the taste of thefood itself: observing the rhythms of mealtimes and the constrained chaosinvolved in preparing and enjoying food.Instead of seeing eating as a necessity, I encourage you to view it as a lesson increativity, the same way that you would approach planning the other elementsof your trip.But it is not just about learning.
ere are other compelling reasons to eat yourway around the world instead of just visiting it.
e Art of Food Presentation
In a world of easily accessible photography and photo sharing, capturing thevisual element of food has become a lasting way to record your feelings abouta new place. Supermarkets, food stalls and even corner fruit shops are a feastfor the eyes, allowing you to compare what you know against what you arediscovering.Many countries also focus on the visual in presenting their meals. In Japan,for example, the supermarkets sell food in delicate bento boxes, carefully prepared and perfectly stacked.
, a multi-course traditional Japanese
The Food Traveler’s Handbook
dinner, is a lesson in pristine presentation and elegant form – there is much tosee and admire before you even pick up your chopsticks to eat.
e emphasison appearance dovetails with other concepts in Japanese culture, such aswabi-sabi (the art of 
nding beauty in imperfection) and minimalism.In contrast, roadside tagine stops along Morocco’s N9 roadway o
ersymmetrical, conical clay pots bubbling against a backdrop of the High AtlasMountains. Presentation is not the focus, but it remains the primary takeaway.
e value of these clay pots lies in their visual beauty and versatility.
ere isa large Moroccan population in Montreal, and while I was familiar with thetagine as a result, nothing prepared me for the sight of dozens of ochre conesat the side of the road, steam rising toward the heavens.
Hand-painted tagines from Fes, Morocco.
Jodi Ettenberg
Spices Are Perfect Food Souvenirs
Food as a souvenir is nothing new. Growing up in Montreal, a friend from Italy would entertain me with stories of her grandfather’s misadventures in tryingto sneak home some Parma ham from a visit to Bologna, or her uncle stu
ngfresh burrata cheese from Florence into his suitcase, inside an elaboratecontraption of ice and plastic, for illicit consumption at home. While I don’tadvocate those kinds of extremes, often a food-based souvenir is an ideal giftfor yourself or for those you love. Using it at home instantly transports youback to the smells, the tastes, and the feelings of discovery you experiencedwhen you
rst tried it abroad.
Fresh chili peppers.
Compiling Recipes to Recreate at Home
Recipes are also perfect travel mementos, one of the best ways to bring backthe food-
lled enjoyment of a time away.One of my favorite things to do when I arrive in a new place is to
nd a dishthat I love and then search out a friendly street stall that o
ers it to themasses. I familiarize myself with the dish
rst, then circle back to my target

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