Are you ever leery of eating food your unfamiliar with in foreign countries? I grew leery of eating food I wasn't sure of the ingredients just living in San Antonio! I just never felt compelled to rush to my local HEB for the great sale on lengua or tripe! Of course, I was leery, but let's be real..If you offer it to me I'll probably eat it! I'm a nurse, and as a nurse I will eat darn near anything you put in front of me. Seriously, I can clean up vomit and eat nachos immediately after without batting an eye...I can even discuss festering, oozing sores and eat simultaneously. It's a calling, I'm telling ya!
I went on a trip to England when I was 19 with the Oklahoma Baptist Youth Choir. It was a great adventure. 400 youth ages 14-19 touring England. Can you even imagine the fun and excitement we had? Can you imagine being the poor churches trying to feed 400 kids? Most churches offered us quiche. Which I had no problem with, but after about a week away from home, you yearn for something more American...
-A beverage with ice in it.
-As much ketchup as a heart desires (you have to pay for extra ketchup in England!)
-Water that was not sparkling. I remember wanting to cry one day because I couldn't find any water to drink. I thought I'd finally found some in a convenience store and was sorely disappointed to learn it was sparkling.
And I'm sure there was more, but those are the things that I remember missing most.
I do remember LOVING breakfast in England. Divine. The cream they had for the croissants was to die for. And the jelly. And the croissants. And the butter. And the croissants. Mmmmm....I'm craving croissants......
The first night we got to England we were all so jet lagged and sleepy that we were delirious. I had broken my foot a few weeks before our trip, so I had a foot the size of a watermelon that day. The lovely person who had the aisle seat in my row on the plane would not switch me seats. They obviously needed some Jesus in their heart!
We were supposed to be staying at this very elaborate, very upscale hotel....Supposed to is the key part of that phrase, and that's all I'll say about that. Anyway, we were being served dinner in our hotel that night. Can you imagine the poor wait staff taking care of hundreds of Americans and their sponsors who are exhausted? My heart goes out to them in hindsight. At the time, I just wanted them to give me some food. I'm not sure, but I think they fed us dry chicken with rice. One girl at our table only liked rice with sugar on it. She asked the waiter for sugar. He brought her a bowl of cubes. She spent the majority of the meal trying to crush the sugar for her rice. When the dessert was brought out, they served tea and coffee. With this they brought out the appropriate condiments: cream and.....sugar packets!
The last church we sang at broke the pattern of quiche for supper. They served us chicken nuggets. The kids were so excited that most of them went back for seconds. I was not too crazy about them, but I ate my serving, because I was hungry....They reminded me of a special delicacy I had eaten with my boyfriend's parents (my now in laws). I never cared much for the treat, no matter how, ummm, delicate it was. Or hungry I was.
We were all loading on our coach to be returned to our rooms, and the kids were going on and on about how wonderful it was to have chicken nuggets. Our coach driver began to laugh and laugh.
"You Americans! Why don't you call things what they are? You call the loo a 'restroom', a water spigot a 'fountain' and you call sheep balls chicken nuggets!"
The coach was strangely quiet the remainder of the evening.......
Rocky Mountain Oyster, anyone?