First let me declare – I love food and I love travel! I could chatter about these topics all day. But so many talented bloggers exist that thought I’d leave those subjects to their capable hands – but never say never. Instead, I want to focus on how culture and traditions make for a richer experience when dining, traveling, or just getting to know someone from another country.
As a child growing up in Minnesota, I remember thinking how much more exotic the local Chinese restaurant compared to my Mom‘s hamburger casserole. Now that I have developed more sophisticated tastes, and a far more discerning palate (I hope), I now know that the ‘brown rice’ they prepared was nothing more than white rice liberally splashed with soy sauce (I kid you not) – but, boy was it exotic at the time.
Or later, after putting some dim sum etiquette to the test; I felt like I shared a secret with the restaurant staff. It was heady stuff, especially as my table mates marveled at my ability to get our tea refilled simply by tilting the teapot’s lid, compared to their clumsy attempts to catch the staff’s attention as they darted around the restaurant.
I am naturally curious, and relish the added dimension that cultural awareness adds to appreciating food and travel; two intwined activities. I feel that with globalization, the customs and traditions that make us unique get overlooked or blurred. Choosing to order Chinese or Indian cuisine for dinner seems to make the same personal connection as the choice of chicken or hamburger, and where’s the fun in that?
Why did I name my site after a mollusks?
I wanted a foodstuff enjoyed the world over that had positive connotations associated with it. For me the choice was oysters. Oysters are a food that achieved great popularity around the world, and until they were over-harvested, people of all economic strata enjoyed them. They are the harbinger of the environment – if they start to thrive in a once poor area, its a good indication of an improving environment, and conversely eating oysters from less than pristine water, does not bode well for the diner.
I realize I could have selected the name of any number of foods, but what other fare comes with such ready associations and expressions as:
- The world is my oyster
- Pearls of wisdom
- Amour (of course)