Friday, January 29, 2010

The Foodie Label

What is a foodie?

I can't seem to get a straight answer on this at all. And like pretty much every trendy/newly-invented-word*, everyone has their own definition.

When I first started to hear/read the word foodie I was like, "ok, these are people who really like food..." But seriously folks, who doesn't like food? So is there a higher degree of like-age here or something???

Then I started to hear that it's basically the same thing as a "gourmet" - but that people think that gourmet = snobby, so they made up foodie to imply something more down-to-earth.

Digging further I found that a lot of people HATE the term foodie AND think that it implies plenty of snobby-ness (I came to this conclusion after reading far too many message boards discussing the definition of "foodie" - made my head hurt honestly). It seems that these "foodies" get obsessed with reading up on every new restaurant, going there and critiquing their dishes based on whatever article/book/blog they just read (these readings generally telling them what the new trends are for ingredient pairings and which newly discovered wines go best with them). Some of the foodies actually get into actually cooking things themselves in order to substantiate their expert knowledge of food.

This description of foodies kind of reminds me of those "sports fans" who get all their information from Sports Center and PTI and proceed to repeat the opinions of these television personalities instead of actually watching the games and coming up with their own opinions.

I'm definitely not pretending to be better than these types of people AT ALL. With my constant moving around for the past two years, I've done a piss-poor job at keeping up with my favorite sports teams. Sometimes I like to pretend I'm still a dedicated fan, but I will quickly admit that I know nothing these days about the players, stats or what-have-you. And since I'm just getting into this whole cooking/culinary thing, I know I have plenty to learn - and I will read articles and books about food in order to do that.

I guess my conclusion here is that I still don't know what a foodie is and so I will never call myself one. I'm not an expert on food or cooking and even as I learn more I will take everything with a grain of salt (BAM! food idiom!) and try my very best to stay true to my personal taste.

* according to my research, the term "foodie" was coined in 1981. So maybe no-so-new. Depends - like always - on your perspective.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Help save Kelly's bacon (and other food idioms)

As I have hinted at before, this blog is going to take a turn in the foodie direction. Fun! I'm still working out the specifics along with a blog name change... which is where you come in! I'd like some input on new blog names. I don't want to try to force this blog into being something that I'm not. So I'm embracing all aspects of my interests in order to incorporate them into something entirely and uniquely me. So I want the title to include an English food idiom.

So think up your favorite or pick one from what I have found and leave a comment. Explaining why you like it would be helpful as well!

cool as a cucumber
with a pinch of salt
in a nutshell
easy as pie
a piece of cake
spill the beans
nutty as a fruitcake
in a pickle

(etc etc .... yes I'm a language nerd - and I'm hoping all my fellow language nerds will add to the selection)

And so I'll leave you with the sandwich I had for lunch yesterday...laugh all you want, it was delicious.
And I have to say, buying the right bacon totally makes a huge difference. Being poor and so, in turn, rather frugal with my food purchases, I always opt for the cheaper alternatives. Obviously this will change the taste quality but I got used to it. Now with the help of my financial backer (thanks mom!) I can get my hands on slightly better quality and slightly more expensive food items. In conclusion, this bacon was awesome. (in case you're wondering, it is Oscar Meyer bacon. no joke)

(turkey lunch meat, bacon, spinach, colby jack cheese, pickles, banana peppers, mayo, and spicy mustard on whole wheat bread. Accompanied with Utz Maryland Crab chips - the best potato chip ever created! - and a pickle)

Monday, January 11, 2010

La Peliroja en Guachinton

That's right, my friends...I am back in the US of A. Which means the title of this blog has got to change... but that will come in time...

For now, I'll procrastinate the next step in my life by posting a photo wrap up.

The unwanted boy puppy. We named him Otto. He likes to bite everything at the moment.

Me drinking the national beer, Gallo. And of course, that's the Guate flag on the side.

Otto again. Very young and tiny. He is much bigger now...almost as big as his wimpy father.

The man looking somber. I just like this photo.

Maybe I will visit Guatemala again someday and have a more positive experience all around. But for now I'm content to have a happy stomach and calm nerves (although both have been a processes to change).

Monday, January 4, 2010

both sides of the coin or my love/hate relationship with travel

Like always when I leave a country to return to the US, I have a list of things I cannot wait to have when I get "home."

- a shower with hot water AND water pressure
- a fully equipped kitchen with lots of awesome kitchen tools (thanks mom!)
- a diet with far less pork
- a washer and a dryer
- drinkable tap-water

But there are also things I will miss....

- amazing coffee.
- freshly made corn tortillas
- chocobananos
- the man
- the academy (aka my place of work)
- spring-like weather always

I love/hate this feeling. It always starts when I begin to pack. It's this sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach (that has nothing to do with food poisoning). It's feeling like you're losing something important but at the same time it's excitement to move on. I think this feeling is exactly why I like flying. It's a rush of emotion and energy. It's intense.

I just wonder when after this I will have this feeling again..... we shall see.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

my "guata" is "mala" or how my life is shifting...again

So I'm completely done with "stomachache"-landia. (in case you didn't catch that from the previous post)

(Side story... when I first got food poisoning here, a Chilean friend of mine said to me, "well obviously! I mean you're living in Guatemala! Get it? Guata - mala?!? jajajajaja!" In case the Chilean Spanish humor goes over your head, let me explain. In Chilean Spanish "guata" means "stomach" and "mala" means (everybody all together now...) "bad" --- so to a Chilean "Guatemala" is basically the equivalent of "stomachache." Awesome huh?)

My life has been pretty insane the past few years. Last year I lived in three different countries (and never stayed longer than 4 months in any of them). It's been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. And career development-wise, I feel like I've been lost at sea. With my birthday this month I feel as though I'm getting too old to mess around like this and I need to focus on something specific for work and settle down a bit. The problem is, I don't really know what that means....

I have a project in mind at the moment. I'm excited about it, but it's still in the early stages. I'm hoping it works out and I can make into my life. I'll explain that a little further later when I start making changes to this blog to go along with said project.

oh and PS I'm flying into the US late on Tuesday night. Surprise!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

There's no place like....????

News flash! News flash! Guatemala is NOT Chile. *SURPRISE!*

OK OK... Obviously I knew that Guatemala isn't Chile before I came here. I understand that Latin America is not one big country. In fact I've had to explain numerous times to other people that I in fact did NOT drink lots of tequila and eat burritos everyday while living in Chile. But after having a successful "living abroad" experience in Santiago, I naively assumed that living in Guatemala would be a snap.

I feel bad constantly complaining about this country so I want to say that everything I'm about to write is totally based on my personal and limited experience living in Guatemala City for four months. So take from this what you will and judge me as a wimpy gringa if you so wish.

Never ever ever in my entire life have I had so many stomach illness than I have had in the past four months. I have had four CRUCIAL (what up DC slang?) cases of food poisoning. And by crucial I mean curl up in the fetal position, feel like I'm going die, and getting to know the porcelain god waaay better than I ever wanted kind of super duper crucial food poisoning. Don't worry, I won't elaborate further. I think you got the point.

I never had these issues in Chile. I got mild food poisoning ONCE from a sandwich with bad mayo. My stomach was a little queasy while adjusting to the tap water, but nothing that painful. I ate street food constantly and never had an issue. Dear Chile, Despite your rather bland and not so interesting food, I love and absolutely miss all of it at this very moment.

I severely miss my independence. Due largely to the safety issues here, I cannot go anywhere alone. And since I don't know a ton of people here, I rely heavily on the man to escort me everywhere. So if the man is working, I am a prisoner of my house. I miss walking around outside!! (and feeling relaxed while doing so). I miss being able to do normal errands, shopping, taking the bus, etc etc ALONE! I want to be able to hail a taxi on the street and not worry if the driver will try to mug me (not try to rip me off - THAT I can handle. I'm talking about gun totting cabbies). I seriously dream about wandering the streets of Santiago by myself.

I feel as though people here walk out the door in the morning and think "I wonder if I'm going to get mugged today?" Whenever I talk to a Guatemalan they are talking about the shooting that happened down the block yesterday, how their friend/aunt/cousin was mugged recently, their past robbing experiences, and warning me not to go ANYWHERE without someone (preferably male and Guatemala ... muscles wouldn't hurt either).

Although nothing (knock on wood) has happened to me, I've heard so much about crime and violence in this country that I am legitimately terrified to walk ONE block by myself. When I started to work at the Academy I was happy to learn that there is a mall one block away. Malls are the safest place to walk around and I thought oh good! I can go window shop if I have a break in classes during the day. Nope. Wrong wrong wrong. One of my co-workers told me a story of being robbed at gunpoint as he walked to the mall to grab some lunch (male, guatemalan... not muscle-y, but not wimpy looking either. So how would a gringa do? I don't even want to know). Needless to say, I've never walked the one block from my work to the mall ... I was sufficiently scared by the story.

Maybe I am a wimp. Maybe I am taking all of these stories too seriously. Who knows? All I know is that I live everyday scared of doing anything and everything. This is not mentally healthy.

I know that going back to the US is an option. And it's one that I'm considering. But oddly enough I find myself day-dreaming about that skinny little country at the end of the world: Chile. I know it's nowhere near perfect... but I've realized that I feel safe there and that is a very big deal, believe you me.

I still have a lot of soul-searching to do before I decide where to plant myself for a good long while (i'm starting to feel the urge to settle down... am I getting old?). But this is just a small glimpse of where my head is at right now.