Around a week ago, I was in my new place kind of hungry, I had just moved in, I was jet lagged and a bit homesick so I decided to cook food that would make me feel like home. In my household we are very healthy eaters so we normally eat steamed vegetables, salads or fruits so I made steamed eggplants, leeks and green beans. This is very easy and fast to cook, normally it takes around 15 minutes and you just boil water and put the vegetables in the steamer. This time, it took me more than half an hour to cook and they did not even taste the same! It was supposed to make me feel back at home but it did not!
The price of a few vegetables and fruits from the grocery store was also very high compared to what I usually spend on food back in Spain. I always wonder why is it so expensive here? And why are the products lower quality overall? Sometimes fruits like strawberries taste very artificial and don’t have as much juice as a normal strawberry.
For my blog posts I want to focus on the differences between the United States and Southern European countries like Spain, Italy or Greece. Mediterranean foods are similar to each other regardless of the country. We have similar climates and kinds of diets. This will include various other questions: what type of pesticides are allowed in the European Union versus in the U.S.? What commerce relationships are created from the food industry? The differences in food consumption; for example, here it is very common to buy food or drinks for “on the go” like the drive-thrus or getting the food directly in a plastic or in a box rather than a proper plate. However, in Spain we like to sit down, enjoy what we ordered and hang out with the person or people who are present. This leads to the idea that food and culture are tied together. Not only the types of food cooked, but also the behavior when eating.
Another big issue that comes to my mind is that the United States is one of the richest countries in the world, so how are fruits and vegetables much more expensive than fast food? How does this affect the population’s health? How are people from lower socio-economic statuses able to afford healthy food? This could lead to a debate on what the right to food in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) entails and if there is really a right to food and how universal it can be since each country has different qualities and prices of food.
On a personal note, it has been a week since I arrived in the United States and I found alternative ways to cook my vegetables in order for them to taste more familiar. I also found grocery stores that have more organic products so that I avoid eating as many pesticides as possible. My topic as well as encompassing the questions I mentioned, it also has daily relevancy as I eat everyday. Therefore, this research will help me on a personal level too!