Living abroad changed me. Every time. I live in a new place, meet new people, learn a new language. I have to adapt to a different culture. For me this doesn’t mean that once I live in France I become a French person. But finding myself in those new surroundings I see myself more clearly. It becomes easier to tell what doesn’t make me a French person. And I can distiguish the layers the different experiences in my life have added to to my personality. Home – Austria, my family, my friends. Work experiences in social work with both animals and people. Ireland. Norway. Salzburg – university. Now France.
I feel like every one of those experience helped to find my priorities. Preferences that have always been there, but that I can now recognise as what they are and express more explicitly.
One of these priorities for me is food. I find people’s food journeys fascinating as they can say so much about a person. Here is mine.
In my upbringing, my mum made the food decisions. She buys organic food. Having seen conditions in slaughterhouses, she rarely buys meat. Due to her upbringing, she is an extremely cost-conscious person, always comparing different shops for the best prices. She despises throwing away food (and other things). She buys products from three different places ssupporting local agriculture.
When I was 14 or 15, I started helping out at an animal sanctuary. The owners were vegans and tried to convert everybody they met. Being easily impressible at that age I did consider it, but not really knowing what inspired a vegan diet it didn’t seem worth it in the end.
But at some point around that age, I think even before working at the animal sanctuary I did become a vegetarian. First reason: watching documentaries, such as We Feed The World. You can watch it here if you haven’t seen it already – it’s in German, but the pictures probably speak for themselves. Second reason: I never really liked meat all that much, so it wasn’t a great loss.
Ireland didn’t really change my diet, with the exeption of learning how to make French toast and stir fry and eating A LOT of candy.
Norway. My host family cooked healthy food. Vegetables, salmon. Then came a change in my diet. Over the Easter holiday I was staying with the family at the mountain cabin and the grandmother, who had been incredibly kind to me, took a whole day to prepare lamb. It was in the oven for seven hours, I think, and she kept checking the temperature. When it was finally ready rather late at night, I just decided to taste a piece. Because seeing my host family eat meat I have started to develop a craving. And because it was just such a wonderful atmosphere, being in the mountains together with the whole family, enjoying a meal. From that point on I ate meat when the family ate meat. I liked the taste of salmon and chicken, not so much of the beef that was a bit to rare for my taste. I did not like that all that meat was not organic.
Salzburg and France. I started living on my own, doing the grocery shopping on my own. I continued to buy organic, I’ve always felt that it’s worth the money. I occasionally eat fish, very rarely meat.
This is still the case now. But France again has changed my habits. Living just around the corner from a farmer’s market, I started buying my seasonal vegetables and fruit there. I started to realise that it’s also cheaper. I buy many things at the organic supermarket, where I have the possibility to pick out single pieces of fruit/veg.
Because of my rather long commute, I started listening to podcasts. Many speak of ways to reduce food waste, or waste in general – have a look at this site to read about a home that only produces a mason jar of waste per year!
Inspired by Erin Ireland I recently began to question my diet choice again. I made almond milk (find the recipe on her blog), realised I liked it better than cow milk, started wondering if I could easily switch some other products for a vegan version. This is where I am at at the moment. I am experimenting a bit with vegan meals. I am wondering how soy product affect the planet (About to do some research). I am considering which animal products I don’t want to give up (parmesan).
The one thing I am definitely keeping from my France experience is going to the farmer’s market. It has become a Saturday ritual for me, and it is about so much more that buying cheap food. You meet the people who grow the food. You meet like-minded people. It gives you motivation to get up on a Saturday morning. You always know what’s in season. …
I usually go to the Montessuy market, but met a friend at the Saint-Antoine market yesterday which is where I took the pictures. It is located right on the banks of the Saône river with Vieux-Lyon in the background. The sun was shining through the market stands and I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday morning. Definitely a must-visit in Lyon.
And I would love to know what you think about all this and what your food journey looks like! Where are you buying your food?