Last night I was cooking a big dinner for 14 people. It was pretty simple and I had some help. I cooked potatoes (with onion and bacon. I cook the bacon and onion then add cubed boiled potatoes to the frying pan and cook it all up), green beans (whole with bacon and onion - one batch without bacon), plates of fresh vegetables ( radishes, celery, carrots and little tomatoes), grilled peppers, grilled onion and a bunch of grilled meat.
The help came in the form of a salad and a carrot cake that were brought by friends, as well as fresh bread from the bakery.
Based on how much was consumed I feel like it was a success. As I did the shopping and the cooking it got me thinking about our impending move the US and things I will miss. (A lot of things do that as we get closer to leaving.)
Of course food is a huge part of it all. I’ve lived in Hungary for 10 years now and one thing I’ve never really fully grasped at a gut level is just how compact Europe is. There are a ton of very unique cultures that all live in a relatively small space. And so each place has their own culinary specialties and preferences but all of the others are so easily available as well. Historically the movement of peoples (peaceful and otherwise) has also encouraged this mixture.
One of our guests brought a salad at our request. We love her salads. She’s Albanian and Albanian food makes me think of Singapore. Not in the taste but the fact that Albania sits as a kind of nexus between the Turks, Greeks, Italians and their many Slavic neighbors. Of course they have their own spin that they add but there is such a wonderful mix of all these influence. I find it as no surprise that often a bakery or restaurant I love turns out to be owned and operated by Albanian families.
The US is diverse to a point. And there are a lot of flavors there - some that I have missed in our time here. But there will be so much from Europe that I will miss. And it’s much more affordable to eat well (read healthy) here. In the US much of the most affordable food is the worst for you. So I’ll need to work on finding good sources and just accept that it’s going to cost more.