From a young age, my parents shared their love of travel with my sister and I by taking us on several trips a year, from Texas-DisneyWorld road trips to a 10-day tour around Italy. Throughout these travels, along with exploring new sites, I was drawn to learning more about the daily lives of people who live there. I want to explore how the people interact with their physical and human environment, and perhaps most fascinating to me, how people interact with one another within their culture, and how food brings us together.
On many of our travels, food was an integral part of the experience. Instead of going to the fanciest or tourist-trendy restaurants, we sought restaurants that were patroned mainly by the locals or opted for street food vendors, my sister’s favorite way to discover new eats.
During longer trips, we’d often rent apartments so that we could use the kitchen to enjoy a home-cooked meal on the road. Lunches were usually eaten out while exploring the new place, but dinners would be enjoyed in our apartment where we could reflect on the day while sharing a wholesome meal. My favorite dinner adventures began in farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Cooking on the road allowed my family to explore local ingredients and cuisine; using the local produce created our own fusion cuisine. We were able to try our own hand at roasting lamb shanks in New Zealand, making ceviche using fresh fish speared from the Nicaraguan reef, or blending a smoothie with dragon fruit.
At the time that I am writing this, I travel for work and stay at hotels Monday through Thursday. My colleagues and I work long hours tied up with meetings or buried in our computers. Yet, we still make it a point to take at least 30 minutes to sit together, away from our computers and enjoy lunch in the sun.
What is it about food that draws people together? What is the nature of mealtime across different cultures? How does food serve as a conduit for creating community? Drawing from experiences in my past and current travels, I am eager to explore and document communities across cultures through the experience of preparing and sharing food.