Abroad and in a relationship with food: A taste of home

(Note: “Abroad and in a relationship with food” is a blog that tracks my romantic relationship with food as I study abroad in Parma, Italy. Because I will never love anything as much as I love food.)

When I decided to go abroad, I expected the occasional bout of homesickness. Leaving home for an extended period of time was bound to create moments when I would long for my own bed. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the past week.

With the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the city lockdown that ensued, last week was a difficult time to be missing home. Even though I was unable to fly all the way to Boston to see my family, I got the next best thing: a trip to Madrid, Spain to see my second family, my BC family.

You know how I claim that I could never love anything as much as I love food? These two ladies give food a run for its money.

These are my friends.

These are my friends. All of our names start with the letter J.

Meet Jessie and Jillian, my two BC sisters. Our story begins the summer before freshman year, when I met Jessie at orientation. We instantly hit it off. Luckily, we were both too afraid of rejection to ask the other to be our roommate, so we left our housing up to the powers that be over in ResLife. Say what you want about ResLife, but they did something magical that summer. They assigned Jillian as my direct roommate and put Jessie in the room two floors below us, thus ensuring that we had no choice but to all become best friends.

Needless to say, seeing Jillian and Jessie is as close to home as it gets for me in Europe.

I won't say anything further about these two, as I feel no need to stroke their egos any more than I already have. The moral of this particular love story is that sometimes, you just need a taste of home. And boy, did it taste good.

You know what didn't taste particularly good? Spanish food. Most people who visit Spain will tell you that the food is nothing to call home about. With all of the eggs and ham in Madrid, all you need is a splash of green and you've got yourself a Dr. Seuss classic.

A second taste of home came when we decided to boycott Spanish food altogether and treat ourselves to what we would be eating if we were back in Boston. If we couldn't physically be there, the next best thing was to trick our stomachs into thinking that we were.

Exhibit A: Brunch.
If your mouth isn't watering, it's broken.

Eggs benedict with avocados and hash browns. If your mouth isn't watering, it's broken.

Ah, brunch. The great American pastime. Seriously, is there anything more American than brunch? It's like, "I slept in, but I still really want hash browns, but I'm also at that point when I could totally go for a burger." Boom. Brunch. Throw in a mimosa and Uncle Sam himself may as well be your waiter.

Exhibit B: Pad Thai.
The love of my life.

The love of my life.

I know, I know. Pad Thai isn't exactly American food. But ask anyone who has ever had the joy of living with me and they will tell you that if I am eating takeout, 9 out of 10 times it will be Pad Thai. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, this would be it. Nobody ever believes me, but it's true. I wouldn't get sick of it and you can't tell me otherwise. Also, this paragraph is taking me a really long time to write because I cannot take my eyes off of that picture. That's when you know it is love.

Exhibit C: Neapolitan Ice Cream.
I dare you to find something more classic than Neapolitan ice cream.

This is my shameless way of telling you that it was my birthday.

Did I mention my birthday was this weekend? If you haven't bought me a present yet, it isn't too late! My sneaky friends arranged for the waiters to bring out a special dessert and sing "Happy Birthday," in English nonetheless. I blushed the whole way through. Everything about this moment was amazing, especially when I got to eat the ice cream. I dare you to find something more classic than Neapolitan ice cream. You can't.

All photos courtesy of Jenna LaConte / Gavel Media.


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