Pickles, Pumpkins, and Bagels, oh my!

November 20, 2011

Sometimes I think living abroad is a bit like being pregnant. Not that I know very much about pregnancy, if anything at all. But gleaning from high school health class and Hollywood movies, out-of-the-norm food cravings are often a characteristic “symptom” and taking drastic measures to satiate those desires also common. Pickles dipped in peanut butter seem to be the cliche example.

Similarly, I have found that residing in a foreign country brings unusual gastronomic urges to the forefront for me. What I suddenly crave is not necessarily strange in and of itself, but when I am stationed at home, never does it cross my mind to go out of my way to procure the particular edible items.

Or, now that I think of it, this might just be a case study on simply wanting what you can’t have.

In any case, studying in Spain brought out some funk master cravings that I am ashamed to recall even now. Ground beef flavored with cheap packets of taco seasoning, Kraft mac n’ cheese with hot dogs (no thanks to S and our late-nights writing MMW papers), and chocolate mint cookie clusters from Trader Joe’s (I barely liked chocolate pre-Barcelona).

Now that I am in Paraguay, I find myself dreaming of all things pumpkin, dying for Chile-Limon Hot Cheetos, and getting weepy over–hold onto your seats–CHINESE FOOD. These aren’t your standard weekly cravings. Of course, I also crave burritos and pollo asado fries and melty cheeseburgers, but I always crave those things. (I know, I’m the picture of health.)

The reality is, I have never taken to pumpkin items, sweet or savory, until now as I drool over endless pumpkin dessert variations on the food blogs I follow. I am a junk food junkie, but Cheetos aren’t my favorite snack by any stretch (chipsss, please). And if you know me at all, you are probably well aware of my strong aversions to animals and Chinese cuisine. You can then imagine the conflicted emotions that arose when I couldn’t wait to go home to eat my leftover Singapore curry noodles (yes, I even cooked Chinese food from scratch), and when I daily lament the lack of dumplings and niu ro mien around these parts.

It gets weirder. Tonight I caught myself smearing plain cream cheese (expensive as heck, but I had a bit leftover from a recent batch of frosting) on a freaking saltine cracker. Palate-pleasingly flavored potato chips are scarce (no thank you, tomato and mayo), so I have resorted to dry, gluey crackers when I’ve got the munchies. And when the tangy, smooth cream cheese hit my taste buds, I’m pretty sure I could have punched a baby for a bagel (also not available).

I can only hope that one day when I am incubating my own little bagel (that I will not punch) in the oven that is my ever-greedy stomach, I will not be living abroad or anywhere near a geographic location that produces poop-tasting bacon puffs, charges 5 USD per gram of cheddar (the NERVE), and lacks frozen dumplings.

Grocery stores and future husband beware.

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4 Responses to “Pickles, Pumpkins, and Bagels, oh my!”

  1. caseyucsd Says:

    Jajajaja! I’m going through the same things (almost…perhaps to a more sane extent). Glad to see it’s not just me.

  2. Jen Says:

    I pity you and everyone else who doesn’t have frozen dumplings nearby!

  3. Grace Says:

    haha aww. i wish i could send you asian food in the mail.


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