It’s a rainy, foggy day in London.
At 7 a.m. I had a couple slices of toast slathered with Nutella in the hostel and now it’s 2 p.m. to put it simply, I am starving.
Before me, as the fog lifts, stands a somewhat humble McDonald’s restaurant. The golden arches gleam in the 10 minutes of sunshine for the day. In a way, it is comforting because it’s a piece of America abroad. Instead of walking in, I walk by — in search of kidney pies and a pint of Guinness.
When travelling abroad, students should seek out the local fare because it paints as much a picture of culture as the Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower.
Different kinds of food say things about the places they come from in terms of agriculture and its people.
Food from the United Kingdom is hearty and filling, which can be associated with the chilly weather — like the persistent London fog — but a meal of meat pies and mashed peas says more than that.
A traditional meal like the full English breakfast denotes the history of rural people of the U.K. on a plate. Its history is believed to be from rural England.
A full English breakfast of streaky bacon, eggs, hash browns, a steamed tomato, beans and heaping pile of toast was a sustaining meal that kept workers full during long work hours. Not to mention, it is also a meal to keep you full on a whole day of sightseeing.
Food also becomes more meaningful in cities such as London.
During World War II, the focus was on supporting the troops and so staple ingredients were rationed into the 1950s. Therefore, the food that was available became a strong focus for living. England became infamous as a joke for bad cooking.
Sweeney Todd could almost be taken as commentary on British Cuisine. Although this is the case, what is on plates in pubs truly speaks for the people of the past and how hard they worked.
If the purpose of your trip is complete cultural immersion, why not dive into something new?
It can be tempting to gravitate towards places that are familiar because they are oddly comforting. Don’t follow the light.
The worst thing to happen when you come back from your journeying is to tell friends and family that you went to a Pizza Hut. Although it may be a slice of pizza with a hot dog in the crust, it steals precious time away from broadening your horizons.
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