Shiny strands of pasta, covered in a dusting of parmesan cheese; the fresh crunch of a wonderful baguette, or the overpowering smell of a typical ripe french cheese; the sound of waves washing up on an ocean shore while you lounge in the shade enjoying a serving of crispy fried squid rings…
On a regular basis we daydream about moving to another country; one that is less crowded then Holland, with more good food, fresh produce, a better food culture and more sunshine too! O and let’s not forget more space. Yes, I think that would be my number one demand; more space….
But then reality sinks in and I think about the food in Italy, France or Greece.. Abundant food, gorgeous food, fresh, local and full of flavor.. Even thinking about it now makes my mouth starts to water. I pause for a minute and look down at my ‘lovehandles’… Hmmm, what would actually happen when we lived in one of those countries? Would I lose all control and start to eat until I weight 300 pounds? Or will all that abundance make me more in control? Don’t they tell you that the people in the southern countries are healthier? Eat more healthy olive oil (o fattening!) and consume more anti-oxidants from wine and such?
I slump back down in my seat and start to really think this through… Would I seriously let my waistline determine the location of our home? Would I be so silly as to let that influence any decision making process? You have to know that my weight is something of an eternal struggle to control. It’s not something I obsess about but it is also something I am not really happy about. I eat too much, workout too little and therefore have gained too many kilo’s. It’s a fairly simple calculation that will tip the balance either way and in my case it is definitely going the wrong way. I am also a firm believer of the fact that diets don’t work. Let’s rephrase that; they DO work but they do not teach you the value of good food or how to properly nourish your body without gaining excess pounds. They only make you lose weight and gain it back quicker then you think. So no diets for me.
So I try to eat healthy and limit the intake of gorgeously smelly cheeses or whole fat products, but I can’t resist for very long. So I fall back into old habits. We snack too much when watching all those cooking shows on tv and at certain times I am too busy to even think about doing sports.
When we visited Italy for the first time last year I totally fell in love with the country, the people and the food. And to be honest if someone would offer me the opportunity to live there I would immediately jump at the chance and worry about my waistline later. It might, in fact, work out fine as I imagine our new life in Italy to be more outdoors then it is in rainy old Holland, so more fresh air, better food and maybe a little more natural exercise?
Not so very long ago; there was no food culture to speak of in Holland, people just ate whatever was seasonal (or whatever was cheapest in the supermarket) and didn’t worry too much about it. That is slowly changing with more and more people becoming aware of the importance of good food, the use of our natural resources and how to maintain them well for the future generations to come. Food – right now – is very fashionable. Almost to the point of extreme. Cooking shows are popping up, food festivals and little fancy shops that sell outrageously expensive exotic ingredients.
And on the other extreme end; here in my town (or our part anyway) there are only supermarkets and fairly mediocre stuff to be found. No specialty stores, no good meat to be found, not even a vegetable store or a bakery!! I mean; seriously…. how did that happen? If we want anything special we have to go to Amsterdam, where there is plenty of good things to be found. But that means traffic jams, hours of time that we don’t always have. Definitely not an ideal situation by any means.
And that’s one of the things I love about countries like Italy, France or Greece. Food there has always been part of their culture; everyone knows it’s important and they take pride in their own regional cuisine. Ofcourse I am looking at it from the outside and things might be different if you live in one of those countries.
And how did we even get to this topic in the first place? Well, I can tell you the answer to that, as one day, not so very long ago we at the Cold Coffee Club #coldcoffeeclub on twitter were discussing the fact that moving to another country might not be so good for your waistline. At which point a new writing assignment was mere moments away and born before we could actually think of the amount of work involved we signed up for this new challenge. Still in the spirit of Plate to Page! Joining in this challenge we have set ourselves are Jamie, Mona, Astrid, Jenn, Ilva and some are even sharing this topic with the challenge for Paperchef, which I will be posting about SOON… (making it tomorrow!)