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Tourists and Eating

Old Dec 25th, 2005, 01:30 AM
  #1  
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Tourists and Eating

Is food your most important travel concern?
GSteed is offline  
Old Dec 25th, 2005, 03:59 AM
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No, it is minor, but I do like to try regional foods.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 04:06 AM
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Food is the last thing on my list, as eating wastes a tremendous amount of time, especiallly when one is eating in an unfamiliar place. Typically I eat at McDonald's when abroad, because I know what to expect (making it easy to order), and I'm free to eat quickly without waiting for table service, and the restaurants are usually clean and inexpensive. I don't like to lose four or five hours a day to food when I'm trying to sightsee or do other things.

I know there are many other people like this, although they seem very reluctant to admit that they are so. I have clients who come to Paris and are interested in everything but the food; so rather than try to force them to sample the local fare, we go to a fast-food place or sandwich stand and eat there, which requires only 10-15 minutes and allows us to resume sightseeing as quickly as possible.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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ira
 
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Hi G,

I don't think that you can understand other people without eating their food, preferably with them.

To me, what is used for food, how it is prepared and how it is eaten says more than all of the gilded churches, monuments to dead men, sculptures and paintings in any city.

I suggest that the only thing that compares to food is music.

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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 04:33 AM
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Food certainly isn't my main concern but I wouldn't go somewhere new without trying at least some of the local food/drink. Food has ENORMOUS cultural significance in many parts of the world and to ignore that fact is to miss out on much of what a country has to offer.

I agree with Ira, you will not necessarily 'learn' more by eating the local food but you will probably 'understand' more. And it's also a live, real-time experience, unlike a dry and dusty museum that glories in the past...
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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It is hard to say what is MOST important but food is certainly very very important to me when I travel. I probably spend as much time researching places to eat as I do everything else. I try to avoid places filled solely with other tourists and I always try to order the dishes for which a particular area is famous. So, I would never order spaghetti carbonara in Florence, for example. But I will try the tripe sandwiches from the street carts in that city. I think food offers a fascinating key to the hustory and culture of a particular place. Why, for example, does Tuscan bread seem to lack salt, a matter that has been commented on here in the past?
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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FOOD! Who would travel and then eat at another House of Fat and Fries.

The day is a failure if I had to pay more for the bed than for the food.

New tastes! New ways to use ingredients. New combinations! Wine! Dessert! Snacks! Street food! Pastry! Cheese! Chocolate! Breads! Candy! Beer!

Of course, just like being tone deaf, some people are taste deaf.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 07:58 AM
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I am with those that say "not the MOST important, but significant."

When I tell people about my travel, they express a lot of interest in the fodd and restaurants.

Keith
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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ira
 
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>Why, for example, does Tuscan bread seem to lack salt, ...<

It's an interesting question as to whether they leave salt out of the bread because it goes well with their salty cheeses and cured meats, or if they like salty cheeses and cured meats because they don't put salt in the bread.

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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Why travel anywhere if you are not going to try the regional dishes? Food plays an important part in all of the world’s cultures; when they eat, how they eat, what they eat. To visit a country and not sample its traditional and non-traditional cuisines is to miss out on one of the most important aspects that culture. If all you want to do is see a few sights and move on, why waste the time traveling to a foreign country when you can watch a documentary from the comfort of your own living room and order in a pizza. Your sense of taste plays an important part in your life. Trying the local dishes enhances your knowledge and enjoyment of that culture.

I can’t imagine going to the País Vasco, Pays Basque, Cantabria, Asturias or Navarra without enjoying what is considered by many to be some of the best cuisine in the world today. Or visiting Paris without having lunch in a classic bistro like Au Bon Accueil, L’Affriolé, L’Avant-Goüt, Le Bistro d’Hubert or Le Clos des Gourmets, to name but a few excellent examples. How can you visit any part of Spain without savoring its fabulous jabugo? Touring Italy without sampling several types of seafood pastas? Grab a hamburger in Athens? Spend a day in Morocco and not have a dish traditional Couscous? Why go?
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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I agree with you Robert.


The FOOD is not necessarily "THE" most important travel concern, but it certainly is a big part of the trip to me.

I love to experience the restaurants, cafes and enjoy local cusine. To me it enhances my enjoyment of the trip and is part of the fun.

To sit and enjoy a great meal, a glass of wine, people watch is awesome.

I love to research the restaurants, the type of food that is special in the area.

I even enjoy looking at specialty food stores, bakeries, local markets, and finding surprises.

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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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My main travel "concern" is experience. Food and lodging are certainly integral parts of having a unique experience, but I esp. look for opportunities to meet people and accept invitations without fear to dine with folks, get a tour by a local or visit someone's home. Since mine is not a budget of complete luxury, I have eaten my share of fast food, but not usually at a McDonalds or the like. Somehow, eperiencing great food or lodgings at a deal price is a thrill. My hubby and I ate mostly food from COOPs and Billa supermarkets while in Switzerland and ate a heck of a lot better/cheaper than American fast food chains. One can still sample regional fare but without the hassle of sitting/menu issues/tipping etc.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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I thought MFK Fisher and AJ Liebling answered the question many times over in their wonderful books. They are about food and travel and the inseperabilty of the topics. You go interesting places and you eat interesting food.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Ira: There are two reasons given as to why Tuscans do not salt their bread. The first is that salt was taxed heavily and the thrifty Tuscans thus baked their bread without it. The second reason given is that due to a lack of wood for ovens, bread was baked once a week. Bread baked without salt is more long lived, as it does not get moldy, merely dry. And dry bread is a staple of several Tuscan dishes based on the "cuisine of poverty," (cucina povera): panzarella, (bread and tomato salad), ribollita, papa al pomodoro--all of which are classic in the region and all of which have as a main ingedient, stale bread.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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I respect those for whom food is important to the enjoyment of travel. If I am traveling with my wife, we always have a nice dinner, however, when on my own it most likely will be a pre-made sandwich for lunch and pub grub for dinner. Generally I eat lightly, a bowl of soup or salad is normally all I need or want. When I travel I like to keep on the move and taking lots of time over food just isn't my thing. Now if you want to talk about beer and whisky, that another story.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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>> There are two reasons given as to why Tuscans do not salt their bread.<<

They don't tax it anyomre, and they have modern ovens today. Why do they STILL keep salt out of their bread. I've seen many people with a slice of bread in one hand, and a salt shaker in the other to salt the bread before they take a bite.

Tuscany is the only place I've ever seen my father-in-law refuse to eat bread.

Tradition ???

Like ekscrunchy, I research restaurants in an area just as thoroughly as I research sites to visit. I grab a slice of pizza or sandwich from a deli for lunch to save time. My dinners are always at least 2 hour affairs with as many courses as possible, and (perhaps too much) local wine.

Ira & I (and wives) spent a wonderful dinner together in the Dordogne this fall with some other fellow travelers and food lovers. Great way to cap the evening & exchange travel stories.

Stu Dudley
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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GSteed - food is definitely an integral part of travelling. Imagine visiting the Greek Islands, and not eating greek food together with a local greek wine. The whole experience of travelling is to learn about various cultures, history, food/wine, etc.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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Probably the single most important aspect of travel for me. Not the only important aspect, but integral to the experience.

There all sorts of ways to waste time, in my experience, but eating well and locally is rarely one of them. Adn I'll skip meals entirely if the only things available are poor quality. I generally lose weight when I travel.
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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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Some of my most special memories of travel have involved "food" eating at memorable places, and socializing at different restaurants and cafes.

I can't even imagine enjoying Europe on the level that I do, if it did not include some of the amazing "dining experiences" and eating some very special meals.

Travel to me is just not running from one sight to another to just "check it off of the TO DO LIST."

Italy and McDonalds do not even belong in the same sentence!

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Old Dec 25th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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I am all about the food. It's enormously important to me. That said, it doesn't have to be expensive to be good. It just has to be well prepared and authentic.
Food is a huge part of culture and I search out not only good restaurants, but bakeries, markets, street food, and cooking classes when I travel. Then again, I'm a little biased since I work in the restaurant industry.
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