On Food

Today’s topic of food was chosen by Rachel H, who attends UT Arlington.

Interestingly, or rather uninterestingly, I have almost no opinion about food. Though I try to take the liberal arts approach to life, food has never, for me, been a topic of artistic merit. I think this has to do with a childhood incident of mine.

When I was three, almost four, I had some piece of fish that was tainted somehow. It was very bad; time of hospitalization: three weeks. Three weeks! With needles poked into your body. (I don’t actually remember all of this; my grandparents told me about it.)

That said, the incident took place in China, and you may know from history that China around 1995 was NOT the most sanitary place. It still isn’t, but things have improved since then.

Well, perhaps not by that much. When I visited China this summer, in 2010, I ran into a food problem again. I wasn’t hospitalized, but it felt pretty bad. It was the day we were to return to the US.

We went on a night train from Suzhou to Shanghai. We were supposed to sleep on it, but I wasn’t able to get any. My stomach was being very disagreeable with me. For context, my last meal was at around 7 pm, and the train left at 10 pm. When we arrived in Shanghai early in the morning, at around 5 am, I was running off zero sleep and feeling miserable.

By 7 am we were at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. It got worse. On my way to the restroom, I threw up, in pretty much the middle of the airport. But even after that it did not feel any better. Since 7 pm the night before, I did not eat a single meal until I was back in Austin, some 42 hours later. Even then it took about three days in the US to fully recover.

Okay, sorry if this has so far been a depressing post. I guess the point is, in China, watch very carefully what you eat. And I almost mean that in a literal way.

Shifting Gears…

Enough with the talk about China. I’ve lived in the US for 15 of my almost 19 years. And indeed, I have not personally encountered, or witnessed, or heard of from any direct connection an incident of food poisoning in the US. Of course, the FDA has occasional slips, but it’s much better than whatever the corresponding agency is in China.

Anyways, the multiculturalism of the US means lots of ways to try different foods! My family goes to Chinese restaurants a lot, and that’s really Chinese-American food, not Chinese food. There is a noticeable difference.

And living in Texas, it’s hard to not try Mexican food. It’s pretty awesome, as long as you’re in a sit-down restaurant and not a Taco Bell. (Though occasionally having a Taco Bell can be good.)

The third type of food I’ve had the most is probably Italian. I don’t think ANYONE has a problem with Italian food. Keep it up! (Fun trivia of the day: Two of my favorite openings in chess are the Italian Attack and the Sicilian Defense.)

Then there’s “American” food, and what I mean by that in this context is hamburgers, steaks, fries, etc. Things found in steakhouses and Denny’s. Perhaps fast food would fit in this category as well.

Other kinds of foods I’ve tried are decent, like French, Korean, Japanese, and Indian. One I find to be a bit more strange than satisfying is Persian food, but that is based on only one experience. I would need to try it some more to form a real opinion. I’d rather have Persian food, however, than food from China.

Conclusion: Food is cool, except when it’s not.

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