Since the day I got here, I have been dreaming of eating a taco. A salty, beautiful carne asada soft taco with maybe some guacamole and a side of rice and beans. Even thinking about it now is making my heart swell in anticipation (I go home in about a month to be reunited with my long-lost love, Mexican food). Of course that is not to say that I haven’t tried to recreate my old favorites over here. I’ve used my blender to make horchata and have tirelessly searched the produce section for non-rock-like avocados. I even tracked down a decent Mexican restaurant in Paris when I went, but having a chorizo taco on a sad, imported tortilla is not quite like home.
In the absence of chilaquiles, I’ve been eating other food. Every so often I walk past one of my favorite boulangeries and pop in to grab a cookie. They aren’t quite like American cookies, the dough is made with almond paste and bitter chocolate, but it is very very tasty. Sometimes, instead of a cookie, maybe I grab a pain au chocolat. Or perhaps I stick to a classic baguette to make a sandwich with.
I now regularly eat crepes and quiches. I have developed quite a taste for biscottes and cheese. And while it is true that I still stare longingly at the dry, unfortunate flour tortillas in the supermarket’s international section, I have gotten quite good at passing them up and grabbing charcuterie instead.
This year I’ve fallen back in love with roast chicken, a relic of my childhood that I swore off after having eaten it so many times for family dinners. I eat duck regularly now, not just for special occasions. And the amount of goat cheese I consume has nearly tripled in recent months.
But what does this all mean? This new-found appreciation of all food that is rich, buttery, and completely devoid of spice? Will I have trouble readjusting to my quesadillas? Will even eating a pepperoni pizza trigger memories of the pounds of salami I’ve had since being here in France? Is it possible that upon my return I will crave a pear tart in the same way I now crave the hot first bite of a burrito?
I think so.
And now, with my last month ahead of me, I plan to relish in the glory that is French food in the hope that when I get back to the United States my palate will be programmed to always remember the love I have now for the yummy things I’m eating. I am still going to enjoy that first taco though.