Saturday, September 28, 2013

Oops, I Did It Again (No, this is not about Britney's song!)

I've said it before, many areas of America can be tough to live in when you're not the typical burger loving patron and you need to eat out. This applies to both hubby and I. I don't like beef, he chooses not to eat it for religious reasons. He also doesn't eat pork and most other meats for those same reasons (I presume...he could just be stubborn hahaha.)

I travel extensively for work and a lot of times hubby travels with me. Going through the culture shock has left him quite stubborn and picky to say the least. Anyone who thinks karma doesn't exist should read some of my culture shock posts. Especially this one, this one and this one. I'm grateful now that I wrote those posts, regardless of the trolls who would find me and argue on a few of them. It's quite humbling to reread the posts and to see what my husband has went through with a more leveled perspective.

Anyway, back to my point. Food. Food seems to be a common issue among expats, especially when they go through culture shock. Hubby has had his moments but has also been fairly open to trying new foods. He lets me suggest all sorts of things to him and he tries a lot of them. Some he's not in the mood for and some he just gives me a look like he's not certain if that food is really for humans hahaha. He does miss gravy dishes but that's another post in itself.

So we're out for work one day, busy traveling the state and we stopped at one of our common fast food restaurants, Bojangles. It's in the perfect location along a common route of travel. Hubby decides he wants to be a little adventurous and veer past the standard fries and settle into trying some of the other sides they offer.

I got excited and ordered him the beans and dirty rice. He likes rice and this one is kind of spicy. I didn't think any more of it. Fast forward a few trips later and we again go to Bojangles and he already knows he wants the beans and dirty rice because now he likes them. We ordered, sit down and start eating. Hubby finishes off his chicken, beans and over half of the dirty rice. He then looks up at me and asks "does this have pork in it?"

OMG. Apparently this one had some larger chunks of meat in it and then it suddenly dawned on me that yes, Bojangles dirty rice does have pork in it! I'd fed it to him more than once now and neither of us caught this exception. No one got mad but it reminded me of just how difficult it is to find food in a lot of cities here for someone with dietary restrictions.

Most of our fast food restaurants (Hardee's, Wendy's, Burger King, etc.) are centered around the burgers (they make). They all offer chicken and Burger King offers turkey and veggie burgers now but overall the choices are few and far between. When we're traveling, those options aren't always around and so we have to be even more careful or hubby is stuck with chicken. Both of us have agreed we can't stand McDonald's chicken biscuits. I've never really liked McDonalds (in India or the US) anyway but now I'm just sick of it. Many times it's the only thing open when we go out ultra early in the morning. We've both now agreed that we just won't eat if that's all that's available.

I wish home made foods were an option but sadly most of the time I'm working too much and there's no time to prepare them. Hubby is not yet a skilled chef though he's good at a few things and those few things take him about 2 hours to cook. I seriously doubt I'm going to drag him out of bed 2 hours earlier hahaha. He already has difficulty getting up in time for me to start my job as it is. (Sometimes I get up as early as 2 AM!)

Have you ever inadvertently fed your hubby forbidden foods?
Did you eat something while living as an expat you never would have touched in your home country?


  1. VasudhaivakutumbakamSeptember 28, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Once we were at a chinese buffet and the soup there almost looked like the chicken corn soup from India. I was so excited and got some but later some black stringy looking things. I was not sure what they were and the thought that it might be some kind of meat I am not used to made me almost vomit.:)
    Since, the beginning of our relationship I made a point that we both try each others foods.Therefore, I got used to eating some of the american meats. If your hubby is not very rigid about religious reasons you should ask him to take at least one bite that way his taste buds will slowly acclimate.
    I say this because in America we should live as a American. :)

  2. He's not too rigid and has been trying a lot. After mistakenly giving him the pork momo's too many times he's now decided he likes them (and has sworn me to secrecy about it ....oops). ;) He's in that phase right now where it bothers him that our foods aren't spicy enough so I've been hunting for more spicy options. He now likes Thai food because they cater to his level of spiciness better than other places.

    He does seem to be trying to live like Americans do. I'm not pushing for that though. I didn't want him to change too much as I liked him the way he was.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Meat in India means goat or chicken. Meat in American invariably means beef or pork. Hindus don't eat beef and muslims don't eat pork for religious reasons. Pigs in India are generally found eating garbage, that is why even Hindus like your husband, have reservations against pork.

    Indians eat small portions of meat, fish etc. It is cooked mostly as a dish like many other dishes. Americans eat huge portions of meat. How do you guys eat those huge meat sandwiches with layers of cut meat? I was shocked by the amount of meat that was consumed by an average person as per the TV programmes. Only a giant can eat and digest that amount of meat. Lots of sauce, lots of oil. Sure recipe for heart attack not to mention stomach upset. There are many communities in India who eat lots of meat, fish and chicken but Americans take the cake in meat eating.

  4. TV is rarely accurate. I found the portions of Malai tikka I was served in India much larger than the portions here. Butter chicken and even portions served in the home were larger than what I get here.

    As for steaks in the US, yes they can reach huge proportions but there's usually a large part of those portions you can't eat. So people pay for food they know they're going to throw away (like the bone or the fat).

    I know a few south Indians that eat 2-3 different meats a day and far outdo anyone in the US. It's not a country specific thing though meat seems more prevalent here. The quantity of meat eaten is per individual.

    I also found the amount of oil and grease consumed by many Amritsari's was significantly higher than anything I've seen in the US. I found it disgusting to be served food literally swimming in oil. I blogged on that once with photos. (Here's the post, but it seems the pictures are broken, I will fix those asap.

    Heart diseases is more prevalent in India than anywhere else in the world. There are multiple news reports to back me up on that but here's one discussing the high percentage and low age group. Contrary to what most Indians believe, the Indian diet is not the healthiest in the world.

  5. I never said Indian diet was healthy. But the kind of oil and grease which was used for frying meat was equivalent to what you get in Indian food. I think you have been exposed mostly to Punjabi food which uses significantly more oil/spices and larger pieces of meat compared to something like Bengali food which uses small portions of fish and meat. Here is an article in Hindustan Times which throws interesting light on oil in Indian food compared to western cooking:

  6. If you want to have a great time during your visit to Trekking in Nepal then you have stopped at the right place. Nepal Environmental Treks and Expedition is there at your service to help you have an enjoyable Holiday in Nepal.
    Trekking in Nepal
    Everest Base Camp Trek
    Island Peak Climbing
    Annapurna Base Camp Trek
    Tsum Valley Trek
    Manalsu Trek
    Nepal Trekking

  7. I think you have been exposed to Punjabi food. Punjabispredictably use more oil and spices. It differs from region to region. The restaurants use lots of oil to make the food tasty. Home cooked food is different, it uses comparatively less oil.

    Hey, what about southern american food. I guess it would comprise of lots of meat and dairy something like we getin rural North India. Here, is one of the articles in Hindustan Times which sheds some interesting light on oil in Indian and Western food

  8. u explain so much better

  9. Possibly. To be honest I don't eat a lot of typical southern American foods. I prefer a predominantly raw food experience and cook things as little as possible. I rarely use oil and even then, not much of it. I can't answer for the rest of the south. My cooking experience comes from having lived in 6 different states, I'm not specific to any region.