No travel blog would be complete without a post about food and diet—always as much a delight as a challenge.
Breakfast is often pepperoni and white peppers, rolls and apricot jam, and something that tastes like hot weak lemonade. The Hungarians call it tea. Most of the team opts for the coffee bar afterwards, even though they have to pay for it.
One morning breakfast was two hot dogs on the plate, with a bowl of mustard on the side. Word quickly spread to pass the hotdogs to the baby—she loved them.
Lunch invariably begins with a hot soup, and both lunch and dinner involve copious amounts of starch and carbohydrates, a slab of meat, with nary a vegetable in sight. Fruit is also conspicuous by its absence. No desserts. We are frequenting the corner market almost daily to stock up on dairy, fruit and water, in the unending battle to keep hydrated. And a daily trip to the gelato stand has been added to the schedule (although I am abstaining, still trying to work off last year’s gelato onslaught in Italy! One walks a lot in Europe, but not enough for this diet!)
Last night, when one of our members revolted at being served a killer mound of pasta, topped with deep fried pork, we corralled an English speaker and begged for fruits and vegetables. That netted us one salad for the week, and bowls of sour, tart, aged, bitter fruit.
Last night’s dinner deserves special mention. A plate of what looked like blackened ravioli arrived. We poked and discussed for a while, guessing what might be in the interior, while the wait staff whispered to themselves and giggled. We wondered if they had set us up with a ‘test dinner’: “Let’s see if the Americans will eat this!”
Jacob went first and seemed to like it, till his face went all south and he asked for water. Chuck and I were up next, and smiled approvingly, then frowned. Marcia waited. Gayle and Melissa were eating out tonight, so they couldn’t weigh in. The discussion began…
Jacob’s Conflict: “I’m really, really hungry, but I hate this.”
Chuck’s Solution: “I’m eating it partially because I’m hungry, partially because this is really interesting, and partially to be polite. I’ll take this one for the team.” And he cleaned his plate.
Marcia decided the best thing to do was to scrape off what we believed were poppy seeds, eat them to get high, then, when the munchies set in, finish the rest. Chuck noted that too many poppy seeds can disqualify you from some sports competitions because they raise drug levels in the blood. “Is OM instituting blood testing then?” asked Marcia.
“Not to my knowledge,” I replied, cutting into another…whatever they were. Did I mention the cherry pie filling in the center?
It all left the most peculiar aftertaste, which we could not extinguish for some time, even with carafes of water. I’m not sure Jacob has recovered.
We’re not sure what it was (Dianne, if you’re reading this, help!), we’re not even sure we liked it, but we are sure it was the most ‘interesting’ thing we had seen at the dinner table.