Where is our food ?
Recently I went on a trip to Brasov, Romania. My bosses at work thought it would be a nice idea, to send me over there. The idea was to teach programming stuff to the developers at our newly founded Romanian office.
Romania is a funny country. It’s like a boxer getting up at the last count and trying to still win the match. Pretty worn down, but not finished. It all depends on where the next hits will be, and how bad the competitor is feeling. It’s like someone dropped a puzzle there, called ‘Western Free Market and Capitalism’, and they are trying to piece it together. It looks like a rectangular puzzle shape already, but some of the pieces are still missing or have been forced into the wrong position.
But all things considered, things are looking up for Romanians. They are going forward, although not everyone at the same pace.
What struck me the most, is that, although they probably don’t realize it, people seem happier there. Happier because they don’t have too many possesions yet, that they have to fiercely protect, and happier because they are like a kid anticipating presents for its birthday.
And also happier because they haven’t yet been completely McDonalized or Starbucksed. The franchising thing hasn’t been completed yet, so walking around in Brasov, actually feels like you are walking in Brasov, and not, let’s say, London. No H&M, ICI Paris XL, Mexx, ….
So that brings me to the subject of this post. At last. They still eat their own food. At lunch, people go into restaurants that serve traditional Romanian food. They sometimes also eat a sandwich, a hamburger or shoarma, but they do like to eat Romanian things, served in low-key eateries.
Quite different from the situation here in Belgium, where eating in a tavern or bar, usually means eating a croque-monsieur or spaghetti. Some traditional dishes like moules-frites and steak-tartare are also appreciated, but thats where it ends. Practically none of the things we eat at home are served in the same form in a bistro or tavern. Pricier restaurants exclusively serve french ( nouvelle ) cuisine or dishes that are a mixture of exotic and traditional.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fundamentalist preaching a return to the roots, I think one can eat very good here in Belgium. It just struck me that we have two separate food cultures. I never realised that in other countries the situationcan be quite different.
Entry filed under: Truly important stuff.