Friday, May 20, 2005

On Potatoes and Pizza

Forget the museums. The best way to get to know a foreign culture is through the food. It's the basic link. The one thing we all have in common (besides shittin' and music) is food. We all gotta eat.

Ceviche tells the history of colonial trade routes. Potatoes tell the story of the Andes. Pizza and pasta in Buenos Aires tells the history of Italian immigration. The cut of a steak - why one's thick and why one's thin - tells the story of the gauchos. And food will take you to every neighborhood of the city: Chinatown, the Jewish neighborhood, the swanky hoods, the shopping districts.

When I'm traveling, I never feel bad about spending all my money on food. And I can spend all day finding the coolest places to chow: the hip ones, the historic ones, the street food, the dives, the cafes, the confiterías.

I step into a museum and I'm stuck in a petri dish, having uttered one sentence to another person to get inside. I go to a restaurant or a street stall and I gotta talk to the waiter, read the menu (if there is one), ask questions, try to understand answers. I gotta figure shit out. If I don't I die.


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