Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Food as culture

When I think of my time abroad, I think about food. Delectable, mouthwatering, and scrumptious food. Through travelling and living in Sweden, transcending boundaries by making friends with people from many different parts of the world, I had the opportunity to explore culture through food.

As I have matured, my taste buds have also, and along with this has come a longing to always try different tastes. This longing was answered in Sweden, of all places.

While studying abroad, within my core group of friends, we cooked for each other, introducing different ingredients, tastes, and ways of preparing our dishes. As our group of friends got larger and acquaintances became closer, we started holding potluck dinners. Everyone was to prepare something, be it a main course, dessert, or drink. The result was an amazing array of different flavours, textures, and aromas. Think Dutch-made pancakes, Italian-made gnocchi, German-made wurst, Romanian-made soup, and Korean-made rice dishes.

Not only did I ingest a form of culture during these potluck dinners, but often these dishes were the starting point of some very interesting conversation and ‘googling’ sessions. I’ve come away from my exploration of culture through food in Sweden with a deeper understand of the friends I made there, where they come from, what they value, how they approach life, and not to mention some pretty awesome recipes.

- Sarah Matheson studied abroad from January - June 2010 at Linneaus University in Sweden

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