In the Irish language, nóm is the shortened abbreviation for “minutes,” which can be seen on any of the Dublin bus signs. Among my group of friends, however, “let’s get some noms” means that it’s time to eat! Reflecting on my spring break, aside from climbing to the tops of duomos, my other favorite activity to do in every new city was to eat. While my female travel companions enjoyed shopping for souvenirs, I was constantly thinking about the logistics of our next meal. I decided to save money by not buying souvenirs and instead spend it on extra food. While being abroad, I have discovered the extent of my fast metabolism along with the amount of food I am capable of eating in one sitting. At first I was a bit concerned that I could keep up with my male travel companions. After some time, I just went with it and continued eating these large quantities of food. This was especially a problem in Prague and Budapest, where the different currencies worked in our favor. More on that in a bit…
Not too long ago, I was characterized as an extremely picky eater. Now, I will try just about anything, and it will be a shock if I don’t completely finish it. I love going to a new city and trying its specialties. Before my semester abroad, I never took pictures of my food. Now, if I’m lucky, my travel companions will remind me to photograph the food before I dig in. Another thing I like to do is document the polished plate, aka the “after” picture.
Part of the reason that I wanted to spend a week in Italy was due to my love of Italian food. However, I was not so much in love with Italian portions. I was expecting huge American-sized portions, and I was especially looking forward to consuming big heaps of pasta that would leave me stuffed. I soon discovered that pasta in Italy was typically a first course dish that should be accompanied by a second course meat dish (if one could actually afford to eat like this). And no, I was not allowed to add chicken to my first course pasta dish – I needed to order a second dish. I eventually figured my way around this custom and decided to splurge on food, usually on fettuccini alfredo or spaghetti carbonara first and a chicken dish second. My final feast in Italy occurred in Milan, when I consumed a single course meal that finally satisfied my needs – creamy parmesan risotto with chicken and leek. While I cannot speak a complete sentence to you in Italian, I could certainly recite my favorite gelato flavors – stracciatella, fragola, caramello, frutti di bosco, menta, etc. We ate gelato once, sometimes twice, every day that we were there.
On my way to Central Europe, I was looking forward to consuming massive amounts of chicken schnitzel in Vienna, but our first stop was in Prague. After our WWII tour in Prague, our tour guide explained to us that Czechs don’t actually eat Czech food; rather, they usually eat Austrian, Hungarian, and Italian food. Regardless, I was thoroughly enjoying whatever food I was actually eating in Prague, especially since the weakened Czech Koruna allowed us to purchase a ton of food for less money than we were accustomed to. Some of my favorite dishes include cheesy spätzle with potato pancakes and cheese-filled pork cutlets topped with spinach. To cool my taste buds, I usually ordered vanilla ice cream topped with raspberry sauce for dessert.
After training to Vienna, we were subjected to the Euro once more, but that did not stop me from eating chicken schnitzel drenched in lemon juice every day, usually with a potato salad on the side. We even went to Figlmüller to try their world-famous schnitzel that extended over the edges of the plate. Before our opera concert, we snacked on warm cheesy spätzle in the little market outside Schönbrunn Palace.
We then took a bus to Budapest, and, upon our arrival, we began eating like kings due to the weakened Hungarian Forint. I was absolutely blown away by the cuisine. Looking back on my pictures, I definitely had my favorite meals in Budapest. One of them included pork cutlets topped with eggplant, zucchini, and grilled mozzarella, with a rice pilaf on the side. For another meal, I had possibly the best creamy mushroom soup topped with sour cream, followed by chicken filled with herbs and four kinds of cheese. On our last day, I had a potato scone topped with chicken, veggies, and melted mozzarella (yes, I admit I am a chicken and cheese freak). This was one entrée I surprisingly could not finish.
After my epic spring break, there was nothing more welcoming than coming home to unlimited Irish breakfast for an entire week at my mom’s hotel. After eating an Irish breakfast, eating lunch isn’t even necessary. In case you are unfamiliar with the components of a traditional Irish breakfast, I will list them for you here: fried eggs, brown soda bread with homemade jam, baked beans, fried tomato, grilled mushrooms, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage links, and black and white pudding. This is all usually accompanied by a strong tea. You might be wondering what exactly is black and white pudding? In fact, instead of resembling pudding, they are actually different kinds of sausages. Black pudding is made with pork blood and oatmeal, while white pudding is made with pork meat and fat, bread, and oatmeal (and does not include blood). This might sound gross, but it is actually one of my favorite foods. I would highly recommend that you try it if you ever visit Ireland (normally, I would wait until after you’ve tried the black and white pudding to explain its ingredients).
Hope this post made you hungry! Stay tuned for more.