When in Rome do as the Romans do.
That centuries old phrase never gets old and it's been one of my mottos since moving to Ireland. Not just because I feel that integrating to the local life is important, but because I've found that what Romans do here is usually great fun.
On this occasion, I'll focus on food and drink, and I'll share five habits that I didn't have in Venezuela and that are part of my everyday now, and five that I can't just get.
So, let's start with the adopted ones:
1. Ordering take away: I used to think that take away was just for pizza, and if I wanted to get chinese food, sushi or whatever, it was a waste of occasion to eat it home, as I like the idea of dressing up and going to a place, eating in and not having to clean up or worry about anything. However, that amount of places here especialized in take away foods (with no tables, just a counter), made me change my mind. Besides, on colder days, you still want to eat something different (by that I mean cooked by somebody else), but you're already in PJ mood.
2. Go to the pub: In Venezuela, most people that go out for drinks do so in places with loud music and dance floors. The idea of a place where you just sit and have a pint is relatively unusual (perhaps recently a few places are introducing it but if there is no loudness and dancing, the mainstream public is not really in). And yes, there are bars in Venezuela but either they are the 5 Star Hotel ultra fancy/expensive ones, or the shady ones where things can end up Dothraki wedding style. Not my thing. Is it too much to ask for a nice, clean place where you can sit and have a chat with friends over a couple of beers, with some decent food and feel safe? Not in Dublin, where there are hundreds of places like that. Nice.
3. Online grocery shopping: Best thing ever. Don't get me wrong, I love grocery shopping, but in the last few years before moving, shopping in Venezuelan supermarkets became sad and scary (shortages, military control, absurdly long queues, etc). This still breaks my heart, but back to topic: the fact that I can get all the food I want with minimal effort is amazing, and even if I go in person from time to time, if I'm having a very busy week, I just buy my food online and it's here the next day.
4. Having darker beers and/or craft beers: In Venezuela, we drink mostly lagers and it's ok. Under the tropical sun at 30 degrees you wouldn't feel like ordering the back stuff anyway. But here, the amount of options made me realize that these light golden beers are not really the ones I like the most. Now I usually get a red ale or pale ale. Cheers!.
5. Eating ice cream in the winter: The first time someone sugested we get gelato while walking on Grafton Street during a cold winter day I was puzzled. I thought they were joking. But you know what, who cares, there's heating everywhere and it's a great treat to hold while Christmas window shopping (did I mention that Christmas here starts in early September? Which I LOVE).
Runners up: Sandwich for lunch, eating scones, going to discount supermarkets, eating cheddar cheese, boil in the bag rice, using teapots.
But I won't lie, not everything has been so catchy for me, and there are a few things that I still find odd, or just plain unpleasant.
1. Having chips or chicken with pizza: chips with pizza? really? Besides it being a carbs overdose, just doesn't make any sense. Nor I understand the point of adding chicken as a topping to pizza. For me, it ruins it. Sorry not sorry.
2. Ordering fried chicken in an "Italian" takeaway: The one thing that I just don't get about takeaways (which as I stated in the first part of the post, I love) is how so many places advertise as "Italian" and they are actually a mix of pizza, kebabs, chinese and fish and chips. Mamma mia, WTF! I used to look for risotto or lasagna on their menus unkowingly of the situation, but now I see that if I want real Italian food, I better go out or make it myself.
3. Drinking energy drinks and sports drinks without doing sports: I see them in the bus, in shops on the streets... Seems like everyone likes to drink these drinks instead of plain water. Now that I think about it, I don't see many people drinking just plain water. I don't like energy drinks, and I just don't see myself adapting this habit.
4. Breakfast rolls: This bomb ussually include the ingredients of a traditional Irish breakfast (which is awesome), but all squeezed together in a half baguette (which is just too much). I'm not a vegetarian, but there is something about a roll filled with rashers, black pudding, bacon, sausage and butter that doesn't feel right to me.
5. Brunch at 2pm: Brunch is a word that combines "breakfast" and "lunch", so logic would dictate that is done between those hours (I like it around 10 or 11 am). But noooooooo, not in here. Not even the restaurants are ready for brunch in the morning (most open at noon). So if you have it at lunch time, then why is it called brunch? Is just lunch. Just luch. Really.
Runners up: crisps sandwiches, tomato soup, rocky roads (and many candy-covered traybakes),
Are there any eating habits you've adopted after moving to a new country?