No matter where you come from, I think most people can agree that the one thing we all have in common is our undeniable love for food. Whether you’re a health nut or a junk food addict, everyone has certain foods that they cannot help but crave. Seeing that this a worldwide phenomenon, the City of Los Angeles has rewarded us with our own slice of food paradise. Enter in DineLA’s Restaurant Week!!!
At least twice a year, DineLA showcases LA dining at its best by offering unbelievably discounted prices for restaurants all over the city. From July 13th until July 26th, LA residents have the amazing opportunity to frequent the best and fanciest restaurants LA has to offer, and for sometimes half the price. The restaurants range from steakhouses, to Dim Sum, to Mediterranean cuisine, to so much more.
In my junior (third) year of high school, I visited London and Paris with a handful of my classmates. My high school, the wonderfully fictional-sounding High Tech High, had something called “Intersession”. The week before spring break, every student was free to choose something they wanted to take part in for a week. Every event was hosted by the teacher, and it was usually something along the lines of surfing, or visiting restaurants, or, the one I usually chose, creative writing. Some offered international trips, like snorkeling in Belize, and, of course, a trip to London and Paris.
It was in the months leading up to this trip that I started to learn French. I went online, to websites offering free lessons, and learned as much as I could. Much alluded me (like the pronunciation), but I learned basic phrases, numbers, how to say what time it was, how to ask if there was a bakery nearby. “Est-ce qu’il y a une boulangerie près d’ici?” was the first phrase that I fully memorized, and prided myself for doing so. I also learned the art of being exceptionally annoying. Well, I don’t know if it took me until age 16 to be annoying, but I certainly perfected it by then.As a teen with a newfound knowledge of basic French, not to mention, a complete fixation on Doctor Who, I was an unstoppable tirade of irritation to those around me. Every conversation was an opportunity to bring up something cultural or etymological, some examples include, “Hey guys, Allons-y! Right guys? Right?” and “Oh man, counting by tens is so weird in French!” (I caught myself bringing up the latter topic recently and could tangibly feel the loathing that the other person was emitting).
I know what you’re thinking. Of course it is, food is essential to life. It tastes good, and it gives you energy to get through the day.
But it’s more than that to me. Growing up both American and Japenese, my mother made it a point to make sure I was exposed to a wide range of foods. I experienced all kinds of cultural foods from a young age and quickly developed a refined palate (for my age, at least) and a love for exploration and experimentation with cuisine.
One of my favorite things about being well-versed in food, aside consumption of the food itself, is that nearly anyone can talk about it,and everyone has a different experience to share. We all grow up eating different things, passed on to us by our parents, depending on their own upbringing and cultural backgrounds. Just like celebrating culture-specific holidays, the type of meal you eat for breakfast (in my case, cereal on American days and rice, fish, and soup on Japanese days) can shape your childhood and, by extension, your appreciation for other foreign food in adulthood.