Can I just start this post by saying.....
I PAID HOW MUCH FOR THIS BABY SALAD!?
That was my initial thought when I moved to Norway. Exactly one year ago I moved to Oslo, Norway. One year ago! You would think that I would have prepared myself for some of the changes I have endured or become familiar with since moving here by now. But one thing I have been asked time and time again, and still continue to be asked is..."what do you miss most about home?" Home being America of course. Exactly one year later and my reply has not changed a bit.... THE FOOD!
Yes, I completely miss the FOOD!! Call it what it is, us Americans are very well aware that we are known for our out of control portion sizes and for being not exactly the most physically fit nation. However, don't knock it until you try it. (Insert image of me devouring my favorite Donuts and not caring how graceful I look doing it) I miss it so much that everytime I fly home, I have a prepared long list of my favorite food places that I MUST eat at before going back to Norway. One word does not exist in the American culture when it comes to our food, and that is BLAND! There is nothing like an American greek salad (mmmm...my favorite), donuts, or an American sub sandwich from my favorite deli. My boyfriend likes to refer to me as the skinniest fat person he knows...haha!
It is true, we Americans love our food, we are not scared of playing around with different flavours and textures and introducing new food concepts, although this is clearly not the healthiest food culture, it is what makes the american food culture different...and hey, everything in moderation, right?
As much as I do miss the occasional junk food cheat meals in the states, Ive found that here in Europe portions are much more realistic and healthy. At first, I was a bit shocked at how little you receive for the price that you pay (Then again, I now live in one of the most expensive countries in the world). I remember the first time I went to a beautiful dinner here in Oslo... Don't get me wrong, the food was excellent, but as an American I couldn't believe my eyes when the food reached the table. It's as if it were enough for an infant, a small child. I smiled and joked about it, but then began to question if maybe I was the one that came from a country of food portions that were out of the norm!
American people are very well aware, or at least I was, that Europe delivers smaller portion sizes. Of course, you can find places that do serve your typical American Portions, however it is not very common. This was something I have had to get very used to and although I expected smaller portions, you never really understand it, until you see it. Believe me!
The funniest thing about all of this, is that somewhere between the point of when I moved here, to now, something has happened. Something has become more normal to me. I now no longer stare at the food in disbelief delivered to me in a Restaurant and think.."hmm, does this look like barbie's play house?" (Really, the portions looked as if it belonged in barbie's play house they were so tiny.) Now it is so strange to me how quickly I actually became accustomed to my new lifestyle. I now don't only find these portion sizes and the food here to be more quality, I find it to be way more normal! For instance, when I joined a group of my friends last week for my friend's birthday at one of our usual and favorite lunch places here in Oslo. I ordered an Iced coffee latte (They have great ones) and a chocolate fondant for my sweet craving at Olivia's Tjuvholmen. Except, now I expected these portion sizes and have grown to love it. Anything bigger served to me now would just frighten me. Crazy right! I now find it to be so much healthier of a portion, and it leads you to not feel as guilty afterwards.
It really hit me how used to the European way of eating I have become accustomed to when I flew home last. Just a few months ago I flew home and made it back just in time for my grandma's birthday. I treated her to a nice dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. (Now, keep in mind that I used to eat at this particular restaurant at least once a month and never once did I think the portions were out of control.) I ordered a starter salad, a main course of my favorite chicken dish, and two sides to accompany it. OH MY GOSH.... I literally couldn't believe it. What I had found to be so normal before and ate effortlessly, I now found to be so outrageous! I went from being able to eat my dishes ordered, Along with a slice of the warm and delicious bread they serve, to now being completely full off of my starter salad. I couldn't even touch my favorite chicken dish I had been craving for so long while living in Europe. I remember now looking down at the beautiful and gourmet food set in front of me and thinking, who can eat this much?!
I am here to be upfront and honest with you, and tell you that I would be lying if I said I didn't miss some of the food back home, considering I am the foodie that I am and love to cook. However, I do not miss the portion sizes and actually find it to be quite upsetting that we have allowed ourselves as a nation to consume our lives and selves around these massive portions. I'm a true believer in "everything in moderation" and the sooner that our nation can see and realize that this can't be healthy, the faster we can start working towards a healthy society. I've found that there is a certain elegance in Europe when it comes to food. An elegance that Ive grown to admire and appreciate. I now look at my food in a new light, "quality over quantity."
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