When you think of exploring the world, what comes to mind may be traveling. While I have been fortunate to be able to travel, I have explored the world in other ways. Mainly, I have explored the world through my dad’s cooking.
I’ve had a close relationship with my dad for most of my life. The biggest thing that we have in common is our love of food. My dad’s an amazing cook. Meanwhile, I cannot cook to save my life. Ok, maybe some pasta, but that’s it. I have always appreciated his cooking and the stories that accompanied them.
My dad has had the opportunity to live in many different countries. He tried to immerse himself in their cultures. This includes their food. He was born in Switzerland and has since lived in Germany, England, Bangladesh, Holland, Canada and now the United States. He has had the opportunity to travel to even more countries for work, like China and Cuba.
While my dad lived in various countries in the world, he told me that he tried his best to assimilate and learn from each culture. For my dad, a major foodie like myself, this meant eating and learning to make their cuisine.
I was born in Canada, and by this point, my dad had lived in Germany, England, Bangladesh, and Holland. I grew up eating food and delicacies that can be considered to be traditional food from all these countries, from naan to raclette to sauerkraut. While it was great on its own to be able to eat a wide variety of food, my dad’s enthusiasm also led me to appreciate these foods.
Every meal that I ate for dinner was a feast in my dad’s eyes. I did not understand why he had this approach when I was younger. This likely came from his joy in remembering the countries that he lived in and the experiences that he had. In a way, I have been able to explore my dad’s life through his cooking.
His cuisine also allowed me to learn about my Swiss-French heritage. My dad, being from the French part of Switzerland, loved any meal that involved cheese. This led to us having raclette or fondue for dinner. During these meals, my dad would talk about the times when he would go up to the mountains with his church when he was younger. These involved mundane stories about card games. While boring, it gave me insight into parts of my dad’s life before I was born.
I will likely not have the opportunity to travel and live in as many places as my dad due to health reasons. Honestly, this is a major source of frustration. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and live in an endless number of countries. For the specific condition I have, there are only 70-something doctors who treat it in the world. And most of them are in the United States.
My dad’s health did not impact his ability to move. To be honest, I’m a bit jealous. But I will take his love of cuisine and culture with me as I continue on to various phases of my life. Food is an important part of culture, and I hope to be able to see and experience as many cultures as I can.