Yesterday’s post mentioned that I had octopus salad and Dale had baked sardines. My sister replied give her Taco Time and Burger Master – good ole American Food! True I don’t care for sardines but for the past 6 weeks food around the world has been a topic of conversation for both Pilgrims and others we have made friends with in hostels. I know what my sister meant. American food does taste good but it isn’t good for you. American food is full of toxins, growth hormones and all the bad stuff to mass produce it. The food in France and Spain that is grown here does not contain any of this. A tomato here looks like a tomato should look and tastes so much better than the hormone/toxin injected counterpart in the USA. America per capita is the fattest nation. In France, you find NO fat people. Spain – very few. All along the Camino, EVERY home has a large garden where the families grow all there own veggies and fruits. So much healthier to have food without the toxins or growth hormones. During World War II, many Americans had Victory Gardens, and grew there own food. Was probably due to economics rather than it being better than grocery store food but we would be so much healthier if we all had our own organic garden.
Last night we spent the evening talking with two 29 year olds from Germany. Eugene and Alex are cousins and were born in two parts of the former USSR that I cannot pronounce or spell. Their families moved to Germany when they were very young as both families did not want their boys going into the Russian army when they were older. We talked much of the evening on the pros and cons of America, why the rest of the world does not like America, and their travel experiences. The boys are both 29 and have traveled extensively around the world but not the USA. There opinions match many others that we have talked to. America thinks everything has to be big. Stores, shops, homes, businesses. Much of Europe does not like McDonalds and Burger King. The concept of mass produced food plus the idea of a large corporation getting much wealth by putting the small restaurants that are family run out of business. This goes for Walmart type stores as well. Many do not want the change. They do not want the large chain stores. They are happy with the small family run shops. They feel it is better to pay a bit more for products and keep all their culture/customs than bring in large wealthy stores that would change their way of life and quality of life. It appears many feel Americans are very wasteful and do not try to economize but with food, buildings and energy. Spain and as we understand the rest of Europe, has many wind turbines and solar power. Few places are air conditioned and it is hot here. Many still hang clothes out to dry. They smell so good dried outdoors and you don’t waste energy. I know yo’re thinking “boy they sure are backwards and not up to date”! But are they? They are very forward thinking in energy production and they try to conserve the energy they do have. Less wasteful to use the sun and air to dry your clothes. Do we really need huge homes and gas guzzling big SUV’s? Is air conditioning under 90 degrees really needed?
The boys did say that sadly more packaged quick to prepare food is finding its way into more and more homes. As it became later and later in the evening, the boys started ordering the four of us shots of absinthe. That stuff takes your breathe away and burns all the way down. Five shots later we were all very good friends and slightly tipsy. They did decide that we were not what they thought of as “typical Americans”. This morning they are going down the coast a couple hours to go kite surfing.
Hope to continue the conversation when they get back Wed. night.