Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes

Marina Benjamim is from Brazil and 27 years old. From her father's side she had a dash of north Brazil and many brothers and sisters. From her mother's side, beyond a love for food and cook, she got her strong personality and charm of Rio de Janeiro.

She changed the sunny Rio de Janeiro for the grey London where she still trying to mix the flavours and colours of the Brazilian food in the land of fish and chips.

Two years ago I finally convinced myself that was time to learn English. I had tried many different courses in Brazil, but my impatient personality couldn't deal with months of “The book is on the table”.

I couldn't imagine myself spending more than a week in US, other countries like Australian sounded too far away and I couldn't stop thinking of myself only a 45 minutes flight from Paris so I decided that 6 months in London would be my best option.

Full of expectations and excitement I arrived in the Queen's land and completely fell in love. Yes the weather can be miserable, people aren't as friendly as I am used to, but what a city. London is absolutely gorgeous when sunny, I've made really good friends from all over the world (including English people even though finding them in London is unbelievable difficult), it is great being a short flight distance of "must see" places in Europe and I must admit I love pubs.

Experience a culture completely different to yours can be quite hard if you aren't open to understand and try it and I was determined to get into British culture all the same.

My second try (the first was a whole evening in a pub drinking enormous 568ml pints of beer which I can't tell much about because I have barely any memories from that night) was a trip to a supermarket.

A whole new world disclosed to me: different fishes, a whole range of can food, beans never seen before, a bacon that looks like an ham, kind of hams that look something that I couldn't have never guessed, all sort of eggs, every single dish to be microwaved. Although my biggest surprise came from one of the simplest ingredients: Potatoes. Even the smallest local mini market in the UK has at least 6 different sort of potatoes, in some places you can find more than 10 kinds for various purpose. I knew about the fish and chips but 10 was absolutely craziness for me.

Initially I couldn't believe that taste could vary, for God's sake they are potatoes, but after 2 years and many discussions drinking pints, I had to give in and admit that King Edwards is great to make chips and there is nothing like a farm fresh Nadine for a smooth and cream mash.