Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cultural Discrepancies (4): Eating Habits

People eat differently here from how I used to eat. I better say the Caucasian people eat differently. The foreigners  mostly, most of the time keep their original eating habits and cuisines. Breakfast is an important meal here and while people eat out mostly, breakfast, I assume is the meal that most of the time is eaten outside. There is no single day you pass a Tim Horton's, McDonald's, Starbucks or any other coffee chain or fast food without a line of people waiting for their coffee and breakfast sandwich or something else. And they are mostly Caucasians and the people of other generations who are born here plus at times cab drivers who have nowhere else to eat and have nothing else cheaper than this to eat! 
I used to go to McDonald's regularly eating the full of fat, carbohydrate and cholesterol breakfast sandwich but know that I have less activity and also more aware of the harm these sandwiches so, I barely go, may be once a month or even less. 
Unlike here breakfast is very limited in the old country mainly because people want to rush to work and there is no place that they can get their breakfast from. So it is mostly skipped or limited to a cup pf tea and a small piece of bread with Feta Cheese which in fact is disgusting in taste especially most of the breads which are all made of White Flour but people are used to it because it's the cheapest and fastest breakfast and the most common. Fried Egg or Omelet is common for the time that you are not late and for people who can afford. And of course Bread, Butter and Honey which is another combination. Why I'm saying this because it's a reminder for me and as well I think there might be people who are not familiar with the breakfasts of the old country and might want to know. Of course there are the other ones which are fancier and more expensive and those are the ones that you have to go out with. I very rarely went out back to the time I lived there because I did not consider them healthy and sanitary, which in fact are not, just like most of the restaurants in the West. Among them are Head and Feet (of Sheep) and a kind of thick soup called Haleem and that in fact a bit better compare to the first one. 
Then lunch is just a sandwich here for most of the people or they drop at a Sushi place paying may be $10 for 3 pieces of warped vegetable for raw fish in cold cheap rice! Depending on the weather people might have soup and that always is a powered soup dissolved in hot (not even boiled!) water or made and frozen soup which is thawed in a big pot. Recently people have learnt to eat salad mainly because they consider it healthy. So you may see salad bars in supermarkets and restaurants and notice that people add big pieces of croutons or boiled egg and a whole lot of creamy, fatty sauce at the end, not knowing that has more harm than good! 
And the last but not the least is dinner which has the same importance as breakfast may be even more but the good thing about dinner here is its eaten normally early evening so unlike the old country you would most of the time have no problem sleeping. Dinner has three courses but is usually light because people make themselves full with the combination of three courses and drinking wine while in the old country the dinner while is as important as lunch is mostly served very late, especially at the family parties and very heavily, I would say. 
But regardless of all the above when I saw the organizations reimbursing policy for the meals today, I realized it has a complete conformance(!) with the eating habits of North America. The company reimburses the employees for the meals in this manner:
$x for breakfast, $(x+5) for lunch and almost $(x+5)*2 for dinner!  
You pay not much for the breakfast because you are in rush to get to the destination or catch your plane so you get a coffee and a breakfast sandwich at the most. Then at the lunch time you have to rush back to the meeting or your visit but in case of dinner you are allowed to have a double digit bill which not many employees get that chance! 
After years I have adopted myself with both the old country's eating habits and the West's! I don't eat most of  the meals of both sides especially tons and tons of white, bleached rice and pots of different types of stew and different sorts of Kababs (in fact I don't even remember when was the last time I had Kabab) in the meantime I stay away from daily sausage, Pepperoni crap Pizza with disgusting white flour thick crust and other sorts of trash like Subway, Arby's, etc. I stick with salad and once a week a home made meaty meal  or  other light healthy choices but generally its hard to get good food, especially fruit in here. I was watching this movie's trailer, Food Inc. and added more to what I already had known about the food business here but I have to get the movie and watch it. 
(Photo: Oven pink fresh salmon with onions, herbs and cut potato, this home made is a good and very delicious chose which gave us a very good feeling and we enjoyed a lot after eating)

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