and a Prosperous NEW YEAR!
Food plays a decisive role when you first visit a country.
I remember when we moved to Holland, my parents were utterly bafflled when they were taken to an Indonesian restaurant there. Rijsttafel- one of the most delicious things ever to cross a border, freaked them. "How can they eat that?" my mother said. I don't think we ever went out a restaurant in Holland after that...
Ethnic sterotypes and prejudices are based on what a nation (conceivably) eats:
- France: Garlic and froglegs ("Frogs")
- Germany : Sausage and sauerkraut ("Krauts")
- Germans call Italians "Spaghetti Gobblers", and the French call the English"Les Rosbif"
Local food makes you query your relationship to the other country: "How can they eat THAT? There must be something wrong with them..."
So food defines nations – at least in the eye of the beholder. And it isn't neutral, there's always an element of "Says it all really" in the observation.