Having traveled and lived in different places around the world I have had the opportunity to eat all sorts of food. Each part of the world has it’s own distinct food and I have always enjoyed these differences tremendously. I live in Texas now and love the abundance of Mexican cooking. It is surprising to people here that I once had no idea what it was. This is an example of how people are so engrossed in their own way of eating.
When I was 19, I went traveling around the United States with some close friends who came to the US on vacation from France. Myself and my brother had just moved to Ohio from Holland and were in the process of adjusting. Together, we all set out in a Ford Station Wagon for a month long trip across the country.
When in Southern Los Angeles, we decided to cross the border into Tijuana, Mexico for a fun escapade. None of us spoke Spanish but I knew enough to get by. We drove through town and kept finding ourselves somehow back on the outskirts. Feeling like we were turning in circles, we decided to stop and ask directions. The policeman was busy, so I stood by and waited. He had stopped a Japanese couple who could not speak any Spanish. Everyone was glad when I started helping with interpretations. The policeman told me to tell them that if they would give him twenty dollars he would let them go. They were appalled by this suggestion, but ended up doing it. He took the money, put it in his pocket and they drove off. I then told him we were looking for a restaurant and could he please recommend one to us. He was in a good mood and told us to follow him.
The policeman turned on his flashing lights and had us follow him through town. We went through all the red lights and ended up at a small restaurant owned by a family member. We went in, sat down, looked at the menus and had absolutely no idea what any of the food was. I told the waitress of our problem and she said they would bring some food out for us. We were happy with this decision. The food came out and we started eating and while none of us had ever eaten anything like it before we thought it was fabulous.
Halfway through dinner, I went to the kitchen and asked one of the ladies inside “Que es eso”? and she replied “es un burrito”. I had never heard of a burrito before. It sounded like bourricot in French which means donkey. So, I went back to the table and told my brother, who was sitting beside me that we were eating donkey meat and we both completely lost our appetites. It took another whole year before I found out what a burrito was!