After writing my previous entry about The Sushi FAQ site, I received a very nice email from Warren, the site owner (which I especially appreciated since I wasn't totally positive in my review). One question he raised which got me thinking is where he should go from here to get more information and knowledge about sushi. I think this question can be extended to all areas of life, but keeping it in the food realm: how far should you, and do you, go to gain knowledge and experience, especially about food and cuisines you didn't grow up with?
Let's say you fall in love with Thai food as it's served at your local restaurant. You might search out for other Thai restaurants. You might buy some cookbooks. That far I think almost anyone remotely interested in food will do. The next step might be to take a class in Thai cooking. So far, so good. A trip to Thailand? Maybe, if budget allows.
What beyond that though? Would you move to Thailand for an extended period (more than a few months) to immerse yourself in the food, language and culture? Would you learn Tagalog? Would you apprentice with a Thai cook? How far would you go?
I've gotten to to the trying various restaurants and buying cookbooks stage on numerous cuisines, and the travel level on a few more. I've gone to the learning-language and living there level too. I didn't do this just for the food, but my decision to take French for three years in college certainly had a lot to do with the fact that I fell absolutely in love with the food I ate at small, inexpensive restaurants around Paris the first time I went there by myself.
Years later I ended up living here in Switzerland, which wasn't a food based decision, but there's no denying that living here gives me great access to great cuisines around Europe. And there's the great cheese and chocolate of course...two of my favorite foods in the world.
I have a feeling that I am much more obsessive than the average person in this way, but surely I'm not alone...
The place and cuisine I'm most interested in immersing myself in at the moment is Hawaii. Spam musubi, here I come! (One day, soon I hope.)