I am a person who loves to eat. When I was in my country, Kyrgyzstan, almost every day I ate fresh meat, organic vegetables, and fruit. Before I arrived to Chicago, I thought that the United States had everything, and it was true. In the U.S. there are a lot of ethnicities, and they have their own cuisine. Since I came to Chicago I have tried various cuisines. It is amazing that to be in a just in one country and try different kinds of dishes. Even though I like Chicago and the various cuisine I miss some aspects of my native culture, especially organic fruit, vegetables, and Kyrgyz tradition food.
I miss fresh meat. In Kyrgyzstan, most of the people rarely buy meat from market because almost every family has a relative living in rural areas, and they breed cattle, sheep, and goats. When my family needs meat, we just call my grandmother. In Kyrgyzstan almost every man knows how to kill sheep, cow, horse, and goat. My uncle who lives with my grandmother can kill a sheep or cow. Almost every day someone from the rural areas comes to the city Bishkek, and most of people in rural areas know each other, so my grandmother can send my family the meat with the person who coming to Bishkek. Unfortunately, in Chicago this luxury impossible for me because I don’t know anyone who lives in rural areas. Even it were possible in Chicago I think it would be very expensive because all organic food prices are incredibly high. The meat that I buy from a grocery store tastes totally different. It almost taste like rubber, and also the color is strange not red more light brown. Correspondingly, I cannot buy whole lamb or sheep in Chicago because for Kyrgyz tradition dish needs more meat. In my country when my family kills a sheep, it means big an event. For example, we invite all of our relatives to share meal. This is a good reason to be close to each other. The meat boils in its own broth for several hours and is served over homemade noodles sprinkled with green onion, red and black pepper. Women make special bread Borsok fried in oil, and make noodles for tradition dish Besh Barmak (in English it is five fingers because the dish is typically eaten by hands). In Chicago I cannot afford such a treat.
In Kyrgyzstan all fruit and vegetables ripen in the fall season. The taste is amazing. Almost in every house there are several fruit on the table like apples, pears, peaches, watermelon, and of course, melon. The melon in my country is different when compare to Chicago’s. It is oval, big (minimum one melon is 22 pounds), yellow, and juicy. The smell is incredibly crazy. Maybe in the U.S. there is that kind of melon, but I haven’t seen them yet. Vegetables are different too, they are all organic without any chemical. In Chicago many vegetables and fruit are tastefully nothing compare with Kyrgyzstan’s. Also in Chicago organic fruit and vegetables are very expensive; for example last week I bought five apples for five dollars. In my country for five dollars I can buy almost five kilograms of apples. The fall season is very a respectable time in my country. Most people to plan their events like wedding, and housewarming for this season. In the fall we had a lot of fun because of events like that. Despite it was my favorite season in my country, I can’t say the same thing for U.S. In Chicago I feel myself lonely because all my days are like the movie ‘’Groundhog Day’’, everything is same day by day nothing special.
In the Chicago, there are several Kyrgyz restaurants, and their dishes very delicious, but it is not the same as homemade food. Although I go to Kyrgyz restaurants here, they do not feel familiar because In Kyrgyzstan most of people enjoy their meal sitting on a floor, not around table. Enjoying meal in Kyrgyz culture is not just eating, but also talking to each other, spending fun times, and getting advice, and blessing from elderly. In Chicago, when I am going to eat with my American friends, it is different because they do not like talk while eating, if I start to talk with them they stop eating and l feel myself ill-bred. For addition, Kyrgyz people like a drink tea and eat bread with every meal. The first time when I had dinner with my American friends and when I ordered stake with tea and bread at the restaurant, they looked at me as strangely. Fortunately, they now used to my habits and sometimes they order bread or tea for me without asking.
I never thought that I would miss my country food, my noisy relatives, and eating etiquette. While I am in Chicago, I can just daydream about Besh-Barmak, melon, and our events. When people live in another country, they start to value their culture, traditions, and beliefs. I like living in Chicago, and maybe one they I will be familiar with its cuisine, people, and values. Despite this, I never will forget the taste of meat in my country, and that crazy smell of melon. I will always miss my country’s cuisine.