Last spring, my wife and I traveled to see some of our children and grandchildren who live overseas. We actually flew to Poland and spent a couple of days with them touring Krakow. Then, we went south on a road trip from Poland to their home in Slovenia.
It was fun to see another part of Europe that we had never visited before. We drove through Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria on our way south to Slovenia. These beautiful countries are filled with endless miles of farms and fields producing crops of all kinds. We saw some fields where seeds were just sprouting and others where the corn and wheat were growing rapidly.
Part of our road trip included a stop in the Czech Republic at the headquarters of the organization our children work with. This beautiful conference center is situated on a hillside overlooking the forests and fields below.
As we continued on our road trip, our son-in-law informed us that we needed to stop at a warehouse to purchase some food items that are not available in Slovenia. Our curiosity got the best of us as we inquired what we were looking for in Czech that was not available in Slovenia. He was looking for authentic Mexican food.
Don’t misunderstand; you can actually buy Mexican food items at many stores in Europe. For example, many of the large grocery chains sell Tortilla Chips and other items. But they don’t always taste the same as what we are used to here in Southern California.
We were looking for a warehouse that actually imported authentic Mexican food. It was quite an adventure trying to find this small warehouse. It was not on a main highway. We took some smaller two-lane country roads following the advice of Google Maps. Even with the help of technology it was hard to find. But eventually we found what we were looking for.
Here we were in the middle of Europe at a warehouse that imported real Mexican food. They had Mexican spices, enchilada sauce, beer, tortillas, cheese, spices and a lot more. All of these were authentic – made in Mexico. Our son-in-law was in heaven when he saw so many familiar items that he knew we would enjoy.
“They also had Tortilla Chips that were actually made in Mexico! The chips tasted so good that we bought four cases that each contained 10 large bags. Yummmmy!”
Actually, some of the cases of chips were for other American friends who were hoping to get in on deal. They would not be disappointed. Four cases of Chips were on their way to Slovenia. There would be no shortage of authentic Tortilla Chips in Slovenia for quite a while.
I suspect that there are certain foods that remind you of your home too. We have a broad diversity of cultures in Southern California. Along with these different ethnic groups comes the foods and flavors of their homeland. I know we have grocery stores right here in our area that specializes in Indian, Chinese, Korean and Indonesian products and spices. There are probably many more that I am unaware of. There is something special about enjoying familiar food and sharing it with others.
Let me encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and go explore the grocery stores and restaurants in our area. Find a familiar food from your home country and invite a friend or neighbor to enjoy it with you. You will be glad you did and they will too!
Pastor Mark Hopper
Efree Church of Diamond Bar
3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd
Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM
Vacation Bible School July 23-27th