It’s been awhile since I wrote a post about cultural differences between the US and Europe, but I’ve felt a bit compelled to do so again lately. Just some little observations I’ve noticed while living far from home.
One of the biggest differences is something I’ve noticed here working on the ship. It’s just a little thing, but I find it quite interesting. Back home, if you’re sitting down to eat, the person who cooked (or maybe the host if it’s a dinner party) might say ‘Bon Appetit’ before you begin to eat. But such a practice is not an everyday kind of thing. We really never say it back home in my family and circle of friends. Well, here, it’s apparently very common to wish EVERYONE you see eating a ‘Bon Appetit.’ It’s the strangest thing. For example, when we’re sitting down eating at a crew meal time, sometimes people enter the dining room at different times due to their schedules. It’s rapid-fire ‘Bon Appetit,’ one after the other. You’re trying to eat, but you have to keep saying thank you to all the bon appetits. So weird.
And while we’re speaking about eating, I think it’s a pretty consistent thing across the board at how grossed out Europeans are at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The childhood staple we all grew up with back home, the regular part of our school lunch boxes, quite simply repulses most foreigners. They think combining jelly and peanut butter is madness. As an adult, I’ve often turned to PB & J sandwiches for their ability to travel well, as they don’t start to go bad within a few hours. They’ve accompanied me on many a long train journey here in Europe. I guess we’ll just all have to agree to disagree.
I also miss maple syrup, as I mentioned in a previous blog about food I miss. No one here uses syrup. I’ve come to realize that it must be completely a North American thing. Occasionally we get pancakes at breakfast . (And that’s another thing altogether – here they often call crepes “pancakes.” Ugh! Note that when I mention pancakes, I do NOT mean crepes, I mean regular American style pancakes.) I’m going to have to go to one of those special shops that sells American foods (at insane prices) to be able to get some Aunt Jemima syrup. (My favorite brand!) Pancakes are meant to be eaten with syrup, darn it!
I know there are others that just aren’t coming to me right now, but when I think of them, I’ll add them to the list! Until next time, good bye from the sunny Danube in Slovakia!