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  • Alice Rossetter

A taste of home

I feel a bit shallow admitting it but one of my favourite places in BA is actually a shop. Casa China is a cross between a health food shop, a supermarket and (probably only in my head) a world cultural heritage site of interest for food. What makes it special is the foods that it stocks from all around the world. Why do I love it so much? Because I can get unsweetened cocoa powder, decent coffee, Heinz ketchup in a bottle, frozen berries and dried coconut milk there. If you're thinking that it seems like a weird combination and even stranger that someone would take pleasure in buying these things then you'd have a point. However, I've had many many conversations with ex-pats over the years about the connection between different foods and memories of home.

Memories are almost always provoked by information that enters through one of our senses and research shows that the memories activated by information that enters through our taste buds are those that are heavily associated with our emotions. Also, our first experiences of food are usually experiences with family. This is why the taste of a favourite meal can make everything seem OK even when it isn't.

Taking time to reconnect with our favourite foods and cultural rituals that involve food is an excellent resource for us ex-pats if we're feeling a bit homesick and it's an excellent way to connect with other ex-pats too. It doesn't matter if you're not all from the same place, taking turns to share each others' tastes and customs will help you understand each other and deepen friendships.

So next time you're feeling that ex-pat life is getting you down, resist the urge to drown your sorrows in amazing Argentine icecream and malbec. Get shopping and start cooking your favourite recipes from home!

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