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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Postcard from... Prague

We've just recently hit the one year milestone here at Bobo Feed and to help celebrate we're launching a new feature that we plan to make a regular one: "Postcard from..." 

Our first dispatch comes to us courtesy of Diane Curry, a vivacious lady who became an instant friend after  we met her and husband Michael in Vieques, Puerto Rico a few years back. Since those days the adventurous pair have completed a sojourn in Singapore and have now moved on to the Czech  Republic, where their dog can finally run free and Diane can once more indulge her mustard fetish!

Postcard from Prague
Cool Air.  Bodacious beers.  Dogs and their lovers everywhere – on trams, trains, in restaurants – running loose, playing freely, scary to no one. Bread so varied and abundant it inspires poetry,  whole aisles of yogurt, cream and lactose loveliness, wines from the countryside that conquer their critics and a smothering of sausages –  cooked, smoked, curled, grilled, baked, aged, but mostly just speared and carried as street food. What did we feel so soon and so clearly?  Relief.  A Homecoming. Soothed and Enticed.  Europe, bless your historic, cultured, civilized soul...

...Strange as it seems after all these years on multiple continents, this is the longest time either of us has lived in a proper big city – Singapore was a big fabricated city – good in a zillion ways, but just not real in a dozen other ways. It hit me right away – cities are teeming with activity and all space is shared space.  Life is being lived pretty much on the move and Prague is a sensory playground for the newcomer. There’s so much classical music being played here that on my daily commute I see more people carrying musical instruments than I’ve seen anywhere, in my life.  And everyone is eating – usually chocolate or poppy seed croissants (my day to indulge in this breakfast is still ahead of me … the anticipation being part of the pleasure) or sausages in wardrobes of great variety.  As a lifetime mustard lover, I am thrilled to be back in a place where I can slather and dredge this condiment with abandon.  Contrarily, I’ve learned the hard way that “Americka style” is code-speak for mayonnaise, and sushi is one place wherein this detestable-to-me but loved-by-many foodstuff just doesn’t belong.  Prague is the land of potato soup and borscht, a veritable menagerie of roasted meats and doughy dumplings.  Gone are the tropical scented meals laced with lemongrass and coconut and chilies.  Czechs don’t like hot and spicy.  A chef of a new Indian restaurant here confessed to racial profiling:  he turns down the heat when Czechs are eating and cranks it back up for everyone else.  Thankfully, the Italians are here in large numbers and so is ALL of their good food.  Asia forced me to fantasize about good cheese, here it’s part of my everyday joy.  I just realized how much I’ve written here about food, and that’s because when you are new to a country, and your shelter is decided, food is often a thrice-daily adventure full of lots of wrong turns and delectable discoveries.  Michael noticed recently that this is the first country we’ve lived in where there are four languages written on most products, none English.  We guess a lot, we’re usually lucky and I’m glad we’re good a winging it.  You may not realize how it feels to stand in the meat section and try to decipher chicken from duck, cow from deer. Graphic icons are lifesavers.  Last week I guessed that a word with a “z” in it might be my best bet for finding sour cream – got it right.  But there was that pastry that I swore was a cheesy strudel and it turned out to be a too-salty-too-take-home-to-the-dog egg pie.  When in doubt, stick to fruits and nuts.  Still ahead, and full of mystery of varying importance, are doctor and dentist visits, train travel and more trips to government offices...

...Keep in touch and I will try to Blog Prague again in a few months.
  photo above courtesy Michael Franco
top photo courtesy EuropeUpClose.com

This piece has been excerpted from Diane's blog Passages In Time. You can read the full account here.

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