When people would ask me what happens when I eat gluten, I used to joke: “You really don’t want to know!” Wink wink, nudge nudge! But when a coworker (on whom I’d already used my little line) asked me yet again to clarify, I realized that my polite reply was more evasive than explanatory. People were not “getting it.”
So now when they ask, I give the straightforward answer:
Really. Bad. Diarrhea.
There, I said it.
And that’s a great segue to the topic of being socially awkward.
It can be socially awkward having to ask for “special” food whenever dining out or with friends. People often assume that you’re just being picky or that you’re into annoying fad diets.
But I’ll tell you what’s even more socially awkward: The panic of Continue reading “Gluten-Free Travel Tips for Europe and Beyond”
Bear with me while I reminisce about my first. I remember it distinctly: that very first sip of coffee with milk frothed up by way of pressurized steam.
Some of my earliest recollections revolve around the time I learned from my parents that we’d be leaving our home in Wichita, Kansas, to move to Greece. The idea was very confusing to me. I was four years old and fairly confident that Greece was a blob in a frying pan, not a habitable location.
Spoiler Alert: I was wrong.
An Intro to Café Culture
We moved to Athens. Everything was so new and different. It was the first time I could recall having encountered something along the lines of café culture. In those days I was too young to have been able to form any such concept of lifestyles and how they differ based on culture — yet still, I had noticed a difference.
The streets were full of people. People out walking or shopping at local markets. People who enjoyed watching people. Lively social interactions were part of the daily street scene. Life in Athens was livelier and more pedestrian-centric than what I had been used to in small-town, USA. (Not that I was drawing on much experience at that point in time.)
Now back to that first sip. I think I was already five by then, and we were getting settled into life abroad.
I was with my parents and sisters in a public gathering place — let’s call it a coffeehouse or café — but I did not know what a cappuccino was. My parents had each ordered the frothy beverage, and it looked so inviting, so tempting, so… YUMMY.
I begged them to let me have some. Eventually they gave in and allowed me a sip. I carefully held the warm cup with both hands and drew it in. What I imagined as a sort of chocolate-infused liquid-marshmallow mix touched my lips, it approached my taste buds, and… and… Continue reading “From Devil’s Drink to Frappuccino: The Coffee Scene in Italy is About to Change”