Cooking dinner last night made me realize that there are certain ingredients that I will miss dearly once I'm in Europe. They are not what most people would miss, I tell you.
For instance, I won't miss the mind boggling variety of sodas you can buy in this country, mostly because the only two types of sodas I occasionally consume are club soda and tonic water, respectively as a mixer to vodka and gin.
Also, I won't miss the mesmerizing selection of breakfast cereal because, you guessed it, I never really enjoyed cereal. I tried, mind you, several times. As a kid, every time we stayed on vacation for longer than 5 days in any U.S. city, town or state I'd beg my parents to buy me Fruit Loops or Coco Pops or Frosted Flakes. My parents, I have to admit, knew better. They usually fed me those miniature cereal boxes that you find at breakfast buffets in mid-range hotels. What followed was comical. I very ceremoniously dumped half the content of the tiny box in my bowl and splash it with the equivalent of two and half tablespoons of milk. Then I would take two, maybe three bites, and declared I was full. Similar behavior, at home, would have developed into a full fledged family drama —I was never allowed to leave anything in my plate— but because we were on vacation and we we had an airplane/boat/bus tour to catch my parents, very forgivingly, muttered something about that back in their day they didn't even what cereal was and hauled me away from the breakfast tabel, so that we could "make good time", something my parents felt very strongly about in the mid 80s.
So what the hell are you goning to miss once your gone, you might ask? If you are thinking about fast food, you are wrong again. Although I was born in 1980, my mother had a very futuristic, very progressive, very 2010 if I may say that, approach to feeding her child. I'm proud to say she never spoon fed me that baby-food-out-of-a-jar-crap that I see so many infants swallow. She made my meals from scratch —each and one of them— and turned me into an incredibly happy and healthy baby. And as I grew older, while other kids at preschool were dreaming of drinking Coca Cola or Sprite, all I wanted was water. And fast food to me meant a meal my mom would cook from scratch in less than 30 minutes. So no, I'm not going to miss fast-food in the McDonalds-good-knows-what's-in-your burger way.
Enough with the guessing. I'm going to stop telling you what I'm not going to miss and tell you one thing I will miss dearly: freshly caught snapper from the Gulf of Mexico. Because I'm pretty positive no one will stop by my house in Milan, Italy, and drop off something that they have just caught nearby. And if they do, I'll run for my life.
SNAPPER VERACRUZ STYLEAdapeted from Cooking Light
1 1/2 pounds of snapper fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cumin, to taste
1/4 cup chopped green olives
1/4 cup bottled salsa (I used hot, but you can use whatever you prefer)
1 15-ounce can good quality chopped tomatoes, such as Del Monte Organic
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
Season the fish on both sides with salt, pepper and cumin. Lightly grease a large baking dish with olive oil, place fish in baking pan and broil in preheated oven for 4 minutes, then flip and broil for another 4 minutes.
In the mean time mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. When fish is ready serve it smothered with prepared salsa.