One of the things I miss the most about the States is the food. Specifically, I miss things like beef and cheese, both of which are pretty hard to come by too. Today my fellow teachers (I can take no credit for it), who are leaving soon to return back to the United States, cooked up a very tasty Italian dinner for everyone at the campus (we even had one straggler come in who is a relative of one of our workers/students). There were three pans of lasagna, a basket of Italian bread (with butter on every table), a large salad with salad dressing, ice cream, and banana bread. It was very tasty, and they took plenty of photos.
In asking the students how they felt, it was clear that some of the foods were very popular (the bread and salad went fast, as did the vanilla ice cream), and it was also clear that some of the foods, like the cheesy lasagna, were a little unfamiliar. For whatever reason, cheese is not a popular food among the Thai, nor are milk products in general. For this reason cheesy foods are a bit strange to many Thai people, despite the fact that a large proportion of my favorite foods (chicken parmesian, cheese sticks, tacos, cheesecake) are based on cheese. What for them is odd is for me extremely familiar, and vice versa.
It was a pleasure to be able to chat about some of my favorite foods. The students showed a great interest in the names of the foods, and in what type of cooking it was. A few of them were puzzled as to why it was Italian food, we being Americans and all. I had to explain to them, as simply as I could, that Italy was a country and that Italian food was very popular in the United States. It was a pleasure to see them enjoy the food, and it was nice to be able to be eat more than usual, which was very comforting to me. I like the feeling of a belly stuffed with good food. It is a simple pleasure.