Can you identify the food items in the picture? (I couldn’t, either.)
Ever since we joined forces under French Task Force La Fayette, we’ve been learning more about French culture. I now know how to say basic phrases in French (oops, excuse me … en Francais) and I try to learn more every day.
Since our FOB is controlled by the French, that means we eat what they eat. We no longer have an American-run dining facility (like they do at FOBbit-land, a.k.a. Bagram.) This means that every day is a chance for me to guess what I’m eating. Usually, I have no clue what I’m being served, so I take a little bit of everything, and then see if I like it.
Sometimes the food is good. Other times, it’s, um, not so good. But I can’t figure out if the not-so-good food is because it’s French food, or because it’s French MILITARY food. (Traditionally, military food is not always ranked as highly as the civilian version you remember most.) The only item I can identify on EVERY meal is the Afghan bread and the dessert. But, for the other menu items, I often find myself guessing: “what IS this?”
The good news is that Europeans don’t use high-fructose corn syrup, so I’m in the clear there. But now, in a classic case of wanting my cake and wanting to eat it too (pun intended,) I’m missing “American” food.
The French don’t usually eat heavy breakfasts, so we haven’t had a nice plate of eggs-n-sausage in weeks. I also haven’t had any pancakes, cereal, hash browns, biscuits-n-gravy or any of my other favorite gut-busting breakfast foods in a while, either. (I assumed that the French chow hall would at LEAST serve FRENCH toast … but, they don’t.) Same for lunch and dinner … Ever since we’ve taken to dining with the French, burgers, salads, macaroni-n-cheese, chicken and other goodies are a thing of the past.
I guess I shouldn’t complain … the French food IS healthier. And, if it wasn’t for them, we’d be eating MRE’s (Meals, Ready to Eat … rations,) every day. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss lasagna, Muna’s Somali rice, or a piece of chicken. (I wonder if I can order vacuum-packed food online?)