Trials Of A Picky Eater Abroad

Trials Of A Picky Eater Abroad

And exploring the world on an empty stomach

If you're studying abroad, like I am right now, you know that everyone back home is living vicariously through you, and what they seem to care most about are the sights and the food. "Is the food amazing?" is often the first thing people ask after, "Have you gone to the Colosseum, yet?"

And it is amazing. The pasta has been perfect and the pizza is definitely the best I've ever had. The issue I find myself running into most is that I like my pizza without toppings and my pasta sauce-less, two things that are basically unheard of in Italy. I've only been in for Rome two weeks, and I've already encountered these six struggles any picky eater outside their home country knows well.

1. Your usual go-to foods are nowhere in sight.

Back in America, no matter the restaurant, you will probably be able to find something like a hamburger or chicken fingers. You might have to ask for the kids' menu to do it, but if you're really not feeling adventurous that night, it's easy enough to find something you like, or at least recognize. In other countries, they have an entirely different set of restaurant staples. Figuring out which ones you like requires trying them, something any picky eater is most likely trying to avoid.

2. You've just been introduced to an entirely new group of foods for people to try to convince you to try.

Without a doubt, one of the most annoying parts of being a picky eater is the people who keep insisting you try different foods despite knowing your eating habits. At home, at least your friends and family know the foods you're not willing to try, but every new country brings a mountain of new things you've never even heard of. This can become an even bigger problem when you're out with a more adventurous eater. People who love to eat anything and everything always seem to be the ones holding a fork across the table, saying, "Just taste it."

3. You risk having people think you're rude or didn't like your meal when you leave a pile of pieces of food you didn't want on the edge of your plate.

This is true anywhere, but especially in a different country. Basically, any picky eater has used the lip of their plate for foods they don't plan on eating, and knows that moment when they realize the pile has taken over half the plate. In Italy, they expect that you will finish all (or, at least, most) of the food they give you, so that growing pile becomes an even larger problem.

4. The waiters keep catching you staring down at the menu trying to find one thing you think you’ll like.

The fact that the menu is in a different language doesn't help. You've learned to read the menu by looking up the ingredients listed beneath each option in search of something you recognize or are willing to try. Sometimes, you'll find something that seems alright except one ingredient or two, but trying to work with the language barrier to communicate how you want you food is almost as impossible as choosing a dish in the first place.

5. You feel a rush just finding foods you recognize from back home at the grocery store.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see Skippy Peanut Butter the other day. I don't even eat peanut butter back home, but I ended up making a peanut butter sandwich as soon as I got back to my apartment in Trastevere. My cabinets are filled with American cereals and snacks, specially chosen for those days when I can't seem to find any food that appeals to me. The idea that I might make it home without even once finding a restaurant that seems inviting while in the heart of Italy is astounding to some, but sometimes you just need something from home. Or, in my case, most days.

6. You have to get used to trying new things.

I know, it's any picky eater's worst nightmare. I've still only managed to make myself try two, maybe three new foods so far. Some ended in that pile at the edge of my plate taking over the entire dish, but other times have been (not-so-surprisingly, considering we're in Rome) very good. The temptation to order a plain, margherita pizza or a plate of pasta is just too strong some days, but on the days that I decide to take a chance, I have found foods that I will happily eat again in the coming months.

Getting used to trying new foods is undoubtably the answer to all of these problems, though not the one any picky eater is willing to hear. You don't necessarily have to become a full-on foodie, but traveling abroad can be a life-changing experience, and it shouldn't be one spent on an empty stomach. I'll probably spend the next few months picking my way through some dishes and devouring others, but at least I will be able to say I tried them. Or, at least, most of them.
Cover Image Credit: yeshotelrome

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."

I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches New Girl knows about True American. This crazy, non-sense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in Season 1 Episode 20.

The game, as described by New Girl character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game number one: the player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game number two: the player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game number three: the player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."

Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.


You are now able to impress all of your New Girl-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly and enjoy!

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The Best Summer Job And Lobster Roll In Connecticut

It's truly the coolest summer job.


I work at a restaurant on the Connecticut Shoreline called Lobster Landing. Lobster landing is located on the water in Clinton, CT. I work every day in the kitchen helping to serve food, take orders, and cook food. Having a summer job can be really boring at times, but not when you work at a place like this because there's always something going on. Deciding to apply and work at Lobster Landing was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Lobster Landing is owned by two amazing people, Enea and Cathie Bacci. The two of them have worked incredibly hard by devoting much of their time and energy into getting their business to be as successful as it is today. They always welcome their customers with a warm smile or even sometimes a big hug. Cathie and Enea make it an unforgettable and happy experience for everyone that comes to their restaurant. Lobster Landing is a home away from home for not only the customers but also for the staff. They have a very small staff of about 13 people who act like a close-knit family.

Lobster Landing is a very simple restaurant. There are only three things on the menu. Lobster Landing is most famous for their Lobster Rolls. Their Lobster Rolls could be considered to be the best in the state of Connecticut. Because I'm a little biased, I would say they're the best in the world. They also offer a sweet Italian sausage with peppers, onions, and a spicy mustard vinaigrette sauce and lastly, they offer all-beef hot dogs with cheese or sauerkraut. They are also BYO (bring your own.) You can bring anything they don't serve including wine, beer, French fries, side salads etc. For side's, they offer coleslaw, bags of potato chips and at the end, they have cups of gelato! I am definitely guilty of eating lots of gelato at work, but don't tell anybody!

So what makes the Lobster roll so amazing? Lobster Landing serves only hot lobster, not cold. They serve their lobster rolls European style, which means they don't have mayo on them. They use fresh lobster meat, steamed and cut that day in their roles. Each roll contains a quarter of a pound of heated lobster meat. After the lobster is put in the roll, fresh lemon is squeezed on it. Then, warm melted butter is poured over the top of the roll. Lobster Landing also offers a gluten-free option for those who need it!

Not only are the Lobster rolls the greatest of all time, the environment and view is also incredible. They have ocean side seating. The upper deck next to their famous building is built over the water. You can sit anywhere at the restaurant and have a beautiful view of Connecticut oceans. The breeze that comes off the water is perfect for a hot summer day. Lobster Landing is built right next to a marina so there's always boats passing by with eager people waving to their wonderful customers.

One of the main attractions of Lobster Landing is the building itself. The building has been here for a very long time and has survived large storms, hurricanes, floods etc. This rustic building is very beautiful and you'll often see people taking pictures of it or in front of it. I've even seen prom pictures, wedding pictures, and special occasion photos being taken in front of the building.

Lobster Landing offers such a nice environment for its employees and it is always so much fun to work there. The customers are always so nice and talkative, and it is always wonderful to see the regulars that are there almost every week! If you haven't tried a lobster roll here, you seriously need to, it's worth it!
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