Food surprises first-time UK visitor

NEW ORLEANS — As an exchange student coming to Miami from Scotland, I jumped at the chance at getting to see some more of the States by travelling to New Orleans on a class trip. I wasn’t sure really what to expect; all I knew about New Orleans was Mardi Gras and I pictured it to be something like a John Wayne film.

When I was told the food was amazing I was very skeptical. We Europeans, I suppose, are somewhat snobby about our food, cuisine in Europe being some of the world’s finest, and I couldn’t imagine what New Orleans would offer that the rest of the states didn’t— McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and so forth. I couldn’t have been more wrong…

On our arrival we scouted the French Quarter for lunch and discovered ‘Po’boys’ (literally ‘Poor boys’) like a giant sub, filled with, well anything really. Crab, shrimp, crawfish, ham, turkey, you name it, plus some salad and mayo, truly delicious.

I realized how different New Orleans really was and had been informed to get myself some gumbo. I wasn’t really sure what it was, but a bit of investigating told me it was a kind of stew, made with … well, lots of things, but meat and seafood played a big part of it, with like a tomato base, and lots of vegetables and spices, served with a slice of bread the size of a doorstop.

The huge mix of cultures that meet in New Orleans mean the city’s food is a blend of cultures as well. The popular sandwich, The Muffilato, show this. From Sicily, this sandwich is made in a huge round roll and filled with ham, salami, cheese, salad, and a kind of olive salad spread unique, I reckon, to New Orleans. They are sold in quarters, halves and wholes, and a whole one could feed a family for a day it is that big! Delicious and not to be missed.

There are, of course a huge amount of other meals and specialities on offer, all fantastic, and all worth trying. Three meals a day will not be enough!

Carly Mills

University of Miami and the University of Stirling (Stirling, Scotland, UK)

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