.Move Abroad, Eat Abroad

East Bay epicureans should think twice before ditching the States for the cuisines of the Old World.

The worst thing about the election — besides the despicable outcome, obviously — is the nasally low hum of people who have been whining about leaving the country.

Yes, the mass e-mails bashing Bush have subsided, but around countless East Bay water coolers (excluding perhaps Danville) the sound is everywhere. Nervous Democrats are talking bravely of cashing in their 401(k)s and moving lock, stock, and barrel to another country. Preferably one without religious zealots and with better beer.

On Internet sites such as Craigslist, groveling Americans are begging amused citizens of more socially liberal countries to marry them. Is there no pride? People tend to forget that once you actually live in a foreign country, as opposed to merely visiting it for spring break, you not only have to drink the water, but eat the indigenous food. All the time. Something we aren’t used to. Spoiled Americans tend to forget that there are no “Cajun tofu wraps” where they are likely to be moving. Crave Nepalese dumplings for lunch on your new farm in the picturesque hinterlands of Anywhere But Here? Well, they probably don’t have them, unless, of course, your promised land is Nepal.

But since all of you have your cowardly hearts set on moving — something all those people in the red states would love, by the way — Food Fetish decided to call some foreign consulates just to discover what you’ll be dining on in your new chosen country. According to the Yellow Pages, there are four in the East Bay: the Consulate of the State of Eritrea, the Consul of the Dominican Republic, the Fiji Consulate Office, and the Jamaican Consulate. The Fiji Consulate phone number was disconnected, no one ever answered at the Dominican Republic, and the message at the Jamaican Consulate said they were there only on Wednesdays and Fridays, providing a San Francisco number to call for more information.

Chances are slim that an American would emigrate to Eritrea, and the poor guy who answered the phone grew suspicious when asked if any American had called to ask about relocating there since the election. “What country?” he asked, certain he was talking to a crazy person. “You mean to here?” Like the gal at the Jamaican Consulate, he also grew suspicious when queried about the cuisine in his country. He promised he would call back after thinking about it, but never did. Of course, we here in the East Bay know that Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine is mighty tasty, but we also tend to suspect that it’s actually much easier to come by on our own Telegraph Avenue than in either of those impoverished countries.

There were other countries to call, however, and with luck someone would be home. England was hangin’, and picked up the phone. Although not as much fun to pick on as it once was, thanks to hordes of recent immigrants who showed its residents the difference between boiling and steaming, some people still have bad things to say about the food. Julian, who works at the English Consulate, was one such person. “Who’d want to live in dreary old England?” he said, astounded.

When asked about the food, Julian cheerfully reported that the fare was “still horrible.” Pressed for details, he grudgingly admitted that the curry was very good, as were, of course, the fish and chips, the one dish he gets homesick for. “Actually, curry has taken over fish and chips as being the national food. Our McDonald’s even has a curry dish,” he gloated. And what would a typical American miss the most? He had just one word: coffee. “We just don’t have coffee like Americans do,” he warned.

Good lord. No Peet’s? It’s something to think about.

Of course, Americans just love to talk about moving to Canada whenever the going gets tough, but finding a live person at the local Canadian Consulate was just not happening. Thankfully, Adeline from the Alberta Tourism Board was very helpful and eager to talk about local Albertan cuisine. She had no idea that people from the States were planning an invasion. “Really? Hmm, I hadn’t heard about it.”

Growing up in Alberta, Adeline said, she ate hearty, simply prepared food from area farms. “The produce here is amazing. When I grew up, we ate a lot of pork and bacon, farm-type things. The dairies are wonderful as well. But in the bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver, one can get pretty much all kinds of food from virtually every place in the world.”

One country that has been inundated with visa requests by people from blue states is New Zealand. An official at the New Zealand Consulate, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed that Americans have been bombarding them with immigration inquiries. “It’s three, maybe five times more than we usually get,” she said.

Perhaps best known for its world-famous lamb and that goddamn kiwi, New Zealand is equally renowned for its creamy fromage, fabulous wine, fresh-from-the-net seafood, and savory meat pies. There also is something scarily called the “mutton bird” that is said to be an acquired taste, always a bad sign.

Yes, it’s true: New Zealand has superb regional food. But yet it does not have a Nations Burger. And as you start your peaceful new life as a non-warmongering shepherd, you will tearfully gaze westward, realizing that you miss your Nation more than you ever dreamed possible. And as you dine on mutton bird, you will sadly realize that the Republicans have truly won.


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