That Last and First Meal in Your Home Location

When traveling to South Africa, I knew I would miss certain American foods and treats – but I was really excited to taste new dishes and spices! As I prepared for the trip experience, I found myself walking around the Washington, D.C. Dulles airport and pondering what my last American meal for five and a half months should be.

first meal USAI settled on Chipotle. For those who are not familiar with Chipotle, it is a Mexican fast food restaurant. Thinking of Taco Bell now? Well, they have good food too but Chipotle is different in that they will make your food choice (taco, burrito, or salad) in front of you and you choose what ingredients you would like. A more accurate depiction of Chipotle would be a Mexican version of Subway – a spread of toppings to add to your main course choice that will help keep you full and your taste buds satisfied. Choosing Mexican as my “last American meal” was a good choice – due to the fact that there are no Mexican restaurants in southern Africa.

Fast forward five and a half months to end of my time in South Africa. I was right – I did enjoy many foods while there. Some of my favorites were samosas, bunny chow, roti rolls and sweets such as Tex chocolates. My last South African meal was eaten at the Johannesburg airport, the day before the World Cup series began in 2010. My meal choice?

last meal South AfricaA schwarma – which is a giant pita pocket filled with meat, a yogurt/hummus like spread, tomatoes and cucumbers. It was served with “hot chips” or french fries that I sprinkled with a spice that I grew to like while abroad. The schwarma is a Middle Eastern inspired dish and is one that most places that sell gyros will also do – or will have something similar on their menu. I have tried various homemade versions and while it is not the same, putting grilled meat inside a large pita pocket does at least re-awaken those food senses.

My first meal back in the United States? Airport wise – it was Chipotle again. A burrito and chips that taste authentically Mexican versus my “pass-able attempts” during five and a half month stay away. My first dinner was at a local Mexican restaurant in town where I chose green enchiladas complete with beans and rice. It took me five and a half months out of the United States to realize how much I enjoy Mexican dishes!