A Comer el Mundo (to eat the world)

In my mid-twenties, when I lived in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in southern Africa, I had for a short time an older boyfriend from Denmark who’d traveled widely, lived in Kenya for a while, and taught me a lot about the world.

One thing he said has stuck with me all these years. “Every country,” he told me, “brainwashes its citizens into believing their country is the best on earth. Otherwise, many people would likely leave, in search of somewhere better. Countries need their citizens to stay – to work and to pay taxes. We are merely cogs in their machinery.”

I‘d never thought of things that way. As a young and naïve American, I’d simply assumed that the USA was the biggest and best country in the world and I was really lucky to be born in it. My mom had thought our little hometown in suburban New Jersey was the actual center of the universe and saw no need to ever go beyond it. I, on the other hand, was willing to venture further, as a mindlessly flag-waving young American girl.

That was a long time ago. I’ve since traveled fairly widely, lived in other countries for several years each, saw the U.S. from a clearer distance, and learned a lot in the process. Countries, I’ve learned, are like people – complex, many-faceted, sometimes well intentioned, sometimes attractive and admirable, sometimes ugly and arrogant, sometimes healthy, sometimes sick. Every country is a mixed bag, including the land-of-the-free-and-home-of-the-brave, the big, complicated, and now-hurting USA.

I’ve also learned that our countries of birth are not like our high school football teams once were to us – better than all the rest. (Go team! Defeat those underlings!) The truth is, we graduated from high school many decades ago. We’re wise to open our eyes to the truth of the bigger world now.

Due to a number of factors — mainly advancing age, declining health, and a fixed budget — I don’t travel anymore. I’m happily and gratefully living as a retiree in San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful, affordable, proud old city in the central mountains of Mexico. So I look forward to the times now when the world can come to me.

One shining example of this is a program I’ve found on the Spanish-language television channel El Gourmet. This program, which has been showing here on weeknights from 7 to 8 pm and from 6:30 to 7:30 pm on weekends, is called “Me Voy a Comer el Mundo” (I’m going to eat the world); and that’s just what its host, Veronica, an ebullient young woman from Spain, sets out to do.

Here’s the format: Live-wire Veronica goes to a place, meets up with Spanish-speaking local guides (the program is entirely in Spanish, I must point out), and each guide in turn takes her (and us viewers) around – to the open-air markets, the lower- as well as higher-end restaurants and major sights of interest, and finally into one of the guide’s home (as well as the kitchen and even a peek into the refrigerator!) to enjoy a traditional meal with the family.

Everywhere she goes Veronica tastes the food, as the camera zooms in on her happy face, wide-wide eyes and enthusiastic “Mmmmmmmm!” It’s all delightful and delicious.

Each full hour of this world-class show focuses on that one place in the world. Some of the places she visits I’ve already been to – such as Provence, France; Fez, Morocco; and San Francisco, California —  so these shows are refreshers for me of the sights, sounds, aromas, and flavors I loved about those locations when I was there.

But most of her programs take me to places I’ve never been and will never otherwise experience in person, such as the ones I watched recently that took me to Croatia, Dubai, Qatar, Norway, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guatemala, Tokyo, and Moscow.

Moscow! I’d been brought up to believe (and obviously never bothered to question this) that Moscow is nothing but bitter-cold, gray and bleak, and its unfortunate inhabitants subsist solely on potatoes, beets, and cabbage. How wrong I was. I’ve just seen that Moscow is stunningly colorful (on a clear day), and its people appear to dress and eat well. Moscow’s subway system alone is eye-popping. It makes New York’s subway seem like something out of Dante’s Inferno.

And Dubai! OMG, what opulence. What architecture. (How did they build the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, on sand?) What shops and markets. What hospitality. In my entire life I’d never given one thought to Dubai. Now I can say I’ve seen it – or at least had a taste of it – and it’s enlarged my world.

I could go on, of course, ooh-ing and ah-ing over “Me Voy a Comer el Mundo” and the magic carpet rides it takes viewers on – not just to the dazzling cities but into the outlying humbler countrysides as well. Yes, we could read about these destinations in books and online, but this television show actually shows each place “in living color” and introduces us to the people there in real time. For armchair travelers like myself now, it’s just the ticket.

Oh, and if you’re looking to improve your Spanish-language skills, as I always am, it will do that for you too.

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Here’s a short video clip of Veronica’s show to give you a small taste. If the program is not available to you on television, perhaps you might find it online. Buen provecho!https://www.cocinayvino.com/mundo-gourmet/cultura/me-voy-comer-mundo/ .

16 thoughts on “A Comer el Mundo (to eat the world)”

    1. I have TotalPlay, and it’s been on channel 268. But this week it hasn’t been showing. 🙁 I don’t know why. Last night at 7:00 there was a new bread-making show. Maybe it’s a new Fall schedule?

  1. I’ll try looking for it. It sounds very interesting and it would be good Spanish practice and we all know I need that.

  2. this sounds wonderful.  
    Like Victoria I wanted to know where to find the show.  Take a look at You Tube. I found lots of episodes there  

  3. What good tips, again, Bonnie!  I’ll certainly check out that program when I return next month…for now, we really are sampling foods from other countries while in other countries.  Today, in Lubljana, Slovenia we had Italian appetizers and Argentinian cuisine, and we spotted a cantina with. Mexican food!  Later on, I hope to revisit my fave ice cream shop here that features fab matcha ice cream – which is made locally!  
    You sure are right on (again!) about being convinced of one’s country of origin being the best (I grew up in Canada) and have lived in five countries so far…and my place of choice is the same as yours, but I still like to sample the others.  ¡Viva México!

    1. Thank you SO much, dear Dorothy, for reporting to us from Slovenia! Sounds like you’re having delicious fun! I’ve just discovered that they’ve changed the time for Veronica’s program (at least on my TV channel) to 5 pm. So she’s still available on television, it appears. And others have found her on YouTube. Safe travels, BB

  4. Dear Bonnie,

    Every young adult should travel! It not only opens your eyes to how other people live in the world, but it changes your perspective on your home country.
    Having that perspective influences the rest of your life.
    That show sounds delicious!

    1. Yes, Loula, I so agree! When I was in my mid-twenties and living in southern Africa, I came across many Australian young people who were traveling the world for a year before going off to college and settling down. I got the sense that this was a common practice for you Australians, and I really admired it! 🙂

  5. Dear Bon,
    The cooking show sounds really great. I’m going to look for it on YT. I don’t understand Spanish, but it seems like it could still be interesting. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

    1. Yes, dear Paul, I think you’ll find that even without understanding what’s being said in Spanish (I don’t understand it all either), the show is so visual you’ll enjoy every minute of it. Last evening I watched the program that went to Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state), and it was amazing! Veronica and her guide biked across a huge canyon as if in mid-air, tethered by wires! And when she was served a traditional soup made from cows’ feet and tripe, she didn’t say “Mmmmmmmm!” She made a disgusting face! 🙂

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