Posts Tagged ‘comfort food’

Jakarta Day 2: Sunday, July 16, 2017


A mango-coconut-lime smoothie, or what I prefer to call “Tronia.” This is my obscure Star Trek reference for the day . . .

Now that I am in Jakarta my blog posts will be a bit different. I am actually writing up all of the posts as one document, which I will continue to edit throughout my journey before starting to post them. I am trying to write them as much “in the moment” as I can to retain how I feel about each experience, yet some days I am skipping over to get other moments of deeper feeling written before my memories fade. I want to retain as much of a chronological order as possible for these posts, so that you won’t be confused, so I am waiting to post them until they are all done. But although largely in order of what happened each day, they will become more topical as events reinforce each other. Some small details that aren’t enough to discuss on one day may add up to more important ideas later. So I’m not writing them in order, but will post them in order. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, but it will work for me.

So my first topic is the relationship between food and feeling “at home” in a country. I am all for trying out Indonesian dishes, within reason. I’m not about to eat something from a roadside stall where I can’t be sure of how hygienic it is, but if I’m reasonably sure it is safe, I’ll try it. But I also know that eating unfamiliar food for a long time can do more than test one’s intestinal fortitude. It can lead to major feelings of homesickness. On my LDS mission to southern Taiwan, my parents would send occasional care packages from home. I always requested foods such as buttermilk powder and maple flavoring that I couldn’t get in Taiwan, so that I could cook buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup. I really missed good pancakes, for some reason. All the other ingredients I could find, but not those two. Eating food from home from time to time helped me accept being a stranger in a strange land.

And of all meals, breakfast seems to be the one I missed the most. Yes, I enjoyed the occasional sou bing you tyau (long scones like churros wrapped in a sesame bun and dipped into sweetened soy bean milk) or mantou (steamed bread) or even syi fan (runny rice), yet I still came back to pancakes with maple syrup as often as I could get the ingredients. I became a great pancake cook, even though I had never really made them at home. It’s funny what you miss, and how a little home comfort food can help you feel better.


The breakfast buffet at the La Meridien Hotel. They have a little bit of everything, and it is all good. I especially liked the smoothies.

The Le Meridién Hotel has an excellent buffet for breakfast. On my first morning in Jakarta, after not sleeping as long as I had hoped (I woke up about 4:00 because my body thought it should be daytime), I wandered downstairs to the buffet at 6:30. It was good to shower and feel refreshed, but a good breakfast also helped with the psychological stresses of jet lag. I appreciated that the buffet included Indonesian and American foods (as well as some Chinese, Japanese, and other nationalities) so that I could try new things as I wanted but still have some comfort foods from home. There were pancakes and waffles (with maple syrup), an egg bar, pastries and donuts, and an array of more exotic choices. I tried many small samples to see what was good.

The mango-coconut-lime smoothie was excellent, and looked to me like Tronia from the Star Trek episode The Corbomite Maneuver. When I sent a picture of it to Becca, she posted it on Facebook and said anyone who could understand the reference deserved extra points. Terry Bruning, my old mission companion, said it looked like a drink a kid named Clint Howard might serve. Kudos to Terry for knowing it was Clint Howard who played Blayloc in the episode. He wins the obscure Star Trek reference prize for today!

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