Joys of Travel #1- Analyzing Airport Sushi

8 Jan

After reading a book about the North American food industry, shoved at me by a vegangelist friend, I had the hopelessly hippie idea of making a New Year’s resolution based on eating mindfully and ethically… Details to be announced later, but the gist of it is that I will from hereon buy and eat organic and ethically produced foods only. (And do it on a budget, mind you.)  The exceptions to the rule are travel and house visits (refusing food at a family visit would be the epidemy of rudeness). And since I greeted 2012 visiting my brother in the capital of capitalism, also known as New York City, the year of mindful eating hasn’t officially started. Still, I try to change my mindset the best as I can given the circumstances, and be mindful of what goes through my digestion. It’s been an interesting ride already.

I spent the first few days of the year eating out as per my brother’s head-to-head-opposite-to-mine American lifestyle, trying to keep to the vegetarian options on the menu (to avoid eating factory-farmed meat) and cheating every now and then out of either lack of choice or sheer temptation. (I am human after all, and the point of the resolution is cultivating mindfulness, not self-denial.) Then came a weekend in Quebec, which involved camping out in an old Catholic church for two nights and joining hundreds of jugglers for 48 hours of magic, mayhem and sleep deprivation, also known as TurboFest- the Quebec Circus School’s annual festival. During the festival, most of us subsisted on trail mix (couldn’t find organic trail mix in the Manhatten supermarket where I bought it), coffee, chocolate, and the sandwiches from the school’s cafeteria (hummus and cheese wasn’t too bad). I don’t know if anything beside my Endangered Species chocolate was organic, nor do I have the faintest clue whether the coffee was shade-grown or fair-trade. They were the only options I had though, and my body was abused enough without having to starve it for the sake of ideals. So that was that.

Now, my location is Montreal Trudeau Airport, and I have just discovered an airport food that is a half-decent alternative to grossly overpriced burgers: sushi. More specifically, the one, the only, the magnificent Avocado Roll. In a Comparative Anatomy 101 approach, it has several advantages: it doesn’t contain farmed salmon or other dubiously-sourced seafood, it’s significantly more filling (and tastier in my humble opinion) than the infamous cucumber roll, and only costs $3.50 for 8 pieces. On an Everyday Economics 101 approach, it’s about the same size (and about as filling) as a Starbucks sandwich, and costs half as much. Not bad. From an environmental perspective, it comes in a plastic container along with disposable chopsticks, but so does just about everything else at the airport. Besides, I was able to bypass the chopsticks as I randomly found a pair stashed in the dark depths of my laptop case- don’t ask why. I have no clue when I shoved them there, and for what purpose, but I decided to keep them as my reusable travel chopsticks. Here’s to hoping that all airports I go through have a sushi bar… (Riiight…)


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