Great Jones has a nice Andy Baraghani (of BA fame) profile. It’s worth a read, especially if you are following BA’s Youtube channel. But this quote stands out, obviously.
Food still is the easiest entry point into culture.
Back in the day, I think I was about 19 or 20, my then girlfriend persuaded me to do a cooking class with her. I wasn’t into cooking at that time, but I went along anyway. While I don’t remember much about what was taught in that class, I do remember this one thing the chef teaching us said:
Food is the first form of culture we experience.
I keep coming back to this quote over and over. It’s true and it’s one of the reasons that when I travel, I do not attempt to research everything there is to know about the place that I’m going to. It feels a lot more natural to me to arrive, go eat and immerse myself in the environment instead of attempting to be prepared in a way that will prevent me from experiencing those few precious moments when you eat in a foreign place.