No Halloween, Plenty of Fear

Hello readers,

Today, I am going to talk to you about a legitimate fear of mine. Anybody who knows me at all is aware of my issues with food and stomach illnesses. I have emetophobia, a very common fear of throwing up, and sometimes it leads me to OCD behavior about expiration dates, food preparation and storage, hand washing, and a general avoidance of alcohol.

In America, it was easy to feel placated by a weekly sweep of the fridge, tossing out expired dairy products or week old leftovers, or knowing that health codes existed in restaurants. In Georgia, I’ve had to lower my standards a bit.

Adjaruli Khachapuri, a very common and well known dish in Georgia, is made with a raw egg

Don’t get me wrong, so far I think Georgian food is delicious. I can handle bread, cheese, chilli, Khinkhali (dumplings), cornbread, salad, mandarin oranges, fried potatoes and everything else that my family has fed me. My issue is the way things are stored.

A few nights ago, neighbors and friends came over to shuck corn and separate the rotten ones out. The kitchen was actually full of corn, so this was a task that ended in a small feast as a thank you for their help. I had some amazing stuffed bell peppers with some kind of rice and beef filling, among other good foods. The problem? Those meet-filled peppers were then left in a pot on the unlit stove for 3 days until they were eaten. It seems like my family only refrigerates dairy products, fresh from the cow, and ignores meat. They made some kind of sausage, then stored it in the cupboard for days and served it cold.

Oh… did I mention that there’s also rats in this kitchen?

And not the helpful Parisian kind of rats… the gross disease carrying kind of rats

Honestly, I have been doing pretty well despite my panic about the sanitation and storage. The only time I had any kind of stomach issues is when I drank the well water, which was easily remedied by buying the 45 tetri water bottles (about 3o cents USD). In Prague, I suffered a constant stomach ache and ate Tums like candy, but here I have been okay. I assume the reason is that all of my fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat come from my family’s backyard. I haven’t been eating processed food, preservatives, or McDonald’s.

But that’s the thing about a fear, it’s irrational. I’ve been trying to manage my food issues and eat what is offered to me, while also turning down food that could legitimately make me sick, beyond my paranoia. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had to turn down the moonshine!

In the winter, most of my food will come from these jars!

This Halloween, which is not celebrated in Georgia, I thought about my fears. Despite my frequent panic attacks about the food I am eating, I have to say I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I’m pretty sure my family doesn’t even own dish soap and I still eat off of those dishes everyday. I’ll eat the chicken noodle soup the next day, so long as I’ve brought it to a boil first. My expectations are not what they were at home, and maybe I’ll return a little less of a spaz.

Happy post-Halloween and thanks for listening to my paranoid ranting,

-Kacie Riann

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3 Comments

  1. Mama Loni

     /  November 4, 2012

    Cautious is not the same as paranoia…hang in there. But consider all the bugs you could kill with just the occasional swig of moonshine! XXOO

    Reply
  2. Dad

     /  November 4, 2012

    I’m proud of you and your efforts to live like a local. I know it hasn’t been easy to overcome some of your fears . I imagine when you return home you’ll spend less time checking the pull dates of items in the pantry. Ha!

    Reply
  1. Middle of Nowhere | A Washingtonian in Georgia

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