Goodbye Minneapolis! Thanks for the calories!

Five weeks has zapped by with alarming quickness here at Killing Batteries, Minneapolis Edition. So fast that I’m still three pounds short of my goal to gain eight pounds while home. And not for lack of trying.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my friends and family and riding public transport that is sort of reliable and speaking English like a native and saying things like “Best. Censure. Of. A. Sitting. President. Ever.” and getting a reaction other than a blank stare, but the last few times I’ve been in the US, the perk I’ve really savored is the food. Hell, when I’m abroad I can get most of that other stuff done through email, whereas food is totally out of my control.

Take Italy… Variety is dismal. All you can get is really good Italian, awesome pizza, sometimes bad Chinese and maybe a kebap if you’re in Rome. In Romania your options widen, but quality suffers: decent pizza, bad Italian, passable Chinese and, of course, very good Romanian.

Paradoxically, in five weeks in America I’ve consumed 12 omelets, five hamburgers, 23 ciders, 18 tuna burgers (Pettersen Family acquired taste), two burritos, 11 enchiladas, three pounds of French fries, Chinese (twice), sushi (twice), Thai (three times), Vietnamese, Malaysian, ‘Middle Eastern’, two pizzas, four quiches, a whole bottle of Tabasco, 19 cocktails, three bottles of wine, 257 ounces of Coke, 134 ounces of Mountain Dew, 15 gallons of cranberry juice, five pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, half a birthday cake and a slew of beverages, condiments, and other stuff that you can’t get in Umbria no matter what kind of car you drive.

And all that pales in comparison to what I plan to eat on Thursday on opening day at the Minnesota State Fair (motto: “If it ain’t deep fried, it ain’t food”). I should pack on those last three pounds at breakfast alone. I’ve heard tales of the twice deep fried, bacon wrapped, extra creamy lard waffles with a Milky Way center. Saturated in maple syrup extract. On a stick. Then on to the Pronto Pup stands, the Ice Cream Barn, the Cookie Barn, the Cheese Curd Barn, the Deep Fried Ice Cream Cookie Barn and finally the Goat Milk Laxative Barn. I’ll have all day Friday to hover within lunging range of the toilet and then I blast off Saturday for 25 hours of non-stop, giddying travel excitement in three languages.

My next post will have a Romania dateline, where I have different unmentionable food to eat, places to go, people to see, personal effects to collect and 2007 tuica (moonshine) to sample and grade. This is assuming that everyone remembers to close the various doors and hatches on the four airplanes I’ll be taking to get there – two in Romanian air space where the entire national aviation safety regulations handbook consists of:

1. All passengers must be alive
2. Last person in, locks the door (or whatever, we don’t give a rip)
3. No spitting

Pray for me. Or failing that, make sure my ashes are mixed into Natalie Portman’s body lotion.