Iceland Mag

7 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

An American in Reykjavík: The initial shock of not having super size meals

By Matt Eliason

Matt Eliason is new to Iceland. He will chronicle his first impressions of the country, its people and traditions for Iceland Magazine. Different portion control is his first subject.

As a native Chicagoan, born and raised in the 3rd largest city in the United States, I have become accustom to the enormous size and caloric intake that is included in each bite of our native cuisine. Deep Dish pizza, Chicago Style hot dogs, and a wide variety of other culturally diverse dishes line the city streets, leaving each Chicagoan full and ready for a nap after each meal.

In contrast, I have found myself in a constant state of hunger since settling in Reykjavik due to the small portions offered up by the local restaurants. Maybe this is the reason the United States is consistently ranked as the most obese country in the world, while Icelanders stay sleek and slim in comparison to the average American city.

My Icelandic roommate jokingly scolded me after observing my preparation of a large ham sandwich with 6 or 7 layers of ham included on the bread. He explained that sandwiches should be made with only 1 slice of ham and 1 slice of cheese, which I immediately dismissed as a crazy and unrealistic notion for an avid eater such as myself.

Yet on the positive side, I have found it pleasantly refreshing to not feel the stomach pains and immobility after downing a reasonably sized meal at a local Reykjavik diner.

Ultimately, I have faith that conforming to the standard meal size in Iceland will make me a healthier person, despite the hunger pains that might ensue in the meantime. 

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