This morning I experienced the sensation of hunger for the first time in almost six weeks. I had entirely forgotten what it felt like to be hungry and for a brief moment thought I might have picked up another kidney stone. It had been over twelve hours since my last meal. Whilst this might be an entirely appropriate amount of time to pass between meals in any European country, in America, I’m discovering, most people don’t cope well with hungry. Since arriving here at the beginning of September I have ate with a regularity, variety and appetite better suited to a marauding Viking raider than a thirty something Ulster woman. Consequently, my return to Belfast shall see me subsisting on Special K and celery for as long as it takes to get back into my good jeans. Until then I propose to keep munching on. It would be awfully rude not to. I also intend to begin the process of integrating the regular use of a knife back into my every day eating habits and start weaning myself back on to proper tea (with milk). Here for all those foodies who enjoy such things is my eating highlights so far. 1. Best thing I’ve eaten: the veritable banquet of traditional Chinese food I sampled in this restaurant in Vancouver, BC 2. Strangest thing I’ve eaten: pig fat and herring, potato and beetroot cake in a Russian restaurant in Portland 3. Best breakfast/brunch: a toss up between the old faithful eggs benedict at the Tin Shed in Portland and this amazing skillet of breakfast paella in Vancouver, BC 4. Oddest eating experience: watching a Thai lady prepare our dinner of traditional Pho in a log cabin in rural Minnesota. 5. Best milk shake: I’m a die hard Burgerville milk shake fan but this chocolate, cookie dough malt in Duluth, Minnesota has completely transformed my standards for what can be expected of a milk shake. 6. Strangest thing to happen in a restaurant: having the chap at the next table buy our entire table a round of vodka after burping so loudly the entire Russian restaurant turned round to stare. 7. Best cup of coffee: Duluth coffee company, Duluth, Minnesota, (though the music is just a tad too loud). 8. Best airport food: Seatac, Seattle where I had some amazing and very reasonably priced salmon and Rough Trade also organised some pretty decent musicians to serenade me while I ate. 9. Best salad: strawberry, spinach, pine nut and chicken salad at the Alcove in Los Angeles where our table had dozens of tiny short stories stuffed inside the drawers. 10. Favourite food rediscovery: the humble Wisconsin cheese curd; just as squeaky awesome as it was seven years ago and still likely to leave you nauseous after a half bag.