Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cutting edge, throwback or just plain weird?

Am I cutting edge or a throwback?  What each family does every day is what they consider normal.  In our house it is normal to drink soy and almond milk or goat's milk once in awhile.  In our house pancakes are made from flour, eggs, soy milk, a little sugar, salt, baking powder and the fruit of our choice in an electric skillet (only because it's bigger than any pan I have).  Kids who come to visit/stay with us tell us of how their moms buy them pancakes and they toast them. Pre-teens stare at mac-n-cheese (made with real cheese and soy milk) incredulously, shocked that it can be made without the blue box and that it can be made with whole wheat pasta (which I have learned to overcook for visitors to simulate the texture of white flour pasta). One child was fascinated that her serving of chicken had bones, and dissected her food rather than ate it.  This same child stated that creamed spinach looked like barf (which it does) and looked at each of us as we sat down to dinner at a set table (which is our normal) and said, "Now we're supposed to talk to each other", as if she were interpreting a completely foreign culture for us.  My daughter has taught several friends how to set a table, a chore that has been her's since she  could carry plates one at a time at the age of three. Kids point out that the serving dishes, plates and fruit bowls all have the same pattern on them, it is a revelation.  When one was asked what their favorite vegetables are she listed starches and then added cauliflower which she mentioned that I had served the last time she ate over  (others can't name any).  To her credit, this same child quelled the look of revulsion that crossed her face when she learned that Pecorino Romano is made from sheep's milk, and then went back to eating her spaghetti with a snowstorm of Romano on top. Later, she found a chunk of tomato in the spaghetti sauce and asked to confirm that it really was a chunk of tomato.  Now, I am not talking about kids whose families have no education and live hand to mouth, I'm talking about middle class children with at least one college educated parent.  They weren't raised by wolves, they have the "Please, Thank you, Excuse me" training necessary for everyday life, they are bright chipper active fun-loving kids, but they seem to subsist on hot pockets, mac-n-cheese from a box, hot dogs, pizza (to the point where pizza isn't a treat, it is normal food), chicken nuggets or tenders and hamburgers.  Many seem to grab dinner and go rather than sit down for a meal.  Our land of persimmons, pomegranates, tart apples, turnips, eggplant, curries, rice noodles, foods mixed together, spices, assorted cabbage family vegetables and whole grains eaten at a table and cleared when everyone is finished is a foreign land.  I dread the question, "Can ________ stay for dinner??",  then I hold my breath and  respond, "Does she like West African style peanut stew and greens?"  So, throwback, cutting edge or maybe just plain weird, what do you think?

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