Wednesday, May 9, 2007
You Ate What?
It always amazes me what some people eat.
Growing up in South Texas, we ate what I considered regular American food. Of course, we had an abundance of Mexican restaurants, B-B-Q joints, and plenty of places to buy seafood, almost always fried. It wasn’t until my Junior High years that I realized not everybody ate the same as us. I now know that our local cuisine was perhaps one of the more blended regions in the country. The Gulf Coast of South Texas is the meeting point for Southern, Mexican, German, Cajun, and Southwestern cuisine. (But that’s another post.) Now before you scoff at my ignorance, remember I grew up in a small town in the pre-cable TV era. If you are old enough to remember that time, regional differences were much more pronounced back then. We had no MTV to tell us what was cool to wear or listen to, nor any Food Network to tell us what to eat. Of course, we traveled some and experienced new things, but other than ethnic food, the only real regional cuisine I was aware of other than my own was Cajun.
I remember the day I had my epiphany. It was in the summer of 1975. I was 13 and we had a boy from Kansas staying with us as part of an exchange program. My Dad always had a vegetable garden and one of my favorite things from his garden was okra. During the summer we ate okra almost every day. That night my mom made fried okra. Our exchange student had never eaten okra. He had never even heard of okra. That was the beginning of my fascination with other cultures and cuisines. That night at our table, I realized I was probably just as unaware of what other people were eating as he was of what was a staple food of my childhood.
Since then, I have become obsessed with food and what different cultures eat. If I had it to do all over again I would probably become a nutritional anthropologist. Of course back then, I didn’t even know what that was. Whenever I travel, one of the first things I want to do is go to the grocery store. You can learn a lot about the community, (or even the neighborhood for that matter), you are in by looking around the grocery store.
So what is the point of this rambling post?
This article in the New York Times about Kool-Aid Pickles just started me thinking about it. Now the Deep South eats some funky stuff, I can tell you – but damn! Kool-Aid pickles? Apparently these started showing up around the mid 90’s. I’ve never heard of them. And yes, I’m going to try them!! I’ll keep you posted on what they taste like. I’m betting my kids love them.
So what freaky thing do you eat?
My Dad used to have a favorite late night snack which consisted of a glass of milk with leftover cornbread crumpled up in it, and in my house cornbread was never sweet. I don't know what I eat that some may find strange. Whenever I go to New England I always stock up on Moxie. My kids hate it, but I think it is the nectar of the Gods.
Meanwhile – enjoy this site. It is along the same line of thought- but hilarious.
Steve – Don’t Eat It!