24 October 2013

The Experience of Food

On my other blog, I occasionally participate in something called Ten on Tuesday, where you are given a topic and you share 10 things related to it.  This past week, the topic was:  10 Foods You Eat Regularly Now That Were Exotic (or unheard of) When You Were a Kid.

This was a lot of fun to think about, and my list is here.  But even more fun than making my own list was reading others' lists.  Though some things seemed pretty common - i.e., eating only white bread as a child, now eating different types of bread all of the time - there were some big differences as well.  Mostly based on people's ages, I think.  For instance, my parents were products of the Great Depression and the "modern food" (convenience, processed) revolution.  So we seldom had anything homemade.  We also wasted very little, if any, food.  We were poor, so there were some things we ate regularly because they were cheap, and other things (pineapple, for instance) that were rare and exciting treats.  But other people had grown up eating healthier foods (for instance, fresh vegetables), and their lists contained primarily ethnic foods they had recently learned about.

I find this fascinating.  Food is such a personal thing, though a universal necessity.  But it is also part of what forms each of us.  For every person like me, who ate canned vegetables regularly, there were people growing up in families who ate foods that are still considered ethnic, even if more well-known to people now.  One of the biggest events growing up in one place we lived was an annual summer festival known as the Syrian Picnic.  Of course, it was a lesson in "unusual food" like grape leaves, hummus, etc.  Everyone would talk about what new things they had tried eating there for weeks, and it was considered daring to have tried more than two or three things.

I know there are foods both local and international that I have never heard of or tried, or perhaps would not even want to think about eating.  Those are the "exotic" foods to me now.   

But every summer I wish I could go back to the Syrian Picnic ...

What about you?  What are your food choices now compared to those you grew up eating?

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