I’ve been thinking about food and culture a lot. Specifically trying to decide what exactly is American Culture.
My friend Kritika was shocked that I knew about Indian spices and cooked a decent chicken curry for lunch one day. Not quite spicy enough to be truly Indian, but close.
Other recipes I learned from my parents or friends include cacio e pepe and several other Italian pasta dishes, Spanish frittata, Mexican inspired tacos and enchiladas, Polish ricotta pancakes, Danish cookies, and Scottish shortbread. The list goes on.
The only foods I could think of that were explicitly American were scrambled eggs, mac & cheese, and anything involving hot dogs or BBQ.
You know, generally bland, unhealthy, and/or processed.
So following that, what is American culture? What is explicitly ours?
Country music was my first knee-jerk answer, and I blasted it often to remind me of home when I was gone, but so many Americans reject it as an acceptable musical genre.
Overseas we have a reputation for being very friendly very quickly. As in, makes friends with drywall when left alone, friendly. I did not help this reputation when working overseas.
But I think about the neo-nazis, our congress and administration, and the hate-filled hearts dominating our news stories these days and I wonder again.
Violent is a stereotype I hear. My sound guy told someone who was giving me trouble to “just do what she says, she’s American. She doesn’t need the knife on her belt, she’s got a pen in her hand”, and it worked.
But I hate guns and the damage they can do so quickly. I’m 100% for gun control and think the AK-15’s and AK-47’s need to be illegal for civilian use. Try being the only American in a room after the Parkland shooting and having to explain the gun argument to people from 4 different countries who have strict gun laws. We look insane to the rest of the world, in case you’re wondering.
What is our culture? The stubbornness? The Insanity? Our great desire to argue constantly about our rights and culture? Our size?
What makes us uniquely American is our constant ability to have this discussion and argue over what our rights are, this doesn’t happen anywhere else, not the way we do it.
So there it is. American Culture is the right to disagree. To speak out. To be aggressive in standing up for what we believe are our rights and culture.
Bunch of loud, stubborn bastards, aren’t we?