Saturday's lunch with Anna: hummus, fruit and cheese salad, pita, falafel, babaganoush
I've been thinking about food lately. Not like, what will I eat or cook, but really thinking about the ways people think of food. It started when I joined Facebook. There is an application titled "ghetto snacks". Eye roll, grimace. Now, I'm all for having fun and was thrilled to receive several other less...uh what word am I looking for [insert] applications, but this one stuck in my craw. Many of the items are candy, but a few stood out to me as regional/ethnic foods (plantain chips, pork rinds, Malta etc.) and, that sorta saddened me.
I grew up in a GeeChee/Gullah home for the most part. Sure my grandmother in her quest for ultimate northern exposure made pasta and potatoes which my resistant grandfather would eat in addition to rice. We ate rice everyday, and I still do. It is a part of the coastal Carolinian culture, it is part of who I am. As a Native New Yorker and a vegetarian, rice and West African peoples' rice history has been one of very few cultural items I've been able to incorporate and pass on to my own children. Rice also conjoins the Carolinian and Caribbean cultures Favorite guy and I share. Rice though, is not served at high holidays, weddings, graduations et al.; rice is low brow, rice isn't classy-rice is ghetto.
Low-brow, ghetto food?! This didn't make sense growing up, but now at 35 I'm tainted enough to understand and have even partaken in the food caste system. Perhaps, seeing the Facebook application opened my eyes to just how ignorant (that's the word) this practice is. I have to say, I was flooded by thoughts of all the ways in which the things we eat define us. From Ernest J. Gaines' salt meat reference in The Sky is Gray, Jill Scott's, "rice and gravy, biscuits baby and black-eyed peas", Machito's Sopa de Pichon and many others. Yet, this tale and songs of which I speak aren't tales of poverty and despair, but rather comeuppance, joyous occasions, kinship and love even. Attaching caste and class to foods and the people who eat them-food shaming, if you will, is the antithesis of the true meaning of food and dining, of culture, of civilization.
So, let's dish-Who are you? What are some of your regional/cultural/childhood food favorites?