Tag Archives: tradition

Welcome to America, Would You Like a Grilled Cheese?


Of all the things we associate with our ethnicity, food is probably at the top of the list.

American immigrants may be eager to eschew their ethnic dress, music, and language for the sake of acclimating to this culture… but their food? They’ll hang on to that, thanks.

The resilience of ethnic cuisine is much to our benefit, too. The choices in many
American towns used to be limited to ordering a burger or chicken wings  but now customers are in line for bibimbap or chicken masala coorg.

Unfortunately, a recent study suggests that this exchange between the U.S. and its newest residents is a two way street that might be leading immigrants’ kids to obesity.

The study showed that when Asian-American students were made to feel insecure about the American part of their culture- even if was only on a subconscious level-they tended to choose foods that were typically “American cuisine” (fried chicken, grilled cheese etc.) and shy away from traditionally Asian dishes.

The logic by the researchers is that the children of immigrants are so concerned with fitting in, that they are willing to order highly caloric foods to do it.

Getting fat to fit in?

They are willing to get fat to fit in.

I question that logic. American society looks down on heavy people far more than it does on people who enjoy the occasional plate of chicken feet.

Still, it is troubling that children perceive the unhealthy choice to also be the American choice.

So what’s your order?

Once, There Was Thanksgiving

For many years, I went with my family to visit my uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents for Thanksgiving. Our family had its flows like any other and I would sometimes dread Thanksgiving dinner, but gathering together to eat was a tradition. And we ate quite a lot…

After my grandparents passed away, the tradition disappeared with them. I guess they were the glue that was keeping the family together. When that happened, we created a new tradition: we’d go to Wisconsin with my mother and a friend to different resorts where you could get Thanksgiving buffets.

We would stay there all day and eat until our stomachs were so full, we almost couldn’t walk out of the place. Years passed and my mother gained too much weight. Driving up there wasn’t an option anymore. We would only go for a quick lunch at a next-door restaurant and that was it.

For years, Thanksgiving has only meant the right to eat a lot of food until I would hit the New Year’s resolution of ‘eating healthy and losing weight’. Following this trend, I “gave” too much food to my body and it wasn’t “thankful” in return.

My goal for this year and many more to come is to stop seeing Thanksgiving as mountains of food and  start enjoying the company of others. Somebody mentioned in a past blog that volunteering could be a life changer; I will be considering this closely. After all Thanksgiving is about sharing and giving.

To all of you out there, enjoy the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving!