Thursday, May 25, 2006

Weird Food

Do you remember when you were maybe 9 or 10 or maybe junior high and went to a friend's house and got something out of their refrigerator or pantry?? Or maybe you were having dinner there?

Did you ever notice that other people had weird food compared to your own at home?

I always found it very interesting in my purely voyeuristic way to peek into people's pantries. No, I am not a bathroom medicine cabinet lurker just kitchen.

I had a friend that got their milk from REAL cows. Like the milk came in big glass jars. They would pour off the cream (tons of it!) and threw away a lot of it because they couldn't use it all. I love cream and can drink it straight (not recommended if you are on a diet!) and her family thought it was the funniest thing to watch me drink the cream.

They also ate cornbread broken up into buttermilk. They also made their tea as a thick syrup with sugar. Then you would add as much as you wanted to your glass of ice water.

Another friend's mom would cook dinner and I would eat biscuits and red eye gravy. (I lived in Oklahoma people - what do you think I would be eating??). My parents were both from Colorado so my mom didn't cook like this. I thought it was awesome! To this day, there ain't nothing you can't slather some gravy on and make it better. Or add bacon.

I can remember my friend Mona, who's family got one of the first microwaves (I was in maybe 6th grade??) and we ate a ton of cherry pastries just because when you warmed them up in the microwave it made them soft and heavenly.

It was always interesting to see how other people lived. Your idea of a meal was different than their's. Even how they approached meal time. I remember one friend who's brother would wear headphones (and I am talking the old timey headphones that could hardly fit through a doorway) to the table because he didn't like hearing other people chew. Her family would all act like this was totally normal and nothing was amiss. Or the other friend who's dad would sit by himself at his recliner in front of the t.v. while the rest of the family sat at the table. You couldn't talk very loud because he was WATCHING THE NEWS.

Looking back, I realize I didn't know anyone ethnic growing up. Boy, did I live in a white bread world. But wouldn't that have been great to have had an Asian friend?? Or Italian? or Thai???


  • I had a friend who was Greek-Orthodox and her mother made stuffed grapeleaves. They acted as if letting me eat them was a big deal, but they tasted awful to me.

    I had another friend whose parents were Italian and from the Old Country. When it was time to make spaghetti...about every other was a sacred event. And they didn't call it spaghetti. They called it "sauce". "Ma's gonna make sauce tonight". I didn't care what you called was FANTASTIC!

    By Blogger wordgirl, at 5/25/2006 2:18 PM  

  • Yes, I look in people's cabinets too. Sometimes it's like, why on earth do you have a large tub of crisco in there? And cornstarch? You're weird! My friend also had a microwave (enourmous!) and we took tortillas and cheese and melted it. Fantastic. In the seventh grade, I had a friend that was Jewish, and they took hot bagels, tore them up, and dunked them into salt. YUMM! Like wordgirl said, some stuff is weird- for example, my Arabic friend proudly shoved a bowl of the infamous hummus and pita bread in my face and I smiled as I choked it down. It's pureed garbanzo beans, people!!

    By Anonymous Sharla, at 5/25/2006 3:16 PM  

  • I love this post topic! My mom always made weird ethnic food growing up, and I still get teased a bit from friends who've come over for dinner to eat bierach (sp?) :)

    That headphone thing is hilarious

    By Blogger Jess Riley, at 5/25/2006 4:11 PM  

  • Geez, I just read through this and I had some really stupid typos.

    Instead of interesting I had "intereating"

    I typed cornbreak instead of cornbread.

    Sory - Debie

    By Blogger DebbieDoesLife, at 5/25/2006 4:43 PM  

  • I was pondering the idea of intereating. Sounds like something Scientologists would do. Like eating through their belly-buttons.

    We were always the organic, wheat germ and brussel sprout family. Someone's probably writing a post about my weird family's eating habits out there somewhere. The coolest thing I ever found in a friend's cupboard were those soft granola bars with chocolate chips. It was like Christmas. I think I ate mine one piece of granola at a time.

    By Blogger Mignon, at 5/25/2006 5:00 PM  

  • The daydreaming about what my friends mom would make for breakfast was the BEST part of a sleepover when I was a kid. One mom made this stuff called Ho-
    cake that she served with honey butter......I still crave that stuff! Once I was served a soft boiled egg in its own little egg cup that looked like a litte wine glass. Oh, I felt so very elegant that morning until I noticed the egg was practically raw. YUK!! To this day, I try and have a fun breakfast when my kids have sleepovers.

    I will confess that I use to totally check out the cubbords of homes where I would babysit! Oh the treasures!!

    By Anonymous Carol, at 5/25/2006 5:14 PM  

  • Hmm..not to be a stickler, Debbie..but Thai falls into the "Asian" category, doesn't it?

    I'll be your Asian friend...:o)

    By Blogger teahouse, at 5/25/2006 7:47 PM  

  • Well, there ya go, Teahouse. I am an equal opportunity offender. I considered lumping it all together but then thought no, maybe I shouldn't.

    I should have specified Hunan and Thai.

    By Blogger DebbieDoesLife, at 5/25/2006 8:02 PM  

  • My mom was Italian and when she made coleslaw, it always had a homemade oil and vinegar dressing. The first time I had coleslaw with a mayonaisse based dressing I was SHOCKED. I thought this was some wild, new culinary concept.

    By Anonymous V-Grrrl, at 5/26/2006 3:45 AM  

  • I think you've hit on something here. Going to other people's houses to eat as a kid, even if they are the same ethicity as yourself is your first opportunity to experience something different from a cultural standpoint.

    Damn Debbie, I'm amazed you don't weigh 300 pounds what with all the heavy cream and gravy you have consumed. How's your cholesterol :o)

    By Anonymous TB, at 5/26/2006 9:38 AM  

  • My Mom didn't really cook much when we were kids. Combo of not liking it and the world's worst kitchen. So it was always entretaining to go to someone's house where their mom made things from scratch. To be fair, my mom did make a mean pancake.

    By Blogger Annie, The Evil Queen, at 5/26/2006 11:15 AM  

  • Wow, now you've got me thinking about the different foods my friends' families prepared/ate when I was growing up. I remember my down-the-street friend's family bought powdered milk (probably more economical, as they had five kids); I always felt funny drinking milk that came from a Tupperware pitcher instead of a store carton. ;^)

    By Blogger B.E.C.K., at 5/26/2006 11:22 AM  

  • My Dad's family is Italian. Thanksgiving with them consisted of all kinds of authentic dishes. My favorite was the meatballs. They were the size of my fist!

    By Blogger Tink, at 5/26/2006 2:59 PM  

  • Ever dipped French fries in gravy? Heavenly.

    I had a friend whose mother would not let her eat PB&J, so whenever she came over to my house, that's all she wanted.

    And my family had many Asian friends - people whose jobs had brought them to the US, so their cooking was authentic - but I was too young to appreciate anything besides the wontons.

    By Anonymous mothergoosemouse, at 5/28/2006 10:14 PM  

  • My mother knew how to cook about 4 dishes - which left Friday to pot luck or something like that. We didn't even have anything close to a taco until I was in grad school. But that's how you grew up and you were used to it.

    My kitchen is a lot more creative nowadays. We had my parents over for Thanksgiving a few years back and you could sense them freaking out as I was deep-frying the turkey in peanut oil and preparing oyster jalpeno stuffing. The somehow got through it okay.

    By Blogger Rock, at 5/30/2006 3:02 PM  

  • Gosh, your friends ate really different stuff. I think the weirdest thing we ate was probably cabbage & banana salad. The weirdest thing I had to eat at a friends was lima beans. My parents didn't make us eat anything. But my friend taught me how to hide them in the mashed potatoes.
    Red eye gravy? Does that mean the gravy is red? I've never heard of it before.
    I think it would have been neat to visit homes of other ethnicities & try various foods too.

    By Anonymous jane, at 5/30/2006 6:22 PM  

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