Monday, March 16, 2009

more ethnocentricities...

i like dominican food.

when i first moved here, i l.o.v.e.d. dominican food. maybe, though, it was because i hated cooking and the food i was getting required no cooking of my own.

and there are dishes i still love. adore. crave. fried cheese (who knew? you can deep fry anything). sancocho, pastelon de platano maduro. asopao.

but they are all dishes that are delicacies. foods for special occasions. not something you whip up every monday night, a la mom's meatloaf (i hate meatloaf).

and dominicans l.o.v.e. dominican food. rightly, so, i suppose. but try being married to a dominican who is dying of hunger if he doesn't have rice everyday. or at least every other day. rice. rice. beans. rice and beans together. rice and boiled beans. meat. all.with.the.same.damn.seasonings.

it cracks me up, too, because most dominican men don't know that they're wives really aren't that talented - they've just mastered the art of using pepper, onion, tomato paste and chicken boullion in the right proportions for everything.

that makes it sound bad, but dominican cuisine really is quite tasty. but the same thing every day is boring. repetitive. and frankly, i need some diversity.

the other thing about food is that, of course, everyone loves it. and americans are dumb because we only eat pizza and french fries. in fact, all of the american children that dominicans meet only ever ask for pizza. mcdonalds. hamburgers and soda. i don't think the thought ever crossed their minds that the kids are asking for what's familiar - because the dominican food?

i had to turn my dad onto the deliciousness of dominican coffee after being rightly disgusted when passed a 4 oz. shot of coffee, loaded with at least 3 teaspoons of sugar. the coffee bean is delicious. a little sugar, a little milk and i dare say it's a wonder of the world. but, alas, the sweetness overload turns us off.

and once, i had to argue with a priest about his desert of choice for a group of figure conscious short term missionaries. cake here is expensive. far out of the normal budget, and definitely not something people have on a regular basis. and if you like sweet, it's for you. but for most americans, it's too sweet. too... saccharine-y. so, for this priest argued with me for no less than an hour an hour when i told him he should buy fruit because "dominican cake is the best in the world" - he proceeded to buy the cake - all $50 american dollars worth of it, only to have more than 3/4 left after the party.


it may seem my last two posts have been negative. but there are people reading this blog who are wondering what it's like to live here. and on a daily basis i'm overwhelmed by the ethnocentricity i encounter. it's not to say it doesn't exist in the states - it does, and in far greater terms. why else would there be a mcdonalds in every country? not because those people love mcdonalds, but because we love mcdonalds. (when we go to mcd's there are almost always at least three other american families there, and there aren't so many americans in santiago) but what happens in the states is not my life, what happens here and how it affects me as a foreigner is my life. i know i'm ethnocentric. horribly so. but these are my observations of life. (so there)


Erin said...

Reading this post makes me thankful for living in the U.S. where we have such a plethora of cuisines to choose from. I don't think there's ANY type of food I could eat day in and day out - probably beacuse we weren't raised that way. Interesting post, Melanie!

Buki Family said...

this made me laugh... oh to be married to our husbands... rice and beans. seriously i made a big pot of rice thinking it would be enough to share... he took ALL of it. I feel like my husband is the pickiest eater because he does not want any of the american food (except steak and french fries)... he just wants the same proportion of salt, pepper, tomato paste, oil, and a buillon cube if you got one...

Buki Family said...

funny how they dont like to admit that something else is good. today Flory was complaining because he had not eaten since yesterday and i point out that i made 5 lbs of potatoes and he likes potatoes. he started to say he didnt. he just does not want to heat anything up himself. he would rather starve then put food on a plate and zap it in the microwave! and he is just tired of american food. where are the beans and rice???