Wednesday, December 9, 2009


So, here we are again, right back where we started.

What is ethnocentrism again? It's the view that promotes judgment of other cultures based upon one's own cultural values, usually as a means of promoting one's superiority. Is it a bad thing? Honestly, I think so. Is it curable? ...Well, do you guys think it is?

Over this semester, I've done lots of research and used my own knowledge to try and spread cross-cultural awareness with this blog. I hope my posts have been informative and interesting and that they've helped you get a better understanding of where other people might be coming from. It's easy to get frustrated with people who just don't seem to understand you; taking time to learn about them relieves that frustration immeasurably. :) Or maybe that's just me and my touchy-feely, happy Psychology mindset.

Personally, I learned a lot from this experience. I'm more aware of Caucasian-American dating rules/traditions, the vast differences in culture among Caucasian-American people, Indian food, and school systems across the globe. As much as I've looked into the field of cross-cultural studies, there's always so much more to learn. I regret that I didn't have time to do more cross-cultural research and share my findings with you all, but I assure you that this information can easily be found through KSU's affiliated academic search engines - GALILEO, EBSCOhost, PsycARTICLES, etc.

Also, if you've taken an intro to Psych class, you can take the Ethnic Minority Psychology and/or the Cross-Cultural Psychology class(es). Ethnic Minority Psych is an AMAZING class that focuses on African-American, Native American-Indian, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American cultures. It's informative and mostly discussion-based. Cross-Cultural Psychology has unfortunately become a requirement for many other majors, so the class size has increased substantially; as a result, the lectures aren't quite as compelling or personal. Still, the material is fascinating...if you're into ethnic studies, anyway. :) If you enjoy ethnic literature, you'll enjoy these classes.

Anyway, there's a point in me making this post. I know I've been emphasizing the differences between cultures throughought this blog. It's true that America is rich with different cultures that should be understood, appreciated, and not judged. I stand by it. However, we're also united by a lot of similarities!

I'm about to get kinda cheesy, so here's the obligatory picture:

I'm gonna admit something here: I am REALLY afraid of American cockroaches. Like...shiver, cower in fear, and maybe run away kinda scared. I'm not scared of Mexican cockroaches because, while they're larger than American ones, they don't fly. I attribute this to the Tequila-Induced Hypothesis of Disorientation (not a real hypothesis).

You know what, though? I've met plenty of other girls - Caucasian-American, African-American, Asian-American, etc. - that are equally as petrified of cockroaches as I am. We come from completely different backgrounds and upbringing, but we're still people, and it's really easy to find commonalities like this by just talking to them. It sounds like a no-brainer, but I've unfortunately seen people brush off others (and experience it myself) because they're racially not what they associate themselves with on a normal basis.

I'm not going to go on a tirade about racism and yap yap yap; suffice to say that I'm sure we're all on the same page. You know, love and peace. ;)

Anyway, it's been fun reading your blogs, and I hope I have offered you guys that same entertainment. Happy holidays...and be sure to rub your ethnic awareness in your friends' and family's faces! It's okay to be smug. :D

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Food: Chinese-American and Mexican-American

Here we are again! I'm back with even more food. This time, I'm going to include Chinese-American and Mexican-American food! I'm going to try and keep it as authentic as possible. You wouldn't find this food at a Panda Express or a Taco Bell. ;) Having eaten very authentic Chinese and Mexican food, I can say with certainty that authentic food is a million times better!

Americanized Chinese food isn't too bad, though. I admit it!


Who does the cooking? It's all on the lady of the house. Daughters may help, but they need to keep up the pace. Very demanding!

Chinese-American families do not drink anything with their meals, so alcohol wouldn't be an option along with food. Alcohol has become part of the Chinese tradition, so it is more apparent in weddings and festivals as opposed to social drinking. Now, however, China has made a move toward Western social activities, so social drinking is becoming a problem. Alcohol advertisements in China have gone up 50% in the past 50 years! This isn't so much a problem for traditionalists, but it's still there.

Chinese daughters learn how to cook by example. Should the mom not be able to cook at any point, the daughter must take over her role. There's not so much a passing down of recipes.

Speaking of roles, there is a sequence by which Chinese-Americans eat. First, everyone at the table receives a bowl of rice, and then the cook places down vegetables and meats in the middle of the table (on plates, naturally). The eldest person at the table begins the meal by picking from each plate and placing some of the food on top of his/her rice. From there, it goes to the second eldest, the third eldest, so on and so forth. Each person must pick from EVERY plate, even if they don't like one of the dishes. One cannot appear greedy and eat an unequal amount of one dish versus another, even if one has a favorite. Also, when picking up the food, one cannot appear to pick a piece in particular, as if measuring them up. Very polite!

Because they pick their food from the middle of the table, Chinese-American tables are more likely to be round or square. In the event of a large get-together, it's better to have several small tables than a very long one.

Lastly, as you may know, Chinese-Americans use chopsticks as they eat. They also use a flat-bottomed soupspoon.

Isn't it pretty? They're very easy to use, too. If they want, Chinese-Americans might put some of their favorite sauce into the spoon, then dunk it into the soup to grab the noodles. Flavor mix!

A popular sauce is the peanut sauce. An acquired taste, definitely. ;)


It's congee, a warm and soup-like dish that is comparable to porridge. Some call it a watery rice gruel. I know, I know; it doesn't sound that appealing. But just think of it as rice pudding! Just add some green onions.

I'm sure we've all heard of egg foo yung. It's pan-fried eggs with a personalized filling - be it shrimp, pork, or vegetables. The brown sauce beside it is the typical egg foo yung sauce. This dish is unique in that the sauce must be cooked separately. I've never tried it, but it seems tasty. :)

These are crullers. Now, they're not the donuts we might be accustomed to. They're not supposed to be super-sweet. They're fried versions of what you might be used to, stretched out to be super-long. They're served with a bowl of congee, usually.


These recipes are similar enough that I'm going to combine both lunch and dinner. It's pretty uncommon to have entirely separate lunch dishes, after all.

These are steamed buns (Char Siu Bao), and they can be filled with all sorts of foods. The most popular choice is pork. Just think of these like enclosed bread bowls. :)

This is jiaozi. They're pretty much dumplings, and they go amazingly well with either soup or noodles. If you haven't had authentic jiaozi before, you're missing out. So amazing!

Pearl balls - you see the rice on the outside? There's pork and spices hidden on the inside! The rice is soaked in water for 6-8 hours, drained, and then spread out on a sheet. After the meat is made, get 1 tbsp of the meat and roll it onto a ball. Then roll it onto the sticky rice, and viola! Just think of it as sushi without the seaweed. ;)

Shu Mai - these are a modification of the traditional dumpling, using wonton wrappers. It's a mixture of shrimp, scallops, cilantro, ginger, cabbage, and a variety of spices. Too much flavor for my sensitive taste buds, but it's usually a hit.

Pho Tai Bo - this is a beef soup. No surprises in here: just beef, onions, ginger, water, salt, and happiness. :)

There's a restaurant called SAIGON CAFE near Trickum Road. It serves this dish, as well as Chicken and Meatball Pho. It's associated with Vietnamese and Chinese cooking.

Whew, it took so long to find a good picture! I decided to showcase Szechuan noodles. They're very thin, rectangular noodles, often accompanied by green onions, cauliflower, garlic, soy sauce, and hot bean sauce. Some people marinade with a mixture of white wine and light soy sauce on top.

I was going to do Shanghai noodles, but they're REALLY thick. They look like intestines in pictures. :O


This is Nian Gao, a traditional New Year's cake. It's made with glutinous rice flour, red azuki beans, eggs, and other traditional cake-making ingredients. I've never had one, but it looks yummyyyy.

These are sesame cookies. Don't they look like happy little hamburgers? Hehe, just kidding. These are almond cookies with sesame seeds covering them. It requires traditional cookie-baking ingredients - just less than usual of each. Therefore, each cookie is just 77 calories. Delicious!

Does this look like regular vanilla ice-cream to you? It's actually ginger ice-cream! If you want the recipe, just ask me, but's an acquired taste. That's all I can say! ;)

Side Dishes

There's not really a concept of side dishes. You have your rice, and the aforementioned entrees just go on top of it. Maybe soup, then! In which case, see the pho soup. =)


There are no drinks served with the meal. However, Chinese-Americans drink tea all throughout the day. This is usually an herbal green tea, complete with leaves and the a stem. If the stem floats to the top and is straight, that's good luck!

Other drinks include bubble tea, berry tea, and the ever-famous Mai Tai.

What'd you guys think? Tasty stuff, in my opinion. ;)


You knew this was coming. Mexican food, yeah! The real kind, too. You might see some familiar dishes here and there, though. Also, these recipes are based on Northwestern Mexico.


iHuevos con chorizo! Eggs with Mexican sausage. Chorizo is a spicy kind of sausage, and it can usually only be found in Mexican meat markets or Mexico itself. Sure, you can find it at Target, but it just tastes like cinnamon. Not the same! Its only downfall is that it stains easily. Make sure to serve it on a plate that is easily washed! No napkin nonsense. ;)

This is pan dulce - sweet bread. The ones in the picture are called "esponjas" for sponges. They're basically a semi-circular piece of bread with sugar on top. The sugar comes off when you bite/cut it, so watch out! Very tasty with milk.

Honestly, Mexican-Americans could eat a different kind of burrito for every meal. For breakfast, it can be a bean and cheese burrito or a burrito de weenie. Yup, weenie. They're suuuuper-tasty. Notice how this doesn't include an "egg burrito." Nope, those are American!

This is a shake called horchata. It's a mixture of milk, water, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Some folks just drink this up in lieu of solid food for breakfast. I think QuickTrip sells an alright kind of horchata for really cheap!


Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Mexican-American homes! It's supposed to be medium
breakfast, biiiig lunch, and small dinner. You know, to help the metabolism.

Beef fajitas are a big hit, though they're not exactly as pictured. If they're going into a burrito, then yes, they're cut in strips. If not, they're left full-size; that's around 6-8 inches long and 3 inches wide. Very chewy!

Bean tostadas! Yummy yummy. Usually, it's a corn tostada with refried pinto beans as a base. Common toppings thereafter include cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red salsa, and/or avocado. My favorite is beans and queso Chihuahua (Chihuahua-regional cheese). If you see that kind of cheese in the store, buy it! It's so tasty.

Enchiladas de salsa roja! Enchiladas with red sauce, pretty much. These are stuffed either with cheese or with ground beef. I don't understand why restaurants around here put chopped green onions on top. We don't do that...? Variety is the spice of life, I suppose. ;)

Gorditas are yummy - so, so yummy. They can be filled with anything from eggs & chorizo to beef & potatoes. LOTS of stuff, really. They're easy to make from scratch; well, the flour gorditas, anyway.

Chile rellenos - they're green chilies filled with cheese and egg whites. If you ever want to cook this, consider yourself warned: they will make your house smell like expired milk.

This is menudo. It's nice, warm, and perfect winter food. It's made of white hominy, chile poblano, and a calf's foot! You don't eat that, by the way. ;)

Tamales! These are very traditional. It takes corn masa, pork roast, and corn shucks to wrap it in. The meat goes in red sauce, cookes for a while, and you have to line every corn shuck with the masa mixture. Then you can spoon the meat into it and cook again for 6-8 hours. It takes a long time, but it's so worth it. :)


Dinner is the smallest meal of the day. It's usually the size of your typical snack, eaten between 8-10PM.

Choco Krispis cereal! Gosh, they change the spelling all the time. This is comparable to Chocolate-y Pebbles or whatever it's called. This is old-school stuff, though. Very tasty!

Obviously, it would be a smaller serving! Quesadillas are a popular dinner dish - cheese only, too.

This is a bolillo/pan blanco. It's basically a thick white bread roll. Mexican-Americans may cut it in half, spread butter over it, and heat it over a skillet. Bread and butter! Mmm. Without the butter or the cutting, this is used as a side dish for many hot soups (including menudo).


Hey, look, a variety! It's flan, sopapillas, (fried chips with cinnamon and honey) buñuelos, (Mexican cinnamon and sugar donuts) empanadas, (also like donuts and filled with pineapple. MAJOR yum!) and a Tres Leches cake. As its name suggests, it's made with three different kinds of milk. It's definitely an acquired taste. ;)

Side Dishes

This is fideo, a Mexican pasta. It's pretty thin, and it's usually flavored with lemon. I've had it with tomato, garlic, onion, salt, and green salsa base, too, and it's great.

Guacamole! Served with chips and dip, as you may already know. It's also poured onto dishes at a person's leisure. Consider it the Mexican version of ketchup, I guess!

This is pico de gallo. You may have seen it in restaurants before, but it may not have been authentic. If you tried it, and it didn't make you sob like a 5-year-old girl, then it wasn't really Mexican. ;)

I couldn't have an entry including Mexican food and not have refried beans! Here we are. These can be put inside tortillas, on tostadas, and they can also be used as a side dish with breakfast. Eggs and beans are a common mix.

Of course, tortillas! They can be either corn or flour. When not a part of the main dish, tortillas can be used to spoon food or to cool down a heated mouth. Mexican food can get pretty spicy! Comparatively, though, Chinese-American food can be much spicier.

It's Mexican-style rice, a reddish-orange type. It's flavored with onions, tomatoes, garlic, and sometimes cumin.


Common drinks include: beer, wine, fruit juices, assorted carbonated drinks, and milk.

Alright, then! Who does the cooking in a Mexican-American family? The women in the family cook in the kitchen, and the men cook outside. That being said, there tends to be much more cooking done in the kitchen as opposed to outside. It's not that common for Mexican-Americans to eat out, unless the food is bought at a taco stand.

Children definitely have to help out in the kitchen. If they don't, it's considered disrespect. If my mom was cooking, I had to help. As soon as I was tall enough to see over the stove, I had no excuse. My sister fought it, but she was required to help plenty of times. My older brother, however, only helped my dad - and even then, it was rare. Because of this disparity, daughters learn how to cook from their mothers, while sons just learn how to grill.

As for drinking, it depends on the families values, naturally. In my immediate family, drinking is absolutely prohibited. That's because my extended family has lots of alcoholics. That being said, it's normal among Mexican-Americans to drink. I remember being surprised to see my 12-year-old cousin being passed a beer at dinner. Given that alcohol is considered a-okay, there's less incidence of alcoholism. That's not to say it doesn't exist, though! Difficult economic conditions is highly correlated with alcoholism, and sadly that is the lifestyle for a number of Mexican-Americans.

You might be surprised to know that Mexican-Americans use forks, spoons, and tortillas as utensils (very tricky, I assure you). Knives are used, but they're not as common.

And now I'm done with the food entries! I hope you've found them to be interesting and informative. :)


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today, we're going to be taking trips around the world! Don't forget your book bags, lunches, and stationery because we're heading to school.


Let's talk about Russian schooling. First of all, let me say that the Russian school system is impeccable. There is a 99.7% literacy rate, (U.S. 99.0%) with the government implementing a mandatory 11 years of school. This is divided into elementary, (grades 1-4) middle, (grades 5-9) and senior (grades 10-11) sections. No dropping out once you're 16 ;) You finish at 17!

Students may elect to go to "college," which is the U.S. equivalent of a technical school, before entering university. 17-year-old students attend this school for two years, completing training in a technical job. Ideally, the graduates leave college prepared to begin the job in which they were trained. So, when you talk to kids from Russia - and from most countries around the world, really - be sure to clarify that you mean "university" when you say "college." Otherwise, they'll think you're in a technical school!

Anyway, the Russian school year is somewhat similar to that here in the U.S., except that it's divided into 4 semesters with a week or two of vacation in between and nearly 3 months of summer vacation.

Russian literature
Russian history
World history


Class Length
40-45 min with 5-15 min break in between

Primary School
4 classes a day

Secondary School
5-6 classes a day

Senior High School
7 classes a day

School Day
Primary school goes from 8am - 2pm. With additional classes, the length of the school day only goes up from there. Some institutions might require Saturday classes in addition to the Mon - Fri routine.

Grading System
Students are graded in a scale of 2-5, with 2 being the worst possible grade. Talk about pressure, huh? No room for mistakes.

Much like the U.S., getting into a university involves a high degree of competition. But grades, extracurriculars, and awards might not be enough to seal the deal. Russian universities - and kindergartens, too - are notorious for taking in bribes. Although some have been called out for this act (taking in bribes up to $30, 000 US dollars!), there's no saying that the bribery hasn't stopped quite yet.

On top of all that happy (or not) news for Russian students, they get to wear THIS.



Japan is well-known the world over for their excellent standards in education. According to recent research, a 6-year-old in Japan is the rough equivalent of a 9-year-old in the U.S. This isn't achieved easily, of course. Japanese schooling is INTENSE. Students are regularly called out on their grades in front of the class. Grades are posted for the whole school to see, which is meant to increase motivation for children to study hard and do well. The social aspect of education has immeasurably great effects.

The school year in Japan begins in April with classes from Mon - Sat. Their school year has three terms in it, with short breaks in between. Their summer is just one month long, and they have large homework packets to complete for the first day back - to keep their minds sharp!

Kindergarten is from ages 3-5. Teachers are FEMALE technical school graduates - no men, please! Surprising, huh? Compulsory Japanese education starts at age 6 (and there's a huge celebration for the day. It's pretty much a parade of six-year-olds. Super-adorable!) and continues through age 15. High school is not required, but like I said before, the social aspect of education pretty much makes the completion of high school a requirement.

Those interested in a medical profession then go to a medical undergraduate school for 6 YEARS. Theeeen they go to Medical school, but it's only for 4 years. Those interested in academia or other fields complete a 4-year university degree just like we do over here. Again, "college" only refers to a technical school, which aren't looked too kindly upon. Like I said, be sure to keep this in mind when talking to people from other countries! You can say "I'm in University" or even "I'm in Uni." Notice that there's no article before "university." ;)

Mathematics starting at age 6. Advances rapidly.
Japanese classes starting at age 6.
Foreign language classes starting at age 12. English will soon be a compulsory class in elementary school, however.
Japanese and world history
Art & Acting
P.E. (this one is pretty important. It's highly competitive, with numerous chances to compete in school-wide sporting events).
Industrial arts
Home economics
Moral education
In addition to classes, they're usually required to join at least one after school club. It keeps them at school until 6pm on most weekdays. They also meet before school and on weekends. Dedication to a club is supposed to keep the children in line and fight against juvenile delinquency.

Class Length
45-50 minutes, with 5-10 minute breaks in between. There's a 40 min lunch break as well as a 20 min recess.

Primary School

8:30am - 3:00pm
5 classes a day

ior high school & high school
8:30am - 6pm + extensive school programs that solidify material on weekends
6+ classes a day

Grading system
Grades are given based on four rankings:
yu = excellent (90% - 100%)
ryo = good (70% - 89%)
ka = passable (60-69%)
fuka = not passable (0-59%)

The percentages are rough estimates and may not be reflective of pre-university grading systems.

On top of taking exams to pass every year of school, students must take an entrance exam to determine if they're eligible to enter the university of their choice. That's why some students take additional classes at night or on weekends to cram the material in. University life is much like over here, with students living in dorms and being enrolled full-time. In order to pay off tuition, fees, and living expenses, (avg $10,000/year) students may take out loans or do part-time work. It is verrrry rare for a student to work full-time and be enrolled part-time. With so many students wanting to get into each university, it's either go full-time or don't go at all. Well, at many universities.

School Uniform
I have no idea why, but guys go crazy over Japanese girls in uniform. It's not really that revealing, you perverts.

There. Isn't she cute?


Contrary to popular belief, education in Mexico is exceptional.
I know, I know; I'm pretty darn biased. But I'm not a liar. Despite absolutely horrible social conditions, Mexico still has over a 90% literacy rate. Universities are top knotch as well. You may not hear that much about education in Mexico considering everything else that's going on with that country, but I assure you that its educational program merits recognition. The country wouldn't have virtually free healthcare at very low government cost without a number of great minds coming together, after all. ;)

Students are required to go to school from the ages of 5 - 13/14 (primary and secondary school). From the ages of 13/14-17/18, students may attend high school at their own discretion/economic ability. After high school, students have the option to go to technical schools for a technical degree, or they can go to a university for a 4-year-degree. There are plenty of opportunities for Master's degrees and Ph.D.s if the student chooses at high costs and only in the big cities.

The Mexican school year depends on the level of school you're in. Primary school starts in August and goes through December with mid-term exams in January. After mid-terms through June, students complete their finals. Classes are not divided into semesters, and you work toward completing courses throughout the entire school year. Secondary and preparatory school is divided into two semesters around the same times as the U.S.

Primary (5-11) - Spanish, Math, (basic - pre-algebra) Reading, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, P.E., English, History, and Crafts.
Secondary (11-14) - Spanish, Math, (algebra - trigonometry/calculus) Biology, Chemistry, Physics, (& associated labs for all natural sciences) English, Geography, Government, Shop, (beauty shop, dressmaking, typing/shorthand, cooking, electrical wiring, welding, electronics technician, or mechanics) Music, History, and P.E.
Preparatory (14-18) - Spanish, Math, (statistics - advanced calculus) Biochemistry, Government, English, History, Computer lab, and any classes associated with your interests. Once you graduate from high school, you come out with an associates degree of your choosing.

Class Length
55 minutes long with 5 minute breaks in between

Primaria (Primary School)
4 classes/ day

Segundaria (Secondary School)
6 classes/day

Preparatoria (Prep School/High School)
6 classes/day

School Day
Primary - 1:30pm - 6:30pm (surprising, huh? Convenient for the parents!)
Secondary - 7:30am - 2pm (because there's day school and night school. Dual-shift schooling!)
Preparatory - 7:30am - 2:30pm (for the same reason)

Grading System
Mexican students are graded on a 1-10 grading system, with 1 being the lowest possible score. It's similar to the American system except with a lot less room for mistakes. Below a 6 is considered failing, but students take an exit exam that is averaged with their class grades. If that average is below satisfactory, you fail the grade.

Mexican universities require their students to take an entrance exam in order to attend the school, achieving a certain number of points in order to qualify. Fortunately, university fees are set at an amount that considers the wide range of socioeconomic statuses in Mexico (1 semester = $250US).

School Uniform

Aren't they cute? Those are definitely private school uniforms. My mom went to public school and had to wear this yellow bell-bottom monstrosity. ;)


As you may already know, education is a huge part of English culture. There are hundreds of schools, colleges, and universities throughout the small span of land - many of which are known throughout the world for their high quality of education.

English students are required to go to school from the ages of 5-16 with the option of home schooling (notice the absence of that option in other countries?). It's free from these ages, too. Isn't that nice?

Schooling is divided into a few levels. First, there's nursery for children under the age of 5. Then there's primary education from 5-11 years old. Next is secondary school from the ages of 11-16. This is followed by sixth form at the secondary school or a college from the ages of 16-18. Note that students in England complete "college" in order to obtain their high school degree.

There are 195 school days in an English school year, as opposed to the 180 school year here in the U.S. This spans from September to July, with breaks in October, December, February, March, May, and all of August.

English classes start in primary school and go up in difficulty from then forward
Basic sciences in primary school
Religious Education (surprising, huh?)
Foreign languages are introduced starting at age 12
Sex education starts at age 12, and it's a requirement then. It's not a requirement in 6th form, however, when kids are

Class Length
60-70 min with no breaks except for a 20 min recess at 11am.

It would appear that all levels of schooling require 5 classes a day.

School Day
8:30am registration (roll call, pretty much)
8:55am - 3:10pm classes
Clubs after school, but they're not required - just recommended!

Grading system
This varies throughout the UK as a whole, so it's difficult to specify. However, according to various sources, England works on a percentage scale that is similar to the A - F scale that we use, with the exception that an A is 80% - 100%. I want that so bad.

Like the U.S., entrance requirements vary greatly depending on the university to which you're applying. Universities look closely at students' high school class choices and how well they performed. Much like the U.S. system of "honors" and "A.P." classes, England has varying levels of the same class. Universities typically require that you take at least the "honors" classes in the field you're looking to major in and perform reasonably well in it. More competitive universities might require the equivalent of the "A.P." level in these same classes. What differentiates the English university systems from the American ones is that England requires you to know your major BEFORE entering university. None of that "oh, I'll figure it out after two years of general ed classes." Figure it out as soon as possible and take the most advanced classes your high school offers.

School Uniform
Like in every other country, these vary by the school you go to. I haven't come across many pleasant-looking ones, though. ;)

-- --

And there we have it! That was a glimpse into the school life of children in various parts of the world. When you interact with international students, try to keep in mind that they're coming from a pretty different school structure, social structure, family structure, and everything else in between. Inform them about what they can expect in an American school, and maybe they'll let you know about their school. As students, we're just here to learn, anyway.

Hope you enjoyed the trip! :)


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Food: Caucasian-American and Indian-American

This entry gave me the munchies. Seriously. One of the most best things about cross-cultural studies is learning about different dishes! As someone who was raised on Mexican food, I'm gonna admit that I think American food is pretty yummy.

Prepare for an image-heavy post!


Who does the cooking? It can vary from family to family, naturally. Some families have all home-cooked meals, while others do nothing but order out or reheat. There are happy mediums out there, too. Men, women, and children can have a hand in the cooking, if there are home-cooked meals. I think that's sweet. :)

Do children have to help out in the kitchen? They can help wash the dishes, set the table and such, but the focus isn't so much on helping out with the cooking itself. Helping out with the cooking is more of a treat than a requirement. Again, this is sweet!

Alcohol is an iffy subject. Some families are okay with it, while others will hear nothing of it. The on-and-off strictness of this is particular to American culture, I believe. I think it's interesting, actually.

Not all families cook, so learning how to do it isn't exclusive to the home. There are TONS of cookbooks about, and now they're really apparent on the internet, too. In more traditionalist families, there tends to be a couple of inherited recipes, however. They can be typical dishes with a twist.

Caucasian-Americans use the typical fork, knife, and spoon! Isn't that a surprise? ;)

Okay, now on to the pictures!


Eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast... Looks like a pretty typical American breakfast to me! The sunny-side-up eggs actually look kinda cute. Is it just me?

Oh, oatmeal. When I was younger, my mom tried to Americanize our food a little. I remember thinking that oatmeal was puke and would throw a fit if she tried to feed it to me. I wonder what it tastes like...

Cereal! This is something I love. Although the U.S. doesn't have my favorite brand of cereal, (Choco-crispies) I bow down in gratitude to Cocoa Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Waffles! There are a variety of waffles - chocolate chip, pecan, bluberry, etc. - but all of them are pretty great, in my opinion. Its greatest competition is the soft, fluffy pancake.


Sandwiches galore! Plenty of lunch meat and cheese to vary this meal.

Pretty convenient to find a picture with both a soup and a salad. This is another common lunch meal. :) Not too many lunch dishes in particular, really.


It's chicken soup! This is one of the most globally well-known American/European dishes. My family is from the northern part of Mexico, and this is a popular "foreign" dish over there. I don't like it all that much, but the picture makes it look extra-appetizing...(especially now that it's frigid!)

I picked this picture because it looks like a Krabby Patty. ...Hey, it's a funny show.

Anyway, the hamburger! I bet you knew this was coming. It's a pretty typical American dish, after all. Catch it at any fast-food restaurant, backyard barbecue, and basically any other non-snobby sit-down restaurant. I think people assume that this is all Caucasian-Americans eat. Very unfortunate - not to mention inaccurate!

Ribs! I tried these for the first time not that long ago. I'm not big on meat, but these are pretty good! They're known for their sweet, barbecue taste.

Hey, it's macaroni and cheese! Easy Mac has made
this a popular c
hoice among kids, busy parents, and poor college kids. And Olive Garden gets a kick out of serving it to you and calling it "cuisine." ;)

Isn't the American flag in the background convincing enough? ;) It's fried chicken! These can be spicy, medium, or suited to us pansies who can't handle the heat (I put my family to shame).

...Aahhh, it looks so yummy. Spaghetti and meatballs! Look to lasagna, ravioli, ziti, and other pastas for similar flavoring. Mm, basil and parmesan. You may have angry, rancid breath afterward, but it's WORTH IT.

There are too many American dinner dishes for me to go on. I think I've teased you all (and myself!) enough. :)

Side Dishes

Mashed potatoes, biscuits, french fries, green beans - all pretty common Caucasian-American side dishes. Add in a couple of others, like carrots, salad, peaches, etc.


Lots of goodies! Brownies, cheesecake, ice-cream sundae, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies! These are all pretty quintessential American desserts. Enjoy each of these with a nice glass of milk - except for the ice-cream, naturally.


I'm gonna let you guys use your imaginations here. Common drinks are: Carbonated beverages of any kind, (Coke, Sprite, Root Beer, etc.) lemonade, sweet tea (pure love), Kool-Aid, milk, and water.


Indian-American food isn't all curry and spices! I was surprised to see that Indian food provides much variety, and that's just counting breakfast. ;)


Aloo Poha - a breakfast dish including beaten rice, potatoes, onions, peanuts, and chilies. Not what I'd eat for breakfast, but I'm not going to knock it until I try it. ;)

Besan Roti - Looks like pancakes, huh? It's equal parts wheat flour and graham flour, mixed with enough water to make it into a dough. It's sometimes served with butter and top and as a side to vegetables. It looks yummy to me!

Paneer sandwich - you can tell by looking at it, pretty much. Toasted wheat bread, tomatoes, cottage cheese, lettuce, green chilies, red pepper, and salt to your personal tastes. It's breakfast!

Not to be confused with the Besan Roti, it's Thepla (or Methi Thepla)! They look like colorful tortillas to me, so I like them already.

This dish is called a chicken bon bon. Sounds tasty, huh? It's a sesame chicken dish with cucumbers and ginger to complement the meat.

This is a dish called Urad Daal. Just think of it as a vegetable soup with some ginger, chili, and lots of cloves/leaves inside. Healthy!

This is called "hyderabadi biryani." It's a vegetable and rice dish - full of starch and happiness!

Mattar Paneer - this is another vegetable soup type, except that it isn't broth your food is soaking in. It's yogurt. Isn't that interesting? ;)

Side Dishes

I've been looking these up, and I noticed that these are somewhat Americanized, the salad recipes especially! Now, I don't know what chutney is at all, but Indian side dishes are very chutney-based! Here are some pictures.
Bengali tomato chutney!

Cranberry chutney just to the left and coconut chutney on the far left.

This is Boondi Raita.

It's yogurt with cumin and chilies! It's fried, too.


Doodh Pak - this is almonds, pistachios, raisins, sugar, saffron, and cardamom powder. It doesn't look too bad!

Besan Ladoo - flour, sugar, pistachios, almonds, and cashews! Nut varieties seem to be a favorite in Indian desserts.

The last one is Gujiya. It looks JUST like a Latino dish! The cover is mostly flour, and the inside is our favorite - almonds, raisins, and coconuts. ;)


Again, I'm going to let you guys use your imaginations (I'm running out of space for pictures; the page is stretching on and on and on...). Indian drinks are typically shakes, sharbats, or teas - chocolate shakes, pineapple shakes, pistachio shakes, spiced tea, gulab sharbat, etc., etc. These can be found on Google. =)

There are MANY more dishes to look at, so if you're interested, a simple Google search for "typical Indian breakfast/lunch/dinner" will work. I don't know if you guys noticed, but Indian cuisine is very much suited toward vegetarianism. If you're a vegetarian, or you need to cook for someone who is a vegetarian, try Indian recipes. You're sure to find a good one that you/they have never had before!

As for the other questions, traditionalist Indian-American families eat home-cooked meals almost every night without fail.

Whether the child has to help in the cooking varies from family to family, but typically it is the mother who takes over and asks for her daughter's(s') help if anyone at all. In cases of house parties, her husband is considered the host, and he is the one who begins eating and sets the example for the guests.

Men do not learn how to cook - traditionally, anyway. Daughters learn how to cook by helping her mother/grandmother in the kitchen. Her ability to cook can be a great source of pride in the family.

As for cutlery, this is perhaps the most interesting one. Food is considered divine, needing to be enjoyed with touch, taste, and smell. Traditionalist Indian-Americans eat with their right hand alone, being sure to wash very thoroughly before eating. It is considered highly unsanitary to have fingernails, and no one is to share food unless they are married.

Lastly, drinking in traditionalist Indian-American families is very rare. This is because India has the lowest alcohol consumption per capita across the globe. So, drinking under 21 is not necessarily an issue. Drinking any more than a glass is a bigger problem.

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I hope you guys liked this post! It's colorful and full of tasty treats. =) I'm going to do two more cultures of food, but I don't have the room in this entry. I'll be doing another Food entry within the next couple of days. Look for it!