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!


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