Sunday, December 11, 2011

Food, glorious food

I don't know if it's my corner of the world or our country in general that's becoming more internationally mixed when it comes to food. When I was a kid, my mom would occasionally pack Kim bap for my school lunch. At the time, my meal of rice, bulgogi (steak) and vegetables, wrapped in seaweed were a peculiar anomaly, beside the fact that most of my classmates carried carefully wrapped matzo crackers in the spring. I learned at an early age that all cultural cuisine is not accepted equally.

But today, I'm sitting on the edge of D.C., having falafel, roti rice, and hummus for lunch, surrounded by people of various hues and hair texture, few of which look like their family originated from the same place as the menu. Last night, at my daughter's dinner break in between play performances, the cast members passed around carrot cake and gingerbread, as well as a delicious Indian dessert that I have no idea what it was called but surprisingly, literally, melted in your mouth, and Babaganoush, while one of the kids snacked on small squares of roasted seaweed. There was the full-American meal of hamburger and fries (my child) and the adopted American meal of spaghetti and meatballs, in addition to the international flavors.

In our world, where there is still ethnic and civil wars, where we are still battling with lines drawn by skin color, where the haves and have nots are still debating what space to occupy, it's nice to find a corner where, for a few moments, people seem to be coming together. As we approach Christmas, it provides just a little it of hope that we all can be at peace. Maybe it's not much, and maybe it's corny to think it, but if we can start to accept the different flavors, maybe we can start to accept one another.

Pass the kimchi.

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