Cultural Diversity & American Assimilation
Our families came to America for a better life. Many came with only what they can hold, in their hands, unable to speak the new language of English. In their own special way they found interesting ways to start speaking English.
One instance was with my grandmother on my father's side. She had aspirations of being a doctor. Her way of learning English was going to the movies. At that time "Gone With The Wind" was the top movie of the day. My grandfather told me that grandma tried her best to mimic Scarlett O' Hara lines. She understood how important it was to learn her adoptive country's English language. Unfortunately, grandmother's life was taken too soon and her dream of being a doctor vanished.
My mom & Dad were born in the states, my dad was born in Springfield, Massachussetts and mom was born in Manhattan, NY. They eventually settle on Long Island suburbia witnessing racism when purchasing their dream home in Massapequa, NY. Dad was a veteran of Korea and studied Engineering. There was a tremendous need for engineers since most of the defense contractors at the time were located on Long Island. So, started the assimilation process, being practically the only Asian kid in elementary school through high school, made friends in the neighborhood and enjoying suburbia life, going to McDonalds trying the Big Mac, Burger King's Whopper, Nathan hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, steaks, corn on the cob, salad, birthday cake celebrations, fried chicken with KFC, you get the jist.
Hanging out with the guys playing football in the street or baseball, riding bicycles etc... etc... eating watermelon, apples peaches, cherries, going fishing at Captree State park fishing for blowfish, crabbing. and most of all watching my favorite TV shows.
T.V Dinners was a big thing with Swanson, Banquet fried chicken and Ellios pizza were #1 in my book.
Add in Chinese food that dear mom tried to make, really loved grandma's version. Because I was the oldest male, in the Chinese culture, we are truly spoiled so I would complain to grandma that dear mom didn't make a certain dish her way, she would scold dear mom and after trying on numerous attempts, she finally got it right.
Now my daughter, yes, totally 100% assimilated in Suburban Maryland, similar circumstances that daddy went through x10. As I am know a dad to my daughter, eating healthy is very important. My expertise is of course Chinese and every night of every day I make sure she eats a good meal. Doesn't matter to me the effort required to make a meal from scratch, but she's worth it. Mom, has her special diet and tries to resist the temptation.
Well, once upon a day, my daughter was less than enthusiastic when I was cooking a Chinese dish. She said, "Daddy, can't we have something other than Chinese? I was flawed!!!!.
I said what did you have in mind? "Daddy, how about Papa John's Pizza Hawaiian Pizza".
She added, can we take a break from Chinese food for awhile!
I said, sure, and made spaghetti with meatballs, frozen Gordon's fish fillet , hamburgers, hot dogs and everything American.
So as any of you can understand having a 13 year old daughter, they change in the wind, then one day she said, "Daddy, can you cook some Chinese food", I'm tired of hot dogs and pizza.
And life goes on! Your children will get the best of both worlds from a food standpoint!!!!
Chef Woo Can
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