Monday, November 18, 2013

Not just a language difference

After a few unseasonably cold days in central Texas I was yearning for the thick beef stew that was an integral part of winter as a child, in Ireland.  So I thought I would introduce my husband and his mother to one of the stable dishes I grew up with.  For some reason I thought it would be down home enough for them to enjoy.

It is a stew, made from beef and a mixture of winter vegetables, including leeks, potatoes and turnips (click here for recipe if you want it), onions and, because of the influence of my French mother, red wine. Hell, it is good for your heart right?

The finished dish is supposed to be deep brown, filled with the flavor of beef and vegetables and covered in a gravy almost thick enough to eat with a fork.

Add too much beer, as my husband did, and it becomes a soup that is no longer the dish I envisioned and have enjoyed in the past, don't add beer and apart from the turnip making it sweet, it is too thick in consistency for people whose preference in food is battered and fried, or soup.

Having served this to my husband and his mother, both from Kentucky, though my husband grew up in Texas, after my husband added beer while he was reheating it, I was greeted with a stony silence and realized this was something I won't be cooking again - except perhaps on my next visit to Ireland or France where my family will probably enjoy it as the comfort food of our childhood.  How different the world is. And what is sad is that I will never know if they would have enjoyed what I intended to cook. My guess is no.

But after almost 20 years in this country I realize I am still learning that there is more than just an almost invisible, but very significant, language barrier, (click here if you don't believe me) there is so much more that divides us.  I have to add, almost all of my experience of the differences has been in the state of Texas, with people either from Texas, or from Kentucky and I know that they have totally different tastes and cultural differences to the northern states. I have some experience cooking for people in Norther California and have to say that my mixture of Irish and French cuisine did go down well there.

I don't think I could ever get used to the high fat, somewhat bland, food of the Southern States, but I will have to save my yearnings for Irish and French cooking for my visits home to Europe while I continue to find compromise, as with my Panko Chicken and Fish.

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