Thursday, June 15, 2006

sharing back

Whatever overlap you have with a foreign place or person, culture shock goes both ways.

Take food, for example. The past two years have been one taste experience after another, from my first knedliky to last week's borsht. But as my Czech friends share the ins and outs of their lives (and cookbooks), occasionally it falls to me to return the favor with some new-to-them American recipe.

So Ondřej tried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (not bad, but do children really eat this every day?), and Lenka sampled chai tea (an odd name for Czechs, as their word for tea is "chai"), and Pepa asked for a second helping of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (it took twenty minutes just to explain the name).

To celebrate that summer has come at last, I've been attending garden parties this week. So, partly out of fond gratitude for my friends' kind hospitality, partly to clean my cupboards before heading home, and partly just to see their reactions, I've been taking some American staples with me for my friends to try out.

Today I introduced Petr, Jirka and their wives to pumpkin pie. Sure, it's out of season, but as Jirka so deftly put it, "When is it food, is it good for me." And when they tasted it, nobody minded that it's a typical Thanksgiving dish; rather, Zdeňka asked if I had brought turkey as well.

Root beer floats didn't quite go over as well. My Tuesday afternoon conversation group gave them a fair try, but in the end I was left with dirty dishes and polite words. Only Eva's husband gave his unequivocal support. And Pepa, who I thought was a sure bet, said outright that it was strange and he didn't like it. When I asked him if he wanted more, he replied, "No thanks; I don't need any cough medicine."

Jara just wanted to taste root beer straight and he didn't have a cup. But his approach didn't do much to quell the cough medicine critique.


At 15/6/06 23:20, Anonymous demin woman said...

My they would be shocked at the amount of "cough" medicine we have and where we place it in our stores.
Love the photo with the spoon.

At 16/6/06 01:49, Blogger Abbers said...

*cough, cough*
However after visiting the Sasparilla booth at faire a LOT this weekend I like Burch Beer better =-)

At 20/6/06 10:28, Blogger James said...

Root beer floats...

Reminds me of a kidnapping.

At 20/6/06 14:10, Blogger Courtney said...

One of my students thinks that root beer tastes like poison, so I think the cough medicine analogy is much kinder.

At 1/8/06 01:06, Anonymous BMK said...

You do me proud, Joel!
Thanks for sharing my love with my friends, my lovely friend.


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