Taking Greek inspiration for lunch, I’m reminded of one of the things I love about living in the US: the food! I remember a German friend describing our approach to eating as a giant “Salad bowl” because you can find a little bit of everything in America.

Being a nation made up of immigrants, people of course brought their tastes in cooking along. It’s like if there is anything we can all gather around and enjoy together: it’s food. Different families may have different preferences in baking bread, but it’s still in breaking bread together that we find joy.

In terms of cuisine, traditionally “American food” is not that different from western European countries. In fact, I’m pretty sure a Frenchman just rolled over in his grave somewhere at that very thought :^o). The subtleties of cooking in such countries are often lost upon us, IMHO. Which makes sense given that so many early colonists came from Europe, and the concepts of cooking came along with them and then mingled together and became adapted to what the home cooks had to work with. The same is often true of other island nations and former territories.

As time moved on more and more delicious food has become common. I find it somewhat amusing that whenever people here are on the search for food, it often is discussed in terms of a type of food (e.g., sandwiches; fried chicken; etc), or in terms of ethnicity (e.g., Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai) that best describes what they are in the mood for. In my area: there’s a particularly broad range of food to choose from. We always end up adapting what we cook to what is available to work with, but what form it takes is always shaped by some point of reference.

Growing up, I was fortunate that ma went with a broad range of food. My mother’s cooking was heavily influenced both by our shared ancestry and the people we knew. My mother learned to cook from her grandmother, who didn’t even speak English. Obviously, Italian food was a big thing to them — as a child, arguably the pallet of her parents and grandparents were the biggest influences. That had both positive and negatives for my mom, such as the war between her and her mother about the definition of gravy and the occasional horrors of her family eating whatever her grandfather brought home. At the same time, she also loved dinner with friends and neighbors. That could be mean anything, and as a side effect my mother’s pallet was far broader than our ancestors. I in turn, benefited from this very much, lol.

It’s also kind of funny that often the best home cooks are named grandma, in whatever language the terms of endearment may take.

Note to self: I should definitely make ma’s spinach lasagna when the holiday season comes around.