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Effect of ethnicity/culture on eating & dining


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I don't think it's ever too late to learn anything though. I've been trying to do it for awhile now, now that I'm old enough to have the wisdom to appreciate what I no longer have. :wink: Though one thing that's made it more difficult is just the sheer number of white guys I've come across who try to lecture me about my background. Seems like each year it gets worse and worse on several orders of Oh. My. God. Shut. Up.

This is so funny.... Gah... I've had the same experience too... hahahhahhahaah

At least they don't come up to you and say, "you know my ex girlfriend was Korean...."

I've had all of that (but "my ex-gf was Chinese" rather than Korean). It's so annoying. But what I really hate is when they say, "Hey, your English is pretty good, where did you learn?" They're practically patting me on the head, like, "what a clever little Chinese person you are!"

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But I like candied yams and I liked tuna casserole a lot the only time I've had it.

Didn't like jook as a kid, or tang yuan (tong yuen).

Funny, I didn't like jook as a kid either, but now I do. Well, depends on who made it.

And I recently had tuna noodle casserole for the first time. It was a bit salty, but interesting. I was told that this is the finest white trash cooking, or something like that.

--this seems to have turned into the "I was a 1.5/2 gen Asian-Am kid and I lived to tell the tale" thread hehe

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Oh, I definitely didn't appreciate my parents' cooking when I was growing up, with a few exceptions. (When they took us to Hong Kong when I was a teenager my younger sister and I sought out pizza!) However, in spite of my food rebellion, they managed to lay the foundation for my palate so when I got to college I suddenly found myself craving and preferring all sorts of foods and preparations I used to sneer at when I was at home!

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--this seems to have turned into the "I was a 1.5/2 gen Asian-Am kid and I lived to tell the tale" thread hehe

Hey, your english not too bad.... :wink:

Something up-thread began to make sense of this threads original question but takes it further:

What food from our upbringing continues to haunt us as we get older???

Rice is a winner, clearly. The blackbean maelstrom that is "Feijoada" from Brazil is served with med grain white rice. I make a mess of Feijoada one day a month (it takes two days) and freeze several pints to use at will. I don't think I could function without it every so often. Sushi is another for me. I could eat it every day if, A) I could afford it; B) I could make it faster, but I'll die if I don't get it once a month at least.

What else, Folks?

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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nice thread!!

As a Chinese Brit (born in UK to parents who emigrated from Hong Kong / China in the late 60s), I am completely sure that my culture and ethnicity have strongly influenced my eating habits. The other significant elements of my childhood were that we were a big family (9 kids!) and my parents also owned and ran a Chinese Take away. So, I think the most enduring food memories and perceptions I carry to this day are:

 Vast quantities of food on the table at dinner time. In fact my whole family still over caters!

 Home food was always very traditional – typically boiled / steamed rice with steamed fish (e.g. grey mullet with lemon, spring onions and ginger, mackerel with black beans, sea bass with ginger and spring onions), various greens (probably home grown) with oyster sauce, home made soup with pork bones and dried pulses and veg, casserole of chicken with shitake mushrooms (still love this!!), stuffed peppers, steamed egg dishes. Also the other dishes people have mentioned like congee, jongzi, and noodles in soup or fried. Live away from home now so only get my fix when I visit my Mum!

 I was also a curious mixture of being quite adventurous yet horrendously picky as a child – so that I would eat fish eyes, suck fish bones, eat chicken feet, congealed chicken blood, liver (in soup or with veg) and other internal organs of various animals yet would not eat fish skin, leaves of greens, or even grey meat (on fish or chicken). Have no explanation for any of this – but I promise I am a much better person now!

 Also saw a big difference in style between what we ate at home and what we served / sold to customers which I guess was my early insight into that old question – what is authentic chinese cooking. I was quite fond of some of the sweet / sticky / gooey stuff that was sold. Now I’m older and wiser .. :rolleyes:

 Eating as a family was always really important (well actually, we couldn’t always all fit at the table, especially if we had visitors so the kids got to eat at the little table next door or on our laps!)

 Also tended to go for Dim Sum each Sunday in Birmingham – which was fab. Am very grateful that eating out was introduced as something yummy and routine, rather than an imposing formal occasion.

 My parents didn’t drink much, and I still don’t really do so now. Have never developed a much of a liking for the taste– and besides, it makes me feel so ill so quickly – that’s genetic right?

However, I didn’t really get much exposure to other forms of cuisine till I was older, maybe teenage years. Think the big catalyst for me was going away to college, where there were no self catering facilities (well, apart from a kettle and toaster in your room!) and so you either ate was available at college, or go hungry (was living on a budget). Fortunately the food was pretty good, and so I got to eat more traditional British or European (when they were being fancy) food. I hadn’t realised it at the time, but I must have been really interested in food already because that’s when I started buying my monthly food magazines despite lack of kitchen to play in!

Once I finished college and moved from home, that’s when I started to have to cook for myself in a shared house. Didn’t often do Chinese food (felt I needed to do at least four different dishes!), but I do remember being sniffy about people who used jars of ready made pasta sauce – USE FRESH!! I would shout! It was better, tastier, cheaper and just as quick!

Fortunately all the above has combined to make me a bit of a food nut who enjoys cooking, eating and sharing food – for which I am very grateful!!

Oh dear - didn't mean to go on like this - but thank you for indulging me!

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My parents didn’t drink much, and I still don’t really do so now. Have never developed a much of a liking for the taste– and besides, it makes me feel so ill so quickly – that’s genetic right?

I don't think it's genetic. People in my family are big drinkers, lots of red wine with dinner. And tons of scotch busted out after dinner, Johnny Walker, Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Macallan....

Drinking is encouraged, hehe.

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My parents didn’t drink much, and I still don’t really do so now.  Have never developed a much of a liking for the taste– and besides, it makes me feel so ill so quickly – that’s genetic right?

I don't think it's genetic. People in my family are big drinkers, lots of red wine with dinner. And tons of scotch busted out after dinner, Johnny Walker, Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Macallan....

Drinking is encouraged, hehe.

nope - sorry. Gotta stick with the Chinese genetic thing - since even walking past an off licence (or liquor store) is probably too close to alcohol for me and makes my skin turn that funny red blotchy colour. :laugh: Some biochemist friend said it was something about missing an enzyme to process the alcohol.

Still - there are good sides - I will probably always volunteer to be the nominated driver home. Just don't let me hear anything about being a cheap date!!

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Some biochemist friend said it was something about missing an enzyme to process the alcohol.

Ask him/her about dairy digestion. I've read and am in agreement that Western European type people are the only ones who drink milk after the age of seven. Cheese too, I think. People of Asian descent don't do dairy very well, I hear.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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People of Asian descent don't do dairy very well, I hear.

hmm ... it's true that I am still not fond of cheese, and could never drink that milk that used to be handed out at school ... but strangely can always cope with ice-cream and cream cakes! :raz: You're quite right about dairy habits though.

anyway - have googled and found this link - scientific stuff and a direct quote is:

"An example of genetic variation is shown among Asians. Here, alcohol metabolism is impaired by a nonfunctional form of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Adverse reactions to even small amounts of alcohol include facial flushing, nausea, heart palpitations, and dizziness Research suggests 25-40% of Japanese, 25% of Han Chinese and 15-30% of Koreans are affected."

Heck - that makes me sound like a whole barrel load of fun! no, wait! come back I didn't mean it!!!

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My parents didn’t drink much, and I still don’t really do so now.  Have never developed a much of a liking for the taste– and besides, it makes me feel so ill so quickly – that’s genetic right?

I don't think it's genetic. People in my family are big drinkers, lots of red wine with dinner. And tons of scotch busted out after dinner, Johnny Walker, Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Macallan....

Drinking is encouraged, hehe.

nope - sorry. Gotta stick with the Chinese genetic thing - since even walking past an off licence (or liquor store) is probably too close to alcohol for me and makes my skin turn that funny red blotchy colour. :laugh: Some biochemist friend said it was something about missing an enzyme to process the alcohol.

Still - there are good sides - I will probably always volunteer to be the nominated driver home. Just don't let me hear anything about being a cheap date!!

I have friends who have used Tagamet or Pepcid to stop from turning red when drinking. It helps a lot.

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My dad and sister turn beet red when they drink. I've never liked the taste of alcohol so I don't drink at all.

And milk gives me gurgles, but I'll still drink milk and eat ice cream when the mood hits me.

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Do the culinary traditions of your childhood and upbringing have a profound or even a subtle influence on your style of cooking, your dining out choices and also...  do these influences somehow inform your perception and assessments of other cuisines that you try? 

I'd have to say that in my case, the lack of any culinary tradition has most informed my food choices. Like Owen, I come from a hodge-podge of German/Irish ancestry, but other than the fair skin and freckles, I don't have much connection to it. While I sometimes feel cheated that I don't have a connection to any one cuisine/culture, I don't have any a lot of food "baggage" either. This I credit entirely to my parents attitude towards food.

When my parents got married, they decided that any food dislikes they had were only in their heads or because they'd never had a food prepared "the right way." They set about to systematically overcome all their dislikes and did (until they got to okra, anyways). While they are certainly not gourmets and love their meat and potatoes as much as any, they approach dining as an exciting experience and like to experiment with new cuisines and recipes. A Japanese aunt, a fabulous cook, also taught us to appreciate Japanese food (and oh how I miss it up here in the wilds of New York).

Because I grew up eating all kinds of food (and remember, dislikes are all in your head :rolleyes:), I love experimenting with food now. I'll try pretty much anything and at home no one cuisine dominates. In the last week I've cooked Indian, Mexican, "California," Vietnamese, and Italian. I can approach any food without a preconceived notion of what is right and wrong. Well, except for raw chicken... that's just wrong!! :wacko:

Julie Layne

"...a good little eater."

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"An example of genetic variation is shown among Asians. Here, alcohol metabolism is impaired by a nonfunctional form of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Adverse reactions to even small amounts of alcohol include facial flushing, nausea, heart palpitations, and dizziness Research suggests 25-40% of Japanese, 25% of Han Chinese and 15-30% of Koreans are affected."

Heck - that makes me sound like a whole barrel load of fun! no, wait! come back I didn't mean it!!!

Yea, I've heard something about this.

Luckily, this doesn't affect me, and I can drink alcohol without such effects.

I never had a problem with dairy. I always just thought it was just

that Asians never got used to lactose at a young age.

It's also true that Asians also have a high occurence of osteoporosis.

Hmm, this is sorta turning into

"Trials and Tribulations of Chinese born in Western Countries"

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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If you haven't read it yet, there's a related thread about cooking and I've gone on a bit about my background there and in my bio. It's in the Member Bios forum, so I can PM it to anyone who's not able to access that area.

I am Japanese and Chinese, and I do get the Asian Flush when drinking alcohol - I'll usually only have one or two drinks. I'll happily take that limitation any day over not being able to eat dairy, though.

I don't feel the need to eat rice all the time, although I'm probably in the minority in that respect - most people from Hawai`i are used to having steamed rice 2 or 3 times a day. My grandparents would go on tours with Hawai`i people through France or even China and complain about how the rice is different, and they would make the bus stop at a Japanese restaurant for miso soup and plain steamed rice. I do find that I'm used to eating rice in a certain proportion (encouraged culturally to economize on the main courses), and it's hardest for me to control my carb intake at Asian meals, and meals where rice AND bread are offered, like Lebanese/Armenian and some Indian meals. I don't seem to have this problem with other cuisines, where I just eat too much of everything. [grin]

I love all kinds of food, but I feel a special affinity to American barbeque, the various cuisines of Mexico, and the many regions of Italy. All three of which were not part of our regular meals when growing up, aside from pizza and spaghetti.

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