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Fried Stereotypes and Spicy Kale

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Is it just me or are you tired of people eating certain foods that are based on stereotypes?

I had a conversation with a few ladies, one being of Polish descent, about food. The one woman of Polish descent left the other ladies with their mouths wide open when she told them that she hated sauerkraut. All of them whipped their heads around in total disbelief, asking how she could not like sauerkraut..they all chimed, your POLISH! I was totally confused by this statement because I didn’t know that taste buds knew the difference between nationalities. So I responded, with one eyebrow arched, by saying, I don’t eat chicken…. so what is that saying about my “Blackness?” Eyes even wider and surprised; we laughed and began our conversation about stereotypes.

Do you think we eat certain foods because of our cultural backgrounds or have we fed into a certain cliché? I totally respect and understand cultural traditions. However, I don’t believe we have to eat certain foods based on society’s norms. During the holidays my family loves to have different kinds of food, which usually confuses people. Last year we had Mexican food for thanksgiving. You would have thought the world was going to end from the reactions that some of the guest had, since we weren’t having turkey, dressing, mac-n-cheese, and chitterlings!

To continue on that thought, a friend of mine had the same end of the world reaction when her nutritionist told her that she had to scale back on her spicy food intake. She called me all hysterical, but what’s more hysterical is her response to him. And I quote, “I am supposed to eat spicy food…I’m Hispanic!” When did spicy food become a Hispanic thing? I love spicy food, does that make me Hispanic? Why do we live up to these standards and conventional images that someone else created based on ignorance? Have you ever been in a restaurant, let’s say Mexican and there was a family from a different country, maybe India, and you were shocked that they were eating Mexican food and not Indian?

Why are we so shocked that someone has chosen to eat outside their normal perceived box? I know a great number of black people who won’t eat watermelon in public because of the negative connotations that it has. But many of them will devour a bucket of deep-fried chicken, since that is what black people are supposed to eat. How ludicrous is that! I started eating kale long before it became the “it” food. My friends would say you’re eating that “white people” lettuce. I would just shake my head and walk away. I have never felt the need to defend what or how I choose to eat. Yes, it just so happens that the people who turned me on to kale were white. But, they turned me on to it because of its nutritional value not because it was the “white” thing to do. Really?? Think again! Your liver doesn’t function off stereotypes, nor does it care about your inbox eating habits. So I challenge you today to eat, in moderation, fried chicken, spicy foods and kale because you choose to and not because you feel obligated to fill certain received ideas. Go ahead, eat watermelon in public this season,but PLEASE be discreet with the seeds..Health is Wealth;-)

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