After all of the build up, there was no way Dillon was going to miss trying a hot dog in Paris.
“A foot long, on a full baguette, and covered with cheese,” I recalled from my high school exchange trip.
“Sometimes with French Fries stuffed right into the bun!” added my husband.
“It lived up to the hype” said Dillon (not really, he’s 9, but he said something to that effect.) And then we stopped to ponder the calorie/fat content in such a delicacy. Ouch! How can people eat these and stay in shape?
The next morning over breakfast of croissants and butter (isn’t that redundant?) our hostess, good friend and native Parisienne, Laurence, pointed out “But French people are not fat. We walk everywhere. We eat well, but we eat three meals and nothing in between.”
Ahh, I thought–the hot dog in the US is the “snack” you eat to hold you over until dinner. Sure, it can be a meal, but it’s more the “I’m at the game-I smell the cart-Let’s grab a hotdog” kind of thing.
So there are two Intercultural Lessons here:
1. Your opinion on things will influence your child’s (or student’s) anticipation of them. That’s a powerful and responsible position, particularly when it comes to engaging in and experiencing different cultural traditions, and
2. It’s good to understand the full context of an item in another culture, to understand that not only might something be prepared differently, but the custom around its consumption might be different in different cultures (think salad before or after dinner, and cheese for dessert?).
Who knew a hot dog could be such a good teacher?
What favorite foods or pasttimes from your culture have you tried in another? How were they different? How were they the same?