filling the empty nest with food
I’ll be hosting several international college students and one former South American ambassador in a few nights–with instructions to provide them an American dinner experience. International students don’t often get invited into an American home when they study in our country–and how sad is that? So, it feels like a big responsibility.
But what exactly is a typical American dinner? Macaroni and cheese? And would that be homemade or Kraft from the box? I once made my oldest son, when he was a toddler still in his high chair, a gourmet version of mac and cheese: I lovingly prepared good quality penne pasta with a sauce of organic whole milk and the best Wisconsin aged cheddar. It was a labor of love as I prepared to wow him with sophisticated flavors and put him on the road to appreciating fine cuisine. You can see where this is going. He refused to touch it after the first bite. In later years none of my children ever turned down a $.25 box of generic macaroni and cheese. Go figure.
So, back to real American food. Is it the drive-thru at McDonald’s? We invented the fast food chain, after all. Or is it Americanized Chinese take-out? Or a vegetarian or vegan meal, or a buffet where everyone gets to choose what he or she eats?
You might say it’s whatever you want it to be, since we are a nation of immigrants and fusion inventions. Except that when you eat a meal that’s definitely NOT American, you know it.
What would you serve?