Monday, March 20, 2006

Culture Shock

So my parents have made it into town safe from Canada, despite some horrible thunderstorms here that caused their plane to circle over Dallas like some blind vulture who can't see prey.

It's always interesting when you get my parents together with Sweetie Pie, because that's when the culture shock is most evident. I'm never reminded that Sweetie Pie and I are different, born in different countries, because after all, I was raised in North America, consider myself Canadian and don't have any trace of a French accent when I speak. So until I mention I'm French, no one has to know, which was a good thing during the whole Iraq fiasco, when the US decided it hated France just because France decided it didn't want to go to war in Iraq. Canada also scoffed and didn't go, but they always come off as inoffensive, like the best friend who can call you fat to your face and not make you feel crappy about it. The way France broke the news to the US, you'd think that they'd just said "but yoooor ass iz bigger zen ze Eiffel Tower! You ahre dizgusting!" Canada said it more like "well, I wouldn't say you're fat, but why don't we go have a salad with no dressing instead of those five hot dogs?"

Which is totally beside the point. The point is, that when Sweetie Pie and my parents are in the same room, I am reminded that I am different and that my family is as French as they get. They don't wear berets and ride a bicycle with a baguette under their arm. And I don't come from a long line of mimes. But we do drink wine with lunch and dinner. And we eat cheese all the freaking time, because we make more stinky cheeses than anyone else and damn it, we want to make sure we continue to.

Either way, my parents had only been in town when it once again became clear that the love of my life, a country bumpkin from Texas at heart, will never completely understand my parents.

I cooked us my fancy schmanciest dinner on Saturday night: Filet Mignon in Merlot sauce. It costs a fortune to make, but it's so tasty and never fails to impress. Even my folks were impressed, which really says something about that recipe (thanks Bon Appetit Magazine!) My dad, who has professional chef training, was in charge of making the dessert and I told him I'd bought two pounds of strawberries at Costco, and I wanted to make sure they didn't go to waste. So my dad sliced the strawberries, chopped some mint and added some blackberry jam and let the whole thing marinate for a couple of hours. Then he served it on vanilla ice cream and it was so good. But Sweetie Pie, as soon as he got his plate, began to pick out all of the green bits. We looked at him and I said "you don't like mint?"

To which he responded "I thought those were the stems of the strawberries." We all began to laugh going "who the hell eats strawberry stems?" To which he replied "you people are French, you eat goose livers and snails. Why wouldn't you eat strawberry stems?"



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