As the title of my blog suggests, some of the culture shock I have encountered has been based on, or at least influenced, by food. Believe it or not, people around the world eat completely different things. I have heard of a lot of crazy things in this world. I had a friend who went on a foreign exchange trip and ate monkey brains. I had a brother who went to South America for 2 years and there they ate cavies. (guinea pig type rodents). I have both been to stay with my in-laws for a month in Russia, and have been to many functions here – dinners, BBQ’s, weddings, and more.
Having the family live in your home and prepare their preferred foods on a daily basis is a completely different story. If you were to go visit your husband’s family in another country for a month, no doubt your mother-in-law would be the kind, caring type who would mostly make food she thought you could eat. She wouldn’t want to shock your system too much. All of the food I ate in Russia was delicious. We went to a couple restaurants, we ate at several family member’s homes, and my MIL is a terrific cook. I ate really well there.
Now my Mother and Father-in-law have come to America. They live with us. They have been here about 10 months. I’m not sure when they are leaving, so don’t ask. Over that 10 months there have been several things I have not enjoyed that she has made. I know it is just a personal preference / cultural difference thing, because she is an excellent cook. She has also introduced me to some foods I really love, and has tried to show me how to make them myself. I also know there are a lot of things they do not like that we eat. For example, they hate meat that has a sweet sauce on it – like BBQ sauce or maybe sweet and sour chicken.
Yesterday my MIL made a huge batch of cabbage – several types. There was a cabbage soup, a cooked cabbage salad, and at my husband’s request, pickled cabbage.
Here are some things you might not know about pickled cabbage:
- Pickled cabbage is very high in vitamin C.
- Pickled cabbage is pretty in the jar – especially the red kind.
- Pickled cabbage is surprisingly high in calories and carbs. (I googled it.)
- Pickled cabbage stinks. I mean it stinks. It stinks while it is being made, it stinks when it is done pickling. It stinks up the fridge it is in (luckily we have an extra fridge in the garage). It makes your breath and skin smell like pickled cabbage after you eat it. How do I know? My husband ate some yesterday afternoon. At 2 am when I got up to use the facilities, I could smell pickled cabbage on him – his breath, his skin… After he showered and brushed his teeth.
Apparently this is just an inherent risk when eating and making pickled cabbage. You will smell like it. In fact, I smelled like it when I went to pick up my son from preschool. How do I know? Another mom said “Oh, did you go have Chinese for lunch?” To which I replied “No. I just stink, but thanks.”