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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Interesting Thing #3: Sometimes Food is Not Food

Sometimes food is not food.

This is false, yet this is true. Strange. Isn't it?

I'll tell a short story:

A couple of nights ago I was eating a delicious meal of fried rice with eggs, green beans, onions, chives, cucumbers, sweet chili sauce, and soy sauce. It was fantastic. I said, "Thank you! You could feed this to me every night, and I would be happy." My host mother's response, "Oh, so it's not delicious?!" She was thinking that I was being sarcastic. "No! No," I said, "It's very delicious. I like fried rice with [all the aforementioned "foods"] very much!" She says, "Oh. I'm sorry, the market was out of food." I said with a very confused expression, "The food is very good. I don't understand." She tells me she's sorry that there wasn't any food to cook for me.

What is she talking about? Meat. Simply, meat. She said in Khmer, "Awt mean m'hoap dtae." Which literally translates to "they didn't have food." Cambodian people don't really consider eating without meat...eating. Some families, indeed, are very poor and only have enough to afford "boh bo(a)h" which is basically rice porridge (rice + water + heat...sometimes). However, if you asked them if they had food, they might say, no, but we do have boh bo(a)h. It's an interesting concept isn't? Now, it makes much much more sense why vegetarians have such a difficult time explaining to their families not only why they don't like meat (and that it isn't their cooking they don't like) but the fact that they really do want a multitude and variety of vegetables.

Well, that's all I got for today.

Hope all is well, and
Talk to you soon,

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Next time I order fried rice I'm going to apologize to my family for not brining home any food :)