QAS Heritage and Culture – January/2018 

Sharing global food and cultural celebrations has always been a personal interest of mine.

Since childhood I’ve been blessed to experience culturally and ethnically diverse neighbors, teachers, and classmates. We attended the same public schools and ate lunch together. 

I have often wondered how changed my elementary school friends may have become since we played together. Even our last names didn’t seem to matter, back then. If it did, we hadn’t noticed it. We studied, worried, went home, got up, boarded the school bus, and followed each grade along. We played, we ran, we played double-dutch and double-orange, laughed by falling (while running) up staircases. We wiped each other’s skinned knees from roller skating mishaps, kissed “boo-booed” elbows together, we cried on each other’s shoulders, and whispered secrets never minding ear color. Maybe I yearn for some of that innocence today.

Maybe I was totally naïve; part of me remains so, because I want to believe that perhaps a vestige of an untainted* childhood abides within each adult.

Fellowship is needed now more than ever it seems. Perhaps we took for granted what we had, or have. Perhaps childhood memories are not vestiges of a misunderstood childhood. I’d like to think and believe that friendships were real and are not as unnecessary as an appendix. I know that everyone isn’t like “any them” just as of my race all of mine isn’t all “like me”.   

Perhaps this hope is not a leftover vestige of childhood? People claim an appendix no longer serves a purpose because we’re evolving. I have my appendix, so far. Purposeful or not I thank my memories, which shelter my belief that friendships and camaraderie were real, are not as removable as an appendix is these days. I know better. I also know that everyone isn’t “like them” just like everyone of my race isn’t “all like me”.   

I’ll continue exploring cultures, peoples and ethnic foods. 

Our blessed Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, New Year and Feast of Three Kings are celebratory feasts with traditional foods.

Life is a daily celebration. I watch “Create TV” and salivate at most of the great recipes made with seasonings I’ve never heard of or that my family refers to by another name!

So I dare you, in the middle of any day in any month, any season, and claim and share your culture. Use plastic wrap, bowl, in bag or knapsack, share a portion of your favorite recipe with someone. Their smile will shine brighter than electric lights and just a watt below lightening. Maybe you’ll be jolted awake and realize how timely this venture has always been.

I was recently surprised with a large portion of stewed vegetables and beans prepared by an East-Indian friend.  They were delicious. I am still smiling.       

*As an adult I witnessed a child use a derogatory word to address a coworker. He was no more than 4 years old with a toy he was dragging alongside him. His mother immediately cautioned him in their native tongue basically to tell him not to say that word outside, but only in the house. I’d like to believe that I am not too late. How about you?

Smiles don’t require language. The choking sign, heart attack sign require no language. Welcome and sit with me requires no language. Have a cup of tea, take half my sandwich, sit, pull up a chair require no language.

What’s your excuse?

Peace, Diane Ward