Food is how I think of my cultural identity. It's like a table of food. It has plates of cozido and chow mein, but it also holds the new dishes that my parents have picked up in Canada. Just because there are new plates on the table doesn't mean I have to take any of them away. It just means I need a bigger table.
Emile knows that he's Jewish, but it's an esoteric concept at his age. He loves eating gefilte fish and searching for the afikomen, hates how long Passover seders take and boasts to his buddies about getting two holidays instead of one in December. I used to do the same. But because we're an invisible minority, it can easily disappear. Maintaining it requires effort. So my role as a father is to help him see the value in making Jewish history, culture and traditions a part of him -- he can decide on the religious part on his own -- so that he might one day pass it all on to his own child.
In the Middle Ages, roveja still endured as the staple diet eaten in the form of a "puls," which is an ancient Roman-style of porridge and consumed with a savoury sauce on top. Over time roveja was forgotten. By the 1990s only a few local people remembered roveja, and some found the plants growing in gullies or near streams.
If you were taken away tomorrow, what do you think your legacy would be? Most of us, it seems, are happy to wait and hear what our eulogist thinks our legacies are. A little late, don'tcha think? I think it's time to lighten up the legacy conversation by creating and enjoying a variety of legacies that you can enjoy now!
I get asked a lot about my "heritage." I hate that word, the concept, and everything that tags along with it. In a lot of situations -- social, professional, or other -- I find it completely out of context and irrelevant. Sure, if you're talking about your grandmothers' cooking, it might be a salient thing to ask, but the majority of the time, it just makes you sound ignorant, especially if you push for an answer when the subject seems uncomfortable. Then you're just rude.
We must pay tribute to the courage and sacrifices of our soldiers, past and present, and highlight their essential contribution to peace and democracy. But we must also highlight the other remarkable aspects of Canadian history. The 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation is almost here and its preparations are lagging. Mr Harper and his Heritage minister, Shelly Glover, seem unable to give the celebration a clear focus. There is room for concern that once again, they will be content with showcasing Canada's military feats and refuse to acknowledge everything else that has made our nation a source of hope and envy in the world.
I choose to wear the poppy for a different reason. I choose to wear it because as a woman with Native ancestry, I want to remember those whose faces we never see in the Heritage moments or on the Remembrance Day TV spots. While we remember the many veterans who fought in the many wars Canada has been involved in, the iconic images of these veterans are whitewashed.