Keeping relationships within a culture can be convenient, comfortable and maybe even somewhat expected of you -- but it also makes it easy to keep one's culture alive. Our parents had a clear blueprint for passing on their traditions, something the growing number of culturally mixed couples like us simply don't have.
My husband is from South India and I am Canadian. We are the living, walking, breathing epitome of cultural differences -- he is Hindu, I am Catholic; he is a strict vegetarian, I am not; he comes from a huge traditional Iyengar family, I come from a very small Canadian family. We met and fell in love 10 years ago in college, and it still stands that he's the best thing that ever happened to me.
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.
My search for authentic truffle recipes, not found on the Internet nor in cookbooks, brings me to some inspiring places. Here, in the heartland of truffle culture, in the Central Apennines, I knew I would find something special because this is the only place where truffles can be eaten fresh all year round.
The Monti Sibillini National Park, collaborating with University of Camerino, is conducting a project experimenting with preserving mountain meadows in five sites. Two of these focus on combatting Brachypodium genuense. Since domestic animals are averse to this grass these sites are initially mown, and local people are given incentives to help maintain sheep and horses in these locations
Sure, Santa may determine that a child's behaviour is not up to snuff and is therefore a reason to deny said child of gifts on Christmas Day. But why does Santa have to be the judge, jury and (figurative) executioner on December 25th? Whatever happened to parental responsibility and the ability to look one's child in the eye in an attempt to deliver the verdict?
Climate warming means countries that never cultivated truffles now have the appropriate climate conditions. For example, the North American truffle, the Oregon White, which was originally discovered in California in the 1890s, is now being farmed in southern B.C. The new cultivating countries have a new approach to truffle production. This sound good, but is it? And who monitors what you are eating?
Eating the mountain way would mean we eat meat, but only top-quality, from small-scale local producers with animal welfare at heart. Yes, it costs more so we eat a lot less. We return to minimal meat consumption, just as history and mountains demonstrate humans have done in their most natural state for many thousands of years.
If we convey negative or suspicious attitudes about other cultures and ethnicities, our kids will pick up on these and replicate our behaviour. "Monkey see, monkey do" is real so keep this in mind and remember to convey a positive and open attitude about other cultures, particularly around your children.
"You're Jew-ish?" my roommate awkwardly inquired, examining me so closely I could have sworn she was looking for horns. It was clear we had both grown up in completely diverse situations, practicing different religions in very dissimilar neighbourhoods. I quickly came to realize that I was now in fact the highly unwarranted representative of the entire Jewish population.
The idea of a jolly holiday is like rubbing salt in the wound when our loved one isn't there. Honour your grief. You may find a completely new way of handling celebratory occasions by starting new traditions, or you may feel more comfortable sticking to old ones. Either way, you will know what feels right.
I've been using the power of Santa Claus for a few weeks now, and things are looking good. For maximum effectiveness, the use of Santa and his omnipresence is good for the window directly following Halloween until December 25. During this time, I enjoy the increased attentiveness, dearth of meltdowns and general calm that precedes Christmas day.