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food evolution

My two year old has a favorite restaurant now: Sumo, the japanese steakhouse we go to all the time on the east side, there are other good ones in Wichita but Sumo is our favorite because it's always crowded and exciting and they have a portobello plate I really like, and ahi tuna, and a sushi bar, and a bar with a great drink menu... heck we just like it a lot.

Last time we went there it was Marc's birthday so we went ALL out, started with sushi and then marc got the filet + lobster, it was awesome. Josie was totally excited about going there but I didn't know it'd really stick with her this time, well it did, and now she's always asking about it again when it's dinner time. She really likes soup in general, so she's all about the miso soup they start the meal off with even though I think miso soup is like pure MSG with a little water, then she's all about fried rice and even wants to use chopsticks, loves the guy lighting stuff on fire, then they finish off with pink sorbet and that's basically as good as life gets when you're two.

The funny thing is, I think the first time I ever went to a hibachi grill place was when I was 20 or so and in college, it was just totally not in my realm of thinking. Josie also loves pad thai, and I know I did not have thai food as a kid because marc introduced me to it... yes that marc, who I met when I was 25. He LOVES thai food. I don't remember having much indian foods either, until I worked as an engineering intern with lots of indians who were always on a quest for a taste of home. For some reason in Wichita they seem to have given up... we have lots of indian engineers like any company, but not a lot of great restaurants that I know of. We have wonderful Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurants, and lots of Vietnamese too.

I don't know if it was my family, or the world has just changed. My dad actually worked at Taco Bell around 1970 and said it was a totally new thing then, unfamiliar to the general public, the whole concept of tacos even. People would come in and stare at the menu in confusion before just shaking their heads and asking for french fries and he'd have to sort of guide them along.

Growing up, we had tacos as sort of a weekly staple at home, and there was always a spaghetti night. Sometimes we'd get chinese takeout or pizza. I think that was the extent of the diversity in my diet. Everything else was tasty... chicken and rice, meatloaf, steak night, meat and potatoes home cooked meals. In recent years my parents have worked a lot more fish into their diets, we had it occasionally as a kid but I didn't like it, I remember things like baked orange roughy but now when I visit home they're grilling salmon.

Mom even makes humus all the time now, considers it a totally normal food, I think I first had it in 2005 or something. Of course Josie loves it... or at least, she loves using the food processor.

So I don't know if it just took us YEARS to figure this stuff out, or if Kansas, America has taken this long to eat the rest of the world's food.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2013 03:37 am (UTC)
Miso soup is salt, boiled seaweed and soy. The umami comes from the seaweed, not MSG. (It's possible your restaurant might add it, but it's not required)
Jan. 16th, 2013 03:58 pm (UTC)
Ditto! Miso soup is extremely healthy, if done right. There is no need for MSG, though the taste (unami) is very similar to the stuff you'd get from MSG.
Jan. 17th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
well hey cool! I wonder if we could make it at home? We got some packets of miso soup mix and I cringed at the 700 mg of sodium per serving, and I know some chicken/beef broth has MSG in it, I just figured that's what it was.
Jan. 16th, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
I wonder if that's why Del Taco has a taco+french fry combo... Weird.

anyway, you're/kansas is not the only ones figuring it out.. all that stuff I just started to become aware of when I went to college. I'd never had sushi, thai, indian, greek but I think even my hometown has had a series of restaurants that served most of those (they don't tend to last long, but they still sprout up)
Jan. 16th, 2013 08:03 am (UTC)
Wisconsin, too. I think of what I learned to eat after I went off to college, as opposed to what my mom cooked at home, and what I'm feeding Gwen, which I'd be feeding her regardless of whether we were living in Europe or not, except that in Europe we can get far better quality ingredients in some cases, and all three are worlds apart. We'd sometimes joke that mom would make color-themed meals, such as chicken fricasee with cauliflower and mashed potatoes. I didn't discover garlic until college. I don't think my mom knew what risotto was when I was a kid, much less fed it to me when I was 14 months old.
Jan. 16th, 2013 08:04 am (UTC)
On the other hand, one thing that American can do which Europe can't, is Mexican food, both real Mexican and Tex-Mex. We go out to as many Mexican restaurants as we can when we're back in the States. Even the ones in the upper midwest (MN, IA, WI) are better than anything we ever found in Amsterdam, and I haven't even seen anything claiming to be Mexican in Heidelberg.
Jan. 16th, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
One of my mother's aunts married a Mexican man, and his recipes made their way to my grandma and my mom, so my mom grew up with enchiladas and tacos as well as ethnic foods from her family, like beirocks and verenica. Then my dad grew up poor (like, he had two outfits and they counted cheese slices) and lived around a lot of minorities, and his family also married into a lot of cultures, so his family ate a lot of southern food, cajun food and "weird" food because it was cheap, or deer/turkey they shot because it was free. Both grew up in Kansas. So I think the key is to grow up poor so you have to get creative or have family members who marry "progressively".
Jan. 16th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
I had basically the same food childhood that I did, though I branched out earlier. My favorite Indian restaurant in Wichita is Maharaja. Zaytun is AMAZING but it's more upscale fusion than authentic from what I've heard. I think the food expansion is more of a cultural change where it's now hip to be multicultural.
Jan. 16th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
My dad is pretty adventurous food-wise, so I think if there had been anything Indian or Japanese we would have tried it. We would go to Mexican restaurants when I was in high school (maybe younger? not sure). I think our options were pretty much Italian or Mexican.

I looooooooooooooove Indian food. I wish I could get the kid to eat it. She loves Japanese and Thai and Mexican and pretty much anything except for Indian. *cries*
Jan. 17th, 2013 05:22 am (UTC)
Our menu was similar to ours. My dad doesn't consider a meal a meal if there if there is no beef in it, so...yea.

We did lots of Italian and Mexican (because it's easy and cheap. Rob and I also do a lot of those), plus American staples like steak with mashed potatoes, salad, rolls, etc. Plus, as I got older, frozen meals and bagged frozen dinners.

I've branched out a lot, and am still learning. My idea of a fancy restaurant growing up was Sizzlers... going out to eat generally meant fast food and occasionally meant we would eat our pizza or Chinese food at the restaurant. Mostly because my dad is a major homebody. But Rob and I are now at a point (granted, sans kids) where we eat very little fast food. We do some fast casual, but mostly we frequent sit down restaurants. : )
Jan. 17th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC)
The only thing the kid changed about us is that we're more likely do to fast casual, and a little less likely to do sit-down restaurants. But she's all about eating out at places, and behaves herself pretty well since she's been out since birth! Her being a good eater helps, if there's food involved she's generally an angel.
Jan. 17th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
I think about this topic a lot! My Mom ate boiled meat, vegetables and bread until she moved out of her house as a young adult, and she "disocvered" italian food, more like italian american food, really. Then I went to college and came back raving about Indian and Thai food, and now we all eat a huge variety of things that I can't ever remember eating prior to us all being adults and getting more experiences and meeting more people.

Another thing is produce...we had a fruit/seed tasting thing in a botany class in college and I realized that I was in a totally different situation that my classmates when I'd never eaten mango, papya, fresh pineapple, dates or avocados at like, eighteen years old. Now I eat all those things regularly and with relish, but my mom just ate a fresh advocado like last year and is sad she missed them all this time.
Jan. 17th, 2013 02:24 pm (UTC)
ha... I remember being at a relative's house and hearing a woman in her 80s commenting about how she eats a banana every day for breakfast now, and it's funny because growing up it was like something she'd get for Christmas or during a very specific season! So if nothing else, I'm sure the transportation industry has changed a lot of what we eat.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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