“John actually started eating flatbread wraps with me, for the first time.” I mentioned this over tea yesterday at a sidewalk cafe. The way my one friend gaped at me, it was as if I just told him John joined a Satanic cult or something.
“He didn’t eat them before?”
“Of course not, he thought they were strange.”
“Strange? But they eat strange things in China.”
Cue the obligatory dog meat reference, which I nearly rolled my eyes over. Seriously? I wished they could sit at my inlaws’ table one day — beyond the heavy dose of offal in their diet (which wouldn’t cause most Europeans to raise an eyebrow), they ate pretty tame Chinese fare that mostly revolved around lots of vegetables, tofu, whole fish and pork.
But there was a more important perspective to this. “You know, strange is relative,” I said.
I should know. The “strange” seaweed that I finally came to love as an adult was standard on John’s kitchen table growing up (seaweed soup was a perennial favorite of his). And the “strange” salads that John believed would give him diarrhea, well, I ate them with dinners growing up at least half of the week, if not more.
Maybe we’re so used to slapping the “strange” label on everyone else’s food that, sometimes, we forget that everything can be strange if you’re not used to it.
Even a simple piece of flatbread. 😉