Oh my. … Really speechless, which is I AM rarely.
As much “cultural naivete” that there is about dining family style a la Chinese, one has to keep in mind that the vast majority of people in this country are used to ordering and eating their own choices.
We also take for granted that we have much more exposure to - if we choose - to be multi-cultural. Many areas in the US are still predominantly mono-cultural by habit and/or economically/socially as well. Yes, many eateries now offer “dishes to share” on there menus, but this is a relatively new phenomenon and are far more common to foodie/hipster places.
Just because people are willing to eat food somehow related to a particular culture doesn’t mean that they will know much about, let alone embrace, the traditions of that culture.
My friend (sorta’) asked an itamae at a sushi spot if she could decide what she wants on her omakase. He said “no”, but would eliminate anything she doesn’t like. She said “no eel, nothing chewy, nothing too oily or pungent, no mackerel” then she preceded to smell each piece of nigiri before putting it in her mouth (3 bites at a time). It was hard for him because it’s a small place with a limited catch-of-day type menu. He pretty much had to make her a separate meal. This is after she informed us that she’d eat anything. Also after letting us know that she had lived in Japan for months and was very knowledgeable about Japanese customs.
Your friend might just be one who doesn’t like those items typically outside the typical comfort zone of many. She could be one who is meek about anything outside of a “chicken fingers” palate. Depending on where she lived in Japan (e.g., big city versus “inaka”) she could have easily avoided her professed dislikes - never trying those food items.
The current Japanese diet and food choices can be extremely diverse. She probably took what I referred to in my previous post and ran with it. In that one can be physically immersed in a different culture, more so in that she lived within one, yet chose to limit if not avoid many of its traditions.
“I’m very knowledgeable about those disgusting Japanese customs.”
Insightful. See? I know this and you this, but I don’t think she knows this about herself. Her time in Japan was about teaching English and learning Japanese (btw, she says she didn’t learn much Japanese). Though she lived and ate her meals with young Japanese women her trip probably had little to do with the food culture. But when she said she lived in Japan and loved sushi I thought “Okay it’s on. They’ll like this place”. It quickly became clear they were out of their comfort zone. But they had a really nice time and it was all good, lol.
P.S. We’re having them over on NYE. Again with the “We eat anything”. I’m not falling for it this time and am making something safe. And speaking of Sycamore Kitchen - I took her there once. She changed our table twice and was dissatisfied with the way they put her avocado toast together. The things you do for your mate… he loves her husband. But she’s pleasant enough, so…
We all can’t have friends (or even family) who are easy and adventurous when it comes to dining. My husband and I have scattered pockets of “basic” family and friends…I’ve had to agree to a fair share of simple/safe chain restaurants just to keep those folks happy.
My late mother-in-law was like that. She far preferred Olive Garden over anything we might have wanted.
I have certain relatives like this; they love visiting us because (they say) “you have better Chinese food” (Yang Chow and Grandview Palace are their consistent requests when in town) - and yes, each orders their own “dish” to eat.
Suggesting we eat family style is usually met with silence and then, “I don’t like what s/he is getting.” (Especially if there are vegetables in that dish. Or spices. Or “weird” things.)
Edited to add: They are also enthusiastic about eating Indian food here; same deal with ordering.
shrug So it goes.
I hear ya’. Us too. It’s actually kind of comforting to pick a Cheesecake Factory or some other chain for those family occasions. Everyone’s happy and I don’t have to rack my brain or seek guidance.
The family gathering went to Cracker Barrel. Young ones and old ones . It is what it is . I sat there politely underwhelmed.
I know, but I’ve always wanted to go to a Cracker Barrel. It’s just so nostalgic.
Trivia: I think Martha Stewart’s first food job was at a Cracker Barrel in a mall.
I’ve never been to a Cracker Barrel either.
I make their hash brown casserole as a breakfast side dish…and it’s pretty good. Never been to an actual Cracker Barrel…maybe if it’s convenient…maybe.