Even the little things are big
0 comment Saturday, September 20, 2014 |
Where our traditions and our culture are concerned, it's all important. It all matters, even the simplest of things.
This article informs us that according to an 'international survey of travellers', the 'full English' breakfast is the world's top breakfast, with American breakfasts in second place.
See the photo if you are not familiar with the English 'fry-up.'
It's not too dissimilar to the breakfasts I remember, back in my childhood in Texas, minus, of course, the baked beans and black pudding.
The breakfasts on the other side of the Atlantic differ too in that the sausages and bacon are not the same. The English bacon is more similar to Canadian bacon, or 'back bacon', and their sausages are not much like those we eat in this country. I prefer the American ones, but I suppose we all prefer what we've grown up with.
The sliced tomatoes are usually included in our breakfasts along with the fried eggs, bacon, and sausage. I don't think this is generally true for Yankee-style breakfasts, but I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.
Breakfasts in the South, too, often include distinctive foods like grits, a food item which has never caught on up North. Also, breakfast in the South may include toast but more traditionally would include biscuits, preferably made from scratch, not those counterfeits which you buy in a can from the dairy case at the grocery store. Those are all right in their way, but they can't compare to the homemade ones. The biscuits preferably should be eaten with molasses and butter, at least in my opinion.
This topic reminded me of a post which Sarah Maid of Albion posted a while back. The post was titled 'Losing things of value.' She discussed English food traditions like soft-boiled eggs with 'soldiers', or dip fingers, then discussed the importance of what may seem on the surface to be small things, trivial traditions. Yet food is something which is closely tied to all our memories, and which often stirs up recollections of happy times (or not-so-happy times). Aromas and tastes have the power to conjure up very vivid memories.
''Egg and soldiers, buttered scones, Yorkshire pudding, crumble, custard roast beef or muffins. The simple pleasure of such simple treats, enjoyed before us by generations of English men and women is something we can share with those who went before us, even if was are no longer permitted to share their certainty of their role within the world or their pride in what we are as a people.''
A few years ago on this blog I think we touched on the idea of how multiculturalism has even been imposed on our culinary habits and preferences. If I recall correctly, the discussion was started by another blogger (are you out there, JS?) and continued briefly on this blog. I strongly feel that we are being colonized in matters of food as well as in the more obvious ways. A few years ago I used to watch the Food Network a good bit, and I began to notice that they were featuring more 'diversity' in the program hosts and recipes. In our local grocery stores, too, Mexican foods (imported from Mexico, not Americanized 'Mexican' food) take up more and more shelf space, until whole aisles are now given over to Mexican foods and beverages. My town has quite a few people with roots in a Northern European country, but the foods of that country which used to be available in our stores is now banished to make way for Mexican foods. How symbolic.
Increasingly our tastes run to spicy foods containing ingredients like Jalapenos, chipotle peppers, salsa, and so on. It's trendy. Eating plain old American food is dull and boring, so the popular idea seems to have it.
Even alcoholic drinks show the Mexican influence.
Sarah in her piece discusses how the English have been taught to devalue their own foods and culinary traditions in favor of more exotic stuff, just as we Americans have been led to do. She mentions music also as being subject to the same process of devaluation and denigration. We can say this about our own music, too, though it has been a gradual process here. For some years, it seems as though American music has been dominated by black styles, going back at least to the turn of the century if not to the mid-19th century with 'minstrel' shows.
Since then almost all youth-oriented music has been black music, although I am not one of those who believe that rock 'n roll is primarily a black style of music.
Now rap and related forms of 'music' seem to prevail among the very young, at the expense of our rightful, European-derived musical traditions. And of course our tastes have been debased as a part of this process.
So far, Mexican music has not made many inroads into our culture, although the music moguls keep pushing Latino 'entertainers' who do a more 'urban' style of music, rather than the noises that your Mexican neighbors blast from their car stereos.
But as Sarah points out, this is all part of a larger agenda to demolish what is left of our real Western traditions and cultures.
''The point is to so devalue our culture in our eyes that we will not care what happens to it. After all, a man will only fight to defend that which he loves whilst he still loves it, if he ceases to love it why would he fight for it? Of course, if he is never taught what he has he will not miss it when its taken from him, and if he's never seen the stars he will never know their beauty and will not care if they cease to be.
[...] That may sound a tiny issue, but there are a million different experiences, feelings thoughts and objects which come together to create a national identity, we can lose them one by one until we lose them all.''
It all matters, even these trivial things such as what we eat for breakfast. The warm memories of my childhood are bound up with the smell of breakfast cooking, the sights, the smells, the feeling, of sitting in my grandmother's kitchen enjoying her home-cooked foods, the same foods generations of our ancestors enjoyed.
The music we listened to, or sang and played during long summer evenings, it all evokes very vivid memories. It ties all the generations together, the absent ones as well as those still present, here in this troubled time, this 'present darkness.'
It's all important. All of it. And if we don't value it, if we are content to give it all away without a whimper, then it will be a thing of the past very soon, along with the freedoms we've also ceased to value as we should.

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