I'm a school counselor in a very rural district in w. central Wisconsin. I'm the only Spanish speaker, besides our Spanish teacher, employed by the district. So, when we started getting muchos Latinos to work on the farms (mostly very nice Mexican family folks) some of the locals who didn't have much time to experience the Latino way, were unsure of the new residents. So, I thought we'd break bread/tortilla together, so we could get to know one another. This also included Amish folks who live in the area. We also have a healthy Hmong population nearby.
I just asked folks to make things their family likes to eat and bring some to share. Potluck sort of thing. Most of the White folks brought in their favs: pork and kraut, natural casing dogs with coleslaw and baked beans, BBQetc. Mexicans brought sopas, empanadas, etc. Not your usual BS Mexican standbys; but what they actually eat at home. Amish had lovely homemade sausages, kraut, kluski noodles, etc. Hmongs brought egg rolls, chicken and bok choy, khaub piaj, etc.
Of all the things that seemed very different to folks, I was surprised that the Mexican folks just didn't get coleslaw. One of my students said, "You add mayonnaise and sour cream to cabbage? What the heck is that?" I guess I never realized how odd the combo might be to the unaccustomed; just like mole, and tomatillo based sauces, tasted odd to some of the Gringo folks.
It seems our Chowhound crowd has some impressive travels and experiences. What are some things you've noticed that other cultures find weird about your food, or vice versa.?
My first day in Ecuador, my Ecuamom made an amazing, but simple, chicken soup with rice and a big chunk of yucca root in the middle of the bowl. The taste of that root was so odd to me; but I scarfed it down quickly and proclaimed my first timer like for the root. I was lying of course, and they thought I liked it so much they seemed to try to find new ways to impress me with it. I guess I should have tried honesty. Dumbass.
Still, I find these things the riches of travel. Share some of your experiences, please.