Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guacamole. Culture Shock

When I first arrived in the U.S., I had a massive culture shock. It took me about two years to comprehend how everything around me worked. I remember the first few days clearly.
 I am alone, with another 8 million people, in New York city. I decide to go out of the apartment, to buy bed sheets, a comforter, and kitchenware. I walk a lot. I don't know how to hail a cab, and I am too shy to speak English to native speakers. I buy all the stuff, and I want to carry it back to the apartment. The bags are so heavy, and I am struggling to hold my tears. People offer to help me with the stuff, but I've watched too much Hollywood crime movies to agree. I nod thank you and I keep dragging my bags.
 I arrive at my new place, and I am hungry. I don't know how to cook. I realize that food needs to be prepared. It doesn't just appear at the table. My mother cooks, and she's not here. I go out to get food. I don't know what to eat, I don't know any of the dishes, and the different types of foods. I buy cookies and juice. And I survive on cookies and juice for the next month. The more cookies I eat the more hungry I feel. I need to cook. I buy a pot. And I start cooking.
 I started to learn what people in the U.S. eat. Many times I was delighted, others I was surprised. Like it's striking to me how much people here like Hummus. And why do they call it only Hummus, instead of Hummus and Tahini. Hummus (in Arabic) means chickpeas. You can eat Hummus, and that's chickpeas, or, you can eat Hummus and Tahini, and that's the Hummus that they like to eat. There are restaurants in NYC that only serve Hummus (and Tahini). That's the weirdest thing to me. Hummus in Lebanon is just an appetizer. That's like a restaurant, with tables and chairs and waiters and all that, that only serves onion rings.
 Here's an authentic Mexican guacamole recipe. Some places add vinegar to Guacamole. Please always hold the following dear to your heart: it's a sin to put vinegar in Guacamole.
 The following is my husband's recipe.

Recipe: Guacamole
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted (keep 1 seed)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely cut (I use Anaheim pepper when I don't want it to be spicy)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Mix the serrano paper, cilantro, onion, and then the lime juice. Add the two avocados, and smash them into the mix. Add the salt and black pepper. Put the seed on the top (this helps keep the Guacamole green and fresh for a longer period of time).

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