Wayne Thiebaud (b.1920-present) Three Ice Cream Cones, 2008
Now, I know one of the great ironies of life is that we all feel (at one time or another) that we don’t “fit in,” aren’t “part of the crowd,” ie aliens in our own world. This is, in fact, is human nature. Hence the irony, because we are not distinct nor separate creatures—and especially in our feeling of isolation!! These sentiments actually, if anything, make us more human and more alike our neighbor than anything. However, on occasion, I do feel this not “fitting in” especially when I encounter American cultural tastes around food.
Case in point, I went to a free BBQ today in hopes of pocketing some veggies for later. Yes, veggies—anyone who knows me I get more excited about veg and fruits—especially fruits—than any sweet, cookies, cakes, you name it. I mean, a bag of oranges or apples makes me seriously happy. I start to panic when my fresh fruit and veg run out, hence my stopping by the picnic for reserves. I don’t believe that this love affair with fruits and veg is the norm for most Americans, so research/stats/advertisements/word-of-mouth/and plain old experience has shown me.
For instance, at this BBQ, as I’m eying the veggie platter lasciviously, which mind you is sandwiched (or veggied) between two enormous sheet cakes. The girl helping at the BBQ says to me (as if a secret), “we’ve got ice cream sandwiches too!” Now, I have never really loved ice cream, so do not understand Americans’ obsession with it. But, at that BBQ three other people mentioned these darn ice cream sandwiches to me, like—honestly they were crack or something. Psst, you know we’ve got mint chocolate chip and double chocolate chip!
As I piled my plate high with cukes, carrots, celery all set to leave, another person mentioned the ice cream sandwiches! I felt the universe was trying to tell me something, so I ventured over to get one and, really, just to be nice. Not only was there a line, but there was a guard monitoring this stuffed cooler. Handing out the ice cream sandwiches like a king bestowing loafs of bread to his subjects (one for each mind you!) When I get up there, I pick one on top that happened to be strawberry ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies. Fine, I like those flavors. Because I didn’t really want it, I bravely ventured to take this ice cream home in the AZ heat! It survived and it was good (if not a tad sweet and I still only ate half). The veggies, however, were long gone before I even got to the ice cream.
The whole experience has left me pondering about my food tastes and main-stream food tastes. All I can think is that, at least with this event and group of people, I was different. For instance, where was the fresh fruit??? But, mainly because all I kept thinking was that I would have placed the guard at the veggie platter!
Wayne Thiebaud, Jolly Cones (Ice Cream Cones), 2002