Originally posted by astrocreep
Its good to see someone write about those days. Most people these days can't fathom there ever was a society before the 90s. . . . Some traditions
are more than that and most have their founding in neccesity.
You are almost begging to hear my "Food Faddism" theory of social history. I get an OCD shiver when I think about how all-encompassing it is.
The theory arises from a dialectic between my mother and father. He liked pineapple upside-down cake. She didn't. He was always pestering her to
make some. She said that if she went to the trouble of making a homemade cake, she wouldn't sully it with pineapples. She was of German descent,
and had no pastry use for pineapples.
My father would patiently explain that before refrigeration in homes, tropical fruit was extremely rare. Many boys from his town in Indiana during
WWII never got home for the duration of the war. The closest they could get was the possession of Hawaii. So when on leave there, they'd mail as
many pineapples home as possible using the navy's then excellent postal service. (military personell got "above-first-class" postal priveleges
during the war.)
Being invited over to someone's house for a pineapple upside down cake in 1943 was a celebration. Even if you didn't know where there son was, at
least you knew he'd been alive a couple of weeks ago, and on leave in paradisical Hawaii!
(He also has a thing for tropical shirts. But that's another thread.)
See, food, all of it, has a meaning; it's symbolic of plenitude at identity. You don't eat ham at Thanksgiving because Germans eat ham. You have
an (american) Turkey. (assuming you're american, for this argument).
Before world war II, most hamburgers were served in the US with a layer of sauerkraut. That ground to a halt in December of 1941. The lettuce and
tomato was sending a message, striking a blow for liberty against the insidious hun.
Irish in America make a HUGE deal out of St. Patrick's day; usually serving steamed cabbage and corned beef. Irishfolk have told me that those two
dishes are not particularly irish, and sound more like german-jewish fare than anything irish. Probably, it's what the Kosher Deli's of New York
decided was "the thing" for March 17.
Chop Suey anyone?
Cranberries are another example. In the 1990's, they started putting these acrid little pellets in everything, even the muffins! The producers had
found a way to make em cheap, and were dumping them on the market. So marketers told women that cranberry juice (mixed 1 to 3 with sugar) was good
for them. Yes, Cranberries were the "trash fruit" of the millenium.
Before that, it was the Kiwi.
In the 70's, it was strawberries.
The late 60's was the Day of the Pineapple.
I sniff current trends in the direction of mango for "most ubiquitious fruit of 2005."