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Friday, August 12, 2011

eating habits

a southeast asian orange and custard apples
The eating habits of the Vietnamese youth are so different from youth in the states. This morning in class, two of my students had corn on the cob for breakfast (in my class). Quite random for me. The only time I would eat corn on the cob is summer time, at a barbeque. When have you ever seen a young person in America, walking down the streets of your suburban neighborhood, or in an urban environment eating corn on the cob? or carrying a bag of freshly cut fruit? or a boiled sweet potato? It just doesn't happen.
But could it?

In summer time Chi if you look to the side of the street near the curb you will see a parked wagon full of watermelon, maybe oranges, sometimes strawberries. These are fruits in season during summer months and it's part of the culture to be outside attending festivals filled with food stalls of all kinds. Occasionally you might see somebody barbeque-ing on the corner, but they stay on their corner. You won't see little old ladies rolling stacked trays of ice blocks and fruit down the street. But isn't this the problem? Ghetto neighborhoods have always lacked convenient access to fresh produce, or grocery stores that sell a variety of quality fruits and vegetables. There are efforts to create urban gardens, community gardens where everyone takes part in the up keep of the seeds sowed. But again, these gardens stay on a particular corner. If I live on 109th, I'm not going to travel to the 67th street garden to grab some tomatoes or apples. We got to get mobile. Short, petite little old ladies of Ho Chi Minh City are carrying carts up and down hills, poorly paved roads in the midst of this crazy traffic (cause you can't walk on a "sidewalk," that space is already taken by the mom and her 10 year old chile selling leather belts!) Are you getting my drift? Perhaps the homicide rate in south side Chicago would go down if the youth had their hands on a cart of fresh fruit, rolling by peoples houses instead of driving by with a hand on a barrel. I know what you're thinking, What young adult wants to drag a cart of fruit in the heat all day? Well that's another problem. . . laziness. But they don't have to worry about getting sunburnt, the Vietnamese ladies attach a sun Umbrella to their cart. In the land of milk and honey, opportunity, and free speech I think we can concoct up something with AC, a sound system, and an LCD screen. They can't drive a motorbike, we have age limits on driving in America.
Heck, forget the ice cream man, we need a Fast Fruits™ chain. (dont steal it, it's already trademarked!)

2 comments:

  1. Actually in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles that have larger Latino populations we have lot's of street vendors who sell fresh fruit cut up in a plastic bag AND -believe it or not- corn on the cob slathered in some kind of seasoned mayo sauce and then rolled in bread crumbs (or something, I've never had it). I often see kids walking down the street eating corn on the cob or fresh cut fruit. Funny, I never knew it was so unusual.

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  2. Hi Ms. None,

    Thank you for your comment! Coming from a mid-west perpective, where we get winter 9 months out of the year :-) it is a bit uncommon until it is summer time. But I'm also referring to the snacking habits of some of the Vietnamese students. It would be interesting to do a test in a South side Chicago neighborhood, during the beginning of the school year (while it's still warm) with a vendor selling ice cream, and a vendor selling fresh watermelon, pineapple, mangos and bananas and see which vendor will get the most attention from the American students.

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