Komodo Serves Up Great Fusion Food

I found myself in an awkward place this past weekend- craving good tacos at 10:45am in a part of town I didn’t know. I quickly called a couple different friends who I knew would know just the spot. However, neither could muster a locale that met the location and time of day requirements. Why is it so difficult to find a decent taco midday in the oasis of good food that is Los Angeles? So I rolled up my sleeves and went to Google. Read More

Night Market Culture Continues to Thrive

The 626 Night Market was born out of the desire to have something in Southern California that is similar to the night markets of Taiwan.  It started off in Pasadena a few years back to what amounted to be a block party to last weekend where they had 40,000 people converging into Santa Anita Park to enjoy the food and festivities.  Organizers have expanded the footprint to cover Orange County and downtown LA.  If you haven’t had the chance to go yet, there is one more schedule for the weekend of September 12-14.

Honey Maid Celebrates Single Dads, Gay Dads, Punk Dads and More

Ever since Cheerios struck unexpected marketing gold with its subtle ad about an interracial family, brands seem to have woken to the realization that inclusiveness can be a good thing. Or even a great thing.

And this week, no one’s more inclusive than Honey Maid. The graham cracker brand has launched a new spot from Droga5 called “This Is Wholesome,” featuring real-life parents from many different backgrounds. Although it’s only a :30, we see at least five different families, not one of which fits into advertising’s usual white, heterosexual paradigm.

There are gay dads, two mixed-race families (one military), a single dad and a punk-rock family that dances around dad’s drum kit. This level of ultra-diversity could easily feel forced if the footage hadn’t been selected and handled so deftly. The three corresponding documentary clips below also complement the campaign’s storytelling and highlight that these are real families and neighbors.

The warmth of the campaign gets doused a bit when corporate parent Mondelez International discusses the ad, but I suppose you have to give them points for practicality. The campaign’s news release opens with stats on the number of U.S. single-parent families (20 million) and Hispanic families (11.6 million), along with the fact that one in 12 marriages are interracial.

“We recognize change is happening every day, from the way in which a family looks today to how a family interacts to the way it is portrayed in media,” marketing director Gary Osifchin says in a statement. “We at Honey Maid continue to evolve and expand our varieties to provide delicious, wholesome products so they can be a part of everyday moments of connection in a world with changing, evolving family dynamics.”

[source]

Soda vs. Pop vs. Coke

But of all the important topics on which Americans disagree, nothing sparks more debate than a seemingly simple question: Is a carbonated beverage called soda, pop or coke?

If you sit down a group of people from different parts of the United States, you’re bound to come across a few cultural differences. But of all the important topics on which Americans disagree, nothing sparks more debate than a seemingly simple question: Is a carbonated beverage called soda, pop or coke?

The Atlantic created its own version of the famous 2003 Harvard Dialect Survey, in which former Harvard professor Bert Vaux polled thousands of Americans about how they pronounce certain words.

The Atlantic recreated the project by calling people across the country and asking them a few of Vaux’s questions. Then they layered the answers with North Carolina State University graduate student Joshua Katz’s heat maps .

Hear the various ways Americans pronounce the word “pecan” and the country’s divisive stances on what to call a foot-long sandwich.

[via Mashable]

What is Hanukkah?

FOR Jews all over the world, a familiar annual festival, celebrating the re-establishment of their religion in its purest form after a time of alien oppression, is about to begin. But for Jews in the United States, this year’s celebrations have an unusual, and slightly awkward, feature: they coincide with the secular, pan-American celebration of Thanksgiving.

Hanukkah, then, celebrates the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple, the focal point of Jewish worship, after an uprising against the Hellenised rulers of the eastern Mediterranean. These rulers had been trying to make the Jews follow the practices and culture of the pagan Greeks. The provocations came to a head in the year 167BC, when Emperor Antiochus decreed that an altar to Zeus should be erected in the Temple. He also banned circumcision and ordered the ritual sacrifice of pigs. Two years later, a revolt against the Hellenised dynasty was successful and the victorious Jews decreed that the Temple must be cleansed of impure influences and reconsecrated. The feast of Hanukkah, recalling this event, lasts for eight days and nights, and involves the lighting of the eight branches of a special menorah or candelabrum, plus a ninth candle which illuminates all the others. The lights recall a miraculous event that is said to have marked the rededication: a tiny quantity of olive oil was enough to keep the Temple menorah lit for eight days.

Hanukkah is a relatively minor Jewish festival, but it has gained importance as a family event in Western countries as a kind of counterweight to the Christian celebrations of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. It can fall any time between late November and late December; this year it falls early, and therefore roughly coincides with the time when Americans of all religious backgrounds remember how the Pilgrim Fathers, pioneers of European settlement in the New World, gratefully enjoyed the fruits of their first harvest. Hanukkah starts on the evening of November 27th, and this year’s Thanksgiving falls on November 28th.

So some American families will have to choose between the sweet potatoes which are traditional for Thanksgiving and the latkes or potatoes fried in oil which mark Hanukkah. Both the Pilgrim Fathers and the Jewish rebels against the Hellenised monarchy were asserting the right to practise their religion in all its purity and rigour. Perhaps that is enough commonality to bring the two celebrations together.

[SOURCE]

What REALLY Happened at the First Thanksgiving?

When you hear about the Pilgrims and “the Indians” harmoniously sharing the “first Thanksgiving” meal in 1621, the Indians referred to so generically are the ancestors of the contemporary members of the Wampanoag Nation. As the story commonly goes, the Pilgrims who sailed from England on the Mayflower and landed at what became Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620 had a good harvest the next year. So Plymouth Gov. William Bradford organized a feast to celebrate the harvest and invited a group of “Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit” to the party. The feast lasted three days and, according to chronicler Edward Winslow, Bradford send four men on a “fowling mission” to prepare for the feast and the Wampanoag guests brought five deer to the party. And ever since then, the story goes, Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. Not exactly, Ramona Peters, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer told Indian Country Today Media Network in a conversation on the day before Thanksgiving 2012—391 years since that mythological “first Thanksgiving.”

We know what we’re taught in mainstream media and in schools is made up. What’s the Wampanoag version of what happened?

Yeah, it was made up. It was Abraham Lincoln who used the theme of Pilgrims and Indians eating happily together. He was trying to calm things down during the Civil War when people were divided. It was like a nice unity story.

So it was a political thing?

Yes, it was public relations. It’s kind of genius, in a way, to get people to sit down and eat dinner together. Families were divided during the Civil War.

So what really happened?

We made a treaty. The leader of our nation at the time—Yellow Feather Oasmeequin [Massasoit] made a treaty with (John) Carver [the first governor of the colony]. They elected an official while they were still on the boat. They had their charter. They were still under the jurisdiction of the king [of England]—at least that’s what they told us. So they couldn’t make a treaty for a boatload of people so they made a treaty between two nations—England and the Wampanoag Nation.

What did the treaty say?

It basically said we’d let them be there and we would protect them against any enemies and they would protect us from any of ours. [The 2011 Native American copy coin commemorates the 1621 treaty between the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims of Plymouth colony.] It was basically an I’ll watch your back, you watch mine’ agreement. Later on, we collaborated on jurisdictions and creating a system so that we could live together.

What’s the Mashpee version of the 1621 meal?

You’ve probably heard the story of how Squanto assisted in their planting of corn? So this was their first successful harvest and they were celebrating that harvest and planning a day of their own thanksgiving. And it’s kind of like what some of the Arab nations do when they celebrate by shooting guns in the air. So this is what was going on over there at Plymouth. They were shooting guns and canons as a celebration, which alerted us because we didn’t know who they were shooting at. So Massasoit gathered up some 90 warriors and showed up at Plymouth prepared to engage, if that was what was happening, if they were taking any of our people. They didn’t know. It was a fact-finding mission.

When they arrived it was explained through a translator that they were celebrating the harvest, so we decided to stay and make sure that was true, because we’d seen in the other landings—[Captain John] Smith, even the Vikings had been here—so we wanted to make sure so we decided to camp nearby for a few days. During those few days, the men went out to hunt and gather food—deer, ducks, geese, and fish. There are 90 men here and at the time I think there are only 23 survivors of that boat, the Mayflower, so you can imagine the fear. You have armed Natives who are camping nearby. They [the colonists] were always vulnerable to the new land, new creatures, even the trees—there were no such trees in England at that time. People forget they had just landed here and this coastline looked very different from what it looks like now. And their culture—new foods, they were afraid to eat a lot of things. So they were very vulnerable and we did protect them, not just support them, we protected them. You can see throughout their journals that they were always nervous and, unfortunately, when they were nervous they were very aggressive.

So the Pilgrims didn’t invite the Wampanoags to sit down and eat turkey and drink some beer?

[laughs] Ah, no. Well, let’s put it this way. People did eat together [but not in what is portrayed as “the first Thanksgiving]. It was our homeland and our territory and we walked all through their villages all the time. The differences in how they behaved, how they ate, how they prepared things was a lot for both cultures to work with each other. But in those days, it was sort of like today when you go out on a boat in the open sea and you see another boat and everyone is waving and very friendly—it’s because they’re vulnerable and need to rely on each other if something happens. In those days, the English really needed to rely on us and, yes, they were polite as best they could be, but they regarded us as savages nonetheless.

So you did eat together sometimes, but not at the legendary Thanksgiving meal.

No. We were there for days. And this is another thing: We give thanks more than once a year in formal ceremony for different season, for the green corn thanksgiving, for the arrival of certain fish species, whales, the first snow, our new year in May—there are so many ceremonies and I think most cultures have similar traditions. It’s not a foreign concept and I think human beings who recognize greater spirit then they would have to say thank you in some formal way.

What are Mashpee Wampanoags taught about Thanksgiving now?

Most of us are taught about the friendly Indians and the friendly Pilgrims and people sitting down and eating together. They really don’t go into any depth about that time period and what was going on in 1620. It was a whole different mindset. There was always focus on food because people had to work hard to go out and forage for food, not the way it is now. I can remember being in Oklahoma amongst a lot of different tribal people when I was in junior college and Thanksgiving was coming around and I couldn’t come home—it was too far and too expensive—and people were talking about, Thanksgiving, and, yeah, the Indians! And I said, yeah, we’re the Wampanoags. They didn’t know! We’re not even taught what kind of Indians, Hopefully, in the future, at least for Americans, we do need to get a lot brighter about other people.

So, basically, today the Wampanoag celebrate Thanksgiving the way Americans celebrate it, or celebrate itasAmericans?

Yes, but there’s another element to this that needs to be noted as well. The Puritans believed in Jehovah and they were listening for Jehovah’s directions on a daily basis and trying to figure out what would please their God. So for Americans, for the most part there’s a Christian element to Thanksgiving so formal prayer and some families will go around the table and ask what are you thankful for this year. In Mashpee families we make offerings of tobacco. For traditionalists, we give thanks to our first mother, our human mother, and to Mother Earth. Then, because there’s no real time to it, you embrace your thanks in passing them into the tobacco without necessarily speaking out loud, but to actually give your mind and spirit together thankful for so many things… Unfortunately, because we’re trapped in this cash economy and this 9-to-5 [schedule], we can’t spend the normal amount of time on ceremonies, which would last four days for a proper Thanksgiving.

Do you regard Thanksgiving as a positive thing?

As a concept, a heartfelt Thanksgiving is very important to me as a person. It’s important that we give thanks. For me, it’s a state of being. You want to live in a state of thanksgiving, meaning that you use the creativity that the Creator gave you. You use your talents. You find out what those are and you cultivate them and that gives thanks in action.

And will your family do something for Thanksgiving?

Yes, we’ll do the rounds, make sure we contact family members, eat with friends and then we’ll all celebrate on Saturday at the social and dance together with the drum.

 

[SOURCE]

Controversial New Way To Eat A Burger in Japan

Who knew the way one eats a hamburger could stir up so much controversy? A new Japanese invention called the “liberation wrapper,” a napkin designed for women to be able to eat hamburgers more elegantly, is stirring up mixed emotions in North America, or at east on YouTube.

As one YouTube commenter noted:

“Liberation wrapper. It works, but it’s a sad thing it’s even needed.”

This is a classic example of culture clash. In Japanese culture, small mouths (or “Ochobo”) are considered attractive. Thus, a woman eating a large hamburger in public is considered highly unattractive. “Ochobo” also means that it is considered well-mannered to cover one’s mouth while opening it in public. On the other hand, it is socially acceptable for men to eat burgers however they like, which caused many women to be self-conscious about eating burgers in public. So the hamburger chain Freshness Burger invented an innovative napkin to solve the problem.

Just one month after Freshness Burger introduced the “liberation wrapper”, burger sales amongst women shot up 213%.

So, what’s the big deal? Many in the west feel that this “liberation wrapper” is further exacerbating the oppression of women, especially since there are no restrictions on  how men can eat hamburgers in public.

“Marketing brilliance shines light on oppressive cultural remnants.” – YouTube commenter

Share your thought’s on “liberation wrappers” with us in the comment section below.

Gobble Tov! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Here at MMXLII, we love to see different cultures embrace each others customs and celebrations. To help facilitate this tremendous occasion, the StudentExperts at visual.ly put together this nifty infographic.

With that said, get excited! It’s almost time for Thanksgivukkah! This year, the Hebrew and U.S. calendars overlap so that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. This will not happen again for another 79,043 years. So break out the Dreidel and the cranberry sauce and start celebrating.

Gobble Tov! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

As seen on Visual.ly

[Ep. 3] Pack Your Bags Season 2: You’re Going to Shanghai

MMXLII student correspondents Ryan Bunma and Tarik Ross, Jr. are stopping by for another episode of Pack Your Bags: You’re Going To Shanghai. In this eye-popping episode, Ryan and Tarik are exploring some of the delicious and intriguing cuisine that Shanghai has to offer. Follow along as they try new things and discover the customs of Shanghai’s incredible dining culture.

pyb-chinese-food-3 PYB-chinese-food-2

Stay tuned for more, as well as the Pack Your Bags video series, which will chronicle the week Ryan and Tarik spent in China!