Eating our way to peace and understanding
Anita Sharpe on Culture
Almost all of my son's favorite foods originated in countries that are politically out of favor with the U.S. A few years ago, I had the only 9-year-old I knew who craved escargot; we ate at a small French restaurant virtually every weekend for several years.
In the last year or so, he discovered Middle Eastern food, so we eat at a local Persian restaurant a couple times a week. Last night, he added Cuban food to his menu of favorites; I see lots of chicken tortilla soup in my future. (I love exploring restaurants, so I don't know what I would have done if I'd wound up with a Cheerio's-and-chicken-fingers kid.)
Much more than his palate has been broadened these past few years (no, I'm not talking about his waistline.) Eating at small restaurants run by nice French or Middle Eastern families, he can understand in a way that I could never teach him that people are not the same as their governments.
He can see viscerally that most people want the same things -- to share a good meal and conversation; to create something, such as a restaurant, that provides a living for themselves and pleasure for others.