And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

lørdag 12. februar 2011

Little America

Rally round your leaders it’s the mediator season
- Little America, R.E.M.

Everything was in there
That you'd want to see
Corned beef and onions
And true love
- Old Pigweed, Mark Knopfler

Constantine House, where I currently live, is an off-campus residence situated in St. Mary's, a cul-de-sac that runs into Bootham, approximately five minutes from where I study. The house and its annex is the temporary home for about 30 students of various ethnicities. The predominant bulk, however, is North American, and it is therefore tempting to dub the house Little America.

To me this offers both challenges and opportunities. It is a challenge to improve my feeble English accent when my main linguistic inputs are of an entirely different dialect, and I suspect I sound ridiculously highfalutin at times, although they are all too congenial to point this out. Fortunately this is my only challenge; my opportunities, on the other hand, are numerous. First of all it is an opportunity to become even more familiar with the American societies, especially so because of the geographical disparity of my housemates. Secondly it is a great opportunity to receive more cultural inputs, not only due to their American origins but because of the wide variety of subjects studied by the residents. Thirdly it is a chance to learn more about the UK, since my housemates have all been here for a longer period than I have, and can therefore give me valuable advice as most of them have encountered several aspects of the British society which I would have a hard time finding out by myself. Fourthly, I have been exposed to a vast quantity of food in the American way.

My main exposure to American homemade food comes from the quotidien cookings in the communal kitchen, which of course also include far more than just American cuisine. Due to my friends' generosity, I've tasted many different foodstuffs and I call myself quite a successful moocher, gleaning the toil of others.

In January there was held a pot-luck, which is a party where the participants bring food of their own to share. My invitation had gone astray due to Facebook's erratic behaviour, so I hadn't prepared anything. I was nonetheless encouraged by my housemates to join in, and it was very nice feast with plenty of food and high spirits.

Taste some brotherhood of man
- Old Pigweed, Mark Knopfler

Another food-related gathering was superbowl. Some of my friends being Packers-fans, proper measures were taken in the manner of provisioning: nachos, soft-bread and a cake of cinnamon buns with the colours of the Packers on the inside. Watching Superbowl became thus a matter of more than social congeniality and sport, it was also a pleasant time spent eating. I think I understood somewhat more of what actually happened in the course of this game, but the intricacies of American football remain a mystery to me. Also, in this game, there were several instances of actual suspense and beautiful sportsmanship, something I've not so easily detected in my previous American football experiences this year.

Rally round the foodstuffs it's the chew-and-swallow season.

These are just the high-lights of my encounters with the American food culture and the hospitality of my housemates. There has also been deep-fried onions, various cakes, meat-balls, chicken-wings and the like, but I have been to busy engorging myself with the said comestibles. There will, hopefully, be plenty of future occasions.

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