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When Eating Habits and Culture Collide

June 22, 2011

Disclaimer: This is a mostly fictitious account of true events compiled into a story – you know, like most memoirs you’ve read that you thought were non-fiction.

“Starling, what do you want for dinner?” my husband asked me.

The tortilla chip, heavily laden with salsa, was halfway to my mouth when he asked. Unwilling to stop the process, I shoved it in and crunched down, tasting the tomato goodness. I looked up and sort of cocked my head towards the giant bowl in front of me, before swallowing.

“I’m eating salsa and chips, baba.” Now, it was his turn to cock his head. I knew what he was thinking. He was wondering how what I said related to his question. He was also thinking he probably knows, but he’s hoping – really, really hoping – he’s wrong.

“I’m not that hungry, so I think I’m going to skip dinner,” I said.

He continued to stare at me. The wheels were turning. I’d just confirmed what he feared most – that his wife thinks chips and salsa can be dinner. At this point, I started to feel a little guilty. I could tell he was working through a way to politely tell me that cannot be his dinner, and now what’s he going to do? There is little my husband hates more than not sharing dinner with his wife. Cooking isn’t the issue. He cooks a lot, but cooking for one is something he really hates. We were having a culture clash, but it took us years to realize that this is what it was. Dinner is something to get past for me. It’s something to share for him.

I looked down at the bowl, asking myself if I’m being unreasonable. Then I heard him moving towards the refrigerator. He’d decided not to say anything, which only made me feel more guilty.  The salsa stared up at me, the bag of chips tossed beside it. It was homemade salsa – lots of tomatoes, cilantro, onions, chili’s, and Rotel.

Rotel, people. Rotel is dinner. I sighed, my justification complete. And then an idea hit me. I had taquitos in the freezer and a boatload of homemade salsa. Brilliant!

“I’m going to make the taquitos, too, if you want some,” I told him, getting up and marching over to the frig. He perked up a bit. He’s not the biggest fan of the taquitos, but it has meat in it, and this equals dinner to him. Plus, I’m asking to share. He’ll settle for taquitos, if it means his wife is sharing dinner with him now.

Chicken taquitos: Hero and tonight’s marriage counselor.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2011 3:16 pm

    Love it!

  2. June 22, 2011 10:17 pm


  3. June 23, 2011 12:44 am

    And I was just eating homemade salsa too.

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