Over the holiday break in the South Pacific, we stayed in a hotel that had mainly American and French clientele. French because the island is French and American because the hotel is a part of a popular American chain. This makes for fantastic people-watching, particularly for my husband and I as we happen to belong to both those cultures and it is fun to see them together in one place.
One thing that amused me was meals and in particular breakfast. But it was breakfast on our last morning that I found absolutely astonishing, it was like there was a big flashing neon lights that screamed: “stereotype achievement here – look now – stereotype achievement here”!
I watched a French man who had been at the hotel all week with his wife (I had observed them often) pick up a plate to go through the buffet. He sauntered directly to the baked goods table and proceeded to take what amounted to an entire baguette in sliced bread, and I am talking one of those large baguettes too and piled it on his plate. That’s it, a huge pile of baguette. It filled the entire plate. He went back to his table (where his wife was doing her French thing – plain yogurt and sliced fruit) and began slowly eating the slices. Each time placing a pat of butter and some jam before putting it into his mouth.
I was watching in amazement when a newly arrived American man sat down at the table next to him with a pile of food on his plate. Except that it was an entirely different pile! Two different types of eggs – scrambled and fried; bacon and sausage; and fried potatoes. Really sir, two kinds of eggs? I can’t say he was any worse than the entire plate of bread. A ton of carbs versus a ton of cholesterol, in either case, it was too much.
Moderation gentlemen, moderation.
How about you? Have you observed cultural stereotypes during a meal? Do share!
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P.S. If you like the illustration associated with this blog post, it was done by my pal Sean Pete, a struggling illustrator who has a site at http://itsnotart.com/. Check out his site to see more. He is available for hire!