Author Archive
Customs
Folk Beliefs
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Purple Fuzzy Bear

Informant H is 19 years old and was born in Inglewood CA. She moved to a place near Valencia just outside of LA soon after she was born. After 5 years, her little sister was born, then her little brother, and then her youngest sister. The family then moved to Bakersfield. H homeschooled for many years and then transitioned into a public high school.

 

H: So the very first people who started Xpressions started this um I guess its like a pre-show ritual where they have this little purple fuzzy stuffed animal and he’s about, I don’t know, he’s very small like this size, like a small ball. And we stand in a circle um backstage before its time for our show and the director holds the little fuzzy bear and he goes around and he puts it in front of everyone and everyone has to kiss the fuzzy bear for good luck.

Me: That’s really cute. Do you think people believe this will actually give them good luck and if they don’t do it like maybe they wont have a good performance that night?

H: Not necessarily. I think we know that the amount of effort and time we put into it is what’s gonna make it a good show but I think its just something that everyone has done every semester. So just knowing that from the very first group of people who did it now were doing it its cool that connection to the people who started it.

Me: So it’s about the history and the tradition more?

H: Right.

Me: Do you think the bear itself has any significance? Other than it was picked sort of randomly, do you know why it’s purple…?

H: I don’t know why its purple, I think its just a personal article, I don’t know any other significance to the bear.

Me: Do you believe personally that if you had done this or if you don’t, do you think something is going to happen?

H: Nope! I just think it’s a cute tradition.

Me: Do you think that’s why people do it? They just do this because it’s a nice bonding exercise?

H: Yes, I think it’s very much like a bonding exercise.

Me: Do you think it serves any other function besides a bonding thing between you guys?

H: I feel like bonding is mainly…and just that you know that that’s something you have in common with the Xpressions people because I know its changed over the years. So that’s something you have in common with someone who is an alumni of Xpressions, like oh you remember when you kissed the fuzzy bear?

Me: Is this like a secret thing? Do you guys talk about it very much?

H: Um no its just something we do like right before the show just like oh remember guys kiss the bear.

Me: And all the new members everyone together…?

H: Yeah everyone.

 

Analysis:

This dance group uses this fun tradition and ritual to bring all its members together and prepare them to work together as a unit for the show. Like other rituals, it ties them to the past and the origins of the group while keeping them in the present as they are about to perform. Also like other rituals, this takes place on a liminal moment in time, right before the dancers perform and is used to bring the dancers good luck.  This ritual also includes a kind of folk item, the fuzzy bear.

Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Christmas Tradition

Informant H is 19 years old and was born in Inglewood CA, and moved to a place near Valencia just outside of LA soon after she was born. After 5 years, her little sister was born, then her little brother, and then her youngest sister. The family then moved to Bakersfield. H homeschooled for many years and then transitioned into a public high school.

H: So in my family, I guess it started when we moved to Bakersfield, so we had to start over basically, so we had to get a new tree, and like new decorations. So we started this tradition where every Christmas we go and like as a family, my mom, my dad, me, my little sister, my little brother, and my youngest sister, so as a family we go and we find, in our city, a Christmas ornament and everyone gets to pick one Christmas ornament. And we do that every year and now our Christmas tree has so many ornaments on it because we’ve been there for about 10 years and so that is something we do every year.

Me: So do people pick the same type of ornament? Do you have like a style like ‘oh I pick the dancer ornaments…’

H: I guess my littlest sister…she always picks stuff like sparkly or pink so you know those are her ornaments. My brother picks like shiny cars and dinosaurs. So I guess we all sort of pick stuff that reflects our personality maybe what were interested in at the time. Like I have one that’s a cowboy boot from when I rode horses.

Me: So does it serve anything more practical than just oh we need to get ornaments for our tree?

H: Oh definitely it’s something we can depend on for Christmas time being together and we do this together as a family. And also it’s our tree in our house and all these ornaments aren’t random we hand selected each and every one, and they reflect us.

Me: So in a way when you look at your tree you can see your family…that’s really cool do people ever comment on the ornaments?

H: Oh definitely people are like ‘oh that’s a cute ornament’. And were like ‘oh there’s a story behind that’.

Me: So do a lot of the ornaments have these individual stories with them?

H: Um a lot of them do I know a couple fights were started over a couple ornaments.

Me: Care to share any fun stories about any of them any of the fights…?

H: Okay well there is this one this chandelier ornament it’s silvery and it has crystals on it. So we were going to the place, I think it was World Market, and my little sister saw it and she was like ‘Oh that’s like a cool ornament’, and she keeps walking because she wants to keep her options open. And then my other sister sees it and she’s like ‘oh my gosh I want this ornament so much’ and then my youngest one obviously plays the whole, ‘I’m cute I’m the youngest I should get this ornament’. And then the older sister was like ‘I should get this ornament because you always get the sparkly ornaments’ and the littlest one said ‘No I should get this ornament because I always get the sparkly ornaments’. And just like so much chaos. And eventually my little sister broke into tears and we’re like ‘it’s Christmas time you can have the sparkly chandelier ornament’ so there’s always this like bitterness when it’s time to pull out the sparkly ornament. And they always fight about who gets to put it on the tree. It’s very ridiculous. I think it’s hilarious.

Me: That’s so funny, do you all put your own ornaments on the tree?

H: We do. Sometimes people will forget because there’s so many, people like forget which ornaments are theirs, so like fights ensue because of that.

Me: I’m sure it still brings all you together though.

H: It does it’s fun times.

Me: Is it sort of interesting being away at college now? Are you the oldest?

H: I’m the oldest.

Me: So does that change any of the dynamic? Do they have to go pick ornaments without you one day? Because I know I usually get home right before Christmas, is that ever a problem…?

H: Well sometimes they have to put up the tree without me but sometimes, I think last year, they left all my ornaments there. Or they wait for me to come home so we get all of our ornaments together. So yeah they definitely want to make it a whole family.

Me: So sweet. Do you guys go to the same place every year?

H: Yeah we usually go to World Market, but sometimes we go to other places but they always have awesome really cool individualized ornaments.

 

Analysis:

H’s family definitely emphasizes them being together to celebrate this holiday with their own special family tradition. Even though an argument might have come from it, this tradition serves to bring her family closer together, especially now that she is living away from home. The tree is a way to express themselves all individually while still celebrating their family as a whole.  This tradition might be even more important for their family as their children start moving away from home to go to college, so this tradition of coming home for Christmas and doing this tradition as a family might become more special over the years.

Tales /märchen

Turkish Marchen and the Nasreddin Hoca

Informant C is 20 year old and studies Journalism. She is half Turkish and speaks Turkish as well. Her mom is Turkish and is from the Eastern Turkey area, about 200 miles west of Syria. Her entire family is scattered over Turkey and have resided in Turkey for many generations. Many of them are involved in agriculture.

So a lot of fairy tales were actually made to teach kids lessons and to scare them, Turkish folklore is very much in that vein. It’s very much a country where the society is built upon kids being pretty obedient. They don’t have very much independence really even in college, especially if you’re a girl. You live in your parents home really until you get married or you move in with a different family member. It’s a pretty restricted society for kids. So a lot of stories tend to be kind of negative and ‘You shouldn’t do this’. And Gypsies are a big thing in Turkey. Any story that teaches kids a lesson, in these stories there’s usually this interesting character, they call her a hoca which is like a teacher. There’s always this like old man who will impart some wisdom on to the kids. And the guy always appears to be really stupid and then he turns out to be the smartest one. The Nasreddin Hoca is the guys name and he appears in a bunch of stories, and Nasreddin is his name and Hoca means teacher. So one day Nasreddin’s neighbor asked him, ‘Teacher do you have any 40 year old vinegar?’ ‘Yes I do’ answered Nasreddin ‘Can I have some I need some to make an ointment’ said the neighbor. Nareddin answered, ‘No you can’t have any. If I gave my 40 year old vinegar to just anyone I wouldn’t have had it for 40 years would I?’ So this is kind of a joke but kind of not, and they just tell these stories to people.

 

Analysis:

Informant C tells here about how in Turkey they use fairy tales to teach lessons to children and how to behave. In this story the neighbor asks for some vinegar but gets turned away. Although this story may seem harsh, it effectively teaches children that you have to be prepared in case something goes wrong and you can’t always rely on strangers to help you through. This story may reflect the values of self sufficiency and hard work in Turkey, and the importance of teaching children these values.

For this story and other Nasreddin Hoca stories see

Stories from Nasreddin Hoca. (2005, January 1). Retrieved April 30, 2015, from http://www.sivrihisar.net/stories.htm

Initiations
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Turkish Marriage Ritual

Informant C is 20 year old and studies Journalism. She is half Turkish and speaks Turkish as well. Her mom is Turkish and is from the Eastern Turkey area, about 200 miles west of Syria. Her entire family is scattered over Turkey and have resided in Turkey for many generations. Many of them are involved in agriculture.

So every region of Turkey kind of has its own folklore and I like the Black Sea’s folklore and there’s a region called Trabzon in it. Its kind of seen as the more wild and I don’t want to say less domesticated, but there’s just not as many people living up there. We have some relatives that live near Trabzon and there’s this really famous town named Çarşıbaşı. And when someone gets married to test to see if the marriage is a good idea, they come to the house and you know how like in some places you have to carry the bride over the threshold, there’s this vine that you break into 3 pieces and you plant them into the ground. And if they sprout that means the marriage is going to be successful and if they don’t you’re kind of doomed. People in Turkey are very into agricultural rituals, folklore, and even mysticism.

 

Analysis:

Here informant C tells about an agricultural ritual that predicts if a couple will have a successful marriage. Marriages are very important and the entire community always wants them to be successful and will often perform rituals to see if this will be so. Because the area is so agricultural it follows that their marriage ritual would also be agricultural. Rituals are also often performed at liminal moments, such as when a couple gets married.  Growing of the vine may symbolize growing of a marriage and with it, prosperity.  In this ritual like many others, we see an emphasis on the number 3.

Folk Beliefs
Magic

Turkish Fortune Telling

Informant C is 20 year old and studies Journalism. She is half Turkish and speaks Turkish as well. Her mom is Turkish and is from the Eastern Turkey area, about 200 miles west of Syria. Her entire family is scattered over Turkey and have resided in Turkey for many generations. Many of them are involved in agriculture.

Fortune telling is actually a big deal in Turkey. They do it with Turkish coffee, which is really like fine ground black coffee and its very dark. You get in a little tiny cup and you have a saucer and you flip the cup over onto the saucer and all the little grounds trickle out of the cup and you can read the different things. My mom and my grandmother can do it really well, like everything my grandmother says comes true. She said that I’ll find a tall blonde guy whom I’ll really like, which is true, and then that there’s one class I’ll really like and one that I’ll have to work really hard in. And she said about water she said something you love like the ocean could turn dangerous for you but then it’ll come back and be really good for you. So me and my little brother were surfing over Presidents Day weekend and he actually got caught in a rip current which was kind of scary and luckily he got out but he’s like 14 so he’s pretty little. But then after all that happened we ended up having a really good day surfing and he actually just got his lifeguard certification which is really cool. And I kinda think a lot of it is made up but I don’t know I’m actually starting to believe in it a bit more. And my family really believes in it.

 

Analysis:

Informant C tells here of a traditional Turkish custom and folk belief that her family participates in. The fortune telling is an entertaining way to bring the community together and connect generations all over Turkey, while for many providing an insightful view into the future. H says she may have participated in the fortune telling just to bond with her grandmother and mother, but then she adds that she is starting to believe in it more.  For many, knowledge of the future is valuable, and something like the more chance based way the coffee grounds are running down the cup provide a good medium for this fortune telling.

Folk Beliefs
general
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Legends
Magic

Babies and the Moon

Informant C is 20 year old and studies Journalism. She is half Turkish and speaks Turkish as well. Her mom is Turkish and is from the Eastern Turkey area, about 200 miles west of Syria. Her entire family is scattered over Turkey and have resided in Turkey for many generations. Many of them are involved in agriculture.

People are very mystical about the moon. If there’s like a really really bright moon its considered really good luck especially in the country where you can see the stars and everything. So if the moon outshines the stars that means one of the best things that’s going to happen in your life is going to happen soon. The moon is so mysterious and unknown, and it probably represents something for everyone. So people in Turkey are also really fascinated with babies. And if like a really little baby is born, they’ll like put the baby on the shovel and put it out in the moonlight. And they say like ‘Make my baby stronger’ and it’s like a whole kill the baby or make him stronger. They think that the moon is like curing this baby, it is bizarre. It’s such a strange area. And another thing like if you put the back of a shovel in the moonlight and if it reflects a certain way then you’ll have this many more days of good crop. There’s so many things with the moon. They truly believe it and really do the shovel thing with the children.

 

Analysis: Here informant C tells about some of the rituals that involve the moon in Turkey. She says that the moon is mystical and mysterious and that inspires the large amount of folklore about it, as is also seen in other cultures. Also in Turkey, the people are prized for being strong and independent, which explains why the parents would want their babies to be big and strong, so they put them out under the moon. This is similar in some ways to older customs in Sparta where children were required to prove their strength from a young age.  She also talks about how the moon inspires some agricultural predictions about how the crop will be, since agriculture is so important for this area.

For more about Turkey’s Black Sea region and their folklore, including placing a baby on a shovel, see

Wise, L. (2013, February 23). Folklore and Superstitions of the Black Sea. Retrieved April 30, 2015, from http://www.brighthubeducation.com/social-studies-help/15017-superstitions-and-traditions-in-turkeys-black-sea-region/

Folk speech

Military Acronyms

Informant E was born in Korea and moved to El Centro California when she was 4. Before she came to USC she found that she was accepted into the school but also enlisted in the military. She put school on hold and deferred for a semester and went to training at the age of 17, and was one of the youngest soldiers to graduate. And after her experience with boot camp she came back to USC and started school and contracted to army ROTC. She has been deployed over the summers to Korea. She studies Psychology and Linguistics as a double major and a Forensics Criminality minor combined with dance as well. She wants to use her schooling and military experience to be in the FBI one day.

In the military we have a lot of acronyms we use throughout like AR, PT, APFT, UCMJ, MJP, EAS, basically ROTC and the army is just full of acronyms. I feel like when we get together we talk about these things and we know what they all stand for and the abbreviations but other people really don’t and there’s this specific one called the CNN. And CNN is like a news network and we call it the Cadet News Network so its basically like the rumor mill you know like what only the cadets know. And so in the military there’s the cadets and then there’s the cadres who are like the people in charge of us and then there’s the NCOs, Non-Commissioned Officers, that’s an acronym right there, and none of them are aware of the CNN. That’s only within like our group. Especially when its something so tailored, it can really exclude everyone else and they have like no idea what’s going on. So we might say like, ‘Oh did you hear about cadet so and so doing this on the weekend?’ then we’ll say like oh I heard through the CNN that he was over here or here and like none of the people above us will understand what were talking about. It all stays within the CNN. We all kind of know what’s happening on the outside all within this professional setting, and to us its almost like an inside joke and were not supposed to talk about this outside occurrence. Were supposed to be integrating into the actual army so if someone found out about the kinds of stuff we talk about it could be really bad. They expect us to be professional and its kind of hard to balance that, you know like being a soldier but also a college student too. We try to keep them separate but we all live kind of the same lives and its funny when these mix and someone usually gets in trouble, which is why we try and keep it usually within the CNN. It happens though.

So we have this thing too, its kind of vulgar, called the Blue Falcon and the B in Blue stands for Buddy and the F in Falcon stands for…you know…basically and we use that acronym to label or address people who get their friends in trouble. Especially in the military when were doing stuff that we would be evaluated on, the Blue Falcon would be like ‘hey you forgot to do this’ like right in front of everyone and so we would address them as the Blue Falcon. Everyone else then would understand that this guy is like a Buddy uhhhhh, and everyone would understand what that meant. And the person would probably know that they’re the Blue Falcon like someone would say to the person like ‘Hey you’re being a Blue Falcon right now’. It’s kind of a universal military term, like everyone knows what that means. The military is about the group, and they use mass punishment too. So like if one person does something wrong then we all have to do like pushups and so we would call that person who got us all in trouble the Blue Falcon because they screwed their buddies over. In the real world you don’t see much of mass punishment where everyone hates on 1 person for getting everyone in trouble. It’s a specific military thing.

 

Analysis:

Here informant E talks about some of the specific vernacular that the military uses. Some of these acronyms may have come out of the need in the military to do specific things quickly and efficiently.  She explains how it separates the out-group from the in-group and also helps them balance the 2 different sorts of lives they live. The military expects them to be extremely professional while often college students are casual and crude.  These acronyms allow them to remain professional, while alluding to some other crude things, like maybe what the did on the weekend, or even just in the acronyms itself.  She also talks about how they can call out members of the in-group, which actually serves to bring the group closer together. Community and support are extremely important in the military, which explains this strong emphasis on the in-group and not getting their friends in trouble.  The military emphasizes unity and cohesion which is why the term Blue Falcon might be so popular across the military, because someone who is a Blue Falcon is deviating from the norm of unity and should be called out for doing so.

Legends

The Legendary Cadet

Informant E was born in Korea and moved to El Centro California when she was 4. Before she came to USC she found that she was accepted into the school but also enlisted in the military. She put school on hold and deferred for a semester and went to training at the age of 17, and was one of the youngest soldiers to graduate. And after her experience with boot camp she came back to USC and started school and contracted to army ROTC. She has been deployed over the summers to Korea. She studies Psychology and Linguistics as a double major and a Forensics Criminality minor combined with dance as well. She wants to use her schooling and military experience to be in the FBI one day.

There was this one cadet and his name was Cadet D. So we have these FMs, which are Field Manuals, and it’s where all the army rules and regulations are and it literally has everything. And its very thick and detailed, there’s so many different aspects. So Cadet D, and I don’t know if he memorized the entire thing, but he would always know what to address. So we would be talking about like ‘Oh this is the right way to do this’ and someone would say ‘No its like this’ and he would put his little finger up and say ‘Well according to FM bla bla bla dash blab la, it says,’ and he would recite it off the top of his head. And he had this really nasally voice. And so today even some of the cadets that don’t know him if they’re having like a smart aleck moment they’ll put their little fingers up and say, ‘Well according to blah blah balh,’ and they’re being sarcastic but everyone knows who he is, even if they’ve never met him.   I knew of him, I didn’t know him too well though. But everyone has heard about him and will all do the same mannerism as him. It’s a fun, teasing thing. Its remarkable he memorized the entire thing and knew what to reference but it was also sort of funny because who has time to do that as a college student? No one really wants to have no life and memorize the entire manual, it’s not negative but it’s a joking playful kind of way. When things get stressful or tense sometimes someone will say ‘Well according to…’ and everyone will bust out laughing because they know who he’s all referring to and everyone will take a step back, laugh about it, and then come back and compromise and agree to do the specific thing. This legend will keep going through I think. People below me have carried on his tradition.

 

Analysis:

Here informant E talks about a legend in the military about a cadet who went above and beyond the already large demands of the military to memorize the entire field manual. She talks about how the stories of this cadet have already taken a life of their own and are likely to continue even after she’s left USC. Imitating this person also serves to lighten the mood and release tensions while fondly remembering a cadet who went above and beyond.  The military can be very tense and stressful, and its important sometimes to have a way to lighten the mood so everyone can work more effectively, and it also helps to bring the community together through humor.

Customs
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Veteran’s Day Tradition

Informant E was born in Korea and moved to El Centro California when she was 4. Before she came to USC she found that she was accepted into the school but also enlisted in the military. She put school on hold and deferred for a semester and went to training at the age of 17, and was one of the youngest soldiers to graduate. And after her experience with boot camp she came back to USC and started school and contracted to army ROTC. She has been deployed over the summers to Korea. She studies Psychology and Linguistics as a double major and a Forensics Criminality minor combined with dance as well. She wants to use her schooling and military experience to be in the FBI one day.

So in the military we have a lot of military balls we have a lot of Veterans Day dinners and banquets where everyone comes up in their nice dress uniform. But specifically we had this one Veterans Night/Dinner/Ball put on by USC and it happens every year but it’s a tradition that the very youngest cadet and the very senior oldest cadre member come together to cut the dessert cake together. It’s been an ongoing thing not just within USC Veterans Day dinner but also balls outside of USC. And I think it symbolize the fact that the youngest and the oldest and everyone in between is a part of this ceremony. I have a very late birthday and I joined the military at the age of 17 which is the absolute youngest and so the first couple years it was me that was cutting the cake with this like 5 star general and personally it was such an honor and it made me feel really important. Like I was a part of this ceremony with this amazing phenomenal general who was in several wars, and just to stand beside him and doing this together symbolizes the fact that we are one, an army of one, one fight, one team. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget that and I know that every year we have this and it’s a new younger cadet and a new older senior personnel every time and I know kind of what exactly they feel. It’s a huge honor and its very humbling too. Everyone’s watching you do this and what it signifies. It’s an amazing tradition. This is one night that everyone who has served beside you comes together and everyone comes together out of this stressful environment, everyone just comes together and has a good time.  I do find it nostalgic and it makes me proud too because some of these cadets I’ve mentored and taken under my wing growing up and now they’re up there doing this thing and I know the experience they’re having. Its really humbling and it’s a moment of joy and pride and its very nostalgic because I was once up there too.

Honoring those who came before is very important. Before every function we have this table we set for our Prisoner of War and Missing In Action brothers and sisters in arms. It’s very specific. We have this table set and the tablecloth signifies that they’re not here with us, the empty chair signifies that they’re not here with us, there’s a plate set out because were waiting for them to come. There’s a slice of lemon on this plate to symbolize their sour fate and there’s some salt to symbolize all the tears that we’ve cried waiting for them to come home. And after everything we say that we remember and we toast to them in the end. I think it’s another tradition before we start all these functions that we still remember them and we still honor them even when they’re not here with us.

 

Analysis:

The military places a strong emphasis on community and unity. This tradition with cutting the cake symbolizes that everyone from the oldest to the youngest is a valued member and is honored in this ceremony. This helps unite the military together even more.  Even those who are not currently present are honored as well because they are still included in the community.  The military also emphasizes honoring and remembering those who have came before.  The informant mentions how humbled she was to have the opportunity to cut the cake and how proud she felt to stand next to this celebrated general and to be a part of the military.

Customs
Foodways
general

Greek Fruit and Vegetables

Informant A is a 17-year-old Sophomore at USC studying Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis on Neuroscience. She is ¼ Greek Cypriote, ¼ German and ¼ Argentinian but she strongly identifies with the Greek side of her. She spent 9 years in Greek school and goes to Greece every summer. She speaks Greek with her grandparents.

So one of the biggest things on the island is a stress on the importance of fruits and vegetables, because we grow all of our own. And some of my family members actually own farms. So one of the important things that my grandfather did with me as a tradition together, because he knew I wasn’t getting it in such an industrialized urban America, since I lived in New York City, was he brought me to my family’s farm and he had me pick the figs with him. So I know how to pick a perfect fig now! I know exactly the ripeness to pick, I can see it up in the tree, I’ll tell him and point at it, and he’ll take the ladder and go pick the fig down, and I got to eat it right there, right off the tree totally fresh. We’d feed the bad ones to the chickens or rabbits. We’d pick peaches and grapes and he basically wanted me to have experience with the outdoors with the food that you’re eating because he felt that American culture is so far removed from the actual farming and from the food. You just kind of accept what’s in front of you and put it into your mouth and your body without knowing what it is.  He stressed things like knowing which chickens gave you your eggs, and where you’re getting your flowers from. We would drive 2 hours to a nearby village to get our Halloumi cheese. I would always come back with like 20 packages. I guess one of the advantages the US has over Cypress is access to things like toothpaste and Listerine, these things are such luxuries in Cypress. I would actually bring a suitcase full of this stuff. When I come back though my suitcase would all be full of cheese!

There’s a big contrast between the industrial and the farm land. So what would happen with this food, its usually community based, and you’d make your dishes and invite people over and they’d bring the dishes that they made. But the way that the structure works as far as the meals go, which I really like it that you don’t actually start off with a bread or a soup, you start off with some cheese, you use that to tide you over. And they always have the bowls of fruit out. The fruit is completely different. They’re so small but so sweet. I miss it. They only pick it when its ripe and you eat it right away. My family specialty is pastichio, and it’s like a “Greek lasagna” and I call it that just because it has pasta and meat in different layers. Its purpose was to fill you up and give you enough energy for the long day, because most of the people in Cypress work in the fields. It’s a layer of noodles in the bottom, and then you would have a layer of ground beef with mint and parsley, and olive oil and chopped up onions, and then you add all the vegetables to get your nourishment. And then the top is béchamel cream. It’s a very light creamy mixture that adds some substance, and then you put a little cinnamon on top. And one small square like the size of your fist will completely fill you up, it’s a full meal. I actually called my grandmother to get the exact family recipe when I made it here. It doesn’t taste the same if you buy it in a store. Every family makes it a little differently. The family recipes correlate exactly to what the villages would grow, each dish will taste a little differently in each place. In the US we like storage. We need pre-packaged food or canned food, something that we can open easily and work on. In Cypress we have all these fruits and vegetables and its just around, you can pick it and you can make it, you have the time.

 

Analysis:

Here the informant A talks about the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables in Greece and also about the tradition she and her grandfather share when she went to pick the figs, and also the tradition of making her family recipes. She also describes how she called her Grandmother for the recipe and how that strengthened their bond.  She describes the importance of community and how everyone will come together over the home cooked food. She doesn’t think that this same type of community exists in the US because people cook much less here because they just want things fast, and have less special family recipes that are passed down.

[geolocation]