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Old 09-06-2019, 01:13 PM
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Cultural appropriation gone humorously wrong.


I went to a teppanyaki restaurant where the (non-Japanese) hostesses were dressed in kimonos. Being women, they wore their kimonos in the traditional western female style of the right side over left. The problem is that in Japan everyone (men and women) wear their kimono left over right ... except corpses in their coffin are dressed in kimonos with right over left. So I was served by zombies.

Any other examples of funny culture appropriation that you've experienced?
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:36 PM
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Any other examples of funny culture appropriation that you've experienced?
I'll post one from the flip side. In Japan, there is a lot of strange usage of English and English-sounding words, I guess to try to lend some sort of international flair in the same way that American business sometimes give their products names with Japanese- or French-sounding words. So in Osaka, there's actually an underground shopping mall called Whity Town.
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:45 PM
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Keeping with the Asian theme...

I was eating lunch at a Chinese buffet a few years ago, just stuffing my face and lazily listening to the "Asian" muzak. A certain tune sounded hauntingly familiar. Then I figured it out - it was "Reel Around the Sun" from Riverdance, arranged for and played on traditional Japanese instruments. Quite a little mind-fuck.
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Old 09-06-2019, 02:25 PM
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Knowing who your customers are in any business can be important to providing good service. A Chinese buffet restaurant I used to go to regularly had it under control. On the sneeze guard above the wasabi was the following sign:

NO ES GUACAMOLE. ES MUI CALIENTE.
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Old 09-06-2019, 02:30 PM
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Way before the 2016 election cycle, in the late 90s, there was a truck called the Isuzu Hombre, which the advertisements always pronounced "Hambre", like the Spanish for "hunger". It was hilarious because they said it so brashly, like a monster truck announcer, that its incorrectness could not help but stick out. "Buy the new Isuzu HUNGER!"
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:20 PM
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I'm not sure this counts as cultural appropriation or what. I was in Japan 21 years ago and I saw a van or SUV parked a half block away displaying the letters MU on the back. I got curious and walked over to see what the rest of the letters were. Well, the model name close up was "Mysterious Utility".
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Old 09-06-2019, 04:00 PM
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I saw an "American restaurant" in Spain once. Some of the highlights of the menu, which was written in a delightfully random mixture of Spanish and English, included nachos, pasta carbonara, pasta arrabiata, quesadillas, teriyaki burgers, "daily Mediterranean salad," crepes, and profiteroles. Sort of a Spanish-appropriation-of-American-appropriation-of-everyone-else, I guess?

Also, I went to this pancake place in Lithuania where the menu had a whole page of "American pancakes," including things like Snickers, Mars-bar, and Oreo pancakes.

Granted, neither of these are wholly inaccurate representations of American cuisine.
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Last edited by Fretful Porpentine; 09-06-2019 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 09-06-2019, 05:16 PM
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I used to work within walking distance of a traditional American deli staffed by Asians; damn good BBQ sandwich there until they started cheaping out on the beef. One could also get a sandwich with "ham & Sweese cheese" or a "muffine".
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Old 09-06-2019, 07:18 PM
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In the nineties, as a vegetarian, I visited Tuscany. It was hard I found my salvation in a cafe in Siena. A single slice of bread, covered in egg, tomato and lettuce. Called a Londra - Italian for London - it was clearly a take on the then popular egg salad sandwich. And they were yummy. And we don't talk about the thin layer of gel that kept the "filling" in place. It was arrowroot, I'm sure of it
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
Knowing who your customers are in any business can be important to providing good service. A Chinese buffet restaurant I used to go to regularly had it under control. On the sneeze guard above the wasabi was the following sign:

NO ES GUACAMOLE. ES MUI CALIENTE.
Ha! They almost got it right. Should be “picante.” In Spanish, spicy food pricks (like a mosquito bite), it isn’t hot.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 09-06-2019 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:21 PM
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In the nineties, as a vegetarian, I visited Tuscany. It was hard I found my salvation in a cafe in Siena. A single slice of bread, covered in egg, tomato and lettuce. Called a Londra - Italian for London - it was clearly a take on the then popular egg salad sandwich. And they were yummy. And we don't talk about the thin layer of gel that kept the "filling" in place. It was arrowroot, I'm sure of it
I don’t get it — I must be slow. Please don’t tell me this is like There’s Something about Mary.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:28 PM
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I’m a white American, but my step mom is Chinese, from Hong Kong. When I was a kid, her mother once bought me shorts which had English written on them, which I so wish I still had: next to a cartoon picture of a skater, they said, “7 up, and don’t you forgot it!”
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:23 AM
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In St Martin most places offer coffee, even little beach bars, and it is usually amazingly fantastic coffee. The menus list choices; cafe, espresso, latte, etc with one option always being cafe americano. Curious, I once ordered a cafe americano, and watched the bartender make a regular coffee, then dilute it with hot water. It was horrible, but it is what many Americans order, pretty much saying, "make some of that delicious, aromatic beverage and totally fuck it up".
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:39 AM
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I’m a white American, but my step mom is Chinese, from Hong Kong. When I was a kid, her mother once bought me shorts which had English written on them, which I so wish I still had: next to a cartoon picture of a skater, they said, “7 up, and don’t you forgot it!”
My sister has a friend who was stationed at Osan Air Force Base in South Korea and saw a nicely decorated cake that said "Merry Christmas! I hope you're happy now" .

There's a Polish restaurant here that pipes in Polish pop music. I was more than a little startled to hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic in Polish while eating there one day.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:54 AM
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In St Martin most places offer coffee, even little beach bars, and it is usually amazingly fantastic coffee. The menus list choices; cafe, espresso, latte, etc with one option always being cafe americano. Curious, I once ordered a cafe americano, and watched the bartender make a regular coffee, then dilute it with hot water. It was horrible, but it is what many Americans order, pretty much saying, "make some of that delicious, aromatic beverage and totally fuck it up".
My local, excellent coffee shop offers cafe Americano. They also offer espresso, various espresso drinks (latte, etc.), cold brew, and regular American-style drip coffee. The cafe Americano is espresso diluted with hot water to about the strength of drip coffee. It's made to order, like every other espresso drink. They keep the drip coffee very fresh, though, and I prefer that.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:54 AM
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Cultural appropriation gone humorously wrong.


I visited China for 2 weeks a few years ago, arriving at Beijing and departing from Shanghai. "Beijing" in Chinese is written with two characters, for "North Capital", as "bei" means North. And at the airport, they sold souvenirs including ones that read, "I (heart) BJ"

My wife secretly bought one for me, too.

Last edited by robardin; 09-07-2019 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:58 AM
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Are simple linguistic gaffes really "cultural appropiation gone wrong"?

I'm sure they often go hand-in-hand, but I think they're distinct things.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:17 AM
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I think mine counts as the makers of the Hombre were trying to cash in on the macho imagery that the word Hombre carries in English, which counts as cultural appropriation to the extent that anything does since it simply means "man" in Spanish so it sort of exploits the implied Latin exoticism and machismo. Again, to the extent that cultural appropriation is a phenomenon, which I don't fully buy into. Most uses of "others'" culture is just use rather than appropriation.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:44 AM
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There's a Polish restaurant here that pipes in Polish pop music. I was more than a little startled to hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic in Polish while eating there one day.
How do you know it wasn’t a Polish rendition of "John Brown's Body (lies a-mouldering in the grave)"?

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Old 09-07-2019, 09:55 AM
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Not appropriation, but still funny: I saw a very elderly Malian woman wearing a tee that said "Wine me, dine me, 69 me."

There was a restaurant in Kampala called MacDonna's, complete with golden arches.

My wife had lunch in a restaurant that purported to have French dishes, one of which was "Chicken in poulet sauce."

Last edited by Chefguy; 09-07-2019 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 10:33 AM
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About 20 years ago the local pizzeria in my neighborhood in the Bronx was bought by Koreans, and changed its name from "Sal's" to "Two Peninisulas Restaurant." The logo was maps of Korea and Italy smooshed together.

Shortly after the change, I went in there to order a pizza. There was a tiny Korean woman behind the register who got confused when I tried to order a half-pepperoni and half-mushroom pizza. Overhearing this, the cook, a big Italian guy in a white apron smeared with tomato sauce, came out of the back and said in a thick Bronx accent, "Don't tawk to her. Tawk to me.

I don't think they ever attempted kimchee pizza, but they didn't last too long.

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Old 09-07-2019, 11:49 AM
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I don’t get it — I must be slow. Please don’t tell me this is like There’s Something about Mary.
Nothing so yuk, just that it was probably the not very vegetarian gelatine.
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Old 09-07-2019, 01:51 PM
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Nothing so yuk, just that it was probably the not very vegetarian gelatine.
Whew!
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:01 PM
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I don't think they ever attempted kimchee pizza, but they didn't last too long.
Kimchee? maybe not. But you know what's awesome ... Satay Chicken Pizza. Food of the gods!
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:47 PM
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Oh, since some of you already mentioned Americano, can you please explain what does that mean in the US?

In Spain, an Americano is a let's-call-it-coffee with about 4 times the usual amount of water over a café de máquina (take the coffee as it comes from the machine; add 3x volume of water). An Americano largo, double that water again. But I see references in American media which make me wonder what the fuck are those people talking about; some may be taking the piss but since I'm missing context I really can't tell if "an Americano with three shots of espresso" is supposed to indicate superlative levels of doucheness or just moderately-high ones.
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:54 PM
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There's a Polish restaurant here that pipes in Polish pop music. I was more than a little startled to hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic in Polish while eating there one day.
I know a lot of people who'd be very surprised to know that "Glory Glory Hallellujah" is actually called "the Battle Hymn of the Republic". In Spanish it has an official version sung in Mass and multiple unofficial ones sung in buses during school trips...
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:45 AM
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How do you know it wasn’t a Polish rendition of "John Brown's Body (lies a-mouldering in the grave)"?
Fair point but I'd be surprised if Pete Seeger was a huge name in Polish pop music.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:51 AM
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the local buffet has country muzak done in Asian instruments playing all the time......they have an interesting version of "I saw the light " on the cd .....
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:21 AM
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Side question Nava, I formed my coffee preference at an early age on a holiday to Spain nearly 40 years ago (Near Barcelona) where I asked the barman for a coffee with milk and he pulled an espresso shot and steamed some milk and combined it.
The strength and consistency was very much "flat white" rather than "cappuchino" and it has been my favourite style ever since and seems to be the default "coffee with milk" wherever I've been in Spain.

Question is, and strange that I've never bothered to find out, does it have a specific name? is it regional or have I just hit on the areas that serve it?
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:46 AM
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This might fit:

We went to a Chinese buffet for my son's birthday (not sure how old, youngish).

At some point we must have mentioned it was his birthday, because they brought out a small cake with a candle and a large red gumball/jawbreaker/something on it. Birthday boy of course got the candy.

It was a cherry tomato. Fortunately the kid liked tomatoes, but an odd choice.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:54 AM
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In France, a dry-cleaners is commonly known as a "pressing". Nothing too odd about that, but I once saw one in Paris called O'Pressing.

And there's the Dutch way with English There used to be an alternative sort of clothes shop in Amsterdam called Funny Trousers Salty Dog.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:03 AM
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Side question Nava, I formed my coffee preference at an early age on a holiday to Spain nearly 40 years ago (Near Barcelona) where I asked the barman for a coffee with milk and he pulled an espresso shot and steamed some milk and combined it.
The strength and consistency was very much "flat white" rather than "cappuchino" and it has been my favourite style ever since and seems to be the default "coffee with milk" wherever I've been in Spain.

Question is, and strange that I've never bothered to find out, does it have a specific name? is it regional or have I just hit on the areas that serve it?
I think it's just what "café con leche" is in most of Spain; in Italy it would be a caffè latte. Though there could be different names depending on how much milk and/or foam there is in the mix. These days almost everywhere uses Italian espresso machines rather than filters.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:38 AM
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Side question Nava, I formed my coffee preference at an early age on a holiday to Spain nearly 40 years ago (Near Barcelona) where I asked the barman for a coffee with milk and he pulled an espresso shot and steamed some milk and combined it.
The strength and consistency was very much "flat white" rather than "cappuchino" and it has been my favourite style ever since and seems to be the default "coffee with milk" wherever I've been in Spain.

Question is, and strange that I've never bothered to find out, does it have a specific name? is it regional or have I just hit on the areas that serve it?
Café con leche. We're very literal!

If there's more coffee than milk it's a cortado. If there's more milk than coffee it's a manchado or, if you wanna be faaaaaaanceeeee machiatto. If you want a manchado and the bartender looks confused, then it's a café con leche largo de leche, or a leche con café.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:50 AM
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Oh, since some of you already mentioned Americano, can you please explain what does that mean in the US?

In Spain, an Americano is a let's-call-it-coffee with about 4 times the usual amount of water over a café de máquina (take the coffee as it comes from the machine; add 3x volume of water). An Americano largo, double that water again. But I see references in American media which make me wonder what the fuck are those people talking about; some may be taking the piss but since I'm missing context I really can't tell if "an Americano with three shots of espresso" is supposed to indicate superlative levels of doucheness or just moderately-high ones.
IME , Americano means the same here, except I think it's more than 3X the water - I think it's usually a one-ounce shot of espresso with four or five ounces of water. But the only way "an Americano with three shots of espresso" makes sense to me is if it's supposed to be a large size, like three shots of espresso and 13 ounces or so of water to make 16 ounces total.

Last edited by doreen; 09-08-2019 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:50 AM
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Oh, since some of you already mentioned Americano, can you please explain what does that mean in the US?

In Spain, an Americano is a let's-call-it-coffee with about 4 times the usual amount of water over a café de máquina (take the coffee as it comes from the machine; add 3x volume of water). An Americano largo, double that water again. But I see references in American media which make me wonder what the fuck are those people talking about; some may be taking the piss but since I'm missing context I really can't tell if "an Americano with three shots of espresso" is supposed to indicate superlative levels of doucheness or just moderately-high ones.
A cafe Americano is a watered down espresso. It's resemblance to a good filtered coffee is similar to a watered down Port being passed off as a glass of wine. Do they actually do cafe Americano's in the US? I've had the horrid experience in a Barcelona Starbucks, believe it or not, of being told there's no difference between a cafe Americano and a filtered coffee. I was too eager for caffeine, and too lacking in Spanish language skills, to argue or demand a refund. Cafe con leche isn't my preferred coffee, but it's my go-to coffee in Spain since. And I've not returned to any Spanish Starbucks since that experience.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:51 AM
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I don't know if it was wrong but it was certainly interesting -- on some probably college radio station I once heard a song which turned out to be Sympathy For the Devil performed by a Ukrainian klezmer band.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:57 AM
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Café con leche. We're very literal!

If there's more coffee than milk it's a cortado. If there's more milk than coffee it's a manchado or, if you wanna be faaaaaaanceeeee machiatto. If you want a manchado and the bartender looks confused, then it's a café con leche largo de leche, or a leche con café.
And would I be right that it is generally half and half if you didn't specify otherwise?

Anyhow, it has always been a my go-to. What I like is that it is a fairly modest size as well. I can't stand huge cups of coffee.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:53 AM
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I don't know if it was wrong but it was certainly interesting -- on some probably college radio station I once heard a song which turned out to be Sympathy For the Devil performed by a Ukrainian klezmer band.
I have a four-CD set of Hispanic covers of 1960s rock, punk, psychedelic, garage and various pop songs ("Los Nuggetz") which includes such hits as "La Neurasthenia" ("19th Nervous Breakdown), "Mi Auto Puedes Manejar" ("Drive My Car"), "Bule Bule" ("Wooly Bully") and other goodies.

There's even a Spanish language version of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking" which mercifully has not come up yet on iPod shuffle (though everything else seemingly has - shuffle loves this album).

Last edited by Jackmannii; 09-08-2019 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:07 PM
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And would I be right that it is generally half and half if you didn't specify otherwise?

Anyhow, it has always been a my go-to. What I like is that it is a fairly modest size as well. I can't stand huge cups of coffee.
Yes, café con leche is half and half.


Thanks to everybody who helped clarify the Americano thing
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:36 PM
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This might fit:

We went to a Chinese buffet for my son's birthday (not sure how old, youngish).

At some point we must have mentioned it was his birthday, because they brought out a small cake with a candle and a large red gumball/jawbreaker/something on it. Birthday boy of course got the candy.

It was a cherry tomato. Fortunately the kid liked tomatoes, but an odd choice.
Red's the lucky colour - they probably cast around the kitchen for the reddest thing they could find that was a plausible decoration.

They may have been as surprised as you that he actually ate it!
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:43 PM
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Are simple linguistic gaffes really "cultural appropiation gone wrong"?

I'm sure they often go hand-in-hand, but I think they're distinct things.
It's cultural appropriation, yes. And to hear a lot of people talk you'd think cultural appropriation was a bad thing at all times but that isn't case. Hell, I can't think of a single culture that didn't appropriate something from another culture at some point. Appropriation can be good, it can be bad, and at times it can just be humorous.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:14 PM
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I don't know if it was wrong but it was certainly interesting -- on some probably college radio station I once heard a song which turned out to be Sympathy For the Devil performed by a Ukrainian klezmer band.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:30 PM
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Oh, since some of you already mentioned Americano, can you please explain what does that mean in the US?
I thought the main point of an Americano was that it does not have steamed milk, but just plain milk or half & half or whatever? The main reason I don't much like espresso drinks is because I don't like the taste of steamed milk.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:38 PM
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By the way, everything in this thread rocks! The best thing I can contribute is my recent visit to a fairly new local pizzeria, which had awesome upscale decor and was clearly going for the artisanal-pizza set.


There was a punk Asian waitress with bleached-blonde hair and a very warm manner; and a classically Japanese-looking well-muscled guy behind the counter who was throwing the dough in the air and spinning it, just like you see on TV. First time I've ever seen that in person.
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Last edited by brujaja; 09-08-2019 at 06:39 PM.
  #45  
Old 09-08-2019, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by brujaja View Post
I thought the main point of an Americano was that it does not have steamed milk, but just plain milk or half & half or whatever? The main reason I don't much like espresso drinks is because I don't like the taste of steamed milk.
It might have plain milk or half-and-half , but just like brewed coffee an Americano can be drunk black. The main point is the dilution of the espresso, which is supposedly to give it a similar taste to brewed coffee.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by brujaja View Post
I thought the main point of an Americano was that it does not have steamed milk, but just plain milk or half & half or whatever? The main reason I don't much like espresso drinks is because I don't like the taste of steamed milk.
No, the main point of an Americano is that it's the strength that didn't cause Americans to go into spasms (unlike our regular cofee); it's watered down to the point of being similar to what you get from a cafetera americana (a drip coffeemaker). If the drinker wants to add sugar or milk (no creamer available in Spain) to coffee of any strength, of course they can, it's legal.

Café solo is a normal-strength black coffee; lit. "coffee by itself". Half-strength is largo, quarter americano, eighth americano largo.
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Last edited by Nava; 09-09-2019 at 12:05 AM.
  #47  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Way before the 2016 election cycle, in the late 90s, there was a truck called the Isuzu Hombre, which the advertisements always pronounced "Hambre", like the Spanish for "hunger". It was hilarious because they said it so brashly, like a monster truck announcer, that its incorrectness could not help but stick out. "Buy the new Isuzu HUNGER!"
I teached my girlfriend some Spanish, she always remembers how to say "I am hungry" as "Yo quiero hombre", instead of "Yo tengo hambre".

For non Spanish speakers, instead of saying "I am hungry" she says "I want a man".
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
In St Martin most places offer coffee, even little beach bars, and it is usually amazingly fantastic coffee. The menus list choices; cafe, espresso, latte, etc with one option always being cafe americano. Curious, I once ordered a cafe americano, and watched the bartender make a regular coffee, then dilute it with hot water. It was horrible, but it is what many Americans order, pretty much saying, "make some of that delicious, aromatic beverage and totally fuck it up".
Saw something similar on a self-serve coffee machine at a hotel restaurant in Japan. Press a button and it grinds beans a brews you a cup. There were several buttons providing options for lattes and other fancy features. But of the two basic coffee buttons, one said "blend," which is standard Japanese-strength coffee, and another said "American (weak)". Not sure what the machine did with that. Fewer beans? Push the water through faster? Never tried it; I was just amused that they came right out and described it as "weak".
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Ulfreida View Post
I don't know if it was wrong but it was certainly interesting -- on some probably college radio station I once heard a song which turned out to be Sympathy For the Devil performed by a Ukrainian klezmer band.
This brought back a weird memory from college. A local record shop closing down sale: I found an album called Big Balls and the Great White Idiot by, um, Big Balls and the Great White Idiot. German punk. Of course I bought it, obviously. It's every bit as bad as you would imagine - just so earnest, so desperately keen to be one of the boys. Boasting about how they get drunk and have anarchic nights out eating burgers - oh, and a cover of Anarchy ("Anarchy in Germany", natch); and White Light/White Heat.

Haven't thought about this in decades. Being to lazy to go dig out the album, I googled them - and, dear god, they have a Wikipedia page. And you can find the complete album on Youtube, (which I won't link to because that sounds like an iffy copyright issue).

Any German dopers remember them? Fondly?

j
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:05 AM
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A traditional americano is a shot (or shots) of espresso cut with hot water. No steamed milk or cream or anything like that. The story goes that american soldiers stationed in Italy during WWII would dilute the standard italian espresso to make something more akin to drip coffee.

Given that every coffeeshop I've ever seen also serves drip coffee, I'm not sure why one would order an americano, but there you have it.
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