A friend of my stepson flew all the way out to the west coast to visit stepson. He’s from the Philadelphia area – Bucks County. We had never met him, but stepson had flown back east to visit him last summer. They met via the internet. He’s a nice looking young man, 26, seemed mostly normal except for a few odd quirks. One thing we found odd is that when we took him out for Chinese he admitted he had never had Chinese food before. Ever? Never. Even the podunk Idaho town I was raised in had a Chinese restaurant, and I remember eating there when I was a small child (like, 55 years ago). My wife and I both thought it a rather odd thing to have never eaten Chinese, which barely qualifies as ethnic food in the U.S. What do you think?
I know a guy who’s never had pizza; just the look of it turns his stomach. Oh, and he’s Italian.
Chinese food isn’t even foreign food. Every small city has a Chinese restaurant.
My sister doesn’t eat Chinese food. Won’t even try it.
I didn’t eat at a Chinese restaurant, nor eat food from one, until I was 24.
I worked with a guy in his early 20’s who said he’s never had (nor any desire to have) a green salad of any kind. This despite his father being a vegetarian.
I used to live near Bucks County. I just googled Chinese restaurants in Bucks County, and as I suspected there are tons. So it isn’t lack of opportunity, though I agree they are pretty much everywhere.
I wonder if his parents are meat and potato types or something.
I’ve eaten Chinese food as long as I remember - mid 1950s. However I’m Jewish and I’m from New York, so no surprise.
I think you used the word “despite” when you meant “because of”.
I remember an interview with John Lewis in which he said his first time in a Chinese restaurant was on the night before the Freedom Rides began. I can imagine a young person of that era, especially one who grew up in the rural south, did not have many opportunities to eat in Chinese restaurants. But it does seem unusual for a contemporary man in his 20s.
Well, he did have a strained relationship with his Dad and his mother was way overly protective, but he had some other odd eating habits. He told me he once ate only cup ramen for months and when I first started working with him, he would eat ONLY plain hamburgers for lunch and dinner. He told me he had been eating burgers almost exclusively (at least once a day) for years. I managed to get him to try chicken, fried cutlets and light teriyaki style. We also had chili and pizza a couple of times for lunch,but he said if he didn’t have burger for dinner, he had to have one as a snack before he could go to bed.
I’m curious, Voyager, how difficult is it to know which Chinese restaurant food is kosher?
*I was 17 when I first had Chinese food. It was in a restaurant. Mom didn’t do Chinese food at home.
I know a person who never had rice, let alone Chinese food/fried rice, until she was like 35.
Unusual? A little bit, sure, especially if he grew up in an urban or suburban area; Chinese restaurants are pretty common through most of the U.S., and have been for decades (even if, as has been noted, the dishes at many of them only pay a passing resemblance to authentic Chinese food).
But, don’t mistake availability for interest. He (and his family) may have been unadventurous eaters, or just never had an interest in it. If his parents never took him to a Chinese restaurant, or cooked a Chinese dish at home, it’s pretty easy to picture that someone in his mid 20s hasn’t ever had it.
I used to work with a young woman who grew up in suburban Chicago; her parents were Russian immigrants. At about age 30 or so, she left the company, to take a job with McDonald’s; before she left, she admitted to me that she had, in fact, never had a hamburger up until then.
My parents never went to a Chinese restaurant until I took them to one in the late '80s, when they were ~50. Even today, they’ll still only order either sweet and sour chicken or sesame chicken and crab rangoon–exactly what they had that first time.
Not everyone who identifies as Jewish keeps Kosher, by a long shot. Even my grandmother, who was raised in a Kosher home and refused to eat pork knowingly the rest of her life, decades after she gave up on keeping a Kosher kitchen and ate all kinds of shellfish, had a kind of suspended disbelief about Chinese restaurants.
"Grandmom, so what do you think that slice of meat floating in your wonton soup is? “Beef, bubbeleh, beef, of course!”
When I was just out of high school and working in a Mom-and-Pop grocery store, the boss called back to the deli one day and asked me to make him a ham sandwich with some kind of cheese and mayo. The butcher came up behind me and chuckled loudly.
What gives, I asked?
Don’t you think it’s an odd request? he said.
Why? He’s Italian, isn’t he? I replied.
He laughed for five solid minutes.
When I was in college, one of the professors took the class out to an Italian restaurant for our “final exam”. One of my classmates decided he’d be adventurous, and try something he’d never had in his life. It was spaghetti and meatballs. He had been raised on literally nothing but hamburgers, cheesesteaks, and pizza.
I made pork ribs for a family dinner last weekend. My 81 year old father insists that to most non-Orthodox Jews of his generation neither ribs or bacon count as pork
For darn sure my Orthodox relatives, while normally very observant, would cheat on the kosher rules from time to time. It would be a rare Jew that had never broken kosher rules at some point.
My father and his sister grew up on a farm in southwest Kansas. They ate home-cooked fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and store-bought bread. The first time my dad ate Chinese food was when he was in his 70s. He threw a fit because the staff couldn’t supply him with white bread. We never took him back.
On her 80th birthday, a friend took my aunt out for seafood. She’d never had it before.
My first Chinese food was at Princess Gardens in Kansas City when I was around 20. I loved that place, and ate there many times before I moved to another city. Princess Gardens is still there (third generation) and is rated 4-4.5 out of 5.