Saturday, July 2, 2011

We Have a Multicultural Meal, and Think of Alice and Her Chicken Angels

So Steve and I go a Vietnamese restaurant in Houston, and as we're happily slurping our bowls of pho, the two attractive young Mexican women at the table next to ours are chatting about recipes.  Brownies.  JalapeƱo cornbread, the ultimate Southernization (some might say bastardization) of a Tex-Mex dish that's not Mexican in the least.  Except that it contains jalapeƱos.  And cornmeal.

Chatting in a mix of Spanish and English.  Not Spanish and then English or English followed by Spanish.  A mix: a few words of English here, a litany of rapid, singsong Spanish there.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Fascinating to try to follow.

And all the while, in the background, the restaurant's muzak system is playing "Guantanamera."  A Cuban patriotic song.  Sung by a Vietnamese woman.  In Vietnamese.

And I think there has to be some lesson in all of this that links to what Alice Walker is saying in her book Chicken Chronicles, about the surprising interconnectedness of all of us everywhere, though I'm not entirely sure I yet fathom all the ramifications of the lessons.  Except that the world in which we live is far, far better for being the kind of place in which tired old Anglos and German Americans can inhale pho appreciatively beside beautiful young Mexican women talking a polyglot of Spanglish, as the elevator music in the background softly plays "Guantanamera" sung in Vietnamese.

In a restaurant owned by a lovely couple born in Vietnam, who first began their restaurant career in New Orleans, and then shifted to Houston.  Where they say it has been happy ever after ever since, for them.

The beautiful multi-colored eggs are from Sweet Pea's Newlyweds blog.

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