A lot of people learn to cook by their parents’ sides. Or their grandparents’. I can’t distinctly recall many times my mother or father took me aside to show me the recipe for the big family secret food of myth and legend, but I certainly absorbed cooking and dining attitudes from my parents.
Guys, this really is THE perfect summer dish.
The only thing that is more annoying than the question itself is both the frequency — and the freedom and authority — with which people feel they can ask it.
In the words of one of my favorite movies, Mean Girls: “You can’t just ask people why they’re white.” It’s pretty unheard of to ask a white person their particular country of origin directly upon meeting them. Just as you probably wouldn’t ask an African-American person their particular country of origin upon meeting them — especially due to the unfortunate way in which many Africans were brought to this country, in many cases cutting off the ability to identify a country of origin. Now, I know a lot of my Asian friends get this question because people want to know “what kind of Asian” they are. But as my girl Bon Qui Qui from ”MADtv” would say, “RUDE.”
I have gotten this question all my life. At school. At the park. At parties. On the subway, a woman once tapped me on the shoulder and had me take out my headphones, interrupting my favorite Mariah Carey song, to ask me, “What are you?” She wasn’t ready for the answer she got that day, because it was just a whole lot of side eye.
The problem with this question is, for a lot of us blended people, that it doesn’t have a simple answer. In most cases, our identities were not something we were born with or something we inherited from our parents. Because our parents are different from each other and different from us. Our identities are something we chose. They are formed and cultivated over years, and some of us may still not have the answer for ourselves, so we surely can’t explain it to you. Nor should we have to. For ANY person, shaping an identity is an intimate process. And it’s more than the genetic combinations that make up the color of your skin, eyes, hair types and features.
We’ve set a date, reserved the venue (and therefore caterer since it comes all rolled together), chosen our wedding party, asked my aunt to officiate, drafted a guest list, and I’ve read a ton of planning articles and saved ideas on a spreadsheet and, of course, on Pinterest.
I’m not burned out already, per se, but I am growing increasingly tired of all of the hyper-stylized wedding photo shoots I see. I wasn’t a huge fan of them to begin with, but they really do inspire people to go overboard with decor and props. It’s a wedding, people, not Cirque de Soleil’s latest mind-bending delight.
Things I’ve had it with:
- Heavy and cumbersome furniture whimsically juxtaposed in the woods — Like HELL am I or anyone else at the wedding hauling an antique chest of DRAWERS into some WOODS just so I can drape it with doilies, dried flowers, and other gewgaws. This also goes for wingback chairs, chaise lounges, and opulent chandeliers. Tiny chandeliers will be dealt with on an individual basis.
- Photos of brides that aren’t smiling. What I really mean are photos of models chosen to portray brides in these shoots. Are all of these women encouraged and directed to look as though the fish they’ve chosen for their entree isn’t sitting well? The idea that the wedding is the happiest day of a woman’s life is shoved down our throats and while I don’t agree with that idea 100%, it’s still a pretty fucking happy day. Can’t the directors of these shoots communicate some joy?
- Mason jars. They’re cute. They’re functional. You can paint them, glitter them, mercury-glass them, fill them with all manner of things. But I’ve reached my limit.
- Really, really, really involved table settings. Charger plates? Personalized everything?
- Chair bows.
- Chiavari chairs. Like, they’re FINE, but should I have to pay that much extra for chairs that look like golden bamboo? (I’m just over Chiavari chairs after my stint in development.)
- Wifey or Mrs. sweatshirts/robes/hangers/banners/whatever.
- Giant marquee letters.
- Rhyming signs about sitting wherever you want, social media, etc.
- Gifts bride gives to father saying she’ll always be his little girl or that he’s the first man she loved. On an individual basis, fine, but as a general agenda to push, I find this just a tad weird. This kind of gift appeals to a very specific type of person.
- Reception dresses. OK, cool, you want a different dress you can really boogie in. Fine. But why not wear that first dress for more than 30 minutes? And choose one you can dance in?
- This new trend of bachelor/bachelorette parties taking place in far-off, very expensive locales. Really? Really?
- Sites either urge people to go the traditional route or the non-traditional route. Not so much, “Hey, it’s your wedding! You do you!” Except at A Practical Wedding. They’re cool.
- The preoccupation with favors. I know attending a wedding is really expensive these days, but guests also get dinner, dancing, and a good time. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon, but I’m with Emily Post on this one. That being said, we’ll probably have some sort of favor. It just won’t be personalized cake pops or whatever.
- All of the planning literature is still overwhelmingly geared toward women.
These may seem like minor gripes, except that last one, but the wedding industry is in the business of making people think they NEED certain things to have the PERFECT WEDDING. I like this (which I found on Pinterest): ‘A wedding is a party, not a performance. If at the end of the day you are married to the one you love, then everything went perfectly.”
Things are quiet. I’ve been writing, making pizzas, teaching myself Italian. I can identify most of the animals in a zoo. I can order myself a single fried egg. Right this second I am a temporary receptionist. A woman I don’t know has yelled at me over the phone three times already this morning. I…
So excited for Katie’s visit this winter!
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