Auckland, New Zealand
As predicted, the trip’s influence is infiltrating our kitchen.
We bought oats, but have not yet made our traditional morning porridge. In the mornings we’ve been too busy banging boiled eggs together to find the winner with the unbroken egg as we learnt to do in Moscow….
we’ve been chopsticking our way through chicken soup with noodles….
we’ve been slurping sago cooked in coconut milk, and even proving television advertising is true: Kiwi-kids-are-Weetbix-kids (who knows if this ad, which used to run years ago, is still on…..can’t say we’ve bothered turning the tv on to find out).
And that’s just breakfast time.
At dinnertime we’ve been devouring salads and relishing lasagne, which reminded us of the one and only lasagne on the trip – a wonderful one we made whilst couchsurfing in Hanoi. We’ve had one of the kids’ favourites – nachos. Soon we’ll be tucking into a roast lamb with roast potatoes, pumpkin, kumara, carrots and some red cabbage (and we’ll remember how the Romanians also eat lamb, especially at Easter, and how they cannot get their heads around the idea of teaming it with mint jelly).
But the focus of mealtimes has not simply been the food.
You see, all the not-sitting-together-as-a-family-for-meals (whether because there were not tables big enough for us, or because we were sprawling round on the ground outside the motorhomes or for whatever other random but frequent reason) has meant that the concept of table manners has disappeared from our family identity.
Children need to be re-taught to stay at the table until everyone has finished eating, they need to be taught to leave their cutlery alone until it’s time to eat, they need to be taught that it’s rude for everyone to speak at once, they need to learn to listen, they need to be reminded that we are now in New Zealand – we are not in China and so we will not slurp our soup – we are not in Vietnam and therefore we will not be throwing our bones on the floor (Tgirl5 liked that cultural practice <wink>) – we are not in Mongolia and so we will not be licking our bowl clean – we are not in Poland and so we will not be having delicious desserts at every meal. Now that we are no longer sharing cutlery and glasses, they need to learn that we set the table with one of everything for each person – and that dinner plates and bread-n-butter plates have a purpose (no need to use only tin bowls for every meal) – and that when you’ve finished eating you don’t leave your knife looking like it’s about to invade the next country on your itinerary. Tablecloth and napkin etiquette is a long way off.