Ranch Dressing and Peanut Butter

February 11, 2010

We are part of an exchange program where we are matched with an Italian family. It has been fun and at times just plain funny. This past weekend they came to our house for lunch. We kept it simple and just did hamburgers/hotdogs, chips and salsa, veggies and ranch dressing. Boring, right? I was worried that they might be disappointed. Luckily I was wrong. It started with the Ranch dressing. They cautiously had a first taste and then quickly started gobbling it up and even pouring it on top of their hamburgers and hot dogs. From there it was on to the salsa and the blue corn chips, the pickled okra, Fresca. All new tastes for them. After lunch instead of moving into the living room, we somehow ended up in our little kitchen where we stood in front of our pantry and refrigerator. They started pointing at different items. Exclaiming about things they had only seen on movies before...specific brands like Hellman's, Heinz (guess that branding stuff is pretty effective!). And then the tasting started. They had never tasted peanut butter before so we handed them each a spoonful. Water chestnuts. Doritos. It was pretty amusing to see four adults (all with advanced degrees), using body language, an Italian/English dictionary, tasting peanut butter, and engaged in a discussion about "American" food. Forget cherry pie, apparently Ranch dressing and peanut butter are the true American delicacies.

Personally, I think we got the better end of the exchange...those Italian sweets they brought taste much better to me than Ranch dressing!
Mom2Isabel said...

I'm with Mei Mei in that second picture...bring on those Italian bakery goods!
(hmmm... I wonder how fresh they'd keep in an oversea package????)

Emily said...

what a great post!!! i love all the european food, and i know i'll miss it when we move back. but right now--i sure do miss boring old american food.

Cami said...

HA! It's so true. When the boys in our church go on missions to foreign countries, they always say it's the peanut butter (and rootbeer) they miss the most!

Tisra said...

This is such an awesome idea. How did you get involved in that?

Peanut butter is an oddity to most other cultures. I'm going to have to look it up... when did the craze begin, and who "invented" it? I've also wondered why crushed up hazelnuts are soooo acceptable to my English family (hello, Nutella!) but peanut butter is a disgrace. :-)

likeschocolate said...

What a fantastic opportunity. My mother-in-law who lives in Germany did an exchange for many years with the Army base until a few years ago when the Army pulled out. She really loved being a host.

South of Rome said...

Next time, try NY style cheesecake. My neighbors in Naples used to beg me to make it! Glad you are able to connect with some Sicilians. Looks like a fun time. -K

morninglight mama said...

You've made me smile with this post, Lucia! It sounds like you all had such a wonderful time together. :)

Gemelli in Sicilia said...

That is so cool that you are doing that. The first time I made BBQ chicken pizza for our BBsitter, Santa, over there, she was quite leery but seriously, I had never seen her eat so much! She was so excited every time there were leftovers from the night before when she came to our house after that. I also remember Emelio practically drinking ranch dressing at Karen's house at one of Mahlon's bday parties.

Dana said...

How neat! I don't think any such program exists here. One word for you -- pancakes.

Dana

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

It is a wonderful program organized through the local base. They do a great job of matching families with similar interests, children around the same age,etc. We really enjoy our time together. Headed to their house this weekend for a birthday party and can't wait to see what that is like!

Also, I couldn't resist posting both pics. It seems that turning seven also means that Noah is suddenly a crazed maniac in front of a camera lens!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Thanks for the food suggestions...can't wait until we have them over again. I'll have to give a full report on how the BBQ/Pancake/Rootbeer/Cheesecake dinner goes :)

Laurie said...

YUM YUM YUM! Loved the desserts in Italy! :-)

Francesca said...

Where do you buy your "american" food?

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Francesca, we can buy American food and items on the base. It is actually kind of surreal...living in rural Sicily and yet when we go through the base gates we are suddenly transported to little America...a store full of American goods, a movie theater with current American movies, a library, a bowling alley, etc.

katy said...

absolutely brilliant! isn't that soo fun! We did that at our English friend's house. They brought out marmite, treacle, brown sauce . . .it was so interesting! I'd be happy to return the favor too. ha.

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

I love reading all of your posts, but this one was especially lovely. I can just see all of you standing in front of the refrigerator--what a great image!

Corinne said...

I LOVE this post!!

Dr. P said...

Lucia--I love reading your fun blog (thanks to Manny). Ever since I found out that I lucked out with orders to Sig, I've been secretly taking notes about all the fun places you've visited and experiences your family has enjoyed since being in Sicily.
I cannot wait to enjoy Sicily, too! If you feel like spying on me, I have a blog, 1336 Nipsic. It's not nearly as exciting as yours, though...

affectioknit said...

I think that's true about Peanut Butter - when I visited a family friend in France - they asked that I bring a big tub of Peanut Butter with me...funny...

Madeline said...

fabulous! great story :)

Next time you will have to procure some Marmite if you can get it!

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