There are many ways in which I don't fit in: my accent marking me as a rare foreigner, I'm a Democrat in a sea of Red--a color choice that, considering the anti-socialist hysteria in Republican quarters, never ceases to amaze me--and, of course, there's the food. Could there possibly a treifer culture than southern American cuisine? Boiled p-nuts are not really worth the time it takes to peel them, and lard is everywhere, as are shellfish, and, of course, pork.
This Shabbat, I listened to an entire conversation on how to prepare hogs on sticks (or something like that) and what fun it was to pull the meat off WITH YOUR FINGERS! I'm turning green just thinking about it... How can this be fine while fish with heads is gross? The latter I learned when, a few months after I'd gotten off the plane, I proudly brought in trout and watched my guests slide off their chairs at the sight of their individually cooked and, of course, unbeheaded fish. Strange. The last vegetarian restaurant closed down last year, the next kosher place is about 95 miles away and I've begun to schedule my trips to urban centers around my food urges. I eat a lot of meat when I visit cities. I have ordered burgers when deplaning, and, last week in Chicago, inhaled one of Spertus' Reubenesque sandwiches the spot. One day, I might even drive those 90something miles, just to have a burger. How did people do this for decades?!