Every now and again I'm reminded of how Americanized I have become in the thirteen years I have lived here. We recently had the great pleasure of having my brother and his wife come to visit, and we took a trip up to our place in tahoe. Not yet being so American that we have a car large enough for four adults, two kids and a dog, we split up and rode in two cars. My brother rode shotgun with me on the trip back. We stopped, as we often do, to get a fast food dinner for the road.
I placed my bag of fries on my lap, partially unwrapped my filet of fish and balanced it by the fries, draped my lap with napkins and put the car in drive. My brother looked at me, horrified. "You can't drive and eat, that's illegal" he said. I must have looked quite baffled, both because I don't recall him ever being so sensible, and because, well, eating a burger while driving is a national pastime. As any good American knows, about 50% of all the meals that people consume in this country are eaten in cars. I'd better watch out if I ever move back to the UK, I'll get arrested for elevating my cholesterol while driving.
We took another Tahoe trip this weekend, just us and the kids, and again had dinner on the road. Geekygirl has become quite practiced at eating her happy meal in the back of the car. (Before we had kids I would have frowned upon both the unhealthiness and the messiness of this, but when you have a 3 hr drive on a Sunday night, and just want to get home, eating in the car allows us to get home so much faster that I have come to embrace it). Geekybaby, only 16 months old, had not yet been initiated into the 'car meal' culture. On previous trips he had been too young for solid foods.
This time I was hoping he might be sleeping when we hit Burger King, so avoiding the dilema of whether to let him watch his sister dig into her delicious empty calories, but he was still fine and lively. I bought him his very own carton of fries. And he did a fine job, gripping them tightly in one hand and eating with the other. I have to confess these are not his first fries. Geekygirl was at least 18 months old before she tasted their evil goodness, but this little guy has eaten them ever since he developed the abilty to grab and eat finger foods. We felt so proud at this latest landmark, his first fast food in the car and he passed with flying colors!