Tuesday, June 23, 2009

supersize us

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!


followthatdog said...

I still remember Django's first fries. We went to dinner with Stan, Django would lick the katsup off the fry and hand it to his uncle Stan. The boys don't get them often, but they do love them. They also beg for happy meals after getting one on a trip to Portland, though they mostly discard the food and go right for the toy.

Perfectly Happy Mum said...

We are the same! Not the eating and driving (we live in the country where it is illegal to eat and drive :) but Elliott our first son didn't have his first chip until he was about 18 months old, Victor tasted his first one way before that :)

CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) said...

I've noticed in Laos that people don't drive or even walk while eating. I can eat while doing any number of tasks; it doesn't stop me! :)

2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs said...

Over here from Expatmum.

I moved to the US 10 years ago, actually live in Monterey County, California. I too have gotten pretty lapse in the car it is quite amazing what I can do when my car is in drive. I think its the automatic thing, having a manual car back home there is no way I could drink my morning coffee out of the travel cup, or eat my meals.

My daughter was about 18 months when she had her first fry/chip and I think it may have been on our way to Vegas in the middle of nowhere on the I5.

By the way Tahoe is one of my favorite places in the World. Thats where I want to retire.

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