Cultural Identity : My Family

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My cultural identity has been well established by my family of origin. From my perspective, my family is one-sided because I do not spend much time with my father’s family. They have not impacted my cultural identity in the overarching way that my mother’s family has. My mother is Syrian and Spanish and my grandmother is Syrian. We have not met my mother’s father so we have never associated ourselves in terms of ethnicity as Spanish. My mother has physical characteristics that appear Spanish, but she has never recognized Spanish as a part of her ethnicity. The idea that ethnicity and culture are learned from family is something that is truly significant and true in my life and those around me. Although my dad is German, my mom is…show more content…
We have dinner weekly as a family including my Aunt and Grandmother and I would say around 80 percent of those meals are Syrian meals. We have things such as grape leaves, meat pies, Kibbeh which we enjoy both raw and cooked, tabbouleh, Shanklish, Baklava, and many other dishes. What is very interesting is when you eat out and try Middle Eastern food it often tastes different. My Grandma always tells me that it was because we were the “poor Syrians” and we did not have the spices and other things that the “uptown Syrians” had. From the information that I have gathered this means that my great grandmother could not afford Za’atar which is a combination of herbs used in Middle Eastern cooking. Another difference in Syrian dishes is that most of our food is cooked with beef and not lamb. One dish that I have always been considered weird and different by friends or boyfriends for eating is raw kibbeh. This is a combination of raw beef and bulgur wheat. One time I recall a boyfriend of mine coming over to meet my Grandmother for the first time and of course she insisted that he have Syrian food and not only Syrian food, but raw Kibbeh. His face as my grandmother carried over a plate of raw meat was a face I will never forget. He then proceeded to try a small bite and then put the rest of it in a pop can because he did not want to offend my grandmother. To my family, this was a typical meal and the guy I was dating was appalled by eating raw meat. This
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