Friday, April 5, 2013

Clash of Cultures: You best blow on that food!


You know, when you marry someone, you marry their family too. If you didn't already know that, and are thinkin' of gettin' hitched, you should probably take a good long look at the family you are about to join. Spend some time with them, their mannerisms, their quirks, their brilliance, their annoyance. Take a good hard look because 1) you are now going to be spending at least some time with those people, even if only on the holidays...foreknowledge is forewarned and 2) you are marrying the product of that family. True, "he is not his family," he can choose to reject or embrace their craziness and loveliness and whatever else comes with them all on his own but sometimes, sometimes it's there, they're there, in him, whether you like it or not. Habits, traits, and odd ideas about food.

Once again folks, it's those odd ideas about food that have brought me to the computer this fine frosty, rainy/snowy day in APRIL, with a cold Tyskie (that's a beer) in my hand and a roll of toilet paper at my side (I have a cold, tissues are dumb) convincing myself that you all would love to hear me tell of my latest "is that just Martin, just his family, or just a Polish thing?" ( you have absolutely no idea how many times I ask him this question on a daily basis... sometimes even he doesn't know the answer).

Drum roll please.....


The blowing on of food that has been dropped on the floor.


Now hear me out on this...please, before you turn away in yet another instance where you stumble here only to roll your eyes at the clearly neurotic, sheltered, uncultured, 'merican, with the sometimes Texas accent... listen to my words and decide for yourself whether or not this is a Polish thing or just a Martin thing, or perhaps just me making too big a deal of something so small.

And speaking of small, just how much actual dirt and grime do you think blowing on a piece of bread, or fruit, or candy, or whatever else it is that you just rolled around in the dirt, do you think you're going to get off? Just by blowing on it?!

And that's what I'm talkin' 'bout! When a piece of food falls to the floor the man picks it up and blows on it! Every. single. time!! Anything.  Anything that falls. He quickly snatches it up, and blows on it. Then he flips it over, to the side that never touched the ground, and blows on that side too!

Look, we've all heard of the "5 second rule". Or if it's something you really love to eat and it's been more than 5 seconds then of course the rule quickly becomes the "10 second rule". This just means that no one's going to think you're gross for popping that watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher back in your mouth after it fell on the sidewalk. I mean, it's watermelon. So few of those come in the package and they are the only really decent flavor, they might even get a 15 second rule if maybe it fell out and then rolled a little ways and it took you a bit of time to spot it. But really, please, enlighten me, what the heck kind of good is it gonna do for you to blow on it? Seriously? Because chances are, whatever gross thing you are so desperately trying to blow off, and probably shouldn't be ingesting, has managed to survive on the very surface on which your piece of food fell (as they are wont to do). If it managed to survive this long, then it will, most definitely, continue to thrive in your stomach and intestines and attempt to undo all that creation has rightly ordered in an upheaval that will have you wishing you had never set eyes on a Jolly Rancher in your life. And *blowing* on it...is only going to anger it.

(whispering) pssst... hey, you,  there ain't nothin' there, on your food, that's gonna kill you if you drop it on the floor, whether you blow on it or not...

Now, I know what you're all thinkin', Oh, I know! "This chick is off her rocker. Her husband clearly just learned this little habit, this little tick, this completely irrational and silly ritual that he is passing on to the kids, from his parents (they do it too). And they're just weird. Why is she takin' this out on us poor normal Polish folk? Just sittin' here on our Friday night, watchin' our reruns of "M jak Milosc" and eating our pickled Herring, being assaulted by her finger pointing and name calling....!!!"

First of all. Ya'll need to calm. down.

Second of all, I would never speak of something so ridiculous and TRUE, if I didn't have proof...

A story.

Three weeks ago I was taking the kids to their weekly Catechism lesson. We were running late and I had them eat their Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches as we walked to class. We have to walk quite a ways. Kacio refused to let me carry him so we are walking as quickly as possible while escorting a 2 year old snail child, scarfing our sandwiches when suddenly an older gentleman and his wife yelp out, "O, o, kanapka, spadła!" I looked down to find that Kacio had dropped his PB&J right on the sidewalk which was not the cleanest after several snowfalls and melting's. I quickly scooped the sandwich up and proceeded to flick off the biggest chunks of mud and gave it back to him (of course). Thinking the ordeal over, I begin to press on when I hear...

*"Nie, nie, dmuchaj! Dmuchaj! Accompanied by the sound of said gentleman, and his wife, blowing on my son's sandwich.

It spans generations, it cannot be stopped. It is passed down as surely as the banana tip is spat out, and the feet are bare upon entry. And *this* shall the future husbands and wives of my children marry into. You have been forewarned.

093
Blow on that piece of food one more time! Go ahead!! I dare you...


*"No, no, blow! Blow!"

33 comments:

  1. This is making me laugh! I thought this was some strange Danze thing bc Eli does the exact same thing. It drives me insane. My uncle who has a phd in chemistry performed a 5-second germ experiment and concluded that germs cannot grow on a dry item if dropped on a dry floor within 5 seconds...so it's true!!! And blowing on it does *nothing*!!!! So stop the madness!!! :)

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    1. Kate, are you saying that Eli caught this from Martin?! I'm sorry, I couldn't stop it. It's not my fault!

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  2. ok, that face is scary/psychotic. This is strange, I agree and it definitely sounds like a polish thing since the old couple did it too. But you also sound a little cra, cra. It sounds like one of those things your spouse does that you've always hated or just didn't understand and now its REALLY starting to urk you. Hahahahahahaha!

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    1. It's always been annoying, but of course, harmless....and now that we're here and old people are blowing on my kids food... well then, it must also be Polish. ;)

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  3. Hi Olivia:) I'm Polish girl and I also blow on food that has been dropped on the floor but I didn't realize that is Polish habit! From this perspective it is really funny :D But we don't blow on food because of germs, but because of crumbs, dust, sweepings or any other things that could be on the floor and now on our food :)
    Paulina

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    1. It's not just a Polish thing but when the older generation steps in to clean off my child's food "correctly" I had to laugh. It may include other cultures, but here it's a matter of life or death! ;)

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  5. Yep, definitely a Polish thing. My husband does it and now so do the girls. It's weird but they have even started to blow on the dvd's when they drop them. I assure you, they don't eat them :)

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    1. Martin also blows on electronics, he claims this is a remnant of the "Nintendo generation" where blowing on the cartridges helped them work better... {cuckoo, cuckoo}

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    2. Oh definitely blow on the game cartridges. When they don't work. Blowing gets the dust off and then they work.

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    3. OMG, I blow on electronics too. I didn't have Nintendo but I had ZX Spectrum. ;)

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    4. Uhhh... ZX SPectrum? What is that? Like a Commodore? or Atari? How old *are* you? ;)

      ( I have Martin behind me telling me, "no, no, don't say that. you don't understand, there was no Nintendo here in the 80's, she's not old, she just grew up during communism)

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    5. Yep, we had no Nintendo, because in the 80's we had, well, nothing. ;) We had ZX Spectrum because my parents were teachers and they got one because of some school reasons. Great stuff - it worked to the 1995 in our home and then - what was really cool - we bought first PC. :D

      (Now I'm stopping being nerd and I'm going to blow on cheese, because I've dropped a piece.)

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    6. Ask Martin if he or any of his friends put their atari in the fridge when it overheated. Sometimes blowing on it wasn't enough :)

      Olivia, some readers thought this was for you

      http://kielbasastories.blogspot.com/2013/03/ive-got-everything-i-need.html

      It wasn't my intention when I wrote it, but I hope you like it :)

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  6. Yep, we blow. Because of sand and something like that. It maybe has no sense, but it's stronger than us. WE HAVE TO. :D

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    1. It's just true. You have to. Martin's response to this post: "I can't imagine NOT blowing on a piece of food that has falling. It would be unnatural"

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  7. Ha!! That is too funny! I have to say, I'm just south of being a full-blown germaphobe so I'm with you on this!! :) Goodness and I thought dh and I had cultural differences, he's from Minnesota and I'm Texan!!

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    1. I think it is his instance that it DOES SOMETHING more than anything. Either way the food will be eaten or discarded based on the merits of what it landed on, regardless of how much blowing on it is done. Blowing on it changes nothing but his peace of mind.

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  8. i would never dream of blowing on/eating something that has fallen on a sidewalk! However, indoors is a different matter...

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    1. Kids are hungry, you do what you gotta do... ;)

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    2. Poles have some funny habits that we do not even notice! Thanks for pointing them out! Do Americans have funny habits too?

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  9. Our one-year-old prefers everything off the ground... it just tastes better.

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  10. When I first read your post I thought "nonsense, we don't blow on food." Then I thought about it really hard and realized that yep, we blow on THINGS. I guess I didn't make the food connection in particular, but ever since I read your post I realized I'm myself a full blown blower on non-food items. Recently however I outsourced some of my blowing to a can of compressed air, which is much more efficient at getting the job done ;).

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    1. Hahaha! Oh, I'm sure Americans blow on things too, but they just don't necessarily do it to other people's things. ;)

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  11. Oh gosh, I found your blog shortly before moving with my husband and two small boys to Rome from Denver, and I DIE reading some of the cultural collision stuff like this! I had a perfect stranger shove her nicotine-stained finger down my 11 month old's throat at a cafe recently because she saw me feeding him bits of a cornetto (a croissant), and she started machine-gunning Italian at me about how babies should only be eating biscotto (um, cookies) until they are 3, because they could choke and die. I, on the other hand, almost choked and died myself. Because her finger. In his mouth.

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    1. Jenny! I have read some of your blog as well! Europe: It's just different. ;)

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  12. It must be an European thing - this food-blowing. We live in Denmark, and blow on dropped food also, but I have never heard of the 5 second rule before. We eat the whole banana though, only discarding the peel and the little black thingy in the blossom end. If your husband opens the banana from that end, as opposed to opening it from the stem end that might be why. That little black thingy is bitter.

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  13. (...) this fine frosty, rainy/snowy day in APRIL(...)

    Hurray! It's warmer and sunnier at last!

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  14. Hahaha :)))) Seriously they told you to eat something that had dropped on the sidewalk? Fuj ;). I've got two cats, so I'm let say sensitive about the floor, floor = cats digging in their toilet-walking on the floor-spreding all that germs... No. Another thing is licking dropped pacifier - have you ever seen that? :D Maybe not our generation, but the grandmas :)) Bleh :)

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  15. I am Polish & guilty as charged- I do blow on things...my husband to be blows on his food too...
    and he's Spanish, so I'm guessing it's just the Americans who DON'T blow on things & that's just plain weird, let's be honest lol:-)

    www.brusselslifebeauty.blogspot.be

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