In the midst of the stories of the Fun Stuff She Did at Camp, the Sprog expounded upon a story she told us in one of her letters. With full permission from her, I am going to share it with you today.
At dinnertime one day, the offering was shepherd’s pie. Now, if any of you read my recipe post for cottage pie, you would know that is the proper name for the dish because shepherds don’t herd cows. Shepherd’s pie is supposed to have minced lamb. Well, we don’t take the Sprog any place that serves American shepherd’s pie because we have yet to find any place that serves good pub grub in the Chicago area. And preparing a child for camp does not include, “Sweetheart, by the way, they might serve cottage pie, but they are going to call it ‘shepherd’s pie. Just so you are warned.'” For some reason, it does not factor in when you are running around trying to find bug wipes.
To continue on with the story, she grabbed her tray of food, sat down to eat, put a forkful in her mouth, slammed down her utensil, and exclaimed, “No! No! No!” Her friends wondered what was wrong, and she explained. I asked her what they said. Her response?
“They didn’t care. They were like, ‘Whatever.’ But I know what beef tastes like.”
She ended up just eating her meal, although she initially wanted to refuse out of protest. Then she realized she would only punish herself because she would just end up hungry. We told her she made a good choice, and the American term is just plain wrong. The best thing we can do is verbally correct people and not make a big deal out of it.
I understand how she felt. In her mind, the dining hall lied about what they were serving. She was expecting lamb. She got beef. And to have your friends not it get adds insult to injury. We have all felt this way…the only person who sees the problem. And when we point it out, we only feel worse when the rest of the group dismisses us. She got more of a taste of the adult world through just a simple meal.
And this won’t be the last time she will feel this way, especially as an Anglo-American Jew.
But there is one small consolation. At least our British relatives have proof that the Sprog is not completely Americanized.