By Piper Lowe
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Have you ever walked down a street and counted how many different languages you hear? Well, if you haven’t, you should because we’re lucky that the United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world.
If you’ve been trying to get a good ethnic salad for a while but just couldn’t find the right recipe, then you are in the right place. Wash your hands and put on your apron because today, we’re going to make some USA-style ethnic salad!
First, before going any further, you need to make sure that you wash your hands. If you’ve done that, then we’ll quickly clarify that this is not going to be a cultural or racial salad. A cultural salad is the blend of different groups by geographical location of people’s customs and rituals. A racial salad is the blend of different groups by geographical origin of people’s skin color and biological backgrounds.
Sometimes, these salads have trouble when they’re getting tossed and blended together because the groups (ingredients) are already selective. However, ethnic salads are a blend of different languages, religions, arts, and lifestyles with the cultural and racial groups.
Now, the first ingredient: language! I can’t give the exact measurement of how much you need, but you want about the same amount of everything. You’ll know that it’s right when you taste it and every single ingredient is sensed in your mouth and everything is working together. Start by putting the wavy, Romance languages in. Some of these are Spanish and Portuguese, native plants from Western Europe, although they were brought over to South America where they now also thrive.
Then, put in the spice of African tribal languages. The most common language found in South Asia is Hindi.
Chinese is really popular in Asia, and it has spread all over. When you blend them all together, they will have the perfect texture. In the ethnic salad, there are so many different languages that you can almost hear the salad screaming out to you, “¡cómame!” “eat me!” “mangez-moi!” and “TABETENE!”
Now that you have put in the languages, we can add religion. One religion is Christianity, which has many subcategories in it. Christianity started growing in Europe, but it has spread over every continent. Also, about a third of the religions in Africa (where you will also find Christianity and Islam) are traditional religions. They usually have one big God, but there are also more, less powerful gods.
Buddhism and Hinduism originated in South Asia with a belief that each person will keep coming back to life until they finally live it right.
Blend these different religions evenly and they will have the perfect taste and spice from the many differences. The ethnic salad has a lot of diverse religions in it, and even though there are so many, it shows that almost everybody believes in something.
We’re halfway done with the ingredients. Onto arts! There are many different arts found all over the world.
Latin American mural-making can add a lot of bright colors to your salad! Latin America also has the fast-paced samba dance in Brazil. African influences that can help you get a good rhythm to toss your salad, and when blended, it can result in blues, jazz, or hip hop. African cave paintings even depict historical events like they do in the murals in Latin America. In India, brightly colored dances tell religious stories.
Colorful batik cloth making with wax and dye is found mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Finally, onto the last ingredient: lifestyle. The lifestyles coming from all over the world can seem like they will all be too different and not share any similarities, but they do. Whether people are from Asia, Africa, or Latin America, they all value family very much. Whether it’s getting together or living together, they share the belief that family is very important. Mix the different types of lifestyles in the world together and you will get the perfect added sense of family.
Now that you have all of your ingredients mixed up and ready to go, you can finally dump them in a bowl.
You don’t need any dressing because each ingredient has the different toppings and spices of many different cultures. Now take two big forks and lightly toss the salad. Since this isn’t an ethnic stew, each ingredient still gets heard for who they are.
When everything looks all nice and blended, you can taste it, and see that even though there are ingredients from all across the world, with people from all different cultures, and with all different skin colors, in the end, when you mix it all up with just the right amounts, it all works together to make the perfect ethnic salad. ♦
Piper Lowe, whose grandmother is Japanese, is an eighth-grader at Washington Middle School. She wrote this piece for her social studies class.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.