Category / Generational gap

Fancy restaurant vs. a hot weiner joint.

1. THE FULL SPECTRUM. My children have been exposed to a full range of culinary experiences. They’ve dined in gourmet restaurants and adventurously tried foods I wanted no part of, like octopus. Thanks to their mother’s influence, they know how to use all of the many utensils at their settings and can pronounce any dish with a foreign language twist, like duck a l’orange, with the proper accent. Thanks to their dad, they’ve also visited dining venues at the opposite end of the spectrum. They’ve stood in long lines to order clamcakes and clear-broth, Rhode-Island-style chowder from windows of seaside take-out restaurants, and they’ve marveled at the skills of short-order cooks who can line buns up the full length of their usually tattooed arms to put together our order of hot wieners in assembly-line fashion. To their credit, our kids are entirely comfortable in both types of establishments. To me, that’s clear evidence we’ve raised them right!

Collage of video stills.

1. RANDOM CULTURAL REFERENCE GENERATOR. When I’m riding in the car with my youngest, I never know what pop culture reference will suddenly enter her mind and send her into a fit of laughter. On a recent drive, within the space of 10 minutes, I heard her shout out, “Dee Dee, what are you doing in my la-bor-a-tory?” in the exaggerated, formal tone of Dexter from the cartoon series, Dexter’s Laboratory. A minute later, when we passed a former International House of Pancakes restaurant that now housed another business, she declared, “Nice try, IHOP,” in imitation of a College Humor video that features an actor from The Wire pretending to expose the scam behind the restaurant chain disguising its distinctive, gable-roofed buildings as anything but a pancake house. Minutes later, she began singing a snippet from a Vine video in which a little girl hilariously misinterprets the line from a Frank Ocean song, “a potato [apparently, it’s supposed to be a tornado] flew around my room before you came.” While I didn’t get any of these references until she explained them to me, I must say it was still a highly enjoyable ride. Being with her when she gets in one of these silly streaks is a bit like keeping company with a Magic Eight Ball. You never know want funny line you might get next, but each of them is curiously entertaining.