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“白人的”饮食对华裔移民孩子意味着什么?

更新时间:2017-4-14 11:10:38 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What ‘White’ Food Meant to a First-Generation Kid
“白人的”饮食对华裔移民孩子意味着什么?

“Hamburgers,” my uncle said, pointing at me from across the table at New Jersey’s only decent Chinese restaurant. “Lisa loves hamburgers. Right, Lisa?”

“汉堡,”我叔叔在新泽西唯一一家像样的中国餐馆内隔着桌子指着我说道。“莉萨喜欢汉堡。对吧,莉萨?”

It didn’t matter whether I said yes or no. I was the first in my family to be born in the United States, so the decision had been made for me. I was expected to betray Chinese food for American food: Whoppers, Quarter Pounders with cheese, White Castle sliders with onion breath. And that I did.

我回答是或是不,都无关紧要。我是这个家族中出生在美国的第一个成员,所以这个决定老早就有人替我做了。他们料想我会背弃中国饮食而喜好美国食品:皇堡(Whoppers)、加奶酪的4盎司牛肉堡(Quarter Pounders)和带洋葱的白城堡汉堡(White Castle)。我后来的确这样。

For my relatives, Chinese immigrants from the Philippines, this was evidence of how I’d assimilated and they hadn’t. “You don’t know what you’re missing,” my father would say, shaking his head, when my cousin and I begged to eat Popeyes chicken instead of preserved fish.

对我的亲戚——来自菲律宾的华人移民——而言,这是我被同化而他们没有这样的证明。“你们不知道自己错过了什么,”当我和表兄弟/姐妹央求着要吃大力水手(Popeyes)炸鸡而非咸鱼时,父亲会摇着头这样说。

The year was 1986, I was 10 years old, and my family was on the fast track to expert-level American. We were the first on our block to get a microwave, where, my mother said, we could “zap” and “nuke” our food. Breakfast was a fat slice of zapped Sara Lee frozen poundcake. We peeled back the plastic wrap on Swanson’s Hungry-Man TV dinners, and dug into corn niblets, mashed potatoes and fudge brownies. I’d nuke French-bread pizza for an after-school snack and eat Cheetos, Pringles and Nestlé Iced Tea powder out of the can.

那是1986年,我当时10岁,我们家正奔跑在成为十足的美国人的快车道上。我们是街区里第一个拥有微波炉的家庭,我母亲说我们可以在里面“照射”和“微爆”我们的食物。早餐是一大块微波加热的“萨拉-李牌”(Sara Lee)冷冻磅蛋糕。我们撕掉斯旺森(Swanson)的饿汉(Hungry-Man)电视便餐的塑料包装,享用玉米粒、土豆泥和奶油朱古力块。我会用微波炉加热法式面包披萨,当作放学后的零食,会吃奇多(Cheetos)膨化食品、品客(Pringles)薯片,还会直接从罐子取雀巢柠檬茶粉吃。

My parents had survived war and dictatorship before the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 allowed more non-Europeans to immigrate to the United States, and they overcompensated for the austerity of their childhoods by allowing me to consume any food I wanted, with a side of guilt trip. I was encouraged to assimilate, and also accused of it.

在《1965年移民与国籍法》(Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965)允许更多非欧洲人移民到美国之前,我的父母经历了战争和独裁统治。因为在童年尝尽艰辛,他们出于过度补偿的心理——同时伴随一种负罪感——任由我想吃什么就吃什么。我被鼓励同化,却也因此被指责。

Because my parents had been born and raised in the Philippines, which the United States had once colonized, they were familiar with American food and culture. My mother was a great cook, but to be able to afford and eat American convenience, American abundance, was our way of feeling included in the middle class.

由于父母是在曾为美国殖民地的菲律宾出生和长大,他们对美国食物和文化并不陌生。我母亲很会做饭,但能负担得起和享用美国方便食品,即美式富足,是能让我们感觉自己跻身中产阶级的方式。

For my parents, “American” was often synonymous with “white,” but the food my white friends ate wasn’t anything like the food on TV commercials. At their homes, there was unsweetened applesauce, baked chicken breasts and celery sticks. Occasionally, a single oatmeal cookie from an actual cookie jar. I wondered how anyone could be satisfied with only one. In my middle school cafeteria, the other kids ate P.B.J. and apples as I feasted on hot dogs stuffed with American cheese. When Chinese food appeared on the cafeteria menu, it was an oozy noodle dish that resembled nothing I’d ever seen.

对我的父母来说,“美国的”往往等同于“白人的”,但我的白人朋友们吃的根本不是电视广告中的食物。他们在家里吃无糖苹果酱、烤鸡胸肉和芹菜。偶尔才会从真正的饼干罐里拿一块燕麦饼干。我想不通怎么有人能满足于仅仅吃一块。在我的中学食堂里,其他孩子吃花生果酱三明治和苹果的时候,我在尽情享用塞满了美国干酪的热狗。遇到餐厅菜单上有中餐的时候,端上来的往往是一份我都不知道是什么的湿乎乎的面条状东西。

My white friends didn’t even have cable TV — their parents listened to AM radio and watched PBS — but my parents had talked the cable guy into hooking us up with not just Showtime and MTV, but also HBO, Cinemax and the Movie Channel. Free.

我的白人朋友家里甚至没有有线电视——他们的父母听AM广播,看PBS——但我父母说服了安装有线电视的人,不仅给我们连上了Showtime和MTV,还有HBO、Cinemax和电影频道(Movie Channel)。全都免费。

There weren’t enough hours to watch all the TV I wanted, even if it was a fifth viewing of “Cannonball Run II” or “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” which I’d watch while gnawing the pretzel casings away from Combos Baked Snacks to extract the wads of pizza-flavored cheese and mash them into one big ball. I yearned for us to be chosen to be a Nielsen family, and fantasized about keeping a TV diary and having my viewing habits influence ratings, but my parents said we’d never be asked to do such a thing.

我没时间看所有我想看的电视节目,哪怕是第五次看《炮弹飞车2》(Cannonball Run II)或《国家讽刺》(National Lampoon)杂志的《欧洲假期》(European Vacation)——我看这部影片时,正忙着把Combos Baked Snacks外面的面饼啃掉,取出里面的一块块披萨味奶酪,把它们揉成一大团。我十分渴望我们家会被选中,成为尼尔森家庭(Nielsen family),还痴想着保留一份电视观看日记,好让我的观看习惯对收视率产生影响,但父母说我们永远不会接到这样的要求。

It was the year the Iran-contra affair came to light, the year of the Challenger explosion and the “people power” revolution in the Philippines that ousted Ferdinand Marcos after two decades in power, the American government airlifting him to safety in Hawaii. (This last event my parents and I did see on TV, at least the clips the American news deigned to show.) But in prime time, it was “The Cosby Show,” “Dallas” and “Dynasty”; and all day long, there were game shows. I got obsessed with how you could spin a wheel on “The Price Is Right” or hit a button on “Press Your Luck” and win a new car, a living room set or a trip to Switzerland.

那是伊朗门事件曝光的年份,是“挑战者”号(Challenger)爆炸和菲律宾发生“人民力量”革命的年份——这场革命推翻了在位20年的费迪南德·马科斯(Ferdinand Marcos),美国政府将他飞到了夏威夷避难。(我和父母的确在电视上观看了最后这个事件,至少看到了美国新闻媒体惠准播出的一些片段。)但是在当时的黄金时段,播出的是《科斯比秀》(The Cosby Show)、《家族风云》(Dallas)和《锦绣豪门》(Dynasty);还有整天不断的游戏节目。我一直盘算着怎么才能在《价格猜猜猜》(The Price Is Right)节目中转个转盘或在《强棒出击》(Press Your Luck)中按个按钮,就赢到一辆新车、一套客厅家具或一趟瑞士游。

I wanted to win the cash jackpot on “Sale of the Century,” to be handed a suitcase of money and showered with balloons. Like the New York Lotto cards my father brought home every week and the Wingo game cards I filled out in the back pages of The New York Post, game shows were pure possibility. Everyone could be a winner; everyone could get rich quick.

我想在《销售的世纪》(Sale of the Century)节目中赢得现金大奖,在彩色气球的环绕下接过一个装满现金的手提箱。就像父亲每周带回家的纽约乐透彩票和我在《纽约邮报》最后几页填写的温戈(Wingo)游戏卡一样,游戏有奖赛节目就是一种纯粹的可能性。每个人都有可能成为赢家;每个人都有可能一夜暴富。

James Baldwin wrote that American media is “designed not to trouble, but to reassure.” American movies and TV shows help sustain a fantasy of innocence that masks our country’s violence. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie referred to America’s “addiction to comfort”; Junot Díaz to our commitment to “narratives of consolation.” The soothing myth of American exceptionalism depends on maintaining its comfort and innocence, however false. Perhaps my childhood did, too. After all, my family had the privilege to remain superficially apolitical, to attempt to distance ourselves, mentally and geographically, from the devastation of the Reagan years.

詹姆斯·鲍德温(James Baldwin)曾经写道,美国媒体的“主旨不是带来困扰,而是安抚”。美国电影和电视节目会帮助维持一种天真的幻想,它可以掩盖我们国家的暴力。希玛曼达·恩戈齐· 阿迪奇(Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)提到过美国的“对慰藉的迷恋”;朱诺·迪亚斯(Junot Díaz)说我们一心追求“令人安慰的叙述”。要维持美国例外论抚慰人心的神话,就必须保持其慰藉和天真的属性,不管它有多么虚假。或许我的童年也是如此。毕竟,我的家人拥有在表面上置身于政治之外的条件,可以试图将自己从精神和地理上与里根年代造成的破坏拉开距离。

By cranking up the TV, stuffing ourselves with Velveeta and Steak-umms, we were trying to drown out our own fears, our guilt for the relatives left behind in the Philippines, our economic anxieties and uncertainties. What could be more American than this sort of desperate denial? We didn’t need to prove that we were American; we already were.

通过调高电视的音量,大吃特吃Velveeta奶酪和Steak-umms牛肉切片,我们在竭力掩盖自己的恐惧、对留在菲律宾的亲戚们的内疚感,以及我们的经济隐忧和内心的不确定性。还有什么比这种绝望的拒绝更美国的?我们不需要证明我们是美国人;我们早就是了。

The relationship between Americanness and consumption was a complicated one. My friend Lori often ate lunch at our house, where she’d ask for seconds of Spam noodle soup, Spam and rice, or Kraft mac-and-cheese with chunks of Spam. “I love Spam,” she’d say. “It’s so delicious.”

美国属性和消费之间的关系十分复杂。我的朋友洛丽(Lori)过去经常在我们家吃午饭,她要求我母亲做Spam午餐肉汤面、Spam午餐肉米饭,或加大块Spam午餐肉的卡夫(Kraft)芝士通心粉。“我喜欢Spam,”她会说。“它太好吃了。”

One afternoon, she refused to eat. “My mom says Spam is disgusting,” she said, looking at the bowl my mother had placed in front of her. She pulled it closer, then pushed it away. “My mom said she’d never cook or eat it.”

有天下午,她不愿意再吃这种东西。“我妈妈说Spam让人倒胃口,”她一边看着我母亲放在她面前的碗一边说道。她把碗拉近了一点,然后又推开。“我妈说她永远不会用它做饭,也不会吃它。”

After Lori went home, my mother rolled her eyes and said, “Americans eat hot dogs all the time, and hot dogs are the same as Spam.”

洛丽回家之后,我母亲翻着白眼说,“美国人一直都吃热狗,热狗跟Spam是一样的东西。”

“What’s wrong with Spam, anyway?” my father said. “Spam’s American.”

“Spam怎么啦?”我父亲说。“Spam是美国食品。”

Which was true, kind of. The United States military had brought Spam to Guam, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines — places with some of the highest Spam consumption rates in the world — during various wartime occupations. In the Philippines, there’s no shame to Spam. Yet my family had brought this American food back to America, and now we were being told it was inedible.

这话有几分真。在各个战时占领期,美国军队曾把Spam带到关岛、韩国、日本和菲律宾去,它们成了世界上食用Spam最多的一些地方。在菲律宾,吃Spam没什么好丢人的。但我们家把这种美国食品又带回了美国,现在我们被告知,这种东西不能吃。

One dominant narrative of immigration paints a rosy picture of two cultures melting together through food, like my mother stuffing our Thanksgiving turkey with sticky rice. But in reality, assimilation is more violent, history more complex, and cultures less disparate. I’d hungrily devoured what I had believed to be American normalcy, but I was still being seen as American-adjacent. Maybe there was no such thing as American normalcy; or maybe the normalcy was in itself a performance.

有关移民的一种占据主导地位的叙事描绘了两种文化通过食物相融合的美好景象,就好比我母亲会往我们的感恩节火鸡里塞糯米。但是在现实中,同化来得更暴烈,历史更复杂,文化则没有那么截然不同。我曾大口吞下在我眼中属于美国常态的食物,但我依然不被看作真正的美国人。或许根本就没有美国常态这种东西;或许美国常态本身只是一种表演。

Eventually, the food I’d gorged on, with its cheery packaging and bright colors, made me sick, and I developed food allergies and chronic autoimmune issues. These days, a slice of pizza or a handful of Doritos will give me hives for weeks.

最终,我大吃特吃的有着鲜艳喜气包装的东西,破坏了我的健康,令我出现食物过敏和慢性自身免疫问题。如今,吃一小块披萨或一小把Doritos玉米片,就会让我出数周的荨麻疹。

Yet once in a while, I feel a sharp envy for people who can eat whatever they want, with no repercussions, though maybe it’s only envy for the innocence of 1986, an innocence that never truly existed, and how I used to make a beeline for the burger stand at the mall food court. Extra cheese. Onion rings. A milkshake to wash it down. Or eat a microwaved dinner, the food never tasting quite as good as the shiny pictures on the box appeared, in front of a blaring TV, unable to look away.

然而每过一段时间,我就会深深地羡慕那些想吃什么就能吃什么且不会有不良后果的人,尽管我羡慕的可能只是1986年的天真,一种从未真正存在过的天真,是羡慕我以前那样直奔商场美食广场上卖汉堡的摊位。多加奶酪。加洋葱圈。就着一杯奶昔一起吃下。或者是吃一份微波一热就可食用的方便晚餐——这种食物在声音开得很大的电视机前,一边目不转睛地看着一边吃的时候,永远不像它盒子上亮眼的包装图看起来那么美味。

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