Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Sushi Kids Meet the Pork-Chop Clan - and Love It

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Sushi Kids Meet the Pork-Chop Clan - and Love It

Article excerpt

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN you take two city-bred, sophisticated teenagers and plunk them down in the middle of a family reunion of Midwesterners? That was the question I asked myself as I prepared my two children, Graham and Raisa, for their first family reunion.

Living in southern California, my children are accustomed to new experiences. From the time they were small, my husband and I introduced our kids to Shakespeare productions, concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, Broadway shows, museums and art galleries, and as many cultural events as our time and budget would allow.

But this was a little different. We would get "up close and personal" with my extended family in the Pacific Northwest coastal town of Port Townsend, Wash. So on a warm August weekend, the kids and I headed off to meet the rest of the clan. There would be no television, few outside distractions, and lots of relatives.

We were to share a home with my mother and stepfather, as well as my grandparents. My sister and her family would be next door with another aunt and uncle.

"Exactly what is going to happen there?" Graham asked before we left.

"I'm not sure," I said, "but Grandma and Grandpa will be there, and all the aunts and uncles, and a whole bunch of people we don't know yet."

"What will we do?"

"Oh, they have lots of activities planned," I said enthusiastically.

Raisa didn't look convinced. "It'll be boring," she pronounced.

Our first evening together, about 100 of us sat down, community- style, to a dinner of overcooked pork chops and rice. This for kids who were accustomed to eating ahi sashimi and chicken vindaloo. They looked longingly at me.

"It's middle-American cuisine," I muttered. "Eat it."

Afterward, it was time for games. That meant cards, Clue, and dominoes. Or throwing Frisbees on the lawn. My kids rolled their eyes. …

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