The Stew Pot

Back when I was a kid, in the days of flower children and bell-bottomed jeans, fondue was the rage. Ingredients for some funky cheese sauce stuff was put into a pot and placed on a rack type thing over a candle/burner thingy. (You can tell I’m a real experienced cook, eh? lol) Anyway, the heat from the candle/burner thingy would melt the ingredients in the pot and keep the cheese concoction hot. A person would then use a long handled fork to dip a piece of bread in the stuff and then eat it. I hear it’s back. Too bad. 🙂

There are a few things that a melting pot can be used for – nacho cheese (you know, the good stuff you fix for the football game parties, not that nasty hippy junk), wax, and iron ore (this one takes a really big pot!), to name a few. These vessels are used to melt the product into a mess that is exactly the same at any given point in the pot.

The term “melting pot” has also been used to describe the United States. It’s this one that I really dislike and disagree with.

The United States is not a cultural melting pot, and I, for one, am very happy about that. We are not all the same. I believe that all our differences are our greatest strengths. Unfortunately, the atmosphere of our culture has become so polarized that we have forgotten how to look at our fellow human beings. We have reached the point where we scream even louder to make our voice heard, take unreasonable action to get our point across…all in the vain attempt to make others in our image. To think like us, to act like us, to believe like us…to become a melting pot.

But, if you stop and think about it, that’s really screwed up!

What we always have been, are now, and always will be is…a stew pot.

As much as I dislike fondue, I love a good rich, chunky, hearty beef stew. Chunks of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, maybe some other veggies…all in a thick gravy. Simmered on low for an hour or so on the stove until the veggies are tender. Fill a bowl with that and sit down with a couple of big biscuits…ahh! Talk about far out dude – that’s it! Love the tenderness and taste of each of the ingredients. I love how, even though swimming in the deliciousness of the gravy, each and every ingredient maintains it’s own individual flavor.

That’s what we are. A big pot of stew. We are Americans. But more than that we are – German Americans…Irish Americans…African Americans…Asian Americans…Native Americans…Mexican Americans…and the list goes on.

And we need to celebrate that!

I’m really sick of hearing small minded people making the insanely lame statement about there not being any “‘______ Americans’, we’re all just ‘Americans.'” It’s really sad that they can’t see the beauty that surrounds them. I mean, just open your eyes and look at the richness that is a part of our world in the form of all of our fellow citizens…the absolute treasure we have in all the different cultures that are “us.” The music, the art, the food, the clothes, the values…it’s all a virtual untapped resource of ingenuity and vitality. But because “you” aren’t like “me”, then I don’t cross that line…and I miss out in the process.

I know this is an extremely simple blog post addressing the extreme complexities of our world. But, we’ve got to start somewhere, right?

So…a simple invitation from me to you – will you have a bowl of stew with me?

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