bad salad lettuce.tomato.skull_I just heard that the cultural concept of “Melting Pot” is apparently passé.  It has been replaced by the more politically correct “Salad Bowl.”  I always thought that “Melting Pot” was the essence of being an American…”Out of Many, One”, but apparently (once again) I am late to the party.

“In the salad bowl model, different American cultures are brought together — like salad ingredients — but do not form together into a single homogeneous culture. Each culture keeps its own distinct qualities. This idea proposes a society of many individual, “pure” cultures in addition to the mixed culture that is modern American culture, and the term has become more politically correct than melting pot, since the latter suggests that ethnic groups may be unable to preserve their cultures due to assimilation…

Some have compared the European concept of multiculturalism to a salad bowl approach, which prevents the full integration of immigrant groups into host societies, whereas the traditional American approach of the melting pot results in successful integration of successive immigrant waves into the larger American society.”

I personally have always liked the “melting pot” but can see how allusion to the reaction of heat and metal could be off-putting to more sensitive than me (everyone)people.

So, in keeping with the food theme, I propose the even more modern and cool “Soup Bowl.” Different soups have a base stock such as beef, chicken, vegetable, etc. to which immigrants (other ingredients) are incorporated with or without heat.

Each ingredient is assimilated into the base while simultaneously losing and imparting some of its original identity into the larger volume stock.  Gazpacho, borscht, minestrone, pazole, etc. may be heavily influenced by diverse cultural heritage but are also enjoyed by people raised on chicken broth — except when they have a cold.  In which case, chicken soup takes on mystic qualities only understood by Yentas and old wives.

The result is something completely different, homogeneous…and often delicious.   Seems like a lot of power to give an immigrant.  Quite a welcome gift!

I am sorry, but “salad bowl” only works if you have a salad bar. Otherwise everyone is fighting over the bacon bits, cheese and sesame seeds. Try smothering a salad with either Italian, Russian or French dressing and see how well the diverse little pieces of kale, kumquat and kidney beans work together.

The English language is so heavily influenced by words, phrases and idioms of other languages it would be unrecognizable by America’s original settlers. Go to the non-tourist sections of New Orleans some time and try to understand Cajun-Creole English.

There is no such thing as a free soup or salad.  In return for the equal opportunity to impart change on the homogeneous whole, it is appropriate and reasonable to accept the whole you have just helped to create.

If I were to move to Germany, France or Spain, I would expect to have to learn German, French or Spanish. I would expect to learn and respect their culture. I don’t see how doing any of those would lessen my heritage. I lived for several years in Australia where they drive on the “other side of the road.” Back in the US on a trip, I found myself accidentally driving on the other “other side of the road.” It was embarrassing, but didn’t destroy my cultural identity.

The term “Ugly American” originally referenced Americans who upon visiting or moving to another country expected them to learn English and change to U.S. culture.  Same, same.  I can see why any country would resent that.

(I suppose a homogeneous culture would require more work than identity politics to pit us all against each other for political and financial power but that is another post. )

Closing thought. Leave a bowl of dressed salad and a cup of savory soup in the refrigerator for a week.  Taste them both and tell me which you prefer for lunch tomorrow.

P.S.  Isn’t separate “pure” societies the KKK model?

(Salad Bowl, my ass—paragus.)