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14 February 2013

Fried bread or Fried Jack

Indian Taco
Today in class the Post-colonial Lit class joined with the Multi-cultural American Lit class and we watched Smoke Signals by Sherman Alexie. I have seen the movie before, because I am the type of person who enjoys watching the type of movies one would watch for a class assignment. During the scene that the character Arlene Joseph, played by the beautiful Tantoo Cardinal (who also played Black Shawl in Dancing with Wolves) , is making fried bread for her hunger adolescent son many of my classmates began to mummer..."Fried Jack".  Ugh I thought. Can't people see things outside of the box of their own reality? Just because something looks like fried jack do you have to assume it is that?

So this got me thinking about reality. How can any of us see anything out of our own reality? If I never experienced something (in this case, Fried Bread) how would I interact with it when I first heard about it?It is natural and normal to associate new concepts, ideas (even foods) to what is familiar. So take a chill pill contentious heart.

Many of my classmates verbalized the how strange they felt it was that the characters in the movie simply tore off a piece of fried bread and ate it plan. Here in Belize, we enjoy our fried jack, which is basically a deep fried flour tortilla, with beans or scrambled eggs. It is usually a breakfast food, but we love it any time.
I personally don't like fried things so I only make them if I have tortillas left over from my kneeding.

I think my judgement of my classmates was harsh because if I have experienced fried bread. See, when we lived in the United States, my parents celebrated Native American culture. We had several friends who were Native America or embraced Native Americanism. We were not allowed to refer to them as Indians... Indians shows a misconception and ignorance. My family used to attend rendezvous (camping reenactments of the trading camps between the West Coast and Rockie Mountain Native Americas and the first fur traders and Mountain men) and we respectfully attended Powwows. My step-father won the ugliest mountain man contest whenever he took part. My brothers and I along with our cousins, Jeremy and James, used to take part in knife and tomahawk throwing contest. We even used to practice.

I don't have many happy childhood memories. Most of them were stolen by disease, death, and family misunderstandings. But I do remember and treasure the Native American traditions that my family celebrated.

I love the symbolism of the movie. I love how the movie, like much of Sherman Alexie's work has layers of meanings and can be funny from different perspectives. Next time I watch it I want to do so while snacking on some nice fried jack, and maybe eat it plan.
Sherman Alexie: Poet, novelist, screen play writer, comedian. 

Meanwhile check out these recipes and compare!

Fried Bread Vs Fried Jack

Let me know what you think.

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