“Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.”— Alex Levine
I am still mostly wicked and the other day, I couldn’t resist throwing a Facebook pie at an old friend of mine, Cheryl Atkins Hyphen Something Or Other.
She had written, from Louisiana, that she just had enjoyed the most delicious and simple dinner — lima beans and corn bread.
Not being burdened by brakes or moral compass, I commented:
“What. The possum wouldn’t fit in the microwave?”
Not too long ago, I was sitting in this posh restaurant in Cambria, overlooking the Pacific Ocean oh so blue. I’m eating salmon and it hits me. Did Indians eat dinner? I mean, I know they ate. But did they have a regularly scheduled supper? You know. Where the Indian mom shakes her finger at the hubbie and kids and says, “You rascally Chumash better be home by 12 breaths past sundown or you’ll be eating your possum and acorn gruel cold, by all the addendum coastal woodland deities that’s holy!”
The Chumash, our neighboring Native Americans who held land from Piru to up the central California coast, used to eat a pasty mush made from smashed-up clams and tobacco paste. I mean, bletch. That had to curl your hair.
But, I was sitting in this wonderful restaurant. It struck me how very different we Cement People are from the folks who used to live here thousands of years before us. And I really want to know. Did they have an official suppertime? Was breakfast at 7?
I’ve read California Indians had feasts, some of which would go on for days. But did everyone sit down by a morning campfire — all at the same time like Ozzie & Harriet, Ricky and former NBA coach, Don Nelson? Or, did they straggle from dawn to noon, like the typical modern family to gnaw on breakfast (deer jerky, beaver tongue, roots, berries and room-temperature water)?
Did the Chumash who lived on the coast talk at breakfast, or sullenly stare at parent or sibling?
I’m sure there was teenage preening. But it must have occurred at a much lesser angst level. If you’re a Chumash youth from The Year Zero, I’m sure you didn’t have to worry what you were going to wear to high school.
“Today, Mom, I’m going to meet the gang tee-totally topless,” says the Chumash coed.
And it isn’t even an issue.
Can you imagine with your own kids?
I wonder if Chumash parents scolded their charges, demanding that before they walked out that wickiup, they had better pull up those grass skirts or rabbit skin kilts around their waists so that the other Indians didn’t think they were gangsters.
I wish my friend Randy Wicks were still alive.
I could innocently inquire if he had been born in one.
Did Chumash teens sing too loud? There wasn’t rap music, car stereos or boom boxes. Did the Indian kids bang their drums too loudly or attempt to reach notes off the reed flute scale?
I’m betting much of what the Chumash families ate was fast food.
“Boy, that deer was fast,” says an Indian hunter, out of breath.
“We had rabbit a while back,” answers another huntsman. “It was fast food AND it was low to the ground. I’ve been walking like Groucho Marks for a week and boy, is my back killing me.”
I wonder about sharing.
Did every family cook for themselves, or, was it a big backyard shared barbecue every time the men brought back the big bucket of Kentucky Fried Pleistocene Bison?
And I’d really like to know: at what TIME did everyone sit down to eat the buffalo?
Sunset? 11-ish, like the Spaniards and Italians? Or, as moms are wont to scream the universal answer to “When’s dinner?” — “When it’s damn good and ready!?”
I’ll bet you things tasted really carpet-like to the modern taste bud.
They ate bugs, you know.
Me. I push cauliflower around on the plate until the next presidential administration (cripes; please hurry) takes over. I would not, I could not, eat a bug.
I wonder how the Chumash would react to my diet of Taco Bell, McDonald’s or, my favorite, PC’s Thai Pepper restaurant. What if I could climb aboard a time machine with a few dozen pizzas? Would those Chumash treat me like a king?
Or, would they be after my head after all those unfamiliar saturates and polyunsaturated and petroleum-based cheese products hit their pure little digestive tracts and they double over sick and upchucking?
I wonder. Would the Chumash eat the pizzas immediately? Or, would they wait until dinner?
And, if you’re a Chumash, what time would that be and is that written in stone or is it negotiable?
(SCV author John Boston also writes The Time Ranger & SCV History for your SCV Beacon. He’s has earned more than 100 major awards for writing, including being named, several times, America’s best humor, and, best serious columnist. Don’t forget to check out his national humor, entertainment & swashbuckling commentary website, America’s Humorist — http://www.johnbostonchronicles.com/) — © 2017 by John Boston. All rights reserved.
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