Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blue Jello and Salsa

In the September 21, 2009, issue of TIME magazine, Nancy Gibbs wrote this:
Every fall, the professors at Beloit College publish their Mindset List, a dictionary of all the deeply ingrained cultural references that will make to sense to students of the incoming class. This year’s freshmen were typically born in 1991. That means, the authors explain, they have never used a card catalog to find a book; salsa has always outsold ketchup; women have always outnumbered men in college; there has always been blue Jell-O.

I remember hours spent going through card catalogs when I was in college. And, when I was in college, men outnumbered women three-to-one. Of course, that did little for me, a humanities major, because most of these guys majored in agriculture or engineering, fields pretty much closed to women way back then.

Think of the phrases students today don’t really understand: both dial and hang up the phone, a broken record. In the future, it may be these will be explained in books that tells us what “the whole nine yards” means.

My husband has a Kindle and will not return to reading real books. He also uses salsa on his scrambled eggs. He’s obviously moving ahead faster than I because I refuse to give up holding a book in my hands and turning the pages plus I’m an egg purist. No salsa or ketchup for me.

And I prefer red Jello although I’ll eat any color of M&Ms.

What changes do you see around you? What do you remember that today’s kids know nothing about? I’d love to hear from you.


Elisabeth Rose said...

Vinyl records and all the paraphernalia surrounding them eg needles, automatic stacked record changers, rpm speed, the size of the hole in the middle etc

Reel to reel tape players.

Play equipment that endangered life and limb LOL I remember gigantic monkey bars and stainless steel slippery dips that scorched your bum and bare legs in summer.

Crank handles on cars. Divided windscreens--those were still around when I was a kid. Terrible at the Drive-in.

Getting the cane at school--only the boys though. Girls had their skirts measured. We sat in the quad and resewed the hem if they were deemed too short-- circa 1965

Great post Jane!

I.J. Parnham said...

Not sure what salsa is and blue jelly intrigues me, but I can't remember what the rule is this morning. What we call jelly americans call jam and what americans call jelly we call jam, or something like that.

Anyhow, a great post and like the previous comment, physical activity (or danger as it's now known) would be something I remember that kids today won't. Playing in the street because there were no cars, going off with a bunch of kids on adventures in the park all day to play by a huge lake, to climb trees, to build dens... All unsupervised and all safe aside even if it'd fail every current parenting rule.

The other way round it'd be Internet text speak that bemuses me. G8 ROFL LOL IMO :<. Oh, and being polite to elders and always taking their advice. That's something we always did when young and kids today don't. AI! RTG TTGTAN.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Lis and Ian, your additions brought so many memories back. The idea of reel-to-reel tape recorders made me think of those huge reels of movie film and the large projectors we had to roll into classrooms on carts.

Ian, I remember playing outside until dark and catching fire flies. That was wonderful. Salsa is the spicy tomato sauce used on Mexican food. What do you call it or do you use it at all?

Thanks for adding your many thoughts!

Beate Boeker said...

Jane, what does "the whole nine yards" refer to? I'm not born in 1991 and I don't know where that expression comes from, but I guess that's because I'm not a native speaker! I don't know blue Jell-O either - Salsa is called Tabasco sauce in Germany - but we do use the word Salsa - it's a name for a Latin American dance.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

How interesting that those of you from other countries wrote! Let me explain SALSA. Yes, it is also a dance, but it isn't tabasco which comes from Louisiana. Salsa comes in a jar with chunks of tomatoes in it and is often used as a dip. www.pacefoods.com/
Above is a link to see what it looks like.
JELLO (or Jell-O)is a brand of gelatin. It did not come in blue (I don't know what flavor BLUE is) until withing the last 17 years. Here's a site for that. brands.kraftfoods.com/jello/
Thanks for adding to mu understanding of cultures around the world--and that's a serious comment.

I.J. Parnham said...

Thanks for the explanation, Jane. Jell-O is therefore jelly as I would think of it. I don't think Salsa has a real equivalent over here. Mexican food doesn't have much of a profile and neither does dips. Crisps, or is that chips, just get wolfed down alone as nature intended.

It's odd the way you pick things up but then get them wrong, often from sitcoms. I can remember Frank from Everybody Loves Raymond discovering Salsa and discovering that he could use it as a dip, which the canned laughter bloke thought was very funny, but I remember thinking: but that looks like a jar of stuff you pour over pasta, why would you eat it cold?

Beate Boeker said...

Jane, thank you for your explanations and also for your mail to my private address! I do appreciate the time you take to bring me up-to-date with Americanisms :-)