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Thread: U.S.A. Culture and Language Help - II

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Many profanities do originate in pious expressions. But "Sweet Salem!" or "By the stake!" aren't based on expressions of piety. It would be akin to a Jew saying, "Holy gas chamber!"

    Making up cute expression to put in the mouths of fictional characters that treats actual historical events in a cavalier fashion risks being offensive if you don't think about the implications.
    If references to Salem were really that big a deal for wizards in America, then the Salem Witches' Institute would probably be otherwise named and most definitely somewhere else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lexicon
    Massachusetts - United States - North America

    Famous for its seventeenth-century hysteria over witchcraft and witch trials, Salem is today a typical suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. There is still a witches' institute in Salem, though, which we know because Harry walked by their tent at the Quidditch World Cup (GF7).
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  2. #62
    originally posted by Inverarity
    Originally Posted by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
    That being said, this one might be tricky. The Merlin epithets were based upon mythology of ancient England, which can neither be substantiated nor disproved. America as we know it doesn't really have an ancient mythology, as Euro-Americans didn't arrive until the 16th century.

    Wait, what? America has no ancient mythology? How about the mythology of the people who lived there before Europeans arrived? I know you didn't mean it that way, but writers especially should be very wary of sweeping statements to the effect of "America didn't exist until white people discovered it."
    I think what Jess is trying to say here is not that America didn't exist before Europeans showed up, but that the culture of today's America didn't begin to form in North America until Europeans showed up. Of course the Native Americans had culture, mythology, etc. (in fact, probably a much broader array compared the Europeans by the time they came to settle the Americas).

    The utter distaste and hate of Europeans and their descendants towards Native Americans resulted in a real separation between the European and native communities, as well as killing of Native Americans by Europeans. Also, Native American populations declined dramatically as a result of Old World diseases just before or soon after Europeans reached each new area of America. Today, Native Americans comprise only about one percent of the population of the U.S. Due to these factors (separation, low percent of population), much of American culture based on the English culture of many of the original settlers, with cultural elements of each successive wave of European immigrants added in.

    Therefore, the mythology that Americans are most familiar with is English, Greek, and Roman, the same mix of mythology that lead to most elements of the Harry Potter series. It would seem that Americans would have many of the same epithets as people in the U.K., and the ones that differ should be drawn from the same sources as the ones in the HP books.

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by sorrow_of_severus
    I think what Jess is trying to say here is not that America didn't exist before Europeans showed up, but that the culture of today's America didn't begin to form in North America until Europeans showed up. Of course the Native Americans had culture, mythology, etc. (in fact, probably a much broader array compared the Europeans by the time they came to settle the Americas).
    I'd just like to throw my two cents in here and point out that Native Americans don't have one all-inclusive culture and collective mythology like the Greeks and the Norse. Each tribe has its own unique culture, language, and mythology. I'm not really sure why, but we don't actually call Native American stories "mythology" - I think because the stories are part of religions that are still (compared to the religion of the Ancient Greeks) widely practiced today, and mythology usually refers to old, mostly-dead religions. We usually call them "folktales" or "fables" - occasionally "legends" or "myths." But the term "Native American mythology" is hardly ever used to describe these.


  4. #64
    Alright, a topic a bit on the lighter side, I am trying to come up with the menu for a feast at the Salem Witches Institute. I do imagine it existing in Salem, MA, but what I need are some typical North Easter-style foods that would be served there. Here is what I have so far:

    Crab, shrip, and scallops
    Broccoli with cheese
    Grilled Chicken
    Lobster Rolls

    Are there any other foods you can think of that scream of the northern half of the East Coast?

  5. #65
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    Hmm, I've never had broccoli with cheese - is it good?

    I'd add clam chowder (or any sort of chowder, really). I don't know when your story is set, but in the fall we have lots of apples - so we have apple pies and sometimes people make caramel or candied apples. I think maple syrup and cheese as well (specifically cheddar). I'm not sure the exact type of potato, but every July 4th we have a lobster bake in my neighborhood and we have the most delicious little golden new (I think) potatoes.

    Hope that helps!


  6. #66
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    If it's a feast, I would maybe do just lobster instead of lobster rolls--I think of lobster rolls more as kind of junky beach food than something that would be served at a nice dinner occasion.

    I agree with the suggestion of clam chowder as well. Basically any kind of fish would probably work, too.

  7. #67
    Alright, here's what I have so far.

    Crab, shrip, and scallops
    Potatos (mashed, golden, au gratin, baked)
    Broccoli with cheese
    Roast beef and gravy
    Grilled chicken and fish
    Lobster bisque

    This would probably be enough for one meal, but can you think of any other typical foods? Also, what can you think of for desserts and drinks. I though maybe milk and apple cider.

  8. #68
    I don't know if anyone else ever had them, but my mom has always presented these to me as staple New England/North-Eastern style foods and drinks:

    Cinnamon Milk (served hot)
    Hot Orange [Juice] (usually with brown sugar to make it a bit sweeter)
    Pumpkin pie (desert or sometimes breakfast)
    Pancakes (can be made with pumpkin or blueberries as well as plain)

    Some other things that might work in context:
    Lemon chicken
    Chicken pot pie
    Zucchini Pancakes
    (smaller than normal pancakes, and made with zucchini)


  9. #69
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    Hmm... I find it a bit odd that they have plain apples at a feast. I think that apple pie would be more fitting. Otherwise, I think your menu is pretty good.
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  10. #70
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    I agree about the apples. You wouldn't have raw apples at a formal dinner event. Apple pie, definitely.

    I'm not from New England, personally, but some of my friends from that area have told me that cranberries are pretty prevalent in cuisine. Cranberries could be in just about anything, from pies and tarts to breads to sauces to beverages. You probably shouldn't use all of those in one meal, but one or two might give you a little variety.

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