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Tonight was a leftover night.  That doesn’t happen too often around here, but it was a Monday, and we had assorted odds and ends in the fridge that needed to be used.

Nothing says food expert like a dinner of black bean soup, cheese-stuffed raviolis, quesadillas, cottage cheese, grapes and cookies.  But, as I sit here tonight, I think our dinner says a lot about who we are as Americans.  I am mostly of German and British background.  I definitely had a meat and potatoes childhood, reflecting those roots.    However, here in 2012, I find it amazing what a wide variety of cultural influences are found in our food.  Just look at our unorthodox dinner this evening.

Black beans are primarily a Latin American ingredient.  They are very popular in Mexico, Cuba, and especially Brazil, where they are the primary ingredient in the national dish, feijoada.

Ravioli, of course, is Italian.  However, the stuffed dumpling is an almost universal food, whether you are talking about pot-stickers or pierogi, people brought their filled dough to our shores.

The quesadilla is a staple in our house.  It is really hard to even think about it as Mexican food anymore.

Cottage cheese, grapes, and my wife’s mind-blowingly-good chocolate chip cookies rounded out our meal But even when it comes to it, grapes are an import to America and cottage cheese has been around since the time of the Greeks and Egyptians.

Where am I going with all this?  Well, I like to think of the United States as a nation of leftovers.  The people who came here were “left-overs.”  They LEFT their homes to come OVER here.  For whatever reason, they came to the US and made the best of things.  Much like we did on a rather drab Monday evening.  For all those generations who took the plunge and did their best to bring us to where we are today, thank you.