Hipstercrite Life, Travel, Writing

How to Travel With Your Mother Without Killing Each Other

Just a dead shark on a forklift


That means a lot of quality mom and daughter bonding time, her telling me I should brush my hair and her telling my boyfriend stories about how I don’t share food.

I love my Mom more than anything. I am her only daughter and she solely raised me, so needless to say we’re very much alike. Due to this fact and the fact that we both come from a long lineage of guilt-inducing Jews, we bicker a lot. I went to therapy to nip the guilt tripping trait in the bud, so when my mother, and especially my grandmother, try to pull it on me, I turn into a raving She-Hulk. When you’re little, you don’t know any better; feeling guilty for absolutely nothing was pounded into my soft skull at a very young age. When you’re older, you realize that normal people don’t say things like, “You think I’m stupid!” when you don’t agree with something they say or, “You must not like spending Christmas-” -we’re religiously inadequate Jews- “-with the family anymore!” when you can’t afford to fly home for the holidays.

My mother and I take a large trip together every year. Every year I get very excited for this time, but I also know that we’re going to be  slinging exasperated sighs and disgusted stares at one another off and on. These reactions mostly result from our differences in food: I will eat anything that exists on this planet (except for Hakarl) and my mother considers Swiss on grilled cheese gourmet food. We have traveled some of the most culinary-diverse areas of North America (Vancouver, Santa Fe, Los Angeles) and have nearly brawled over what to eat. Mom is petrified of food that isn’t American or European and anytime I even suggest Indian, Thai, Mexican or Japanese cuisine, she shoots me a look as though I just shat myself and coldly proclaims, “NO!”. Every time she says that, a little piece of me dies. Her closed-mindedness when it comes to food is quite possibly the third thing I most hate after Texas mold allergies and Lookbook photos.

It’s not that my mother is closed-minded about other cultures: she is one of the most open-minded and liberal 62 year-olds that I know. She’s just perpetually 5 years of age when it comes to her palate and 8 years of age when it comes to her stubbornness of trying anything new. You’d think after all of these years she would loosen up a bit, but NOOOOOO. Oh, wait! I do have to give her credit for trying Pad Thai with tofu from one of Portland’s famous food trucks, but that was due to the fact that she was very hungry and ended up eating half of my plate when I wasn’t looking. I’ve been to restaurants where my mother just flat out refused to eat and we sat in silence as I nibbled on delicious Indian or Mexican food. In Santa Fe, I ordered fajitas thinking that it was neutral enough for her to eat, but instead she picked at tortilla chips before “accidentally” flipping the entire plate of fajitas into my purse.

In a few days we will be driving to the culinary-rich New Orleans. This is going to be interesting. Stay tuned for photos of New Orleans and my Mom and I looking at each other with complete disdain.

P.S. I’ve never been to New Orleans! What places are an absolute must?




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  • Reply Valeka September 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Your mother and my father should hang out and NOT eat new and exciting food together!! I couldn’t help but laugh at the similarities between what you experience when traveling with your mom and what I go through with my dad (luckily my mom is pretty open to new cuisines). We are currently in Portland visiting family and my dad will only eat at a chain restaurant because it’s “familiar.” Hope you fare better with your mom in the Big Easy!!

    • Reply hipstercrite September 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Oh man! Yep! They should hang out! Hahaha. I’m glad I’m not alone in my frustration!

  • Reply Jennifer W September 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Yo Mama’s, Acme Oyster House, Cafe Du Monde, Central Grocery, Clover Grill, Mother’s. I go every January – you’ll love it! I eat cheap so these are budget recommendations

    • Reply hipstercrite September 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Budget is the ONLY way I eat! Perfect! Thank you!

  • Reply Sophia September 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Wow. my mom is Greek and “supposedly” we’re not Jewish (though I have at least one brother that would agree that we secretly are. And I had a Spanish teacher who singled me out of class every year to wish me happy Yom Kippur even though every year I politely told her I wasn’t Jewish) but we have just as healthy a dosage of guilt as the RDA in any Jewish household. I identify so much with this article…to the point that a few weeks ago I was actually road-tripping to New Orleans with my mom too! Some things came up and we had to post-pone it, but I will be very interested to see how this goes. I hope you share the same taste in music. I always love finding music my mom will like to establish a good common-ground. As far as recommendations, of course, a beignet and coffee at Cafe du Monde is a must (which I’m sure you knew already). Wishing you both a bon voyage!

    • Reply hipstercrite September 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Hey Sophia! Thanks for commenting. Sounds like we have similar stories! Definitely planning on going to Cafe du Monde.

  • Reply Rachel September 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Scarily similar experience. I even sent your post to my Mom… enjoy LA!

    • Reply hipstercrite September 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Hahaha…really? What did she think?

  • Reply Scott Tammaro September 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    LOL! Reading your post reminded me of my failed attempts to get my Mom & brother to try sushi.

    It also reminds me of the running anti-sushi commentary that I must endure from across the table as I devour all the sushi that no one else’ll dare touch.


    • Reply hipstercrite September 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      OH MAN! Don’t get my started on sushi. My Mom won’t even go near it. It’s my FAVORITE thing on the planet. We also have a great story involving chopsticks. I tried to teach her how to use them and I felt she wasn’t taking it seriously. I got so mad! Hahaha.

  • Reply Rachel Donnan September 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Try your very hardest to get BBQ shrimp. Mr. B’s is the best but it is very pricey. There are cheaper, just as tasty options. They’re different from the shrimp we get here, they’re HUGE. And the sauce isn’t really BBQ, it’s like a French broth. You dip bread in it. I dream about that dish. Also, Cochon Butcher makes some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life. I can’t recommend it more. Cochon is the main restaurant and much more expensive, so Butcher is a steal.

    • Reply hipstercrite September 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      Holy crow! That sounds delicious! I will have to find that. I think Shuck Shack did a dish like that and I loved it!

  • Reply Rachel Donnan September 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    One more! My mom and I spent Thanksgiving there last year and our favorite place was Dooky Chase Restaurant. It’s traditional Southern food and really famous. But not expensive. The most charming place and incredible food. Best fried chicken we’ve ever had. Have fun!

    • Reply hipstercrite September 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks for the tip!

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