Savvy Fuego

Savvy Fuego - Greyhound from Caliente, Mexico

Savvy Fuego – Greyhound from Caliente, Mexico

My college class is currently reading about globalization. One of the points that comes up throughout the textbooks and the discussion on globalization is whether globalization is leading to McDonaldization, the Americanization/Westernization of other cultures, or to Hybridization, the intermingling and synthesis of different elements. Jan Nederveen Pieterese in his book Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange argues for “viewing globalization as a process of hybridization that gives rise to global mélange” (65).

So the words hybrid and hybridization have come up often in the last few weeks in class discussions and readings. The word hybrid also started a previous blog post about the mixing of cultures I observed in myself. So I thought it was fitting that the newest member to the household is also a hybrid. He was chosen for me by an adoption agency based on my lifestyle and personality and the household he would be part of; this adoption/matching process has worked extremely well for me in the past with my last two dogs, so I do not question it. And it has worked well again. The newest member to the household is a former racing greyhound adopted through Greyhound Friends for Life.

Savvy Fuego and Power Home

Savvy Fuego and Power Home

Not only does his personality fit the rest of the household members, but he even fits the current class discussion on hybrids! Even his name shows hybridization: Savvy Fuego – part English, part Spanish. I do not know where he was born and raised, but he raced first in Arkansas and then was moved to the race track in Caliente, Mexico, where he spent most of his career. After retiring, he was moved to California by the adoption agency. He has no problem with the heat, loves the sun, perks up when he hears male voices speaking Spanish, and seems to love Mariachi music [at least he gets excited when he hears it]. Savvy Fuego – another hybrid in a household that illustrates cultural mélange.

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Coffeehouses and McDonald’s

Cake

Cake Vitrine at McDonald’s in Wels

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Interior of Austrian Coffeehouse in Wels

Why I do not love coffee is a mystery since coffee and coffeehouses are a central part of Austrian food culture. Long before coffee and coffee varieties became more popular in the U.S. (mostly it seems because of Starbucks), Austrians have already appreciated a long afternoon coffee break and a variety of coffees. There is of course the famous Verlaengerte but also Milchkaffee, Einspaenner, Turkish Coffee, grosser Brauner, and the Italian options of Cappuccino and Espresso, and more.

In high school, we would often head to the coffeehouse after class and hang out all afternoon. Adults also value their “Kaffeerunde”, a group of people that meet regularly at the same coffeehouse to chat. Often those groups become important social networks and support groups; it is not uncommon to invite your group of those friends to your kids’ weddings and of course to your own birthday dinners with family. Some are even part of more than one group.

A lot of time is spent in coffeehouses, and even though Starbucks exists in some towns, I doubt that the company is seriously affecting local Austrian coffeehouses, some of which have existed under the same name and in the same location for decades and sometimes centuries. For example, Café Tomaselli in Salzburg is listed as Austria’s oldest “Viennese coffee house.” “The Tomaselli continues to be a stylish representative of a 300-year-old Austrian coffee-house tradition” (http://www.salzburg.info/en/shopping/long-_established_shops/cafes_and_confectionary/cafe_tomaselli ).

Close up

Tea and Cakes at McDonald’s in Austria

Even McDonald’s has adjusted to the local food culture and in Austria offers a special station with homemade pastries and freshly ground coffee and hot tea with “fancy,” cloth tea bags – everything served with China dishes and “real” metal spoons. One can even pick up a whole cake or pie at McDonald’s if ordered the day before. I enjoy the coffee house feature of Austrian McDonald’s and was much more inclined to stop at a McDonald’s in Austria than I ever am in the U.S.

[Side note: The locals’ nickname for McDonald’s is “Macky” [spelling based on sound].

Tea Cup

Empty China Tea Cup at McDonald’s