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Food for Thought: Talking to strangers about food

Nancy and new Seattle supermarket friends Suzanne, Glen and 4-year-old August.
Nancy Leson
Nancy and new Seattle supermarket friends Suzanne, Glen and 4-year-old August.

Just back from Philly, Nancy Leson says that easterners are more likely to chat up people they don't know,  especially in restaurants and in supermarkets. "Strangers just come up to you and talk.  Or I come up to strangers and talk. About anything. About what you're ordering, how to make it."

Nance says this happens all the time back east but not so much in Seattle. Does she think this is the much bemoaned Seattle Freeze?

She does.  "It's so clear to me that this is not something that someone just made up." 

She says that, while waiting at a Philadelphia deli, she started talking with a woman about why they both liked that particular place, and "Next thing I know she was showing me pictures of her new grandchild, we gave each other a big hug when we walked out of the place." She compared that and other examples of public friendliness on the Atlantic side with the chillier reception said to characterize Seattle.

But the very next day, after bemoaning the Northwest's standoffish attitude, she sent me the picture above, taken at a Seattle supermarket, plus this one of two more new friends she made at the same store. Could a thaw be on the way?

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX
Nance and fellow ham samplers Karin and Lori

Don't you think it's finally time we started talking to strangers in public places? Not introverted (really!) me, of course but you go right ahead.

"I'm very shy so I became outgoing to protect my shyness." – Don Rickles

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.

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