Native Americans Explain What It’s Really Like Living On A Reservation
American Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous Americans, Aboriginal Americans, or First Nations are some of the evolving terms used to describe the people who made their home in the United States for tens of thousands of years before contact with European explorers like the Vikings.
To say life changed after the second wave of contact in the late 15th century is an understatement. Resettlement and forced removal reshaped Native cultures. They were altered again by the federal Assimilation Acts of the 19th century, including the establishment of Native American reservations.
Not all Natives live on reservations and life on a reservation for a Native is very different than off. There are both advantages, like community and cultural knowledge, and disadvantages, like geographic isolation and lack of jobs, to reservation life.
A Reddit user asked: "Native Americans/Indigenous Peoples of Reddit, what's it like to grow up on a Reservation in the USA?"
Here is some insight into Native American reservation life.
I'm Navajo, and from the Navajo Nation. The people were wonderful, for the most part. Being part of two of the tightest clans on the rez was pretty awesome. A lot of Navajo culture is basically just about enjoying life, and helping others do the same. That being said, the best part about being off the rez is having all the clean water I can drink. Seriously. Sometimes I just stand at the sink and run the tap to marvel at the clean water coming out of it. In large parts of the Navajo Nation, you can't dig wells because of the uranium in the top layer of the water table. So some people just have to drive out really far to deliver or pickup water in big barrels from areas that aren't contaminated. It took 40+ years for the US government to do anything about it. And just recently, the EPA agreed to cover half the cost of cleaning 94 (about 20% of the total) abandoned uranium mines on the reservation. The water table is still f'd, but it's a start, if nothing else. And people wonder why we don't trust the government.
When I was a kid I often visited my grandparents on the res in Montana. I was too young at the time to realize the crushing poverty and hopelessness. My grandpa was one of those self-sufficient mountain men who didn't ever complain so I didn't "know" they were super poor. He taught me survival skills and outback engineering. We ate venison and rabbit all the time which was a treat to me but a staple to them. Poverty and alcoholism/drug abuse was rampant but I was sort of blind to that (Uncle Bert is sort of crazy I guess).
They eventually moved to a small town and ended up dying in poverty. My dad joined the Army and that was his ticket out of there and into the lower middle class.
I loved it. My family was all within a 15-29 minute drive. I could run around in the woods and never felt like I was in danger. I could ride on the roads with my bike and felt safe. If I went to the store I was sure to see someone I knew. I was able to go to courts with my mother and watch our little courts do their stuff. I was able to call into out radio station and request a song and sometimes hear my voice on the radio. I was able to volunteer as a DJ and call out bingo numbers in my native language. I was able to become fluent in my native language. And that's something I could never do anywhere else. Growing up if I had a car issue someone I knew would stop and help me out. My grandfather was able to make a living off of the land. In the end we couldnt eat the food because of pollution from the manufacturing plants up river.
My family is here and that is the reason I love my reservation.
Growing up, my grandmother and her side of the family all lived in Cherokee, NC. My dad ended up down there too after my parents divorced. As a kiddo, I thought it was amazing, but as I got older, I realized most of what I saw was a tourist trap to try to bring in desperately needed income. Once Harrah's went in and the residents got stipends, I think some things improved but others got worse. Sudden cash doesn't look good on most people, on or off the res.
The best part of every visit was going to see the dramatization about the trail of tears...I haven't been to Cherokee in years, so I hope it's still going!! My grandmother always spoke of it with such reverence, and how lucky they were to still remain in NC. The loss of culture is the worst part of all of our native tribes. The language and traditions are slipping away.
I'm Cree First Nations. I never lived in the rez because my mom wanted my sister and I to get an education and you can't really get that in our rez. Actually, most of my family doesn't live on the rez just because living conditions used to be really bad. Luckily I am so thankful we elected a new chief! He's building better schools, distributing scholarship and college funds to the youth... I met him and was able to talk to him and I'm glad he's committed to make our rez a better place!
Native American here from Wolf Point, Montana. The unemployment, drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases percentage are above 80 percent on the Fort Peck Reservation. Wolf Point itself has a very bad meth problem, and currently the school system is being sued for racism.
The town is rampant with racism but there's a few good eggs here and there.
I was called an apple in high school (red on the outside, white on the inside) by all of the really cool guy gang members. Most of my graduating class still live in Wolf Point and are unemployed. Our high school had about 250 students total.
Currently typing this at my parents house on the Carson Colony in NV. It's pretty rough here. It used to be worse. Lots of drugs and lots of booze. There's lots of illiteracy and just poor quality of life.
We don't even have electricity. Running water or proper housing. We heat our homes with a wood stove.
Lots of youth from here don't graduate. Have kids at 14-18 years old.
It's a hard place to grow up. I left 3 years ago. Living in the city now going to college.
Life is better, don't really plan on going back. Only for special occasions or family gatherings.
I would spend entire summers at my paternal grandparents place (Navajo/Diné Reservation) during school break.
My grandparents place is very secluded and the nearest neighbor was 10 to 15 miles away. Nestled in a small valley of Juniper and Cedar trees; there was a simple creek about a quarter mile away. When I was younger they didn't have electricity hooked up (power lines); we used oil lamps for light. But they had a double wide trailer with lights, a TV, and faucets built in. To power lights and the TV (to watch movies on a VCR) we would run a gas powered generator (sometimes the electricity would cut out mid way through a movie when the generator ran out of gas).
Then my grandfather got a hold of two large tanks. One buried in the ground to hold and pump water into the house. Then the water heater would kick on to hold hot water for sink and showers. But showering was discouraged as it would mean more trips to get more water. The other tank was strapped to a truck to haul water from Peabody built water stations. As I got older other amenities were added; electricity, microwaves, satellite TV, etc (still had to haul water though). I would say the day to day life there was one of non-boredom. There was always something that needed to be done to ensure your survival for later. Usually my job was to herd the sheep, check on the cattle, chop woods, haul water to the crop lands, maintain and harvest the crops, and other farm stuff. If not that then it was cooking and cleaning at the house.
But as more amenities were added some jobs just became obsolete. For example, my family would take time to shear the sheep and process the wool; either to sell or use as thread in rug making. But as advancements in the rez happened the availability of wool thread became abundant. So the processing of wool was not needed.
So as more advancements made their way into our lives, complacency became a part of the routine. My days became take out the sheep from the corral, move them to a good location to graze. Watch some TV. Cook. Clean. Check on sheep. Move them back into the corral. Cook. Clean. Watch TV. Sleep. Repeat.
Progress is a Double Edged Sword
I have family that live on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, north of Seattle. Alcohol is a huge problem, as is drunk driving. They sell fireworks around the 4th, though they go off all the time and there is no noise ordinance. Marijuana is legal in Washington, but not on the rez because it's federal land.
They opened a casino resort and outlet mall several years ago. It brings in a lot of money. The casino is really nice, really fancy, though I don't gamble. Our family goes to seafood night at the buffet. It's like $25 a person and all you can eat crab/shrimp/mussels/salmon.
My Grandma lived by the beach. My cousins and I were always going down there when we were younger. She's in a nursing home now and they tore down her house and put up condos.
North of the Border
You asked about reservations in the US, but I'll answer anyway. I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, but my parents had roots in the north and we visited my grandma in a small northern community often. It's true that colonialism has left a legacy of addictions, abuse and other serious issues, but there's lots of great stuff in our communities too. My fondest childhood memories are of grandma making bannock with bear fat and the blueberries we picked. Most Indigenous people in Canada do not live on reserves. Many of us have never lived on reserves. I have raised my kids in the city, but we spend as much time as possible hunting, fishing, playing lacrosse, and other traditional pastimes.
Fort Hall Rez, Idaho. Rez life. It's alright. I mean it's prolly really bad on some other reservations. I can't attest to that. I've only been to a few different ones. But I can say this is kinda like a "ghetto" if you live in a nearby nicer suburb. But that's cliched since there's always a nicer neighborhood, and there's always a worse "bad part of town" everywhere, right?
Yes, and there are bad things out here. But we've done really well I think. A humorous outlook on all the bullshit is just something you can see people have learned. It's odd to me that only just recently has "Gangsta" attitude begun to disappear here. And even then it was just a handful of kids doin dumb s*. But going to school off rez there was often a palpable stigma that you might not be able to get beyond with some people. You can still feel it when you walk into some rooms with older folks.
Anyway growing up here was...hard for me. I guess. See I had a good family. There were the crazy uncles doin' the fast living, and it's been hard to accept that yes. But my family is mostly Traditional in lifestyle. This word Traditional is what has troubled me for years. In my opinion much of the Traditional mindset is just too xenophobic. It's awful sometimes to hear some of these elders talk trash on "daibos" the white people just down the road. Because those aren't bad people, they're my friends even. I figured out the lashing out at white folk is just a reaction to decades of negative influence.
I am not traditional, so I often see myself as a "bad" Indian. It's an identification issue that authors like Sherman Alexie capture really well for me. That's been the hardest part for me. I'm actually a musician, but not a Native Musician. I'm a sax player. I like jazz, and I'm sorry, but I can only stand powow songs for so long. I know a handful of "Indian" words, no I don't live in a tipi, but yes, yes I do know how to put one up. It's a dichotomous life I live, or something.
I think the worst thing about growin' up rez and then trying to succeed anywhere is the first time a colleague sees me show up late, or sees me after a few beers. I just lost that person's respect. And I can only hope that it isn't attached to race. Like, come on. Why can't I just be a shitty person for being late, and also separately be a useless drunk alcoholic?? Why I gotta be a Drunk Injun that shows up on Injun Time?? It's like I'd almost prefer to show up late and drunk in regalia just so it's THE issue, or not an issue at all.
Just let me fail in my own way, you know?
I'm from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico and the biggest problem we've had here is alcoholism although it's been receding with the new programs and health classes that have been getting funded.
Overall there is nothing extraordinary here. It would be equivalent to a rural community. There's no stores aside from the local gas station and we don't have any internet providers in the area. We have a lot of new building and homes but all of our roads are dirt. There's a lot of farm land and open area. We have a middle plaza that's reserved for traditional dances and gatherings that aren't open to the public. The closest town is called Bernalillo about 30-40 miles away and there's 2 other reservations along the way.
We have a population of about 3,500 and 80% of us are fluent in the language with about a 60% participation rate in dances and traditions. The culture is strong here and we have a small (rate of) waning of language in younger children due to the advances in technology.
There's a high employment rate here and the pueblo has a main export of traditional foods and pottery. There are a bunch of different types of art but pottery is the main one.
Overall, reservation life isn't terrible here, culture and tradition is strong as well as the alcoholism rate going down with the top notch healthcare and programs that we get here. We're really remote as far as location goes and we have a high employment rate. Been here my whole life and wouldn't change a thing.
Hopi tribe here. My rez is in the Southwest and the sand gets everywhere. Even though I've moved to a big city I visit family Every time there is a dance. There's still a huge presence of kachina's which I take a lot of pride in.
Children being forced to boarding schools and forced to practice Christianity is still within living memory with my great uncles having been shipped to big cities.
There is a lot of poverty. Many people burn coal for heat in the winter and have to travel to the springs for clean water. But my So'oh (grandmother) tells me things are a lot better now than when she was young.
Even with the drugs and poverty everyone can still laugh at anything. And you barely walk through the door before being told to "sit down and eat".
I am a Navajo who grew up on the Navajo nation my entire life. My mom is a kind hearted women who works at a school and my dad is a strong very upfront man. He spent 30 years working industrial construction being a ironworker, pipefitter, welder and he says he was a journeyman and a foreman on many of his jobs but now he works at the hospital in the town I grew up because he says the work he did in those years really took its toll on his body. I consider myself very fortunate that my parents don't drink. Growing up my father was very rough on me and my older brother. As a 6 year old we would learn to ride horses and the purpose was for work like rounding up cattle or heading sheep. We worked on the fence lines as children and we would haul wood and coal because we used a stove. My dad used to tell me men don't cry and that if I'm ever going to be somebody that I needed to learn everything he knows so I did not play much as a kid. I spent weekends helping him change fuel pumps or he would be working with the horses. We were always doing something productive and it was hard.
Today I am 22 and live alone in Phoenix, Arizona. I am a full time student at the local community college and I am looking for a full time job now. I just got here last night and I am scared but I am ready. It wasn't until I was around 19 that I started to appreciate the way I grew up but I constantly think about the lack of friends I have and the lack of memories of being with the ones I had and it's always difficult because there are just not many of them. The Navajo nation is simple in that you either grow up like how I did or you grew up wishing you grew up like how I did because mom and dad were constantly drunk and leaving on the weekends to go spend the weekends at a casino.
There is really no middle ground, with a understanding soft spoken father and mother who understand that children need to be children and aggression is not the way to teach, but it's there and it's rare, I envy these parents.
I grew up on a reservation in Minnesota. I left when I became an adult.
Basically has the same stuff as rural towns. No good paying work, lots of drug abuse, except the benefit of a Super Fund site next to the town (that's a huge chemical leak that no one can afford to clean up). It leads to a lot of cancers. My father died of a cancer associated with it.
The good is there's a strong sense of family in the community. My fiance grew up there as well, but has a much bigger family. They are all there for each other and it's amazing what people can do in groups like that.
The "Rez culture" is something I didn't even realize existed until I left. I said slang words no one understood and had an accent. Both me and my fiance have lost those accents (Don't tell her, but she gets it back if she is mad.)
I'm from one in South Dakota. It's a sad place. I'll always love it because it's where I'm from, but it's hard to go back. The meth addiction there is terrible. That and the assumptions I deal with living in the city nowadays is annoying. They assume because I'm from the rez that I get everything free in life. Not the case.
Off Rez is Hard Too
I'm Cree First Nations and my parents moved from the rez before I was born because of how bad our education was and the living conditions (at the time, it's getting better now). I moved a lot, but when I was in high school I moved to a 90% white town and it was surreal how my sister and I were treated. We were both the "Native Girls" and were the only ones in our school and we received the dumbest stereotypes and worst questions. I had a 18 year old ask me if I could speak to animals and he was completely serious. Another guy asked my sister what it was like to grow up in a teepee. Our principal tried to exploit me and do a "traditional American Indian ceremony" and make me dance in front of the school because I'm a jingle dress dancer. He even hosted a "Indian drum lesson" and brought in a group of white ladies to teach the school how to drum. My sister and I refused to touch anything we were so mortified. I tried my best to educate people but it got so tiring hearing the same questions over and over again.
Alaska native Inupiaq here. Born and lived 8 years in Barrow, then 20 years in Fairbanks. Now living in Anchorage. We don't have reservations but we do have villages that are mainly Native.
The biggest difference is economic. We didn't have much money, weren't raised with money and as a result have poor spending habits coupled with half-assed schooling by newbie bush teachers. Financial stability is something that we struggle with no matter if your Inuit or Athabaskan or Yupik. This of course can lead to everything else mentioned in this thread, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, etc. you get the picture.
It's getting better though, with each generation we're learning more.
Just Normal Folks
I was born and grew up on the Bad River Reservation on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. I lived in a house my mom's grandpa built in the 40s for the first couple years of my life, then my grandpa and family friends built a new house in the 80s, so that is my childhood home. My grandpa and uncle lived down the road in my childhood and they would harvest wild rice, and trap muskrat and beavers. The boat launch was under a mile from my house, and even closer to my grandpas land so I would go out with them a lot. He would sell the quilts, and wild rice at his smoke shop he had on the highway. We had a casino built on the Rez when I was about 10, and that was a big deal. There was a trailer park in the Rez and that is where most of my friends lived, but it was on the other side of the river and you'd have to either drive or get wet to get there. I worked at my grandpas smoke shop until it closed in 1996. We participate in pow wow weekends, selling quilts and wild rice. Pow wows are a good time, family comes who don't live on the Rez, mainly scattered around Wisconsin/ Minnesota. I lived in Milwaukee for a couple years as I attended community college and lived with a friend from the Rez. We brought some friends we met in the city up north and they said it was not how they imagined it. It's pretty normal, we're just all really poor, haha. Bad River Reservation, just outside of Ashland, Wisconsin, come check out the casino, I'll be at the bar.
I grew up on the Navajo Nation; the largest reserve in the U.S. All my family still reside in the area, but I got to leave for college. For the most part, you are isolated from everything civilized. We did not have running water or electricity until I was about 10. My father and uncles had jobs 10 hours away and would make frequent weekend trips home, and the nearest town is probably a good hour drive. I did not realize how difficult our lives were until I moved away for college.
As children, we had the vast open landscape as our playground. We hiked, camped, played tag, all without boundaries or worries that strangers were lurking. It was a close knit community, and families were clustered across the reservation. For example, if you were to visit a family friend, then you could pretty much walk on over to visit their grandparents, siblings, etc.
I would make frequent trips home during college, and suddenly there is a disconnect between you and your home. You leave home again impressed with this overwhelming grief. Not only is alcohol rampant on the reservation, but the quality of life is just unbelievable (compared to the rest of the USA).
I've lived on Standing Rock in North and South Dakota for almost my entire life (and I'm sure some of you are aware of it now because of our anti-pipeline movement). These are just my experiences:
I lived with my grandmother (who I called iná, mom) and several cousins as a young child, and our house had no running water, electricity, or anything else like that. We had to drive sometimes up to 3 hours away to fill up water tanks, but we usually just used water from the river to wash/bathe/eat/drink/etc. We had a woodstove for cooking, and we used candles, gas lamps, and flashlights at night. When I became school-aged I would try to finish all of my homework at a community center before it got dark. There were hardly any stores and my grandmother was a residential school survivor and was always very reluctant and fearful of leaving the reservation, so we mainly supplied our own food by hunting/gathering/gardening. I definitely have a lot of wild childhood stories, but I wouldn't trade any of those experiences for the world.
After my grandmother passed, I moved in with my aunt. We had about a dozen people living in one of those crappy firetrap HUD trailers so it was constantly chaos. It was pretty much the norm though, and most of the kids only came home to sleep. We got commods (gov't food) but it was never enough so I ended up getting sent to live with a hunka (non-blood/ceremonial) relative after a few years. The schooling was pretty average, but I was considered "advanced" so I took several online courses in addition to my normal classes, and I attended a lot of summer programs too. Those summers were the first time I realized that some people looked down on how we lived, and how different it was for some of them. It was a little hard to accept and a lot of things that other kids said bothered me, but I guess I just got used to ignoring it. I was aware of a lot of the problems in my community, like alcoholism and drug abuse, but I was also aware of how complex those issues are when you throw in a lot of the generational trauma people are dealing with. I saw it in my own family, with how traumatized my older relatives were by their residential school experiences, and how it trickled down and really affected younger people even though it wasn't actually their trauma. It can be really difficult to deal with, and I feel like a lot of people just brush it off or deny that it's an issue altogether.
I went away for university and then I came back and got another degree at our tribal college. I've pretty much dedicated myself to working in the revitalization of our language, and right now I work in a full immersion program for younger children. I also tutor at a few local schools, and work several after-school programs when I can, but my main focus is definitely the language. The main problem is that our biggest resource is managed by Europeans who won't fully commit to community involvement and also aren't too keen on passing the reins onto actual Lakota/Dakota people who are already involved.
Overall, I definitely don't blame people (especially kids) for wanting to leave, and I actually try to encourage young people to leave and have some life experiences away from here. It's so easy to get stuck in this vacuum and fall into some of the vicious cycles that exist around here.
But honestly, I could never see myself permanently leaving. When I'm off-rez, I feel like I sometimes become "The Native Girl" to everyone. In college I felt like I became the spokesperson for every Native person ever to some people, and it was really hard to express myself as an individual around them. And I often felt very uncomfortable hearing some of the things my peers had been taught about us. One guy told me that his dad warned him to never stop on a reservation, and if anyone approached him to just run them over. I had a classmate who wanted to pick my brain all the time because she spent a week on a reservation for a service project once and it was just exhausting. There were a lot of misconceptions (I don't get free anything unless we count a few Pell Grants and a scholarship that covered two semesters of my second degree) and flat out lies they expected me to be an expert spokesperson on.
At home on the rez, I feel like I'm seen as more of a complete person, with interests separate from my Lakota identity. We definitely have a lot of problems and a long way to go in some aspects, but I love being able to visit with elders and hear their stories, and being able to understand them when they speak our language. I love playing handgames with my friends, I love dancing during wacipi season, I love digging prairie turnips with my little cousins, I really just love my community as a whole.
Love is crazy. I've finally come to that conclusion. And marriage, you take your life in your hands and just throw caution to the wind in hopes of survival with that step.
When love falls apart, things can get real messy, real fast. And I've always been stunned by people's behavior when love subsides.
More often than not, it's like they become different people. Sometimes people are beset by tragedy and grief and sometimes people smile wide and move on. It's a coin toss.
But my favorite post divorce personality has to be the sudden super villain. Oh honey watch out for them!
Redditor u/hyperyog wanted to hear all the tea from the divorcees out there by asking:
Divorced Redditors, what is the craziest thing you or your former spouse did after divorce?
I once had a friend who burned her ex's house down when he wasn't home. He had started seeing someone almost immediately, so she thought, lemme set their sparks. Yeah, she wasn't well. Whatever happened to just a quick goodbye?
Swipeddean winters crying GIF by MayhemGiphy
"She removed the retaining clips for my windshield wipers, but put the wipers back on the arms. First storm after I got my car back from her, driver side wiper flew off the car on Interstate 40. Good times."
"He wrote suicide notes and put them in my kids backpacks for them/me to find. Then he turned off his phone and went to a coworkers house to play crib and have drinks.. all the while knowing I would be freaking out searching for him thinking he was in danger or worse. Thankfully my kids didn't see the notes and didn't know what was going on. This was just one of the many, many crazy things he did. Two years out and he just recently stopped showing up at my work and driving by my house at night."
A Sad End
"Died of a drug overdose. To be fair, her drug addiction was the reason for the divorce, so maybe that isn't too crazy."
"That's so incredibly difficult to have gone through. I unfortunately know the depths of this kind of pain, and while I'm sure the circumstances surrounding it are different, the loss that still happened is a tragedy. My condolences."
"Stalked me for 5 years. Would make fake social media profiles to try to follow me (which I would block endlessly) and would try to find where I worked so she could talk to me. This lady cheated on me with 7 different men 2 months after we were married. I kicked her a** to the curb and made her sign the court papers."
"When we had our day in court she cried in the judges office while I just wanted to get this crap done. After, my dad was with me and he threw 50 dollars at her and told her to "change your freaking last name." Good guy Pops. I haven't seen or heard from her in about 5 years, thank goodness."
Take it All!skin care spinning GIF by Primal Life OrganicsGiphy
"I had an ex-boyfriend go through my apartment and take back every gift he had given me that he could find. Then he went in my bedside table and took the condoms. And the vibrator he had given me."
See now, when I'm out... I'm out! I don't want to see you, hear from you or know you. I wish you well in life, but please live it far from me. Anyone agree? Clearly not the people here. Let's continue...
For the Boybicycling father and son GIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"All I wanted was custody of my son, I gave her everything else except one of our cars. She fought me through 5 hearings, I won. She never came to see him again."
"My ex cheated on me the week my mom died in the hospital. She spent a year and a half trying to get in touch with me. She would call my old work and make fake accounts trying to message me on FB. It was insane. She later sends a certified letter explaining she was sorry that she did what she did and that she aborted our child."
"Wanted me to meet her somewhere so she could apologize face to face. She already married some other guy that she had children with and was still trying to get in touch with me. I never understood her."
"After years of telling me she wanted a child, that she wanted to be a mom, that her life's dream was to be a stay at home mom, she got pregnant with the first guy she slept with while we were getting divorced and put the kid up for adoption even before it was born. This was a long-standing thing with her, she always wanted something (car, house, dog, cat, marriage, etc) and the second she got it she immediately hated it."
"Called me and pretended he had been hit by a car while we were talking. He even tried to voice the crowd that had gathered around his "body." God-awful acting, but pretty funny listening to him try to mimic a woman's voice. Points for trying to be inclusive, I guess."
"I think he was trying to get me to re-live my trauma of being on the phone with a friend who actually HAD been hit by a car while we were talking. Too bad he didn't realize that hearing the real thing is worlds different than hearing a dumba** try to act it out."
"I was sending 600 dollars a month to support my daughter because she's the only thing I give a sh!t about. My ex texts me and tells me I need to be sending 1200 a month because she's broke and can't pay her bills and I should feel guilty about it. She left me for another guy while I was on deployment I told her to go screw herself--call my lawyer."
Pop OffTom Hanks Drinking GIF by The Good FilmsGiphy
"Took the sodas from the fridge as he walked out the door. Dumfounded."
See, I blame Alanis Morissette and her "Jagged Little Pill" album. All I'm going to say is... the secret song. I think she gave people ideas. (I love that song) Y'all, seek therapy if you can't shake people. When it's done, let it be done.
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Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is highly regarded for his delicious plates, his ability to run a solid restaurant, and, let's face it, his stage presence.
He's also a foul-mouthed Brit who is all too willing to dismantle people's self-esteems and compare them to livestock animals.
Alas, as watching all reality television goes, we love to see the crashing and burning.
But what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if you were the one being torn into by the sailor of all chefs, Mr. Gordon Ramsay.
Wondering what horrible dishes were lurking in unknown kitchens all over the place, Redditor FalloutSl*t413 asked:
"What's something you made that was 100% delicious but Gordon Ramsay would slap you for anyway?"
Some people talked about those purely functional meals that are just perfect for piling on enough protein and calories to get through the day.
"My mom used to make us 'Volcanoes.' Mashed potatoes topped with ground beef with some ketchup. I still tear it up to this day."
Quick and Easy
"I make weeknight 'enchiladas.' "
"You stick frozen taquitos in a casserole dish and cover them with canned or frozen chili and cheese. Bake them until everything's hot, serve with a dollop of sour cream. They sound disgusting but they taste amazing, and they take like, five minutes to prep."
"I know it looks like, smells like, and probably tastes like cat food but potted meat sandwiches. Look, when you're poor as hell and you can make 3 sandwiches with one little can that cost like 20 cents, it's pretty good."
"While I'm at it, Treet and bologna are pretty great. I have the taste palette of a raccoon and I like it that way."
"When I was younger I would make this thing where it was a patty melded of:"
- "a can of tuna"
- "two eggs
"And I would eat that almost daily, pan-fried, for lunch. Just slap me now and lets get it over with."
Others shared the recipes they make to feel fancy despite being totally trashy.
A Nuanced Process
"I call them 'chicken puffs.' Some par-cooked chicken (white or dark meat, either works) with sauteed serrano peppers and onions and garlic."
"All wrapped in crescent roll dough in little balls (a bit smaller than a baseball), put in a casserole tray filled juuuuust above the top of the little dough balls with cream of roasted chicken soup. Baked to completion/safety."
"Overly indulgent and delicious."
A Famous Side
"I consistently make a box of pastaroni angel hair and herbs as a side with meals I prepare for people. EVERYONE always asks for the recipe LOL please don't tell my secret"
Just a Couple Additions
" 'Fancy Ramen' Ramen made normal. Don't mix seasoning. Drain water. Add Mayo. Then mix in seasoning. And Volia. A lot of people question it. Until they try it."
Others outlined the things they eat that combine some ingredients it may seem disgusting to mix together.
Throw An Egg On There
"Fu** it lasagna, alternating layers of bread and shredded cheese (your choice which, I use cheddar) then crack an egg on top and put it in the microwave. Old depression meal, but it still holds up."
Hard to Wrap Your Head Around
"As a kid I would eat a banana with a cheese slice. Haven't tried it in years but it might hold up" -- Send_it_to_me
"Let's not" -- Sea-Entertainer-4974
"When I was younger I would make toast with peanut butter on it, then add pepperoni. Delicious then but I cringe thinking about trying it today"
The truly horrifying thing? There are so many more recipes out there that would leave Ramsay trembling.
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People love to talk about food. There are blogs, books, television shows, conversations in bars and farmers markets. In all likelihood, there is a recipe swap happening right this second in some deep corner of a suburb somewhere.
But sometimes talk is a lot of hot air. And the topic of food sure isn't immune to that criticism.
You can't get through a day without some telling you what "you gotta try."
The problem is, talking about food is often far more exciting than the food itself.
Redditor anicaodha asked:
"What food is overhyped?"
Many people were angry about garnishes. They hated the way restaurants try to entice people to eat certain menu items by slapping some kitschy ingredient on there.
A Very Expensive Burger
"Anything with gold flakes, absolutely pointless." -- Spend_Total
"ugh, i just remembered throwing up gold flakes from goldschlager, yuck!" -- spaceygracie12
"Aka how to add a crunch to your dish like a douche." -- CakeBot_TheReckoning
Catches the Eye Though
"Any rainbow food, rainbow grilled cheese, rainbow smoothie..."
"Just a cheap money grab."
No Breath On My Meal Please
"Dragon's breath/ nitro puffs or any dessert that contains liquid nitrogen to make it look cool." -- throwjango
"This stuff exists? God, I'm out of the loop." -- -The-Magic-8-Ball
"Truffle oil, usually doesn't contain a single truffle." -- BlckontheMoon
"The 1 thing I love about Truffle oil is I've never seen someone use it on a cooking competition show and not lose." -- igotmadshirts
Some people talked about the big trends that they just never could quite figure out.
That Almighty Nectar
"Remember when people were treating Nutella like it was the second coming of Christ?" -- Grapezard
"I had an Italian friend once invite me to his birthday party in high school. His mom made a Nutella pie and it was one of the greatest desserts I've never had the pleasure of trying again. It was so simple, like a soft flaky dough covered with Nutella."
"I don't want to come out of the blue and ask this kid for his mom's recipe 15 years later so I'll just suffer I suppose." -- JupiterTarts
"Red velvet is literally a red chocolate cake that has nowhere near enough chocolate and to much red food coloring. It literally was invented when done dudes chocolate turned kinda red when he added vinegar to the chocolate cake mix."
"Friends loved the color, but it was finicky to get the red color without changing flavor of cake, so he decided to use red food coloring."
"Fu**ing Avocado Toast.
"Avocado is a buck. Toast is few cents. Avocado Toast is $10+"
And some discussed the things that people insist are fancy and delectable, but are really just run of the mill entirely.
Meat is Meat?
"steak is good, and I'd even say a high quality steak can be very very good. But people act like it's better than busting a nut and that's just not true. It's just meat"
"Lobster. It's good, but poor value given it's almost always the most expensive protein available."
"Plus most places just drown it in butter, which again, fine, but if all you taste is butter, why spend that much?"
Depends on the House
" 'Housemade' ketchup. Give me the damn Heinz and get your banana aoili mess away from me." -- peanutbutterallytime
"I live in Pittsburgh and I have seen multiple restaurants try and fail to make housemade ketchup work. Every single time they go back to Heinz." -- HooBoy401
So if you find yourself tired of hearing people go on and on about something you don't go wild over, know that there are others fuming too.
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It's not easy to always do the right thing.
Which is why most people don't usually do the right thing. Doing the right thing involves a lot of thought, empathy for others, and a self-awareness of your place in the world. You're not making a choice just for yourself, you're more often than not doing it for someone else. This, in itself, presents a difficult hill for most people to climb so, usually, they feel it's easier to make the selfish choice.
Doesn't mean people always do. They can surprise you sometimes.
*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
What's the hardest moral decision you've ever had to make?
Even when the choice amounts to something small, it can still matter to someone else.
How Dare You Make Me Morally Astute?!
"This is small potatoes compared to most of the people on this thread but many years ago I was travelling and had very little money. I went to a stall at a market, handed them a 10 dollar bill. Item cost 5 dollars but instead of handing me a five dollar note, the handed me a 50."
"I was walking away from the stall when noticed. My first thought was BONUS. But I had lately been hanging out with a bunch of people who were really into karma. So I stormed back to the stall, slammed the 50 down on the counter and told them off for making me make moral decisions. Lady behind the counter was like "ahhhhhh, thanks"
Didn't Believe The First Time, But Can't Deny Visual Evidence
"I told a co-worker his wife was cheating on him. It ruined our friendship for a good amount of time, until he caught her himself."
"To bad he couldn't just believe you."
Owning Up To The Mistake
"Fessing up to an error I made at work that cost the company 5k. I was a manager and misinterpreted a sales promotion. I almost lost my job, this is the one time that telling the truth actually saved me. It's true what they say that the cover up is usually worse than the crime. Lesson learned.."
Doing something morally correct when it comes to family can be tricky. On one hand, you don't want to ruffle the feathers of the people you're going to be related to for the rest of your life...which is how family works.
On the other hand, do the right thing.
Making The Best Call For Your Children
"Removing the mother of my two sons out of their lives completely as she was unfit and abusive while I was on deployment. They were 3-4 years old then and now they are 17 and 15 with their mother never attempting to come back into their lives which I would prefer at this point."
Because They're Going To Be Sad Later...
"My grandmother died, and I lied to my parents about it."
"My grandparents were 95 and my parents hadn't had a vacation in 30 years. So when she passed away with only 5 days remaining on their vacation, my family decided not to ruin it for them; instead, we'd plan the entire funeral and if my mother wanted to make adjustments when she returned, we'd arrange it for her; there was nothing they could do to get her back."
"Having to decide on the DNR (do not resuscitate) order for my father who had been victim to a massive stroke..."
"I know millions have done it before and millions will again but to me it was devastating....."
"As a health worker, you did the right thing by your father. I've come across families of patients who keep them alive for their own peace of mind while the patient themselves is tired and in alot of pain mentally and physically from the constant treatments and would rather rest from it all. Don't feel bad for your decision."
Never doubt your actions when it comes to protecting children.
"Calling CPS on a student's family after she begged me not to. CPS did an investigation and she was pissed at me for months until the vice principal had a talk with her and explained that I only did it because I care and didn't want her to get hurt."
"That VP is awesome. I sat in his office while he coached me through the call, since it was my first time calling CPS."
Standing Up For Your Friend, Even When No One Else Will
"I was in high school and my best friend was being bullied on the bus. She brought a knife to school and had previously mentioned a list of people. I cried a lot when I went to the principal to turn her in. I knew I was ruining her life but I wanted her to get help. I didn't want anyone to get hurt because we were all just kids. She was expelled and forced into therapy. We had been friends since we were 11."
"My mom listened on the phone line when I was trying to comfort my friend (while absolutely not admitting it was me) and my mom jumped on and told her I'm not allowed to be her friend anymore. I had told my mom I had turned her in and she had no empathy for this girl. Because I had been bullied and stood up for myself and never "did anything like that". My friend was getting cornered on the bus by 4 people whereas I was normally taunted in public and was lucky enough to always have an upperclassmen or school employee around to help me out. I felt guilty about turning her life upside down for many years but would do it again because she did get help."
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/