Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods

Post
quijote
Double Cheeseburger
2010/10/28 20:41:39
Someone posted a link to this article (by Katharine Shillcutt of Houstonpress.com) on a Milwaukee BBS, and thought I'd share. It's an interesting look at how foods of certain nationalities or ethnicities are perceived by insiders versus outsiders:
 
http://blogs.houstonpress...pts_of_ethnic_food.php
 
 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2010/10/28 22:23:40
Interesting article with an interesting ending.
stricken_detective
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2010/10/29 01:06:59
They left out the Guidos?
Georgieporgie
Junior Burger
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/02/21 10:54:15
very interesting, I feel bad at the responses for Ethiopia. but honestly, I do not know what is common food there, I think of hummus, and barley... Hmmm, I need to brush up on some Ethiopian cuisine!
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/02/21 13:45:21
Andrew Zimmern of "Bizarre Foods" fame did an episode on Ethiopian foods and had trouble downing some of the dishes. Some he liked.
Georgieporgie
Junior Burger
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/02/22 10:50:31
I may have seen that one... was that the one with the lung fish, and fishing for it in the mud swamps?
Nathan G
Junior Burger
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/03/27 00:59:54
Interesting article.  I can remember taking a cultural diversity class a few years back, and on the first day arguing with the prof over whether it was right or wrong that the first thing associated with a particular foreign culture is generally the food.  (Guess which side I came down on).
 
It does, however, touch on one of my pet peeves, which is the whether "good" or "authentic" is more important.  My late maternal grandfather was right off the boat from Trento in northern Italy, which was the site of long-running territorial wars and the resulting famine and poverty.  His idea of "authentic" food from home was absolutely putrid.  Imagine polenta cooked so long that it would suck the moisture out of your mouth.  They were too poor to even make potato gnocchi, so the local variant involved little more than stale bread crumbs and water.  The strange part is that after his family left, the region started to boom economically, which has carried through to the present day.
 
I'm of the opinion that good trumps authentic.  If the flavors are being maintained or touched up or deconstructed and rebuilt, that's fine.  But, like my prof in that class finally told me to end the argument, "I didn't ask for your opinion in the first place."
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/03/27 02:36:59
I vote for Authentic. "Good" is a Subjective Concept. What may taste good to one person might taste terrible to another. If a dish is consistently made the same way time after time then it becomes authentic over time regardless of how people interpret the tastes and flavors.
Eating Cooked Grubs in Cambodia may or may not taste good to someone who's never eaten them before but if the Grubs were prepared the same way over and over for many years, that is the authentic way they are prepared regardless of how someone thinks they taste.
JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/03/27 11:10:27
Q - That Ethiopian list on the left looks similar to the Nepalese/Tibetan food I had in Madison last year.  I'm still convinced that dirt is their main seasoning.
 
Nathan G - Along the lines of your encounter with your prof, I had an encounter with a cruise ship hostess from Serbia last year.  After seeing her home country all week, on the last day of the cruise I mentioned that a Serbian restaurant was one of my favorite places to eat. She said that was the first time anyone had ever said anything nice to her about Serbia while on the ship.  She then got really happy describing the food her mother cooks for her when she goes home.  So I think the food point of reference is the right one, it establishes a common perspective to start a conversation.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2011/03/27 11:12:20
EdSails
Filet Mignon
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/03/27 18:19:32
I've  seen this article before. Even we get it here in Californis----the land of "fruits and nuts"----where most people don't realize what are great CA dishes. Instead, they still think of food in CA as bsastardized Mexican, sprouts and vegan and raw veggies dishes and high priced frou frou Beverly Hill restaurants where it's not the food----it's who's sitting at the table next to you. At least the Roadfooders tend to know a little more about what's here----Santa Maria Tri-tip BBQ, chili Size, awesome REAL Mexican food and many other ethbic delights in Little Saigon, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia and great fresh seafood.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/03/27 20:17:56
EdSails

I've  seen this article before. Even we get it here in Californis----the land of "fruits and nuts"----where most people don't realize what are great CA dishes. Instead, they still think of food in CA as bsastardized Mexican, sprouts and vegan and raw veggies dishes and high priced frou frou Beverly Hill restaurants where it's not the food----it's who's sitting at the table next to you. At least the Roadfooders tend to know a little more about what's here----Santa Maria Tri-tip BBQ, chili Size, awesome REAL Mexican food and many other ethbic delights in Little Saigon, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia and great fresh seafood.

And don't forget the Yogurt and Granola. Gotta have the Yogurt and Granola!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
pimple2
Hamburger
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/03/28 11:21:15
 Something tasting "Good" is an interesting SUBJECTIVE notion. It could be very individual, specific to a person. Or, it could be something social and cultural, constantly reinforced from early on in life by repeated consumption and by social cues, e.g. friends & family loving it and expressing appreciation.
 
We have seen films of the Inuit sitting around as a loving family group, affectionately sharing chunks of raw, freshly hunted seal, salmon or narwhal. We might have felt repulsed at the sight of so much raw flesh, but steak tartare, Ethiopian kitfo, and expensive sashimi [fish, chicken, whale] are mere variants of the same idea, dressed up with some external sophistication.
 
Members of the same family may like or dislike a particular food, say beets, liver or tripe, throwing the concept of "GOOD" into another interesting realm of subjectivity beyond argument. "Good" tasting to whom?
 
This is not an academic discussion for me, because I do serious research and writing on the cuisine of the Rarh gentry, between 1860-1970. This is a group of people living in West Bengal, India, who have contributed a lot to the world in many many ways, perhaps unbeknownst to our RoadFood buddies.

Be that as it may, between 1960-1980, almost 80% of their cuisine became extinct, a cuisine of great sophistcation and delicacy. It required not just a great many years of training but an unspoiled rural hinterland dotted with woodland, wetland, forest and rivers to provide the many vegetables, fruit and wild produce necessary for its foodways.
 
Most importantly, it required palates attuned to the tastes and flavors of these wild vegetables, plants of the woodlands, the small fish of the rivers. You had to work on your plate to extract & enjoy the full range of flavors. For example, today, most native-born households in the USA prefer boneless beef or boneless meat without gristle and fat; fish fillets without bones or skin, and larger fish over the tiny. Similarly, with modernization, the proprtion of people willing to negotiate "messy" or "difficult" objects on their plates begins to fall.
 
Even when eating crabs, crayfish or lobsters, I am astonished at how gingerly "modern" people anywhere pick at these shellfish, compared to how they would be consumed in earlier times. Is this an example of the modern expression of "good"? Did our older generations get more value & taste by thoroughly crushing the claws with their teeth and sucking out every last bit of juice and flavor? You would not see bits of claws, except the pincers, but chewed crushed masses of shell! Fish heads, fish frames, too! Bring 'em on!
 
This question of Good vs. Authentic leaves me bemused as I struggle with the issues of massive, rapid cultural extinction. While culture continuously evolves and changes, and none more so than the foodways of a community, extraordinary rapid change, within half a generation throw up the question of AUTHENTICITY in various perspectives not generally considered.
NYPIzzaNut
Filet Mignon
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/03/28 12:05:23
We have close family and friends who will not ever eat meat, poultry  or fish that have any bones with them.
randallzz
Junior Burger
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/04/27 10:11:54
very interesting article...
veracious
Junior Burger
Re:Interesting article about concept of ethnic foods 2011/05/16 09:10:54
Yes very nice and interesting post.