*WARNING* to the Authenticity Police: Authenticity is discussed here!
In our previous discussions, we've hit upon the thought that you can never actually replicate a particular food experience from one place and time in another. This has gone several places - some of us think that new traditions have to evolve based on the new ingredients, cultures, geography. Some of us think that it's a matter of sufficient volume - get enough people thinking along the lines of the authentic experience, with sufficient knowledge and understanding, and the food becomes more authentic.
Tony Bourdain voices these thoughts in his blog about the Spain show. He speaks to the wonderful food he had in Spain, Japan and other locations and asks, why can't we have that here? He says:
"Why can't I have that? How come I gotta go halfway across the earth -- to like, Singapore, or Hong Kong (or Spain), for instance, to really get MY culinary jollies these days? He's on a magic carpet ride in his own town and I'm like a full-bloom junkie, the honeymoon period over, needing a higher and higher dosage to get off in MY home town of New York!. Why?
The sad fact is, we'll never -- and I mean NEVER have it so good as in Spain. It's not like we don't have great restaurants in Manhattan - -and will surely have many more. And certainly, we can get many of the same ingredients jetted over (more or less -- if at a steep price). No. It's attitudinal. You can faithfully reproduce the look of a Spanish tapas bar in New York City. You can stock it with all the best, most authentic ingredients, just-jerked from the rivers, streams, soil and seas of Spain. You can staff the joint with the best cooks, dragooned off the streets of the parta vieja. And you'll still never be close to the real thing. Because what your tapas bar needs -- really needs -- is three or four or eight OTHER tapas bars (or casual Spanish eateries within walking distance)."