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Not About Food

Authentic or American?!?


Not About Food 148

Authentic or American?!?

Fydeaux | Jul 17, 2008 07:46 AM

This question is part of the title of another thread concerning the use of cilantro in salsa. I didnt want to hijack the thread by posting this there, so I decided to start a new one.

What i'm wondering is, just when did AMERICAN become the opposite of AUTHENTIC?

I am not any sort of 'love ot or leave it' type, and I certainly dont want this to turn into a political thread (not that the moderators would allow that--thank the gods for the moderators), but I have to say the the use of AMERICAN as a seemingly pejorative, especially where food is concerned really bothers me.

And while I personally disparage the dumbing down of (anyone's) traditional recipes in order to make them more palatable for mass consumption, does doing this really make it American?

Is the jambalaya I make in my kitchen in Milwaukee somehow a less 'authentic' dish than that which I might get at a diner in Cutoff, LA just because I used a locally made sausage rather than having it shipped from Louisiana? Similarly, is the jambalaya in Louisiana or the Kentucky Burgoo less 'authetic' than the African dishes from which they evolved, just because western hemisphere ingredients were used?

I happen to love the BBQ ribs as they make them in Chicago. Someone reading this in Texas is already saying, "That isnt BBQ!" Anyone want to talk about chili? (I dont ONLY love the ribs as they make them in Chicago. I love Texas BBQ also. This is America, and I dont HAVE to choose between them!)

I am whole-heartedly in favor of the preservation of cultural tradtions of all types, especially food traditions (excluding of course the traditions that involve things like genocide, sexual oppression and mutilation, spouse beating, and the like). but are we so afraid of recipe evolution that we have to label any change at all as inauthentic, rather than accept those changes as 'variations on a theme'? The theme doesnt die as a result of the variations.

And again I ask, since when is American the opposite of Authentic?

Thank you for indulging me my rant. Have a good morning.

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