Friday, April 26, 2013

My Introduction to International Cuisine

Having come from a mixed heritage, I consider myself lucky enough to have a diverse culinary background.
From my Grandma Walsh, I was treated to Irish Soda Bread, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, and Lemon Meringue Pie.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
From Grandma Valdez the menu included; Black Bean Soup, Meat pies (Empanadas), Tamales (Costa Rican Style Of Course!), and Handmade Corn Tortillas.

Homemade Costa Rican style Tamales
I'm salivating just writing this....



My Mother, however, is the one who really introduced a diverse range of cuisine to me and my siblings at a young age. She also likes to expand her culinary reach ranging from Ginger Chicken to Eggplant Parmesan. I think this allowed me to be open-minded about trying to cook ethnic cuisine.

Unfortunately, a lot of people feel intimidated to try and cook a different cuisine outside of their own for a two main reasons. 

  • The first, in a word: 
    FEAR

Another shameless Dune reference
 People are afraid of what they don't know or understand, but you have to have a sense of adventure. While it's true that you will be outside your comfort zone, isn't it a great feeling to learn something new.
I'll give you an example, I have had friends ask me how I could just walk into an ethnic supermarket without a second thought. My answer is usually, "I needed something and  they had it...."

I'm not going to say that I wasn't afraid the first time I went into Hong Kong Supermarket, that would be a lie. There I was surrounded by delicacies; live seafood- jellyfish, strange animal parts for sale- pig uterus and almost all the food labels in Chinese. It was different but fascinating at the same time... it was an adventure. Nobody ever gave me a dirty look, but they were curious just like I am.

Curiosity killed the cat
but satisfaction brought it back!
One time, as I was checking out the cashier, an older woman, kept looking at my items and at me surprised at the contents of my basket, which included bok choy, various Asian spices and sauces, winter melon, lotus root, bean sprouts, Thai dark soy sauce, and 2 whole ducks. When I went to pay she looked me straight in the face and said in heavily accented English, " Why you here?" All I could say with a smile was, "To shop." Her response was priceless.... with a smile she said,"Okay, Take calendar Happy New Year. Next week Duck on sale $8."

I'm not saying it's going to be easy, or that you will we welcomed in every store....I sure haven't been, but at least try. What have you got to lose?

  • The second, INAUTHENTICITY.


 I've actually been told this and it really upset me. Some people believe that only those who've been born into a particular culture/ethnicity can cook the cuisine. This is absolute nonsense. If you learn how to do it properly what's the difference where your family came from? Absolutely Ridiculous...

Recently I was insulted by an Indian man who assumed that since I'm American that A) I couldn't cook in general,  B) That I specifically couldn't cook Indian food, and C) That I wanted/needed his wife's unsolicited help.....So Rude!

I was aggravated beyond belief and I discussed that with Kishore, he wisely said to me, "Babe, he doesn't know how good your food is, so don't worry about it. I like it, you like it and that's important."

Kishore is right, ultimately if you enjoy making it then don't worry about what idiots have to say.


Next Time: Indian Cuisine and SRK

1 comment:

  1. Life is an adventure, glad you are enjoying the culinary ride!

    ReplyDelete

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